Abbott: It’s time for an Article V convention

posted at 10:01 am on January 9, 2016 by Ed Morrissey

Hey, who’s up for three conventions in this election year? First Marco Rubio called for a constitutional convention to pass a balanced budget amendment, figuring that Congress simply won’t act to tie their own hands. Now Texas Governor Greg Abbott wants an Article V convention and has a more ambitious agenda in mind:

Gov. Greg Abbott, aiming to spark a national conversation about states’ rights, said Friday that he wants Texas to lead the call for a convention to amend the U.S. Constitution and wrest power from a federal government “run amok.”

“If we are going to fight for, protect and hand on to the next generation, the freedom that [President] Reagan spoke of … then we have to take the lead to restore the rule of law in America,” Abbott said during a speech at the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Policy Orientation that drew raucous applause from the conservative audience.

Along with the speech, Abbott released a nearly 70-page plan – part American civics lesson, part anti-Obama diatribe – detailing nine proposed constitutional amendments that he said would unravel the federal government’s decades-long power grab and restore authority over economic regulation and other matters to the states.

The Dallas News gives a list of Abbott’s proposed amendments:

  • Prohibit congress from regulating activity that occurs wholly within one state.
  • Require Congress to balance its budget.
  • Prohibit administrative agencies from creating federal law.
  • Prohibit administrative agencies from pre-empting state law.
  • Allow a two-thirds majority of the states to override a U.S. Supreme Court decision.
  • Require a seven-justice super-majority vote for U.S. Supreme Court decisions that invalidate a democratically enacted law
  • 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.
  • Give state officials the power to sue in federal court when federal officials overstep their bounds.
  • Allow a two-thirds majority of the states to override a federal law or regulation.

On the merits of these amendments alone, I can only really fault the Supreme Court super-majority proposal. Oh, it sounds good, but what happens when a state legislature passes a law that bans firearm ownership, for example? Do we want to have to win not just Antony Kennedy but also Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan as well? Good luck with that.

The proposal for a convention would open up the entirety of the Constitution for amending, especially if it serves as broad an agenda as Abbott proposes. USA Today objected to Rubio’s proposal for an Article V convention on the grounds that it could invoke chaos:

There is a good reason why no constitutional convention has been called since the original one in 1787, and why all 27 existing amendments have been approved through the standard method — a two-thirds vote in Congress and ratification by three-quarters of the states.

A convention would be impossible to control. Nothing in the Constitution gives Congress or the Supreme Court the power to tell the conventioneers what to do, or not do. A convention might be tasked to draft a balanced budget amendment and then decide that it wants to radically change the nature of the federal government or its relationship with the states. It might take up a passion of the moment by, say, limiting immigration by nationality or religious affiliation. It would have nearly unfettered powers to tinker with the DNA of America’s 240-year-old democracy. As Justice Antonin Scalia  puts it: “Who knows what would come out of it?”

Once the convention drafts its amendments, another can of worms would be opened. Thirty-eight states would be needed for ratification. But the Constitution provides no time limit on this process. Indeed, the 27th Amendment — a fairly innocuous one affecting congressional pay — was proposed in 1789 and ratified in 1992.

Actually, these are odd objections, and somewhat self-canceling. The time-limit issue applies to all amendments, whether initiated by Congress or an Article V convention, so the only change is that there might be more than one in process. Perhaps an Article V convention could address that shortcoming. If the big worry is that conventioneers might go nuts and propose fantastical amendments, then the necessity of garnering ratifications from three-quarters of the states pretty much dispenses with that concern, no? This seems to be more a risk for the Left rather than the Right, anyway; as Abbott shrewdly observes, Republicans control more state legislatures, while the Left’s power is concentrated in a few big states whose population advantages will be irrelevant in such a process.

About the only proposals that might get 3/4 ratification would be those which deal specifically with the federal-state relationship. The balanced budget might actually be tougher, as some states rely on federal largesse to paper over their own problematic budgets. Just the first proposal, an effective repeal of the Wickard v Filburn decision, would be worth the effort, and again something that Congress would likely be loathe to take up. (Oddly not on Abbott’s list: a repeal of the 16th and 17th Amendments.)

