This article was adapted from the author’s remarks delivered on March 24, 2017 at The New York State Constitution, a symposium of Pace Law Review, held at Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University.


The amending clause is the nineteenth of the New York State Constitution’s twenty articles. Followed only by the enacting clause, for all intents and purposes this is the document’s final word. Well, maybe not the final word. An alternative is to think of this amending clause as a part of an ongoing several-centuries-long conversation. The clause is a message from one past group of designers and drafters of New York’s governing system, the 1846 Constitutional Convention majority, to all of us who gave them the charge to “secure [for us] the blessings of freedom,” that is to “we the people” of New York.