Did Michigan trigger a constitutional convention?

posted at 12:01 pm on April 2, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

We often hear talk about pressing for a constitutional convention as a means to address issues that Congress keeps avoiding, especially on debt and spending levels as well as intrusion on states’ rights. States have that option, as long as two-thirds agree on a demand for such a meeting — which hasn’t taken place since the US Constitution was put forward more than 220 years ago. Did a recent call from Michigan for action on balancing the budget hit the two-thirds mark? Fox News thinks it might:

Momentum is building behind what would be an unprecedented effort to amend the U.S. Constitution, through a little-known provision that gives states rather than Congress the power to initiate changes.

At issue is what’s known as a “constitutional convention,” a scenario tucked into Article V of the U.S. Constitution. At its core, Article V provides two ways for amendments to be proposed. The first – which has been used for all 27 amendment to date – requires two-thirds of both the House and Senate to approve a resolution, before sending it to the states for ratification. The Founding Fathers, though, devised an alternative way which says if two-thirds of state legislatures demand a meeting, Congress “shall call a convention for proposing amendments.”

The idea has gained popularity among constitutional scholars in recent years — but got a big boost last week when Michigan lawmakers endorsed it.

Michigan matters, because by some counts it was the 34th state to do so. That makes two-thirds.

The action took place last week, which by the count of WHTC made Michigan the 23rd state to call for the convention — far short of the two-thirds mark.  Stephen Dinan unpacks whether Michigan is 23rd or 34th, or somewhere in between:

By Mr. Watson’s count, Michigan is the 34th state to call for a convention on a balanced budget. The chief problem is that about a dozen legislatures have rescinded their states’ applications.

“There is disagreement among scholars as to whether a state that has approved an application may later rescind that application. If it is ultimately adjudicated that a state may not rescind a prior application, then Ohio’s 2013 application for a Balanced Budget Amendment convention would be the 33rd and Michigan’s 2014 application would be the 34th [out of the necessary 34] on that topic,” Mr. Watson wrote in an email.

Rob Natelson, who has studied similar conventions among the states or Colonies going back to the 17th century, said states always have been able to rescind calls for a convention.

That means, by his count, 18 states that have issued valid convention calls on a balanced budget amendment. He said Florida’s 2010 application could be considered the 19th, but the Legislature added specific language on federal limits to state spending that might not be similar enough for Congress to consider.

A similar issue came up during the debate over the Equal Rights Amendment, which stalled and died in the 1980s. Some states voted to ratify the amendment but then changed their collective minds, and voted to rescind their ratification. The Supreme Court ruled that the rescissions were valid in Idaho v Freeman in 1982, and the ERA ended up dying on the vine partly as a result. The first arbiter of this question will be Congress itself, but any legal action challenging the validity of the count at 34 would likely refer back to the 1982 decision. It’s more likely that the count is 23 rather than 34, in practical terms.

Should we encourage the move to a Constitutional convention? Mark Levin is the most prominent advocate for it, and his reasoning is solid. The option exists as a check on federal power so that it allows states to rein in an acquisitive Congress or executive. After ObamaCare and the borrowing sprees of the last several years in particular, it’s all but impossible to argue that those conditions don’t exist at the moment.

However, the counter-argument to the convention proposal is that, in Forrest Gump‘s famous analogy, it’s like a box of chocolates — you never know what you’re gonna get. It might end up rewriting the entire Constitution, and conservatives might not like the end results. That argument has its limitations, too, as any proposed amendments or rewrites would still require ratification by three-fourths of the states — 38 in total, more than the threshold for the convention itself. Anything too radical in either direction would run into buzzsaws at the state legislature level, which means the only amendments likely to pass muster would be those that specifically enhanced federalism and put a rein on federal spending. It’s more likely that nothing would come of it, rather than anything revolutionary.

Still, it’s an interesting debate, if still a bit academic at the moment. We’ll see what Congress thinks of the count, and see whether it ends up going through the judiciary.


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The United States of Idiots, in the majority, need to trigger one.

Schadenfreude on April 2, 2014 at 12:03 PM

We’ll see what Congress thinks of the count …


“Weepy”
Boehner will think what the GOPe Donor Class tells him to think …

… so that will be a big fat NO!

PolAgnostic on April 2, 2014 at 12:07 PM

The only way anything would come of this is if they gather for a clear and singular purpose- like forcing a balanced budget amendment. In all likelihood, there would be a grab-bag of other agenda items that the political critters would try to run through along with the basic legislation.

Happy Nomad on April 2, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Can they abolish the ACA ?

listens2glenn on April 2, 2014 at 12:10 PM

However, the counter-argument to the convention proposal is that, in Forrest Gump‘s famous analogy, it’s like a box of chocolates — you never know what you’re gonna get.

Life is full of risks. Forget the Gumpisms and focus on the fact it still takes 3/4 of the states to ratify any amendment. I am a strong supporter of a constitutional convention, but I recognize that whatever amendments come out of one we still end up nowhere if 75% don’t ratify it.

NotCoach on April 2, 2014 at 12:10 PM

However, the counter-argument to the convention proposal is that, in Forrest Gump‘s famous analogy, it’s like a box of chocolates — you never know what you’re gonna get.

You mean like we really know what we’re getting NOW? Remember “we have to pass it so you know what’s in it,” not to mention 37 unconstitutional changes by our monarch in chief.

Keep in mind that the constitutional convention still only proposes amendments; whatever they come up with would still need to be ratified.

Ricard on April 2, 2014 at 12:11 PM

Must be a quiet news day.

