The Founders bequeathed Americans a method to bypass the federal government and amend the Constitution, empowering two thirds of the states to call an Amendments Convention. In the wake of Mark Levin´s bestselling book, The Liberty Amendments, proposing just such a convention, entirely unnecessary alarms have been raised by even some of the leading lights of conservatism, based on an incomplete reading of history and judicial case law. Phyllis Schlafly is a great American and a great leader, but her speculations about the nature of the Constitution´s"convention for proposing amendments" are nearly as quaint as Dante´s speculations about the solar system.
Comments: This answers most of the objections conservatives have to an amendments convention, I think. Fascinating history that is virtually unknown.
Now, THIS is the stuff that real political junkies (Yes, I´m talking to all you L-dotters)live for. Mssr. Natelson knows whereof he speaks. Now is not the time to be timid. Fear of a convention ´out of control´ is much less of a threat than the freakin´ communist ´out of control´ government we have now.
I suggest we put aside the question of whether and amendments convention would be a "runaway" and ask a more fundamental question. Namely, what good is ANY constitution if the President openly takes unconstitutional actions, the Congress doesn´t care if he does so, and the Supreme Court can´t seem to figure out what it really says (or won´t take action to enforce it when they do figure out what it says)?
You can amend up the wazoo, but it still won´t fix anything if nobody follows whatever it was that you made it say. And that is the core problem today. We have a completely dysfunctional government. No branch seems to feel compelled to follow the finest constitution ever developed by mankind.
There is another concern, that has nothing to do with a mythical "runaway" amendments convention.
It is this: Constitutional laws have already been and continue to be ignored and/or broken by elected representatives. What, if any, negative consequences have any of these elected representatives suffered???
Let´s say an amendments convention is a huge success, and amendments are passed. What happens to any elected official or judicial person who ignores and/or breaks the mandates of these new amendments...
That´s right...N O T H I N G!!!
Unless the power elite(and their associated staff) are replaced by those who will not break their oath to protect and defend the constitution of the USA, will the only other recourse be revolution?
Levin´s amendments to put term limits on the Supreme Court and to provide a means to overturn their decisions are perhaps the most important of his eleven amendments, all of which are important.
When one man or woman can completely change the course or mindset of our entire nation they´ve been given too much power. There should be a straight forward means (not and easy means) to recall those decisions. We´re living under an extremely lousy and detrimental decision right now. Thanks Roberts Gone to Malta!
A concise and scholarly description, in simple terms, by an authority, and a badly needed civics lesson for a populace too far removed from basic understanding of our constitutional government.
This is not rocket science. Mark Levin´s Liberty Amendments should not frighten Americans, but encourage them.
The Founders gave us an elegant yet simple means to address our grievances with an out of control government, in an orderly and peaceful way. Levin puts that mechanism in contemporary context and specific contemporary language.
All but power-threatened Statists should embrace a constitutional convention as an appealing remedy for the mess that is Washington today.
The Levin proposal which is really the founders constitutional proposal is a labour intensive solution. It will need a widespread commitment of about one third of the population over many years in contrast to the betrayers who get into judgeship positions and amend the constitution on a whim. This all looks like a disadvantage but it is an advantage. The real authority is the committed efforts of so many supporters. When this is done these dug in elites will be deterred from their betrayal because they will know it will be seen for what it is - and corrected by the people through the new amendments. We got here because the left which is committed to big government because they make their living from it is so much more committed than the right. The right should know they must be involved and stay involved or they will be robbed by the left through the medium of big government!
How I wonder will the left try to dismantle this plan? Look what they did to the driving force of the Tea Party for which many of us had such hopes. This solution will not be speedy, giving the media, et al. time to mock the process and worry the low-fos. Even so, let us start this process now. Thank you Patriot Levin.
Another point which I would like to see is that if any Congress person or anyone in Government decides to run for a Different Office than they currently hold----if they lose their battle for a new position they have to retire after their current position ends. No longer running for Dual positions.
Plus, there needs to be background check by investigative force on those running for the highest office and no more sealing of records. One cannot depend on journ-O-LIARS to report the truth of whom the candidate is. If they are not in their ´party´ the lies are told repeatedly and if they are of their ´party´ conviction, they cover the person With Lies and not revealing the truth. Just look to the last 5 years in particular. From the beginning of the Clinton win through now it has become progressively worse.
