For those who don’t necessarily believe that our country’s ills can be solved by “one man” or “one woman,” there is some cause for hope in the grassroots rise of a movement dedicated to the proposition that we need to amend our constitution to make the government more answerable to the states and ultimately to the people.
It’s the “Convention of States Project,” which will have a “town meeting” Saturday at Mike’s BBQ in Escondido. See story, page 2 (that’s just opposite the page you are reading right now.)
Now I’m not endorsing, nor do I know that much about the efforts of the “Convention of States” project per se, but I am extremely interested in the idea of a constitutional convention to buy back our sovereignty from the usurpation of Congress and the Supreme Court and, yes, the President.
The last time I checked five states — Tennessee, Alabama, Alaska, Florida and Georgia — had passed resolutions in support of the effort. Resolutions are pending in 32 states.
Constitutional amendments are relatively rare. There are twenty-seven of them, and that includes the first ten, which we refer to collectively as the Bill of Rights.
Never has an amendment been adopted that wasn’t called for by a two-thirds majority of Congress, and then ratified by a three-fourths majority of the states.
BUT there is another method for amending the constitution, and that is by a new constitutional convention a procedure that is spelled out in Article V of the constitution. This effort cannot begin in Congress, but rather must be called for by two-thirds of the states, i.e. 34 states.
Any amendments that come out of such a convention would also need to be ratified by three quarters of the states. In other words, 75% of the states, including states with tiny populations, such as Wyoming and Alaska, would need to ratify any changes that would come out of such a convention. That makes it very difficult for an amendment that would hurt the states to be approved, but it might make it possible to pass an amendment that would snatch back some of the power that the states have lost to the federal government over the past two hundred plus years.
The reason why it is important for a convention to originate with the states is that the power of the federal government has grown so out of bounds that the power that the Founders intended for the states has eroded to dangerously low degrees.
The recent death of Justice Antonin Scalia, who was such a stalwart defender of the constitution, highlights the need for a new convention, because of the Supreme Court’s unconstitutional penchant for amending the constitution without a vote of anybody other than the nine justices. As has been observed many times, the constitution is what the justices say it is.
Mark Levin in his book “The Liberty Amendments” called for a number of amendments that would return power to the people and to the states. Among them is a balanced budget amendment, an amendment that would give 3/5 of the states the power to override an Act of Congress, or a federal regulation or a ruling of the Supreme Court.
Several months ago the Governor of Texas (always a hotbed for anti-federal sentiment), Greg Abbott, called for a convention that would propose the following nine amendments: 1. Prohibit Congress from regulating activity that occurs wholly within one state, 2. Require Congress to balance its budget. 3. Prohibit administrative agencies — and the unelected bureaucrats that staff them — from creating federal law, 4. Prohibit administrative agencies— and the unelected bureaucrats that staff them — from preempting state law, 5. Allow a two-thirds majority of the States to override a U.S. Supreme Court decision, 6. Require a seven-justice super-majority vote for U.S. Supreme Court decisions that invalidate a democratically enacted law, 7. Restore the balance of power between the federal and state governments by limiting the former to the powers expressly delegated to it in the Constitution, 8. Give state officials the power to sue in federal court when federal officials overstep their bounds and 9. Allow a two-thirds majority of the States to override a federal law or regulation.
Once again, I do not know if the folks who will be meeting at Mike’s BBQ are aiming at these amendments or something else. I just know that’s what I’d like to see happen. If I have time I might just mosey over to that meeting with a notebook in my hand and find out what’s going on.
You can keep your hopes alive in saving the country by handing it over to a megalomaniacal narcissist (take your pick as to whom I am talking about) in November or you can pin your hopes on the good sense of the people through their representatives — I know, that’s a stretch too, but it may be the best chance that we have.
Make no mistake, the purpose of these changes would be to roll back more than a century of power-grabs by “progressives” that began with Teddy Roosevelt and continued with Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt and continues today with no end in sight.
But we, as a people, can bring about that end.