The biggest potential worry is that nothing gets accomplished. The Left will want more gun control, but they probably couldn’t even get half of the states to go along with it. The Right will want marriage delegated back to the states, but narrowing the opposition to that to 12 states or fewer will be a mighty difficult task; the same will be true for abortion restrictions. Holding an Article V convention that endorses the status quo might be more disillusioning than the status quo itself already is.

Even with the small-ish risk of watching utter nonsense get debated and the magnet for loony activists to demand trigger warnings rather than the First Amendment, and the larger risk of futility, an Article V convention would be worth it to correct the balance of power between Washington and the states. Clearly, it’s the only way that those issues will ever be addressed. If the states really care about those issues, this is the only vehicle that can possibly deliver.

Update: I used “constitutional convention” in the original headline as a kind of generic term, but have received feedback from a few people reminding me that “Article V convention” is more specific and accurate. I’ve changed the headline accordingly.


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Comments

Clearly, it’s the only way that those issues will ever be addressed.

Hmmm. I seem to recall that there were some States back in the 1860s who decided to address, not necessarily all these issues, but definitely, States rights vs. Federal authority and the Federal government beat them back at the end of a gun.

And even though we’ve become pacified and effeminate through a long peace and idleness there are still people out there who feel that the Feds have overstepped their bounds and are willing to do something about it.

See: that Cliven Bundy bunch out in Oregon.

Ruckus_Tom on January 9, 2016 at 12:50 PM

…even though we’ve become pacified and effeminate through a long peace and idleness there are still people out there who feel that the Feds have overstepped their bounds and are willing to do something about it.

See: that Cliven Bundy bunch out in Oregon.

Ruckus_Tom on January 9, 2016 at 12:50 PM

I don’t think Cliven Bundy really did suffer any consequences to speak of, did he? He’s still got the land out there, he’s still grazing it, and he’s still got his cattle. If it weren’t for Ammon up in Oregon, the Bundy family would be less than a historical footnote on account of what an embarrassment they were to FedGov.

gryphon202 on January 9, 2016 at 12:51 PM

Alexander Hamilton, Federalist, no. 84, 575–81

28 May 1788

It has been several times truly remarked, that bills of rights are in their origin, stipulations between kings and their subjects, abridgments of prerogative in favor of privilege, reservations of rights not surrendered to the prince. Such was Magna Charta, obtained by the Barons, sword in hand, from king John. Such were the subsequent confirmations of that charter by subsequent princes. Such was the petition of right assented to by Charles the First, in the beginning of his reign. Such also was the declaration of right presented by the lords and commons to the prince of Orange in 1688, and afterwards thrown into the form of an act of parliament, called the bill of rights. It is evident, therefore, that according to their primitive signification, they have no application to constitutions professedly founded upon the power of the people, and executed by their immediate representatives and servants. Here, in strictness, the people surrender nothing, and as they retain every thing, they have no need of particular reservations. “We the people of the United States, to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America.” Here is a better recognition of popular rights than volumes of those aphorisms which make the principal figure in several of our state bills of rights, and which would sound much better in a treatise of ethics than in a constitution of government.

I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and in the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers which are not granted; and on this very account, would afford a colourable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why for instance, should it be said, that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed? I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretence for claiming that power.

There remains but one other view of this matter to conclude the point. The truth is, after all the declamation we have heard, that the constitution is itself in every rational sense, and to every useful purpose, A BILL OF RIGHTS. The several bills of rights, in Great-Britain, form its constitution, and conversely the constitution of each state is its bill of rights. And the proposed constitution, if adopted, will be the bill of rights of the union.

Volume 5, Bill of Rights, Document 7
http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/bill_of_rightss7.html
The University of Chicago Press

Patriot Vet on January 9, 2016 at 12:55 PM

Just, no. It will turn into a multi-year cluster-f with hundred-page amendments filled with legalese that will never be ratified.

What we need are 2 amendments.

1. The sixteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

2. The seventeenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

Balance restored

tdarrington on January 9, 2016 at 12:58 PM

The Bill of Rights was a bone to the anti-federalists, without whose support the constitution itself never would have been ratified. The whole purpose of enumerating federal powers was to limit them. Federalists didn’t want to enumerate state powers or rights because they didn’t want to be seen as limiting them, hence the 9th and 10th amendments.

gryphon202 on January 9, 2016 at 12:49 PM

I know it was the only way to get them on board. I’m just pointing out that they were wrong. They’re fears of having their enumerated rights curtailed, the very thing they thought the Bill of Rights wouldn’t do. Irony.