For the last several years I´ve been of the mind that The Constitution is flawed because it failed to protect us from the growth of the Federal Government and the scum who run it.
But now I learn The Constitution does provide a remedy on the form of an Amendments Convention. The only problem is that it depends on the kleptocrats in both the Federal and State governments to execute the remedy. And they will fight to the death to keep their scam running.
all for it...but I thought that right now, according to our constitution, we have states rights over the fed.government. but the governors wont enforce the rights. Texas being sued by the Feds over voter ID...really...If voter ID is a state law, the they cant be sued. close the borders Arizona...state rights says borders are closed..so be it. how can the Fed.government stop the state. I must be so wrong in this...but I was taught that we have States rights..to protect states from the fed.government going amock....
If anybody ever noticed it we´d have an amendment about having a national border ~ there isn´t one.
Knowing that ask yourself how it is the federales assert jurisdiction at the border.
All of that hodgepodge of missing stuff probably ought to be addressed at a constitutional amendments convention ~ recall, at the nation´s founding there really wasn´t a meaningful national border ~ most of the colonies, now independent nations, didn´t even have complete borders!
They had ´claims´ ~ then there was the UK lurking in the background. They didn´t have national borders either being an island! They had claims too.
I´d fix the Constitution to deal more directly with the questions about who comes in, who leaves, and where it´s at!
Three are 3 breaking events that impact this process. 1) Conservatives working at a state level have elected some really good governors and look likely to add some great governors. 2) The EPA has implemented some rules that are based on unfounded assumptions that allow them to hurt some states, help others, and ignore the rest. 3) The EPA by denying State Environmental plans have take over permitting illegally. 4) The federal government is interfering with state elections.
I believe that it would be easy to convince two thirds of the states to clarify that all regulations treat all counties and all states the same under the law. So a regulation that could not demand a 50% reduction in emissions from TX based on a map that claims that IL pollution is affected by emission from TX. In the same reg, the plumes in the EPA map from CA into neighboring states to the east are simply ignored. And the EPA could not take over permitting simply by denying the State compliance plan simply because they didn´t like the approach.
This amendments convention issue is one I explored more than thirty years ago for a possible article which at that time The Washington Post considered publishing.
The writer´s mention of an 1861 convention is not something I recall seeing before.
It is known that the original call for a convention in 1787 was only for the purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation, and that the delegates then decided to go beyond that purpose and plan... and thus wrote our current constitution, which was subject to states´ ratification.
There are some assertions or assumptions by the writer which may not prove true. First, it is doubtful Congress would accept a call to authorize a new convention. And if Congress refused, or denied by disallowing, there would be little or no recourse, and what if SCOTUS dodged it, too? SCOTUS will likely frown on amendments which will limit SCOTUS terms and powers.
Second, if a convention is authorized and takes place, its delegates can write any amendment/s that they see fit to do. After all, because there is a ratification process, it is actually essentially harmless to propose any idea at all... if insufficient states ratify a particular amendment, it dies. So anything can be proposed. You cannot pre-limit it, as the framers of the current document very well realized.
That means that the liberoids can try to ban guns, eliminating the Second Amendment right. Do you really think Chuck Schumer is going to let you have your way? They will propose a guarantee of abortion rights. They will hijack any convention. Their minorities will march upon it and hold all the delegates as hostages to media coverage... the media will back the liberoids. The DimWitz are corrupt criminal liars. If forced into a convention, they´ll take the lemons and make lemonade and spike it like Kool-Aid and make you drink it. Don´t be naive. Cheaters will continue to cheat you.
The notion that people today would conduct themselves as people did two or three centuries ago is misguided and extraordinarily naive.
Just because colonial conventions behaved in a limited manner way back when proves nothing about how something would go down today with Shep Smith on TV screaming at a camera about helping those poor Katrina minorities.
The electorate today is an ill-behaved mob of entitlement seekers, whiny, dependent and demanding of all sorts of Gummint services. Women and minorities will grab what they can.