No Chop Charlie on April 2, 2014 at 12:11 PM

If Congress and the President can’t get anything done, it is time for the States to flex their power. We have so many examples of States succeeding where the Federal government doesn’t. Look at ND, WI, TX etc. Norht Dakota is the energy example, Wisconsin is the union buster and Texas right to work.

Sven on April 2, 2014 at 12:13 PM

REPEAL THE 17TH AMENDMENT!

Happy Nomad on April 2, 2014 at 12:16 PM

Must be a quiet news day.

No Chop Charlie on April 2, 2014 at 12:11 PM

Check your priorities.

Schadenfreude on April 2, 2014 at 12:17 PM

Power to the states!

Galtian on April 2, 2014 at 12:21 PM

The first arbiter of this question will be Congress itself…

Why exactly?

The entire reason the founding fathers put this provision into Article V was to give the states a way to go around Congress entirely when they have usurped too much power. If that same Congress gets to be the arbiter of whether a convention has or has not been appropriately called, that makes it essentially meaningless as a remedy.

I think it’s up to the states themselves to make that determination. If the state legislature and governor agree they’ve called for a constitutional convention, then they have. If they don’t, then they haven’t. Let’s not get Congress involved in a process that is being initiated solely for the purpose of reigning in that exact same Congress.

Shump on April 2, 2014 at 12:22 PM

o/t – Senator Bachmann just blew the Morell hearing out of the water.

31giddyup on April 2, 2014 at 12:23 PM

This is our ONLY OPTION other than Revolution.

The District of Columbia IS NOT going to give up power voluntarily, it will require force, either through an Article V convention or the 2nd Amendment. We will NEVER be able to fix what is wrong in DC by voting for people who go there to become PART of it.

In the next 10 years it’s going to come to a head. We either have:

1. An Article V convention to put the Government back into the Founder’s Lockbox
2. A bloody revolution.
3. Economic collapse followed by a Dictatorship.

The path we are on is unsustainable, and that approaching doom in the mirror is closer than it appears.

Returning government to the limited role it was intended to have IS the solution to all problems. If it doesn’t have the power to impose things on Citizens, then one group of people can’t enslave another group of people. If it can’t intrude in matters that should be the jurisdiction of the States, then Alabama can’t prevent California from having legal abortion factories, nor can California prevent Alabama from outlawing infanticide.

ConstantineXI on April 2, 2014 at 12:23 PM

I’m increasingly pessimistic that anything can save this country from 50 years of progressive indoctrination through the public school system and the media. No one will want to give up their goodies, even if their merely perceived rather than actual benefits.

BKeyser on April 2, 2014 at 12:24 PM

REPEAL THE 17TH AMENDMENT!

Happy Nomad on April 2, 2014 at 12:16 PM

This is key. The Senate exists because it was intended to be the body THAT REPRESENTED THE STATES in the National Government. It wasn’t intended to be a smaller and more exclusive version of the House of Representatives, which was intended to represent THE PEOPLE in the National Government…

ConstantineXI on April 2, 2014 at 12:25 PM

OT – Michelle Malkin forgot this, in her brilliant article.

Schadenfreude on April 2, 2014 at 12:25 PM

Since state legislatures have to balance budgets, the ratification may not be impossible if there is something like a safety valve on spending in emergencies declared by a 2/3rds vote of each house in congress and signed by the president.

I would not make an issue of this until the Senate in in new hands. Then congress/without the executive/ can just declare the requirement met and call one. Harry Reid would never allow such a call in the Senate to restrict spending even if 50 states and million Archangels throwing lighting bolts from heaven demanded one.

KW64 on April 2, 2014 at 12:25 PM

31giddyup on April 2, 2014 at 12:23 PM

Well, tell more, please.

Schadenfreude on April 2, 2014 at 12:26 PM

You are only allowed by law to vote on the one issue: a balanced budget, if that is all that has been ratified by the 2/3 majority of the states. Its not an all out lets rewrite the constitution sort of a convention.

serenity on April 2, 2014 at 12:26 PM

I’m increasingly pessimistic that anything can save this country from 50 years of progressive indoctrination through the public school system and the media. No one will want to give up their goodies, even if their merely perceived rather than actual benefits.

BKeyser on April 2, 2014 at 12:24 PM

They are going to lose their goodies one way or the other, either by organized reform of government or abruptly when the Dollar collapses.

Unless DC finds a Galactic Empire’s worth of wealth to loot, the money to meet all the CURRENT unfunded entitlement liabilities of the DC Regime DOES NOT EXIST IN CREATION!

Which makes total collapse an INEVITABILITY. Not a possibility, an inevitability. Especially with an anti-economic growth party in power like the Democrats.

ConstantineXI on April 2, 2014 at 12:27 PM

That argument has its limitations, too, as any proposed amendments or rewrites would still require ratification by three-fourths of the states — 38 in total, more than the threshold for the convention itself.

Your assuming that they don’t change that rule at the convention.

agmartin on April 2, 2014 at 12:28 PM

If a two thirds majority of the states call for a convention, even for widely varying reasons, its hard to understand what role Congress would play at all in refereeing any part of the process.

The language of Article V implicitly requires Congress to call a convention upon application of two thirds of the states. If Congress disputes the number of states actually applying, two thirds of the states could still compel the Congress to give approval merely by their legislatures going ahead and appointing delegates. That would put the stop to anything Congress might do to to put roadblocks up, and totally take the courts out of the equation.

Getting 38 states to ratify whatever amendments come forth from an Article V convention will be much harder. In other words, it might not be possible.

A national wave election is whats really needed, and should be easier to accomplish. An Article V convention is a hail Mary play comparatively.

MTF on April 2, 2014 at 12:28 PM

If Congress and the President can’t get anything done, it is time for the States to flex their power.

