Saturday, February 24, 2018

Call For a State Amendment Convention

Are we doomed in the United States? Yes, if we must rely on Presidents, Congress, and the Courts. But there is a workaround. There are two ways to pass amendments to the Constitution. Article V of the Constitution provides, “The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states ….” The first twenty-seven amendments were passed using one method (two-thirds majority of Congress and three-fourths majority of the States). The second method has never been used. If two-thirds of the States petition for an Amendment convention, Congress can grant the action. Any proposed amendments at the convention receiving three-fourths of state approval become an amendment. Unfortunately, Congress is the gate-keeper to this convention and they are twisting the rules. A convention has never been called even though some estimate as many as 750 applications have been made in our history. Applications do not expire, nor do all applications have to agree on an amendment proposal (such as balanced budget). Hence, it highly probable over 34 States have submitted applications. So, why is Congress is holding up progress? They claim applications expire and applications proposals need to match the amendment States are petitioning for. Of course, Article V does not state this. Congressmen, both liberal or conservative, do not want people ruining the good thing they have going on Washington D.C. After all, if an amendment seeking congressional term-limits won the day, it would bring down the swamp. Hence, Congressmen are protecting their jobs. Washington bureaucrats have unlimited power, and they obviously do not want to cede any of it. It seems the only way a convention would happen is if the States went rogue and convened with or without Congress. What are some sensible amendments which can be proposed at a State amendment convention: a balanced budget, a line item veto, repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment, repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment, term-limits (Congress and even the Supreme Court), and State nullification (when two-thirds of States vote to void Congressional legislation, the law is withdrawn) are a few of the popular ones. State nullification is similar as anti-commandeering laws the Court upheld in New York v. United States and Printz v. United States. State nullification is also similar to proposed Congressional legislation to “opt out” of federal programs. Taxpayers within States that “opt out” of federal programs would receive tax refunds. In the wake of another school shooting, consider this example to remove lobbying money from the system (including from the NRA). After each school shooting the amount of anger and emotional outbursts by both sides continues to escalate. The fight over gun control and NRA lobbying can be controlled by both imposing both term-limits on Congress and repealing the Seventeenth Amendment. If Congress has term-limits this mitigates lobbying money when congressional members become lame ducks and no longer need campaign contributions for reelection. Repealing the Seventeenth Amendment would put the responsibility of selecting Senators back in the hands of State legislations instead of by popular vote. Hence, campaign contributions are no longer needed to elect Senators. Of course, this does not mean State legislators cannot be lobbied by the NRA, but a quid pro quo situation would be considered bribery. These are issues that both the Right and Left could come together on.

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