Two centuries ago, women and minorities could not vote or hold office. Today you´d be swamped by each ethnic group competing for attention and making demands. Any convention held at any physical location would be held hostage by the takers and the screamers and the demanders.
The fastest easiest remedy for our current mess was to win the White House and Senate and hold the House in November 2012.
You could have done that easily and quickly and you did not. Obviously you will not be able to pull off a convention either, since it´s far tougher and has not been done for 200 years.
People who favor "term limits" should consider what most state legislatures already have...
A legislative session should be limited to a certain number of days. Spending expands to fill the time available for it... yearlong sessions equal yearlong spending as well.
Fifty years ago, the entire federal budget under JFK was $100 Billion, and half of that was for defense, the other half for everything else including social programs.
Congress adjourned annually in about June and was gone for the rest of the year. It was part-time, and being a Senator or a Rep. paid only $12K per year. They held other jobs and had business interests, practiced law, or what have you.
You cannot control the Congress unless you cut the days and hours, cut the pay, cut the staffs, stop the expansion into more buildings, and on and on. Committee numbers should be limited, and especially subcommittee numbers. Everyone is a chairman of something.
My guess is you will not succeed. You don´t know what you´re up against... yet.
This Amendments Convention is lovely to think about, but we do not live in the perfectly ordered world where it could take place and produce the dreamed of results. There are already posters on this thread saying, hey, if we´re going to make changes, let´s do this and this and this. That´s the way it would be, chaotic and disastrous. Leave the Constitution alone while we elect people who will protect it.
Television did not become the driving force in American politics until the 1960´s. Ike did not like nor trust TV, but JFK loved it because he was telegenic and had no chance for power or popularity without TV.
TV loved the beautiful dramatic Kennedys. And the Kennedys have bequeathed us a Gummint by Television in perpetuity, because they had thick hair and big white teeth.
The Congresswhores will always stay in DC year-round to be on Television... Incumbents will always win by being on TV. If you cannot control or pull the plug on TV, you are doomed to fail. TV will do everything it can to see that you fail and see that the DimWitz win. They cannot survive without the Congresswhores´ being in DC year-round to have endless crises and nonstop spending. Good luck!
Natelson defeats his own argument when he makes statements like this:
"But," you might ask, "Will the prescribed convention procedures actually work?"
They already have. In 1861, in an effort to prevent the Civil War, a convention of the states was called to propose a constitutional amendment to Congress. CONGRESS SUBSEQUENTLY DEADLOCKED over the amendment, but the convention did everything right: It followed all the protocols listed above, and it produced a compromise amendment.
If, in fact, CONGRESS can subsequently OVERRIDE the amendments proposed, then we are STILL at the mercy of congress.
Well, if a convention isn´t going to be the solution, then the only solution that would work is to have another little revolution. That way, the winners wouldn´t have to listen to anyone except those who won the revolution. Now that´s simple.
Earlier it was stated that this effort would require the support of 1/3 of the voting citizenry. That is an overestimate. To get 2/3 of the states, and only considering states other than the heavily Blue states like California and New York, on can drop a good chunk of the population. I calculate only a little over 30 million votes would be required, based on the 2010 voter total of around 90 million. 30 million is only 1/10 of the population.
An amendment to ban all guns would be as smart and as successful as an amendment to reinstate slavery. As long as more than a third of the states sticks to the agenda then extra leftard amendments will only be a delay tactic.
I had a lot to say, but like poster 17, 18,...., who offered no solutions, I don´t know the answers either. I do know that the left´s fraud machines MUST be quelled.
Those of US who are patriots must take the time to hit the streets. The left has taken/usurped ground with lies and fraud, with bribes and relentless court cases. When they lose, the just slack off then retrench and go at it again.
We must take that ground back with relentless presentations of the Truth! Small groups advertising on radio, TV, newspapers, bill boards, bumper stickers, group mailings, the internet, and flying banners across the sky. I don´t know, but I am convinced it must begin with two people here and five people there. Every revolution began with two or three who were willing to lay it on the line. It can be done.
Again, HOW???? L-Dotters have a great platform. We must keep the pressure on those who represent(?) US. As a group we can use conservative radio and TV hosts and locals with influence and maybe, just maybe the tide can be turned.