If they don’t act, the states will. Sound familiar?

Ricard on April 2, 2014 at 12:29 PM

Your assuming that they don’t change that rule at the convention.

agmartin on April 2, 2014 at 12:28 PM

To change the number of states for ratification would REQUIRE ratification by 38 states.

ConstantineXI on April 2, 2014 at 12:29 PM

I’d like to see some reinforcement of the 9th and 10th Amendments. Really, that’s what a Constitutional convention is all about.

ImmigrantsWife on April 2, 2014 at 12:29 PM

Its not an all out lets rewrite the constitution sort of a convention.

serenity on April 2, 2014 at 12:26 PM

I’m no legal beagle, but the way it was explained to me by one was once the convention is convened, anything goes as far as amendments.

BacaDog on April 2, 2014 at 12:30 PM

Shump on April 2, 2014 at 12:22 PM

12 states have recalled their petition for the constitutional amendment. Thus, congress has to decide if they can recall that request. At least someone has to make that determination.

astonerii on April 2, 2014 at 12:30 PM

You are only allowed by law to vote on the one issue: a balanced budget, if that is all that has been ratified by the 2/3 majority of the states. Its not an all out lets rewrite the constitution sort of a convention.

serenity on April 2, 2014 at 12:26 PM

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, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.

There’s the law, and it says your wrong.

NotCoach on April 2, 2014 at 12:31 PM

Your assuming that they don’t change that rule at the convention.

agmartin on April 2, 2014 at 12:28 PM

That would require an amendment, which would require 38 states ratifying it.

NotCoach on April 2, 2014 at 12:33 PM

If Congress and the President can’t get anything done, it is time for the States to flex their power.

If they don’t act, the states will. Sound familiar?

Ricard on April 2, 2014 at 12:29 PM

The States can act in more ways than just calling for an Article V Convention, it is their RESPONSIBILITY to protect their Citizens from the Tyranny on the Potomac, including acts such as:

1. Nullification of Federal laws and regulations not connected to an Enumerated Power. This includes nullifying and ignoring acts of tyranny by the judiciary.

2. Criminalizing acts by Federal actors within their borders who commit violations of the law against their citizens.

3. Assuming sole agency for all government tax collections within their borders. Meaning, that the State collects all income and other taxes owed the Federal government. This would give the States the ability to choke DC dry of funds if the Regime tries to force illegal mandates on the State.

4. Denial of services to agencies of the Federal Government within their borders that violate the law and the rights of their citizens. IE: Denying utilities to the gigantic NSA data center being built in Utah… Shutting off power and water to the Cincinnati IRS office, etc etc..

ConstantineXI on April 2, 2014 at 12:36 PM

You’re assuming that they don’t change that rule at the convention.

agmartin on April 2, 2014 at 12:28 PM

It doesn’t matter. If that standard is changed, it still needs to be approved by 38 states before taking effect. ANY amendment approved at the convention would require 38 states approval before taking effect. Thats why concern-trolling, like in Ed’s post, over whether a convention can be trusted to act responsibily is so silly.

MTF on April 2, 2014 at 12:36 PM

sorry ipad is not allowing quote/copy

Schad,

To Morell’s comment that from his sources (his people and newsreports) it was believed at the time there were protests.
Bachmann said yesterday’s closed door testimony sources (embassy worker’s etc) all said there were no protests.

Wish we had an open thread on this.

31giddyup on April 2, 2014 at 12:37 PM

There’s the law, and it says your wrong.

NotCoach on April 2, 2014 at 12:31 PM

Exactly. It says Congress SHALL call the convention, not that it MAY call it.

Meaning Congress MUST call an Article V convention if 2/3rds of the States call for it. No option. It’s as compulsory as Obamacare. It’s the Law Of the Land :)

ConstantineXI on April 2, 2014 at 12:38 PM

Come on HotAir.

Join me.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/gosnell-movie?c=pledges

MontanaMmmm on April 2, 2014 at 12:38 PM

REPEAL THE 17TH AMENDMENT!

Happy Nomad on April 2, 2014 at 12:16 PM

This is key. The Senate exists because it was intended to be the body THAT REPRESENTED THE STATES in the National Government. It wasn’t intended to be a smaller and more exclusive version of the House of Representatives, which was intended to represent THE PEOPLE in the National Government…

ConstantineXI on April 2, 2014 at 12:25 PM

We were just talking about this the other day in school. We’re so use to a popular election that it would seem weird to have the state legislature appoint senators. I understand the historical concept of it, but can someone explain to me how senators would serve the state any better? Wouldn’t this encourage even more nepotism? I really want to like this idea; I just need to understand how it makes senators better public servants and less self-preservationists.

ImmigrantsWife on April 2, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Momentum is building behind what would be an unprecedented effort to amend the U.S. Constitution, through a little-known provision that gives states rather than Congress the power to initiate changes.

If you’re a member of Congress, the Judiciary, or the Legislative branch, there have never been more frightening words ever uttered.

BobMbx on April 2, 2014 at 12:42 PM

Wish we had an open thread on this.

31giddyup on April 2, 2014 at 12:37 PM

I also believed that we would…

Schadenfreude on April 2, 2014 at 12:42 PM

We were just talking about this the other day in school. We’re so use to a popular election that it would seem weird to have the state legislature appoint senators. I understand the historical concept of it, but can someone explain to me how senators would serve the state any better? Wouldn’t this encourage even more nepotism? I really want to like this idea; I just need to understand how it makes senators better public servants and less self-preservationists.

ImmigrantsWife on April 2, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Senators would serve at the will and pleasure of the State Legislatures again. In other words, they would have to represent the will of the States themselves.