How is that working out for us in limiting the federal gov?/

Patriot Vet on January 9, 2016 at 12:58 PM

I know it was the only way to get them on board. I’m just pointing out that they were wrong. They’re fears of having their enumerated rights curtailed, the very thing they thought the Bill of Rights wouldn’t do. Irony.

How is that working out for us in limiting the federal gov?/

Patriot Vet on January 9, 2016 at 12:58 PM

It’s not working. But unfortunately, such questions are ones that this dope here…

Just, no. It will turn into a multi-year cluster-f with hundred-page amendments filled with legalese that will never be ratified.

tdarrington on January 9, 2016 at 12:58 PM

…would rather not address.

gryphon202 on January 9, 2016 at 1:01 PM

Just, no. It will turn into a multi-year cluster-f with hundred-page amendments filled with legalese that will never be ratified.

What we need are 2 amendments.

1. The sixteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

2. The seventeenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

Balance restored

tdarrington on January 9, 2016 at 12:58 PM

By the by, how do you propose these amendments be submitted to the states for ratification without a convention?

Dumbass.

gryphon202 on January 9, 2016 at 1:02 PM

No.

If it ain’t broke, don’t break it.

IDontCair on January 9, 2016 at 1:18 PM

The notion of a Constitutional Convention may sound like a noble idea, at first blush, but it is what a friend would call, “a good, bad idea!”

tomshup on January 9, 2016 at 1:19 PM

The proposed convention is a bad idea for the simple fact that many states will send their Elijah Cummings to intentionally F things up. To try to do a convention and tackle as many things as Abbott wants to do is a waste of time.

Have a convention, fine. Keep it simple. Fix the 2 things that are causing the biggest problems first.

tdarrington on January 9, 2016 at 1:20 PM

No.

If it ain’t broke, don’t break it.

IDontCair on January 9, 2016 at 1:18 PM

Our country ain’t broke? The system ain’t broke? News to me.

The notion of a Constitutional Convention may sound like a noble idea, at first blush, but it is what a friend would call, “a good, bad idea!”

tomshup on January 9, 2016 at 1:19 PM

Without any reason put forward for feeling that way, your argument is meaningless.

gryphon202 on January 9, 2016 at 1:21 PM

The proposed convention is a bad idea for the simple fact that many states will send their Elijah Cummings to intentionally F things up. To try to do a convention and tackle as many things as Abbott wants to do is a waste of time.

Have a convention, fine. Keep it simple. Fix the 2 things that are causing the biggest problems first.

tdarrington on January 9, 2016 at 1:20 PM

Great. So how would you propose we keep the convention limited to those two issues? If invoking Article V for a convention of states is a bad idea, what extra-constitutional means would you use instead?

gryphon202 on January 9, 2016 at 1:22 PM

And even though we’ve become pacified and effeminate through a long peace and idleness there are still people out there who feel that the Feds have overstepped their bounds and are willing to do something about it.

See: that Cliven Bundy bunch out in Oregon.

Ruckus_Tom on January 9, 2016 at 12:50 PM

So idiot criminals then? That’s who you are hoping will ead the rebellion?

Tlaloc on January 9, 2016 at 1:22 PM

lead*

Tlaloc on January 9, 2016 at 1:23 PM

1. There are other means of amending the constitution outside of a convention. Read it.

2. It is difficult to amend the constitution for a reason.

Amendments are like suicide: A permanent solution to a temporary problem.

We can fix our problems ourselves by not voting for progressives, and not re-electing Senators and Representatives no matter how good we think they are. If we can’t do that, we don’t deserve the Republic anyway.

tdarrington on January 9, 2016 at 1:27 PM

An article V convention would, in my opinion, be a very bad idea. The progressives would give anything to take control, and it would be downhill from there.

The constitution that we have is great. Don’t break it, FOLLOW IT.

Admiral Ackbar’s view on an article V convention:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4F4qzPbcFiA

SubmarineDoc on January 9, 2016 at 1:28 PM

gryphon202 on January 9, 2016 at 1:21 PM

Our country is broke because the powers that be are not following the Constitution.

