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Constitutional Revision Study Documents of the Constitutional Convention Commission, 1968
Volume 138, Page 151   View pdf image (33K)
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Executive Branch


The following is a discussion of the
advisability of giving the governor cer-
tain extraordinary constitutional powers.
The powers discussed are "extraordinary"
in the sense that they are either not

in keeping with tradition or that they
give the governor powers which interfere
to some degree with what is presently a
legislative prerogative.


Article XIV of the Maryland Consti-
tution presently provides for amending
the Constitution in one of two ways.
First, the General Assembly may by three-
fifths vote propose amendments which
are submitted to the people for approval
or disapproval. The governor plays only
a minor role in this procedure. He has
the duty of ascertaining the result of the
popular vote. Second, at a general elec-
tion each twenty years the sense of the
people is taken to determine whether a
convention should be called to consider
altering the Constitution.
Experience has clearly indicated the
inadequacy of these provisions. In 1950,
when the sense of the people was last
This article was prepared for the Commis-
sion by Garrett Power, Commission reporter
for the Committee on the Executive Depart-
ment; Associate Professor at the University of
Maryland School of Law; A.B., 1960, Duke
University; LL.B., 1962, Duke University;
LL.M., 1965, University of Illinois; member
of the Maryland Bar.

taken, an overwhelming majority (200,-
439 to 56,998) favored calling a consti-
tutional convention. Despite this vote,
the General Assembly refused to enact
necessary enabling legislation because of
opposition by legislators from less popu-
lous counties who feared that the con-
vention might reapportion the legislature.
If this impasse still existed there might
be merit in giving the governor powers
to implement constitutional revision
either by giving him the power to submit
amendments to the people or to assemble
conventions periodically. However, in
light of recent United States Supreme
Court decisions which require fair appor-
tionment in state legislatures, these pow-
ers are neither necessary nor desirable.2
Since future legislatures will be truly
representative, they can reasonably be
expected to submit constitutional amend-
ments to the people when the need arises.
Md. Comm. v. Tawes, 377 U.S. 656


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Constitutional Revision Study Documents of the Constitutional Convention Commission, 1968
Volume 138, Page 151   View pdf image (33K)
 Jump to  

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