In other words if we had a pre-17th Amendment Senate, Arizona would have the ability to dismiss John McCain and replace him with someone that will actually represent their state.

The People DO still have a role because the State Legislatures that will appoint Senators are voted in by the People. But it will make it MUCH more difficult for the Fascists in the Democrat Party to stack it with communists because they’d have to win a majority of state legislatures.

ConstantineXI on April 2, 2014 at 12:43 PM

Come on States, bring it to the Feds! Take back the power that has been stolen from you.

Repeal of the 17th should be as high of a priority at any convention along with a balanced budget amendment.

The beast has gotten way too big and needs to be reigned in.

D-fusit on April 2, 2014 at 12:43 PM

Wish we had an open thread on this.

31giddyup on April 2, 2014 at 12:37 PM

We could add the CAIR move to forbid the movie about “Honor Treatments” of muzzie women, and the thug, who’ll be the UN’s ambassador from Iran, all due to Kerry/obama, and Iran laughing openly at obama/the USA, the hostages be damned.

Schadenfreude on April 2, 2014 at 12:44 PM

If Congress and the President can’t get anything done, it is time for the States to flex their power.
If they don’t act, the states will. Sound familiar?

Ricard on April 2, 2014 at 12:29 PM

It is very different when it is 50 states vs. 1 monarch.

Sven on April 2, 2014 at 12:44 PM

REPEAL THE 17TH AMENDMENT!

Happy Nomad on April 2, 2014 at 12:16 PM

AND THE 19TH AMENDMENT!

celtic warrior on April 2, 2014 at 12:45 PM

We were just talking about this the other day in school. We’re so use to a popular election that it would seem weird to have the state legislature appoint senators. I understand the historical concept of it, but can someone explain to me how senators would serve the state any better? Wouldn’t this encourage even more nepotism? I really want to like this idea; I just need to understand how it makes senators better public servants and less self-preservationists.

ImmigrantsWife on April 2, 2014 at 12:39 PM

That’s not relevant. What is relevant is that if a senator does not represent the wishes of the state government he/she will find themselves out of a job once their term is up.

NotCoach on April 2, 2014 at 12:45 PM

Should we encourage the move to a Constitutional convention? Mark Levin is the most prominent advocate for it, and his reasoning is solid. The option exists as a check on federal power so that it allows states to rein in an acquisitive Congress or executive. After ObamaCare and the borrowing sprees of the last several years in particular, it’s all but impossible to argue that those conditions don’t exist at the moment.

…if I didn’t listen to Mark Levin so much the last couple of years…I’d be saying to myself “WTF is Ed talking about?”…after reading this post…and the links!

KOOLAID2 on April 2, 2014 at 12:45 PM

If you’re a member of Congress, the Judiciary, or the Legislative branch, there have never been more frightening words ever uttered.

BobMbx on April 2, 2014 at 12:42 PM

Which it should fear. The provision in Article V that allows the States themselves to call an Amendment Convention, bypassing Congress, is just like the 2nd Amendment, it’s intended as a check and balance against tyranny.

IE: the 2nd Amendment is intended to ensure that the ability to overthrow the government by arms always remains with the People. Article V is intended to ensure that the ability to undo tyranny in DC forever remains with the States.

Obviously Article V is the better option!

ConstantineXI on April 2, 2014 at 12:46 PM

At this point, why not? We basically have unchecked federal authority right now. Why not at least attempt to steer back to the center at least.

WitchDoctor on April 2, 2014 at 12:47 PM

To change the number of states for ratification would REQUIRE ratification by 38 states.

ConstantineXI on April 2, 2014 at 12:29 PM

The Articles of Confederation required that changes be approved by every state legislature.

nor shall any alteration at any time hereafter be made in any of them; unless such alteration be agreed to in a Congress of the United States, and be afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of every State.

http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/artconf.asp

agmartin on April 2, 2014 at 12:47 PM

hat’s not relevant. What is relevant is that if a senator does not represent the wishes of the state government he/she will find themselves out of a job once their term is up.

NotCoach on April 2, 2014 at 12:45 PM

Actually it could be taken further and allow the States to remove errant Senators at any time at all.

There also need to be mandatory term limits added to Congress and the Judiciary as well.

ConstantineXI on April 2, 2014 at 12:48 PM

I really want to like this idea; I just need to understand how it makes senators better public servants and less self-preservationists.

ImmigrantsWife on April 2, 2014 at 12:39 PM

To understand the concept, you’ll first have to get rid of the notion of a large, centralized federal government. Simply apply the Constitution as it limits the power of the federal government, and leaves all other power (rights) to the States or the People.

When the States are not subservient to a central government (the design) they represent themselves amongst all the other states.

In todays bastardized government, the fed has all the power, and the states are merely sources of funding.

BobMbx on April 2, 2014 at 12:48 PM

agmartin on April 2, 2014 at 12:47 PM

The ratification of the Constitution was the formation of a new government that ditched the Articles of Confederation altogether, and those states that didn’t ratify the Constitution were free to remain outside the new government. We aren’t forming a new government by calling a constitutional convention to amend the Constitution. But ultimately all 13 states did ratify the Constitution, with Rhode Island doing so last in 1790.

NotCoach on April 2, 2014 at 12:55 PM

can someone explain to me how senators would serve the state any better?

The whole idea of the Constitution was that power would be delegated from states (or citizens) to the Federal government. In other words, the Federal government has no power at all, unless it is specifically enumerated as a power for the central government.

Washington has eroded that control in any number of ways, mostly driven by their power to tax (mistakenly given by amendment) and spend. An example is that the Feds commonly make highway spending contingent upon the states accepting any number of totally unrelated mandates (like seatbelts).