IDontCair on January 9, 2016 at 1:30 PM

An article V convention would, in my opinion, be a very bad idea. The progressives would give anything to take control, and it would be downhill from there.

More cowardice on display. What could the leftists do that they haven’t already done? How could a convention of states make this worse?

The constitution that we have is great. Don’t break it, FOLLOW IT.

You are essentially arguing that we are breaking it BY FOLLOWING IT. cf. Article V of the United States Constitution.

Admiral Ackbar’s view on an article V convention:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4F4qzPbcFiA

SubmarineDoc on January 9, 2016 at 1:28 PM

Well then, I guess if Admiral Ackbar argues against it, we shouldn’t./

Dumbass.

gryphon202 on January 9, 2016 at 1:31 PM

Our country is broke because the powers that be are not following the Constitution.

IDontCair on January 9, 2016 at 1:30 PM

And they are doing so without consequence. While I have my doubts concerning the efficacy of an Article V convention, any talk of a “runaway constitutional convention” strikes me as nothing more than laziness and cowardice of the sort that got us here in the first place.

gryphon202 on January 9, 2016 at 1:32 PM

Ed is it possible you’ve never heard of Mark Levin? Is it possible you’ve never heard of, let alone read, a book called The Liberty Amendments?

Conservative4Ever on January 9, 2016 at 1:39 PM

If the problem is a Federal Government that ignores the Constitution that created it be affected by any change to the Constitution?

The real problem is ethics, civic duty vs. power, and belief in “inalianable rights” of the indvividual that are granted by a source greater than mankind or it’s governments.

Unfortunately, changing the Constitution will not solve these.

An Article V Convention at this moment in history would be nothing more than falling into the trap of attempting to solve moral, ethical, and legal problems through more government. This is what created our current Constitutional Crisis in the first place.

It can not fix the problems before us.

Perfesser on January 9, 2016 at 1:39 PM

If the problem is a Federal Government that ignores the Constitution that created it be affected by any change to the Constitution?

The real problem is ethics, civic duty vs. power, and belief in “inalianable rights” of the indvividual that are granted by a source greater than mankind or it’s governments.

Unfortunately, changing the Constitution will not solve these.

An Article V Convention at this moment in history would be nothing more than falling into the trap of attempting to solve moral, ethical, and legal problems through more government. This is what created our current Constitutional Crisis in the first place.

It can not fix the problems before us.

Perfesser on January 9, 2016 at 1:39 PM

Well said.

IDontCair on January 9, 2016 at 1:45 PM

On the merits of these amendments alone, I can only really fault the Supreme Court super-majority proposal. Oh, it sounds good, but what happens when a state legislature passes a law that bans firearm ownership, for example? Do we want to have to win not just Antony Kennedy but also Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan as well? Good luck with that.

It’s a good proposal. I’d rather work to win over American voters than lifetime appointed justices.

Stoic Patriot on January 9, 2016 at 1:45 PM

An Article V Convention at this moment in history would be nothing more than falling into the trap of attempting to solve moral, ethical, and legal problems through more government. This is what created our current Constitutional Crisis in the first place.

It can not fix the problems before us.

Perfesser on January 9, 2016 at 1:39 PM

I fear you may be right. I still find that to be a poor excuse to not act at all.

gryphon202 on January 9, 2016 at 1:46 PM

We take it as an affront when a sitting Senator or Rep is “primaried.”

Primary threat to Paul Ryan? The Horror! To the fainting couch!

And we wonder why the country has become a Statist sh-t hole.

There should be multiple candidates in every primary. You want term limits? Stop voting for the same a-holes because “Our guy is pretty good, he did get the bridge funded.”

You want a balanced budget? Stop voting in candidates whose only concern is personal job security.

We the people have the power, but we are too stupid and short-sighted to use it. We would rather root-kit the Constitution.

tdarrington on January 9, 2016 at 1:51 PM

So idiot criminals then?

Tlaloc on January 9, 2016 at 1:22 PM

Says someone who defines “criminal” as whatever the ruling class deems to be criminal, no more and no less.

Think I’m misstating your position? Then tell me what “rights” are and where they come from again.