It´s been said, we must take the cold water thrown on us, turn it into steam and use the energy. This can be done. So let´s keep kicking it around. We have no other choice. The solutions are out there. Don´t believe it? Look at what the "left" has done. It can be reversed.
Well, it is apparent who has read the book, and who hasn´t.
Mark Levin is no lightweight. He didn´t just toss out a bunch of written pages hoping people would just buy his book. He is much more knowledgeable on this subject than I would guess most here - specifically, myself. He is reasoned, and his ideas are well thought out, even down to refuting the inevitable naysayers.
He is a patriot of the highest order, and would never - uh, let me repeat: NEVER - suggest a process such as this on his own, just for the spits and giggles or to make money. The process is provided for IN THE CONSTITUTION itself. Madison´s notes reflect the thought processes at the time and demonstrate why they felt this could become necessary.
It is NOT a Constitutional Convention - it is a convention of STATE LEGISLATURES. The U.S. Congress has NOTHING to do with it, and CANNOT refuse it. Once an amendment is agreed upon by the State LEGISLATURES (not the citizenry), it IS an Amendment. It is the same process used by Congress, only initiated by the States and confirmed and ratified by the States.
After all, this country is called the United States of America - not the Servant States of the American Congress.
#33 I´ll admit that I have not (yet) read the book. But I did read this column, and found it (somewhat) reassuring. However, he mentions more than once that Article V prevents that which some of us fear. But here´s the text, and I don´t see the structure he describes:
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.
Levin´s book is an easy read. Each chapter describing a proposed amendment and why is self-contained. Just pick one and read it like an article here.
As Levin points out, the only effective alternative to the alternate amendment process is armed revolution. That was George Mason´s argument for the provision in Article V - the intent is to avert civil war.
Which is more risky: a convention to propose amendments (not a "constitutional convention" as the book and the article point out), or armed conflict? Before you spill blood, exhaust all legal and peaceful measures available.
Enforcement? Remember that the military and most officials take an oath to the Constitution first and foremost. It is their duty to follow the Constitution (and legal processes like this one) above any unconstitiutional order from the POTUS. Authority as CIC only applies within the bounds of the Constitution. www.oathkeepers.org
I liken this to ´hate crime legislation´. There´s no need for it. There are already laws that govern crime and what they call ´hate crimes´ now. If they´d just enforce existing laws that would be fine. But no....they have to create new ones which cover identical crimes being committed.
Let´s FIRST enforce the amendments we currently have THEN we can have as many conventions we want to see if we need any more.
And if Congress or SCOTUS or Justice won´t enforce when we the people tell them to, then we use our second amendment rights and perform the duty we are bound to in the Declaration of Independence and we run them all out of office.
The old media won´t tell you so, but President Obama is facing a revolt from within his own political party. It was bound to happen once the dimensions of the ObamaCare disaster started to become obvious. Yesterday, I pointed out that Charles Rangel is an early indicator of the discontent bubbling beneath the surface, and that he is freer to speak than non-black Democrats. But today we have another leading indicator. (snip)Rosslyn Smith points out: "If Obama has lost Gergen, he´s lost the entire DC establishment. Gergen is almost the perfect indicator of the conventional wisdom inside the beltway.
MSNBC is the gift that keeps on giving, serving up propaganda intended to benefit the far left, but which in its absurdity repels people grounded in reality. Now, one of its hosts, Melissa Harris-Perry, already familiar to AT readers for her theater of the absurd political performance art, has played a race card so bizarre that it self-discredits. (snip) "I want to talk today about a controversial word. It´s a word that has been with us for years. And like it or not, it´s indelibly printed in the pages of American history. A word that was originally intended as a
Like communism, the collapse of the Obama Administration agenda is inevitable, not solely as a result of its many flawed policies, but because it lacks an ethical dimension in regard to individual rights, justifiable criteria for its use of state coercion and, in particular, a respect for the truth. Stated simply, Obama lies because the true objectives of his fundamental transformation of the United States are incompatible with American democracy and tradition. (snip) The arrogance and mendacity of the Obama White House is directly proportional to misplaced political loyalty and a submissive and willfully blind press.