States were supposed to jealously guard their powers, and preserve the “Republic” form of government and one very important part of that guard was the power reserved by state legislatures to appoint Senators. Those Senators would, in effect, be agents of the individual states in Washington since the Senate all reported directly to state legislatures. Only the Governor of the state would have benen elected state-wide under this scheme, so he/she would also have considerable say in how the Senators representated the state in Washington.

Changing the Senate to popular election undermined the authority of the Governor in that process, and completely marginalized the state legislatures. No longer did the Senator report to any one elected influential person or group in the state, and was free to do whatever he/she wanted in D.C. so long as they could get re-elected (and incumbents get re-elected the vast majority of the time). Hence, you see Senators doing things like Rockefeller voting in favor of EPA budgets being used to drive employment from his state. Or Max Baucus writing the ObamaCare law, when it’s popularity in his home state of Montana might be in the 20% range.

Senators just don’t care, until they have to run for election, because the memory of their mis-deeds is so short with the voters. Look at Mary Landrieu in Louisiana! She still has a slim chance at getting re-elected, even though her politics are more properly New Jersey politics than Louisianan. A state legislature is much more constantly political, and answers directly to the voters with great frequency. If a US Senator reported to those legislators, the six year term that insulates them would go away, and we would see far less BS coming from the Senate.

MTF on April 2, 2014 at 12:55 PM

Actually it could be taken further and allow the States to remove errant Senators at any time at all.

There also need to be mandatory term limits added to Congress and the Judiciary as well.

ConstantineXI on April 2, 2014 at 12:48 PM

I don’t think senators ever could be removed by the states. If we repealed the 17th Amendment I think language would need to be added to allow that.

NotCoach on April 2, 2014 at 12:56 PM

Holding a convention to balance the budget sounds good on paper but consider this:

Mike Lee proposed a BBA with a cap on federal spending at 18% of GDP. The Democrats responding by supporting the exact same resolution but with the cap removed.

Without a cap, that means the federal government can spend whatever it wants and is constitutionally required to lay taxes to cover it.

If the amendment that came out of the convention had no cap, would thirteen states kill it or would a lot of them say “Better than nothing” ?

I don’t want to take the chance.

Occams Stubble on April 2, 2014 at 12:58 PM

Actually it could be taken further and allow the States to remove errant Senators at any time at all.

There also need to be mandatory term limits added to Congress and the Judiciary as well.

ConstantineXI on April 2, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Along with a few other changes.

This will be the only way to defeat the Super-sized delegations of the large blue states like CA, IL, and NY.

All that’s needed to nullify the liberal enclaves is for 38 state legislatures to wake up and exert their US Constitutional power.

BobMbx on April 2, 2014 at 12:59 PM

I don’t think senators ever could be removed by the states. If we repealed the 17th Amendment I think language would need to be added to allow that.

NotCoach on April 2, 2014 at 12:56 PM

I believe Referendum and Recall should be added to the Constitution. Allow the People to propose laws by Referendum. Allow ANY Federal official to be Recalled.

ConstantineXI on April 2, 2014 at 1:00 PM

Just curious.

What would you say the count of Red vs Blue states is? Since it is NOT based on population, I think simply getting to 38 would be much easier for Conservatives vs Regressives Progressives.

OBQuiet on April 2, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Holding a convention to balance the budget sounds good on paper but consider this:

Mike Lee proposed a BBA with a cap on federal spending at 18% of GDP. The Democrats responding by supporting the exact same resolution but with the cap removed.

Without a cap, that means the federal government can spend whatever it wants and is constitutionally required to lay taxes to cover it.

If the amendment that came out of the convention had no cap, would thirteen states kill it or would a lot of them say “Better than nothing” ?

I don’t want to take the chance.

Occams Stubble on April 2, 2014 at 12:58 PM

At this point we can’t possibly end up with anything that is worse than what we currently have.

ConstantineXI on April 2, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Returning government to the limited role it was intended to have IS the solution to all problems.

ConstantineXI on April 2, 2014 at 12:23 PM

Not quite, imho, but it would be a huge chunk of the solution. (The other big chunk would be a return to morality in society.)

3. Assuming sole agency for all government tax collections within their borders. Meaning, that the State collects all income and other taxes owed the Federal government. This would give the States the ability to choke DC dry of funds if the Regime tries to force illegal mandates on the State.

ConstantineXI on April 2, 2014 at 12:36 PM

I agree, but it’s hard to achieve that when you have the 16th Amendment allowing direct taxation of the people. The states wouldn’t have much to stand on, unless that were repealed.

GWB on April 2, 2014 at 1:03 PM

OBQuiet on April 2, 2014 at 1:01 PM

The best part is that the convention would be called by the State Legislatures, and that does not include the Governor of any State.

A governor can’t veto the legislatures’ call for a convention.

BobMbx on April 2, 2014 at 1:03 PM

Just curious.

What would you say the count of Red vs Blue states is? Since it is NOT based on population, I think simply getting to 38 would be much easier for Conservatives vs Regressives Progressives.

OBQuiet on April 2, 2014 at 1:01 PM

It would be.

The progressives don’t even REALLY control states (not even New York or California). They rule the country by ruling the top 100 cities.

This is the source of the Red vs Blue conflict, the differences between the city dweller vs the rural dweller is JUST as different as the divide between North and South that sparked the War of the Northern Aggression.

The only way to cure these differences without bloodshed is put the national government BACK in it’s lockbox so that our localities and states can be self governing as they were INTENDED to be!