GrumpyOldFart on January 9, 2016 at 1:54 PM

More cowardice on display. What could the leftists do that they haven’t already done?

gryphon202 on January 9, 2016 at 1:31 PM

Enshrine progressivism in the Constitution.

I know the difference between bravery and recklessness. Do you?

SubmarineDoc on January 9, 2016 at 1:56 PM

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

jnelchef on January 9, 2016 at 11:24 AM

EXACTLY!

We slowly become neither.

Without fixing that, nothing stops history repeating the cycle every attempt at self-governance has followed before our Constitution was ratified.

Perfesser on January 9, 2016 at 2:01 PM

I fear you may be right. I still find that to be a poor excuse to not act at all.

gryphon202 on January 9, 2016 at 1:46 PM

Agreed.

“We must do something!” has been the rallying cry for turning the ratchet that has pressed us into these unfortunate circumstances.

The action MUST affect the cause of the problem, otherwise we’re simply whistling past the grave yard.

Perfesser on January 9, 2016 at 2:03 PM

A constitutional convention also opens up the door for other changes to the Constitution, and I don’t trust an electorate which elected obama TWICE.

lel2007 on January 9, 2016 at 2:11 PM

A constitutional convention also opens up the door for other changes to the Constitution, and I don’t trust an electorate which elected obama TWICE.

lel2007 on January 9, 2016 at 2:11 PM

Educate yourself. This topic has nothing to do with a “constitutional convention.” This subject is concerning Article V in the Constitution.

Conservative4Ever on January 9, 2016 at 2:30 PM

I have fundamental philosophical differences with some of the things that Levin has proposed a convention of states should push for.

gryphon202 on January 9, 2016 at 12:50 PM

Every time I have heard Levin on this, he has said that his proposals are all intended as examples.

gh on January 9, 2016 at 2:30 PM

Abbott: It’s time for an Article V convention

I voted for Abbott….you’re welcome.

Deafdog on January 9, 2016 at 2:32 PM

Gryphon gets it.

The Constitution we have now is DEAD DEAD DEAD. The federal leviathan puts another bullet in its head each and every day, yet many here are acting like it still exists and attempting to reassert the original one is a bad idea. We’re one supreme Court Justice away from declaring the 2nd Amendment dead and many of you want to stick with the status quo.

Nonsense, pure nonsense.

Any amendment must BE RATIFIED BY 38 STATES!

For those that make the argument… “They don’t follow the Constitution already what makes us think they will follow additional amendments?”

They follow structural provisions and amendments. Presidential term limits are a perfect example. If we submit structural amendments as out lined by Mark Levin in the Liberty Amendments, then we have a chance of restoring the balance between the states and the Federal government.

Remember we live in a post-constitional Republic. Doing nothing means that continues to get worse. It’s time to take action, an Article V COS is the Constitutional method to address this issue. Get on board.

Meat Fighter on January 9, 2016 at 2:53 PM

Wow this is a great idea. Since we only have a two party system. The Democrats and the party that supports the Democrat, they are called Republicans. If they do this they can get rid of those pesky 2nd amendment rules that has got so many of Obama and Democrat voters from from Mexico and Syria shot just for breaking the law and killing off these stupid Americans.

pwb on January 9, 2016 at 3:22 PM

Wow this is a great idea. Since we only have a two party system. The Democrats and the party that supports the Democrat, they are called Republicans. If they do this they can get rid of those pesky 2nd amendment rules that has got so many of Obama and Democrat voters from from Mexico and Syria shot just for breaking the law and killing off these stupid Americans.

pwb on January 9, 2016 at 3:22 PM

Please list 38 states that would vote for an Amendment that rid us of the 2nd Amendment. I’ll wait patiently

Conservative4Ever on January 9, 2016 at 3:36 PM

Listen: It’s Time For Republican Candidates To Endorse The Constitution

https://www.conservativereview.com/commentary/2016/01/daily-mark-up-1_08_2016

IDontCair on January 9, 2016 at 3:57 PM

Republicans are Clueless in Washington.

http://donsurber.blogspot.com/2016/01/if-this-is-what-they-do-who-needs.html

IDontCair on January 9, 2016 at 3:58 PM

Listen to Mark Levin, and read his book, The Liberty Amendments, everything else is trash on this subject.

