During the New Deal, liberals recognized that the ballot box and elected branches are generally the appropriate engines of social reform, and liberals used both to spectacular effect — instituting profound social changes that remain deeply ingrained in society today. In the face of great skepticism about the constitutionality of New Deal measures in some corners, a generation of Democratic-appointed judges, from Louis Brandeis to Byron White, argued for judicial restraint and deference to the right of Congress to experiment with economic and social policy. Those voices have been all but forgotten in recent years among liberal activists. It would be a very good thing for all involved — the country, an independent judiciary, and the Left itself — if liberals take a page from David von Drehle and their own judges of the New Deal era, kick their addiction to constitutional litigation, and return to their New Deal roots of trying to win elections rather than lawsuits.
And so on ad nauseam. The secession conventions and the commissioners grossly exaggerated the Republican threat to slavery in 1861. Lincoln had been elected on a platform of merely containing slavery’s future expansion. Republicans would not have a majority in Congress if the South stayed in the Union. But perhaps the commissioners deemed such exaggeration necessary to scare timid Southerners into support for disunion. That was surely true of their even more egregious distortion of the Republicans’ position on race. A Mississippi commissioner told Georgians that Republicans intended not only to abolish slavery but also to “substitute in its stead their new theory of the universal equality of the black and white races.” Unless white Southerners wanted “submission to negro equality… secession is inevitable.”
All amendments must be passed by an absolute two-thirds supermajority in the National Assembly (the lower house ); as the Assembly has 400 members this requires 267 members to vote for the amendment. Most amendments do not have to be considered by the NCOP (the upper house ). Amendments of the Bill of Rights , and amendments affecting the role of the NCOP, the "boundaries, powers, functions or institutions" of the provinces or provisions "dealing specifically with provincial matters" must also be passed by the NCOP with a supermajority of at least six of the nine provinces. If an amendment affects a specific province, it must also be approved by the legislature of the province concerned. Section 1, which defines South Africa as "one, sovereign, democratic state" and lists its founding values, is a specially entrenched clause and can only be amended by a three-quarters supermajority in the National Assembly and six of the provinces in the NCOP.