ConstantineXI on April 2, 2014 at 1:04 PM

ConstantineXI on April 2, 2014 at 1:00 PM

NOT sure I agree. I think recalls causes too much thrashing. And I am with the founders on disliking full out Democracy. Maybe if a Referendum required a super-majority of 2/3 or a 50 of all registered voters(good luck with THAT limit), I would reconsider.

OBQuiet on April 2, 2014 at 1:06 PM

At this point we can’t possibly end up with anything that is worse than what we currently have.

ConstantineXI on April 2, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Don’t be so sure. We would likely end up with Government healthcare and Social Security in the constitution.

Occams Stubble on April 2, 2014 at 1:07 PM

Article. V.

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, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

Who gets to propose an Amendment? 2/3 of both Houses shall propose or 2/3 of the several States shall propose from a convention. Either is valid as a way of proposing an Amendment.

It may be ratified by the Legislature of 3/4 of the several States. Or by 3/4 of a convention by the States. Congress gets to say which of these is valid for a Convention proposed Amendment.

What is fun is that Amendment XVII allowed for non Legislature chosen Senators to sit in the Senate. But the State is granted suffrage ITSELF, as a State entity, in the Senate. What happens if a State Legislature puts forth that the Senator chosen by election is NOT reflecting the will of the State Legislature and that IT is being denied its suffrage for ratification? Amendment XVII only addresses Art.I Sec. 3 and NOT Art. V which grants suffrage to the State for this so that IT can be represented as an Entity in this process in the Senate.

That would make a very interesting case – that the State Legislature is granted representation in the Senate in this process. Even if a State amends its election laws for direct election of Senators, by having them in office and by not allowing the State Legislature to be represented in the Senate, then that is depriving it of the right of representation that it has an explicit guarantee in the US Constitution for ratification of Amendments.

So the normal process is 2/3 of Congress and the State Legislatures… but what has happened to the Constitutional guarantee to those Legislatures to ALSO be represented in the Senate? That is a right granted not to the people of the State to choose directly, but by their Legislature of elected representatives. Makes you wonder if Amendment XVII is valid for the Amendment process or, whenever an Amendment comes up, it invalidates normal elections due to the representative guarantee given to the States.

Isn’t that fun?

Remember this is a separate and explicit grant of right to the State Legislature to be represented for an Amendment, not normal Senate procedures.

How many of the post-Amendment XVII Amendments are valid without the State Legislatures having direct representation in the Senate? They have been deprived of their due process rights.

Fun, fun, fun!

Perhaps a State Legislature, upon hearing of any proposed Amendment being taken up by Congress, should send replacements for the elected Senators so that they can be represented in the process.

All sorts of goodies in the US Constitution.

The Progressives tried to Amend the State Legislatures out of a vital role and think they did it via Art. I means and forgot Art. V. This right has NEVER BEEN AMENDED.

ajacksonian on April 2, 2014 at 1:09 PM

At this point we can’t possibly end up with anything that is worse than what we currently have.

ConstantineXI on April 2, 2014 at 1:01 PM

I disagree. Think about how radical a change was made the last time we had one of these. Now think about who – by virtue of political donations and emotional blackmail – would make up the state contingents, even in some of the red states. Who thinks that McCain wouldn’t wrangle his way onto that gravy train? Shiela Jackson-Lee? Now we get a bunch of “Somebody ought to do something!” folks in a room to decide the future political arrangement of our country? We would end up with a fascist nanny-state in a terrible rush.

Mind you, that isn’t any worse than where we’re currently headed. But it isn’t the same thing as “what we currently have“.

GWB on April 2, 2014 at 1:14 PM

I’ll say it again: anybody seen John Boehner or Cantor?

Should we out their pictures on a milk carton?

Marcus Traianus on April 2, 2014 at 1:15 PM

We were just talking about this the other day in school. We’re so use to a popular election that it would seem weird to have the state legislature appoint senators. I understand the historical concept of it, but can someone explain to me how senators would serve the state any better? Wouldn’t this encourage even more nepotism? I really want to like this idea; I just need to understand how it makes senators better public servants and less self-preservationists.

ImmigrantsWife on April 2, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Because of the way revenue used to be raised by the Federal government…

A long time ago, in a country not so far away… the Federal government had little taxation power, other than duties and tariffs on international goods. At that time, the House (representing the people) proposed laws to enact all sorts of things… and became a wishlist of spending. However also at that time, the only way to pay for such things was to divide up the costs and send them to the individual states for payment. Thus, the Senators (representing the states), became the brakes on the spending wishlist since anything that passed would be sent to the states for payment.

Once the Federal government opened up other means of taxation (16th Amendment), and removed the brakes of the Senators (by making them popularly elected via the 17th Amendment)… all brakes on spending went out the window. And this brings us to our present situation…

I support repealing both the 16th and 17th Amendments. It is the only way to fiscal responsibility in federal government.

dominigan on April 2, 2014 at 1:16 PM

I don’t think senators ever could be removed by the states. If we repealed the 17th Amendment I think language would need to be added to allow that.

NotCoach on April 2, 2014 at 12:56 PM

Actually they were… not very often, but it did occur. Since the selection of the Senator was up to the State legislature, they very well could recall a Senator at any time if they felt he was not properly representing them.

dominigan on April 2, 2014 at 1:21 PM

Mike Lee proposed a BBA with a cap on federal spending at 18% of GDP. The Democrats responding by supporting the exact same resolution but with the cap removed.

Occams Stubble on April 2, 2014 at 12:58 PM

18% is too high. It should be a max of 15% and revenue should be just a straight sales tax.

LoganSix on April 2, 2014 at 1:27 PM

This is our ONLY OPTION other than Revolution.