Stepan on January 9, 2016 at 4:08 PM

Its an idea that sounds less like an 18th century contrivance and more like something made for the internet age. Imagine daily briefings from your congress critter and evening skull sessions with your neighbors hammering out balanced budget amendments and fixing supreme court over reaches.

I can’t wait.

Lonetown on January 9, 2016 at 4:18 PM

Ain’t gonna happen, if only because most other governors aren’t going to be willing to go along with this.

Changing the Constitution is a very tricky business that should be settled in the courts.

WestVirginiaRebel on January 9, 2016 at 4:24 PM

So idiot criminals then?

Tlaloc on January 9, 2016 at 1:22 PM

How are they criminals? What have they been charged with? What have they been convicted of?

By the standard you insist upon for judging Hillary Clinton, they are as pure and innocent as the driven snow, are they not? If not, in what fashion?

GrumpyOldFart on January 9, 2016 at 4:51 PM

Changing the Constitution is a very tricky business that should be settled in the courts.

No!
most of us have had enough of the Courts changing the Constitution by a 5-4 vote. Which is unconstitutional, by the way.

We don’t have constitutional government now; and haven’t for my lifetime.
Time to give Constitutional government another try, Leviathan be dammed.

james23 on January 9, 2016 at 4:52 PM

Taking notes . . .

(trying to balance the reality of jus sanguinis with the reality that a person’s nationality is diluted over time by happenstance)

1. Nuke the 14th

2. A person is a citizen of the United States if they are born with a parent who is a citizen of the United States and has spent at least ten years residing within the jurisdiction of the United States.

Axe on January 9, 2016 at 7:48 PM

3. The Senate may provide legislation allowing people who are not citizens of the United States to become citizens of the United States.

Axe on January 9, 2016 at 7:52 PM

4. The President of the United States must be a citizen of the United States who was born a citizen of the United States.

Axe on January 9, 2016 at 7:53 PM

4. The President of the United States must be a citizen of the United States who was born a citizen of the United States.

Axe on January 9, 2016 at 7:53 PM

4. The President of the United States and Senators of the United States Senate must be citizens of the United States who were born a citizens of the United States.

Axe on January 9, 2016 at 7:55 PM

5. The Representatives of the United States House of Representatives must be citizens of the United States.

6. The second day of the second month shall be Sophie Ro day. The federal government shall not work on that day.

7. The state shall own no property. The state shall be empowered to lease property at rates otherwise normal for the property, and to renew those leases no less frequently than once every ten years.

Axe on January 9, 2016 at 8:06 PM

etc.

Axe on January 9, 2016 at 8:06 PM

I think where everyone should be focusing their energies on is getting Congress to propose a new amendment that clearly lays out the rules, scope and limitations of an Article V convention. Then with that in place one could consider an Article V convention as an alternative to amending the Constitution, without all the risks and uncertainties as things stand now. Otherwise it is a Pandora Box that shouldn’t be opened.

Tarnsman on January 9, 2016 at 9:21 PM

I’d like to see an amendment that clarifies the separation of powers. Lawyers, being officers of the court, are part of the judiciary. Should they be legislating as well?

CelebrateHomogeneity on January 9, 2016 at 10:29 PM

This is all assuming that Obama peaceably leaves office. I don’t think that assumption is safe to make.

A situation like that is one reason the 2nd Amendment exists. Feeding the tree of liberty and all that.

CelebrateHomogeneity on January 9, 2016 at 10:47 PM

I think where everyone should be focusing their energies on is getting Congress to propose a new amendment that clearly lays out the rules, scope and limitations of an Article V convention. Then with that in place one could consider an Article V convention as an alternative to amending the Constitution, without all the risks and uncertainties as things stand now. Otherwise it is a Pandora Box that shouldn’t be opened.

Tarnsman on January 9, 2016 at 9:21 PM

You have no earthly clue what you are talking about. Have you ever even bothered to read Article V in its entirety? I’m guessing probably not.

gryphon202 on January 9, 2016 at 11:00 PM

We have a saying in the engineering business…

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

CurtZHP on January 9, 2016 at 10:50 AM

And if it is broke?

gryphon202 on January 9, 2016 at 10:51 AM

No.

