In Canada, a similar issue about how long an amendment stays open came up with the Meech Lake Accord back in the late 80s.
The Accord was the result of an agreement hammered out by the First Ministers at the Prime Minister’s country estate, Meech Lake. The federal government then then introduced the Accord as a package of constitutional amendments in Parliament, which approved them. Various provincial legislatures then began passing the amendments as well, but opposition to the Accord began to mount and the number of provincial ratifications started to slow down.
Unlike the US system, the Constitution of Canada itself sets the time limit for ratification: the required number of ratifications has to come in within 3 years of the resolution being introduced (Constitution Act, 1982, s. 39). The federal Parliament passed the resolution in 1987; as the three year anniversary started to approach in 1990, it started to look as if the whole thing would fail.
But wait! said some pundits. Unlike the U.S. system*, the federal government doesn’t have a monopoly on introducing amendments. Any province can introduce an amendment by passing a resolution for a constitutional amendment. So doesn’t the three year clock start ticking each time a province passes the resolution? If correct, you could have a “rolling” ratification deadline, that gets extended each time another province introduces the resolution. Of course, that means that Parliament might have to re-pass the amendment resolution. But the argument goes that so long as all of the necessary provinces, plus Parliament, pass the resolution within a three year period, it doesn’t necessarily have to be within three years from the resolution first being introduced.
The issue remains academic, because Meech Lake failed to pass, but it’s an interesting thought-exercise.
- yes, I know that Congress is required to call a constitutional convention on the application of two-thirds of the states, but in practical terms and historical precedent, Congress has control over the amending process.