The District of Columbia IS NOT going to give up power voluntarily, it will require force, either through an Article V convention or the 2nd Amendment. We will NEVER be able to fix what is wrong in DC by voting for people who go there to become PART of it.

In the next 10 years it’s going to come to a head. We either have:

1. An Article V convention to put the Government back into the Founder’s Lockbox
2. A bloody revolution.
3. Economic collapse followed by a Dictatorship.

The path we are on is unsustainable, and that approaching doom in the mirror is closer than it appears.

Returning government to the limited role it was intended to have IS the solution to all problems. If it doesn’t have the power to impose things on Citizens, then one group of people can’t enslave another group of people. If it can’t intrude in matters that should be the jurisdiction of the States, then Alabama can’t prevent California from having legal abortion factories, nor can California prevent Alabama from outlawing infanticide.

ConstantineXI on April 2, 2014 at 12:23 PM

What about legislative nullification? I will NEVER call for violence as a means to an end, but you can be your ass I will do whatever is required to defend myself and my state if FedGov gets its panties in a bind over a refusal to play ball by their rules.

gryphon202 on April 2, 2014 at 1:28 PM

Now we get a bunch of “Somebody ought to do something!” folks in a room to decide the future political arrangement of our country? We would end up with a fascist nanny-state in a terrible rush.

Mind you, that isn’t any worse than where we’re currently headed. But it isn’t the same thing as “what we currently have“.

GWB on April 2, 2014 at 1:14 PM

Exhibit A. We are a nation of feckless cowards.

gryphon202 on April 2, 2014 at 1:29 PM

There’s not a lot in this. No legislature can bind future legislatures, so the rescinding is valid.

PersonFromPorlock on April 2, 2014 at 1:31 PM

The progressives don’t even REALLY control states (not even New York or California). They rule the country by ruling the top 100 cities.

ConstantineXI on April 2, 2014 at 1:04 PM

Maybe a constitutional convention could propose a new enumeration for representation? How might that work? Something based on density, instead of straight population?

GWB on April 2, 2014 at 1:34 PM

You wish Rethuglicans! We all know the first thing you would do is add slavery back to the Constitution, then you’d remove the line about “Separation of Church and State” right after butchering the Constitutional mandates for social security and the Right to Healthcare.

Frank Lib on April 2, 2014 at 1:36 PM

The answer is No. Michigan is proposing enacting the Article V process as reference in Mark Levin’s book “The Liberty Amendments” which is a Convention of the States to propose constitutional amendments. 66% of the states are needed to call the convention, 75% of the states to ratify the proposed amendments.

Brock Robamney on April 2, 2014 at 1:37 PM

It’s a risky move. The McCains of the world would be the only “conservative” allowed. Since I presume the convention would immediately move to evict Mike Lee and so forth. And then we’d have the convention consist of Juan McCain, Boehner, Obama, Pelosi, and Reid types. At which point we’d probably start looking longingly at Mussolini’s Italy for their diligent protections of the individual…..

Vanceone on April 2, 2014 at 1:37 PM

I find it disappointing that Hot Air has to point its readers to a CNS post for background on Mark Levin’s convention of the states advocacy. I have been wondering when Hot Air would actually post about this and we finally have an answer.

If the bloggers here think that our problems are going to be solved by electing more Republicans to federal office, they are sorely mistaken. We have no other choice than to wield our immense influence with state legislators to ammend te constitution through a convention of te states. State legislators are the easiest to influence or remove from office.

If the states write their statutes narrowly enough to denote intentions, the likelihood of a runaway convention is virtually nil.

The real problem is that a convention may be too narrow and only deal with budget related ammendments. There are other issues that states should consider as well, the most notable being term limits for federal office holders.

h a p f a t on April 2, 2014 at 1:37 PM

Exhibit A. We are a nation of feckless cowards.

gryphon202 on April 2, 2014 at 1:29 PM

I’m just pointing out that there still is danger in a constitutional convention. It could rush us toward our final stupidity in a hurry. If the states push this, they should be prepared to drop out of any resulting tyranny and make a separate compact in another venue.

GWB on April 2, 2014 at 1:38 PM

There’s not a lot in this. No legislature can bind future legislatures, so the rescinding is valid.
PersonFromPorlock on April 2, 2014 at 1:31 PM

This is not legislation. This is a Constitutional process to propose amendments to be ratified by the states enacted without involving Congress. Congress has no say in the process

Brock Robamney on April 2, 2014 at 1:39 PM

You wish Rethuglicans! We all know the first thing you would do is add slavery back to the Constitution, then you’d remove the line about “Separation of Church and State” right after butchering the Constitutional mandates for social security and the Right to Healthcare.

Frank Lib on April 2, 2014 at 1:36 PM

Funny it was Republicans who ended slavery! And by the way it is Freedom of Religion, not Freedom from Religion!

Sven on April 2, 2014 at 1:40 PM

I’m just pointing out that there still is danger in a constitutional convention. It could rush us toward our final stupidity in a hurry. If the states push this, they should be prepared to drop out of any resulting tyranny and make a separate compact in another venue.
GWB on April 2, 2014 at 1:38 PM

So I guess next you will denounce the 9th and 10th amendments?

Brock Robamney on April 2, 2014 at 1:41 PM

You wish Rethuglicans! We all know the first thing you would do is add slavery back to the Constitution, then you’d remove the line about “Separation of Church and State” right after butchering the Constitutional mandates for social security and the Right to Healthcare.
Frank Lib on April 2, 2014 at 1:36 PM

Where in the Constitution is the “Seperation of Church and State” clause?