If it ain’t broke, don’t break it.

IDontCair on January 9, 2016 at 1:18 PM

Um..clever, but the whole basis of this post is that it IS broke.

AesopFan on January 9, 2016 at 11:06 PM

But anyway, except for in an emergency, I think a law outlawing all federal welfare, so that a national president, whom we rely on to be commander in chief, is not also the commander of goodies. Or that any national senator or congressman can take from taxpayers to give cash to any other citizen for any kind of fairness / inequity /whining / reason.
Fleuries on January 9, 2016 at 10:54 AM

Interesting indirect reply from a commenter on this post

Republicans are Clueless in Washington.

http://donsurber.blogspot.com/2016/01/if-this-is-what-they-do-who-needs.html

IDontCair on January 9, 2016 at 3:58 PM

AnonymousJanuary 9, 2016 at 2:20 AM…
No one ever seems to mention the fact that the president is really not supposed to create the law and/or set rules enforcing his policy agenda. That is why the executive branch is separately elected and not tied to congress (as in Parliamentary systems).

The founders were very clear in proclaiming that the President is the chief executive officer and, in that role, he is supposed to EXECUTE the laws passed by congress in the most effective and/or efficient manner possible. He is also supposed to be the primary representative of the interests of the American people when dealing with other sovereign nations. It is important that the President focus on this role not just because it is mandated by the constitution, but also because its an incredibly tough job that requires literally all of the presidents energy and efforts.

AesopFan on January 9, 2016 at 11:13 PM

If the problem is a Federal Government that ignores the Constitution that created it be affected by any change to the Constitution?

The real problem is ethics, civic duty vs. power, and belief in “inalianable rights” of the indvividual that are granted by a source greater than mankind or it’s governments.

Unfortunately, changing the Constitution will not solve these.

An Article V Convention at this moment in history would be nothing more than falling into the trap of attempting to solve moral, ethical, and legal problems through more government. This is what created our current Constitutional Crisis in the first place.

It can not fix the problems before us.

Perfesser on January 9, 2016 at 1:39 PM

I fear you may be right. I still find that to be a poor excuse to not act at all.

gryphon202 on January 9, 2016 at 1:46 PM

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

jnelchef on January 9, 2016 at 11:24 AM

EXACTLY!

We slowly become neither.

Without fixing that, nothing stops history repeating the cycle every attempt at self-governance has followed before our Constitution was ratified.

Perfesser on January 9, 2016 at 2:01 PM

AesopFan on January 9, 2016 at 11:16 PM

On the merits of these amendments alone, I can only really fault the Supreme Court super-majority proposal. Oh, it sounds good, but what happens when a state legislature passes a law that bans firearm ownership, for example? Do we want to have to win not just Antony Kennedy but also Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan as well? Good luck with that.

It’s a good proposal. I’d rather work to win over American voters than lifetime appointed justices.

Stoic Patriot on January 9, 2016 at 1:45 PM

And as gryphon keeps reminding us, it takes 38 states to ratify, and at the moment we have not only a majority of GOP governors, but some purple and blue states where the people still love them some guns.

AesopFan on January 9, 2016 at 11:17 PM

My take is that Abbot is putting out a manifesto that he / we can negotiate down from (daring the Congress controlled by the GOP to pick any ONE article and enact an amendment, which does not have to be signed by the President).

AesopFan on January 9, 2016 at 11:19 PM

That’s actually a good list. I think the balanced budget amendment is a waste of time, because legislatures almost always come up with a way to work around the requirement. And I think requiring a two-thirds majority to declare a law unconstitutional would be sufficient. Most of the really bad SCOTUS decisions we’ve had to live with were 5-4 decisions. Besides, the Constitution doesn’t directly specify nine Justices, so a 7-vote majority requirement would be immediately useless if any more Justices were added to the bench.

And while limiting the federal government to its enumerated powers would be a very good thing, it’s not going to happen as long as the Fourteenth Amendment is left, because it’s that amendment that subjugates the states directly to the federal government. The intent may have been good — protecting the rights of blacks in former Southern states — but the end result is to make the states no longer sovereign.

Finally, I see some practical problems with the proposed amendments allowing two-thirds of the states to override a SCOTUS decision or federal law. Unless some mechanism is created to allow states to easily register their disapproval, you’re not likely to get two-thirds of the states all voting yea or nay on the same override.

