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Encyclopedia > Entrenching clause

An entrenchment clause of a constitution is a provision which makes certain amendments either more difficult than others or impossible. It may require some form of supermajority, a referendum or the consent of some other party if it is allowed at all. A supermajority or a qualified majority is a requirement for a proposal to gain a specified level or type of support which exceeds a simple majority in order to have effect. ... Ballots of the Argentine plebiscite of 1984 on the border treaty with Chile A referendum (plural: referendums or referenda) or plebiscite (from Latin plebiscita, originally a decree of the Concilium Plebis) is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. ...


An entrenchment clause whose intent is to prevent subsequent amendments, will, once it is adopted, and provided that it is correctly drafted, make some portion of a constitution irrevocable except through the assertion of the right of revolution. In political philosophy, the right to revolution (or right of rebellion) is a right articulated by John Locke in Two Treatises of Government as part of his social contract theory. ...


They are usually justified as protecting the rights of a minority from the dangers of majoritarianism, but they are often challenged by their opponents as being particularly undemocratic. Majoritarianism is a political philosophy or agenda which asserts that a majority (sometimes categorized by religion, language or some other identifying factor) of the population is entitled to a certain degree of primacy in society, and has the right to make decisions that affect the society. ...


As examples of inadmissable constitutional amendments, Article Six of the United States Constitution contains the entrenched clause known as the "Supremacy Clause," which states that the Constitution is the "Supreme Law of the Land," and no portion of the Constitution can be amended or interpreted otherwise. Also, Article Five of the United States Constitution contained two entrenchment clauses. One clause prohibited any constitutional amendment regarding the international slave trade. This clause expired in 1808. The other clause, still in effect, states that "no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate". This has been interpreted to require unanimous ratification of any amendment altering the composition of the United States Senate.[citation needed] However, the text of the clause would indicate that the size of the Senate could be changed by an ordinary amendment if each state continued to have equal representation. The unratified Corwin amendment would have amounted to another entrenchment clause, protecting states' rights to continue slavery. A constitutional amendment is an alteration to the constitution of a nation or a state. ... Article Six establishes the United States Constitution and the laws and treaties of the United States made in accordance with it as the supreme law of the land, and fulfills other purposes. ... Article Five of the United States Constitution describes the process whereby the Constitution may be altered. ... Seal of the U.S. Senate The United States Senate is one of the two chambers of the bicameral United States Congress, the other being the House of Representatives. ... The Corwin Amendment is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution. ... States rights refers to the idea that U.S. states possess certain rights and political powers in the politics of the United States and constitutional law. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...


Another example of entrenchment would be the entrenching of portions of the Malaysian Constitution related to the Malaysian social contract, which specifies that citizenship be granted to the substantial Chinese and Indian immigrant populations in return for the recognition of a special position for the indigenous Malay majority. The Constitution did not initially contain an entrenchment clause; indeed, one of the articles later entrenched, Article 153, was initially intended to be subject to a sunset clause. However, after the May 13 incident of racial rioting in 1969, Parliament passed the Constitution (Amendment) Act 1971. The Act permitted criminalisation of the questioning of Articles 152, 153, 181, and Part III of the Constitution. Article 152 specifies the Malay language as the national language of Malaysia; Article 153 grants the Malays special privileges; Article 181 covers the position of the Malay rulers; and Part III deals with matters of citizenship. The restrictions, which even covered Members of Parliament, made the repeal of these sections of the Constitution unamendable or repealable by de facto; however, to further entrench them, the Act also amended Article 159(5), which covers Constitutional amendments, to prohibit the amending of the aforementioned Articles, as well as Article 159(5), without the consent of the Conference of Rulers — a non-elected body comprising the rulers of the Malay states and the governors of the other states.[1] The social contract in Malaysia refers to the agreement made by the countrys founding fathers in the Constitution. ... Malays (Dutch, Maleiërs, ultimately from Malay: Melayu) are a diverse group of Austronesian peoples inhabiting the Malay archipelago and Malay peninsula in Southeast Asia. ... In 2005, UMNO Youth Chief Hishamuddin Hussein brandished the keris (traditional Malay dagger) in defense of ketuanan Melayu, the social contract and Article 153. ... A sunset clause is commonly a provision of a law passed by a legislature which causes that law to, in effect, repeal itself automatically as of a given date in the future, unless it is extended by another act of legislature. ... The May 13 Incident saw numerous cases of arson in the Malaysian capital city of Kuala Lumpur. ... The Malaysian Houses of Parliament in Kuala Lumpur. ... // Headline text Bold text Not to be confused with the Malayalam language, spoken in India. ... The Rulers of the Malay States in Malaysia are the seven Sultans of Kedah, Perak, Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Selangor and Johor, the Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan and the Raja of Perlis. ... The Conference of Rulers (also Council of Rulers, Malay: Majlis Raja-Raja) in Malaysia is a group comprising the nine rulers of the Malay states, and the governors or Yang di-Pertua Negeri of the other four states. ... The Malay states are a group of nine states of Malaysia (all located in West Malaysia) which have hereditary Rulers. ...


There are several examples of entrenchment clauses which ultimately failed in their objectives, since their protections were undermined in unintended ways. The Irish Free State Constitution was required in parts to be consistent with the 1922 Anglo-Irish Treaty, including an oath of allegiance and a representative of the Crown. The checks to protect this were removed by, for example, the Irish taking control of advice to the Governor-General, and when the Senate proved obstructive its abolition. Another example of a failed entrenchment clause would be the initial constitution of the Union of South Africa. The constitution's entrenchment clauses protected voting rights, including those of some Coloureds, but they lost their votes after the Government packed the Senate and Supreme Court with its sympathisers. The Constitution of the Irish Free State was the constitution of the southern Irish state established in December 1922. ... Signature page of the Anglo-Irish Treaty The Anglo-Irish Treaty, officially called the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty Between Great Britain and Ireland, was a treaty between the Government of the United Kingdom and representatives of the extra-judicial Irish Republic which concluded the Irish War of Independence. ... The Governor-General (Irish: Seanascal) was the representative of the King in the 1922–1937 Irish Free State. ... The Seanad Chamber The Seanad meets in the former picture gallery in Leinster House. ... National motto: Ex Unitate Vires (Latin: From Unity, strength} Official languages Afrikaans, Dutch and English. ... Suffrage (from the Latin suffragium, meaning vote) is the civil right to vote, or the exercise of that right. ... In the South African and Namibian context, the term Coloured (also known as Bruinmense, Kleurlinge or Bruine Afrikaners) refers to a rather heterogeneous group of people of mixed Khoisan, white European descent, Malay, Malagasy, Black (Bantu), and South Indian ancestry, especially in the Western Cape. ...


Notes and references

  1. ^ Khoo, Boo Teik (1995). Paradoxes of Mahathirism, pp. 104–106. Oxford University Press. ISBN 967-65-3094-8.

Other references

  • Schwartzberg, Melissa. "Against Entrenchment". Retrieved November 6, 2006.

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