Brock Robamney on April 2, 2014 at 1:43 PM

I’m just pointing out that there still is danger in a constitutional convention. It could rush us toward our final stupidity in a hurry. If the states push this, they should be prepared to drop out of any resulting tyranny and make a separate compact in another venue.

GWB on April 2, 2014 at 1:38 PM

And I’m just pointing out that America is a nation of feckless cowards, holding this up as an example. What’s your beef?

gryphon202 on April 2, 2014 at 1:43 PM

I really want to like this idea[Repeal of the 17th Amendment]; I just need to understand how it makes senators better public servants and less self-preservationists.

ImmigrantsWife on April 2, 2014 at 12:39 PM

As citizens, we have much more control over our state legislatures than we have over senators elected by millions. The larger the electorate grows, the less control any grass roots movements have over those elected. Senators elected by the state legislatures are going to be more interested in what those state legislatures have to say than the lobbyists in Washingtion. Unfortunately, if you live in California, you are screwed anyway.

jya lai on April 2, 2014 at 1:45 PM

Come on people, Frank Lib is awesome.

NotCoach on April 2, 2014 at 1:46 PM

Ummm… IT’S NOT A CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION!! IT’S A CONVENTION FOR PROPOSING AMENDMENTS!!

I suppose that’s just semantics, but still – a constitutional convention would have to be done unconstitutionally. There is no constitutional provision for it.

Also, if these a-holes go through this and don’t include term limits like they are planning, I am going to be pissed off.

And give me a break, of course there are 13 states that would oppose a BBA w/o a spending cap. The D’s wouldn’t really mess with the amendment process anyway b/c they use living-breathing & SCOTUS for their amendments.

blockchords on April 2, 2014 at 1:47 PM

Congress has no say in the process

Brock Robamney on April 2, 2014 at 1:39 PM

Yes, they do. Read the Constitution (as pointed out by ajacksonian). However, that’s not what Porlock was saying. He was addressing the question of whether a state legislature can rescind its call for a convention. He was saying that if a new legislature says “no, we aren’t calling for a convention” then the state is not calling for a convention.

Sven on April 2, 2014 at 1:40 PM

He’s trolling, Sven. FrankLib is trying to out-Bishop Bishop. He’s still learning on the job.

So I guess next you will denounce the 9th and 10th amendments?

Brock Robamney on April 2, 2014 at 1:41 PM

Please explain where the heck you drew that from? Because that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

GWB on April 2, 2014 at 1:47 PM

What’s your beef?

gryphon202 on April 2, 2014 at 1:43 PM

Seemed like you might have included me in that “feckless cowards”. I wanted to clarify my point.

GWB on April 2, 2014 at 1:49 PM

You wish Rethuglicans! We all know the first thing you would do is add slavery back to the Constitution, then you’d remove the line about “Separation of Church and State” right after butchering the Constitutional mandates for social security and the Right to Healthcare.
Frank Lib on April 2, 2014 at 1:36 PM

Where in the Constitution is the “Seperation of Church and State” clause?

Brock Robamney on April 2, 2014 at 1:43 PM

I think he was sarcing (new word!)

WitchDoctor on April 2, 2014 at 1:49 PM

He’s trolling, Sven. FrankLib is trying to out-Bishop Bishop. He’s still learning on the job.

GWB on April 2, 2014 at 1:47 PM

I have another word for trolling, ignorant.

Sven on April 2, 2014 at 1:50 PM

A balanced budget amendment, fine, repeal of the 16th and 17th amendments is a better and term limits on congress a slam dunk, ‘ll take the first 2 but all 3 would be great.

take responsibility on April 2, 2014 at 1:51 PM

I have another word for trolling, ignorant.

Sven on April 2, 2014 at 1:50 PM

So you’re a troll?

Frank Lib makes nothing but joke posts. Now you are less ignorant, and maybe less trollish as well.

NotCoach on April 2, 2014 at 1:51 PM

Come on people, Frank Lib is awesome.

NotCoach on April 2, 2014 at 1:46 PM

He’s not improving with age.

nobar on April 2, 2014 at 1:54 PM

I have another word for trolling, ignorant.

Sven on April 2, 2014 at 1:50 PM

You have to admit he generally does a better job than the actual lib-trolls we have here. Some of them seem to have just stopped really putting in the effort. ;)

GWB on April 2, 2014 at 1:58 PM

You have to admit he generally does a better job than the actual lib-trolls we have here. Some of them seem to have just stopped really putting in the effort. ;)

GWB on April 2, 2014 at 1:58 PM

Maybe he has an upgraded foil hat!

Sven on April 2, 2014 at 2:01 PM

“Did Michigan trigger a constitutional convention?”

Nope.

Kevin M on April 2, 2014 at 2:13 PM

I’d like to see a convention, but that aside: Of course, states can rescind their decision! Why couldn’t they?!

Axeman on April 2, 2014 at 2:14 PM

This method just might be the recourse of last resort if Congress keeps standing idly by while the executive branch is busily usurping authority and flagrantly ignoring and breaking the law.

The damage already done to our system of governance is catastrophic, and bound to get much worse if unchecked.

hillbillyjim on April 2, 2014 at 2:19 PM

Guys, guys, guys…whoa, whoa, whoa…

Hold up. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Look, this is all well and good, but we need Obama’s permission to hold a Constitutional Convention.

And, then, after that, we need the world community’s permission, too.

And then we’ll have to invite Oprah, Sandra Fluke and the world’s top ghey and lezbion leaders to monitor these evil right-wing proceedings.

And, as long as CBS says it’s OK, we can then debate some stuff.

brentspolemics on April 2, 2014 at 2:19 PM

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