But preventing federal agencies from making the laws that they then get to enforce — making them legislative, executive, and judicial all at once in their narrow sphere — would go a long way towards returning power to the people.

There Goes the Neighborhood on January 10, 2016 at 2:35 AM

On the merits of these amendments alone, I can only really fault the Supreme Court super-majority proposal. Oh, it sounds good, but what happens when a state legislature passes a law that bans firearm ownership, for example? Do we want to have to win not just Antony Kennedy but also Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan as well? Good luck with that.

Well as the constitution was originally written states were allowed to do just that. They were sovereign. They have their own constitutions which were not supposed to ever be usurped by the US constitution. Of course, at that time no state would have ever considered banning guns outright and would likely not today. Even the state of CT where I live has a bill of rights that protects a person’s right to own guns with stronger language than the second amendment of the US Constitution. But if the citizens of a state want to ban guns, as a sovereign state they have the right to do just that.

ReformedDeceptiCon on January 10, 2016 at 6:40 AM

I say no to an Article V convention. Lets first elect representatives, senators, and a president who will abide the Constitution, and purge the Court and repopulate it with people who will abide the Constitution as constructed. Try that for a decade or to, then we can hold a convention and discard what is destructive and add whatever is necessary – if anything – to improve upon our freedom, prosperity, and security.

Woody

woodcdi on January 10, 2016 at 12:59 PM

Lets first elect representatives, senators, and a president who will abide the Constitution, and purge the Court and repopulate it with people who will abide the Constitution as constructed.

woodcdi on January 10, 2016 at 12:59 PM

And how do you propose to make that happen?

GrumpyOldFart on January 10, 2016 at 1:34 PM

Lets first elect representatives, senators, and a president who will abide the Constitution, and purge the Court and repopulate it with people who will abide the Constitution as constructed.

woodcdi on January 10, 2016 at 12:59 PM

And how do you propose to make that happen?

GrumpyOldFart on January 10, 2016 at 1:34 PM

With good folks like you and me espousing the truth, and voting for people who will fill the bill.

Woody

woodcdi on January 10, 2016 at 2:20 PM

With good folks like you and me espousing the truth, and voting for people who will fill the bill.

woodcdi on January 10, 2016 at 2:20 PM

The last 2 elections (arguably every election since 1992) suggest that “good folks like you and me” aren’t in the majority.

GrumpyOldFart on January 10, 2016 at 3:52 PM

The last 2 elections (arguably every election since 1992) suggest that “good folks like you and me” aren’t in the majority.

GrumpyOldFart on January 10, 2016 at 3:52 PM

Apparently, but I think we can become the majority. I pray it happens before a battle for freedom becomes necessary.

Woody

woodcdi on January 10, 2016 at 7:30 PM

For all those folks saying “they aren’t following the Constitution, as written, now. What makes you think they’d follow the new one?”

Good question. I have yet to see a good answer. The moment they decide their power is limited in any way, they’ll just ignore the new version.

Abbott actually proposed the tenth amendment. Look. It’s right there. He wants us to relitigate the tenth amendment, which is currently being ignored by the feds AND EVERY STATE.

It’s too late folks, article V won’t fix this.

runawayyyy on January 11, 2016 at 10:43 AM

A convention would be impossible to control. Nothing in the Constitution gives Congress or the Supreme Court the power to tell the conventioneers what to do, or not do.

Seems to me that this is the strength and purpose for an Article V convention, rather than a weakness or risk.

I think the founders recognized the fact that all government tends to grow in power and leans more toward tyranny over time. They provided Article V to give the states a way to take a chopping block to the national government’s power without resorting to armed conflict.

But regardless of whether there is any Article V convention, the US Constitution is only as good as the integrity of those charged and sworn to support and defend it. If we as a nation don’t put into office people who are of good character and integrity, all the rest of this is futile.

s1im on January 11, 2016 at 3:22 PM

We do not need a convention of states..We need to follow the Constitution as written…name these individuals who are “morally and intellectually capable of re-writing the Constitution”?” there are NONE!!http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/huldah/151111

Bullhead on January 11, 2016 at 11:23 PM