By now, the news has spread online of the IRS audit notices sent to two Obamacare whistleblowers. On November 25th, cancer victim Bill Elliott and C. Steven Tucker were informed of the ordeal each was to face. Elliott has been waging a pitched battle with cancer. Tucker is the insurance agent and healthcare freedom activist who informed him that the canceling of his insurance, wrought by the Obama administration for the sake pushing citizens into Obamacare, was illegal. Tucker reached out immediately after Elliott appeared on Fox News´ The Kelly File, Nov. 7th, and Elliott´s insurance was hastily reinstated.
I claim no special insider knowledge of the Democratic Party´s inner workings, but still I am rather certain that discontent with President Obama is bubbling beneath the veneer of public unity behind the Nation´s First Black President. (snip) They´re two of the most powerful African-American politicians in the land. And by most accounts, President Obama and Rep. Charles Rangel hate each other. The most recently revealed salvo in their war of words - Obama´s assertion that Rangel is a "hack," according to the political tome "Double Down" - is just one element of a long-dysfunctional relationship.
Well, well, well. It´s always a glorious day in a socialist paradise when the lefties show their tyrannical hand and try to suppress speech. They want Americans to have accessibility to healthcare, but not to any information about the insurance they are forcing millions to purchase. In order to arm Californians with accurate information about the California Healthcare Exchange, the California Republican Assembly launched a website this past August called CoveringHealthcareCA.com -- clearly setting forth what you have to do, the date by which you have to do it and the consequences if you don´t.
The GOP establishment is loath to admit it, but the government shutdown is turning out to be a brilliant political chess move on the part of Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee. The Obamacare disaster, fully predictable by anyone who understands the effect of incentives and the fundamental incompetence of academic theorists and left wing ideologues, has made the go-for-broke attempt to stop it an obvious profile in courage. (snip) The budget and debt limit fights lie ahead. Cruz and Lee have laid out the path for us. The GOP can now say that that because the Democrats have shown
Something is up! The "young invincibles" who were largely responsible for catapulting Barack Obama into the seat of power appear to be spurning ObamaCare and its joke of a website. (Snip) In hopes of driving home his point, rather than sports, split lips, and stitches, the president, well-acquainted with the subject, chose to discuss substance abuse dangers. Let's remember, Barack Obama, Sr. was an alcoholic who lost his legs and later his life in two separate drunk-driving accidents; the president's illegal Uncle Omar manages a liquor store and, before getting a green card, was arrested for drunken driving.
Among the many blessings granted us by ObamaCare (PPAHCA), a new one will be coming soon, starting in January 2014. We will acquire "standing." Legally, the word standing refers to the "ability to initiate a lawsuit." (snip) Those treatments deemed "Not Cost Effective" will become unavailable, even when that care is what you need to stay alive. Thus, insured or uninsured, as a direct result of government action, you are less able or unable to get the care you need in 2014 after ObamaCare implementation. You now have legal standing.
The poor, pathetic Democrats trying to defend Obamacare have adopted the talking point that there is "pent-up demand" for "affordable" (i.e., subsidized by other people) health care insurance. The citrizens of the Garden State have just flipped the bird on this argument. (snip) fifty thousand people signed up online for New Jersey´s gambling sites in the first week. That compares with 741 who signed up for Obamacare during all of October. Yes, the Obamacare website has been plagued with problems, but the disparity between the two programs is still eye-popping
Barry promised a zillion times on camera that Americans under ObamaCare would be able to keep their health care insurance if they liked it, that they would be able to keep the same doctors, and so on. Were these lies? (snip)Next November, Republican political ads from coast to coast should say something like this: "The leaders of the Democratic Party are doing the very best they can. That is the problem our nation faces today: that Democrat leaders are doing the best that they can. We cannot expect them to fix the problems they have created or the other problems
Oops! First it was ´if you like your insurance you can keep your insurance.´ Then it was ´if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.´ Now, after the president´s spokes-prevaricators said that Barack Obama had never met his father´s half-brother Omar Onyango Obama, affectionately referred to by many as Uncle Omar, we come to find out that that´s another lie. Yet in a way it´s understandable that Barack Obama would want to place distance between himself and his colorful Kenyan family, some of whom have lived America illegally for 50 years, still mooch off of welfare, and in Omar
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