Photo, above: Gov. Greg Abbott called Friday for a convention of states to amend the U.S. Constitution. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
By Thomas Madison
Texas governor Greg Abbott has joined the chorus of patriots across America calling for a convention of states, a movement gaining momentum daily, which author, radio show host, and stalwart patriot Mark Levin has been advocating for several years, and which is the subject of his best-selling book, The Liberty Amendments.
Our founders provided for the people a method whereby our constitution may be amended outside the potential interference of congress, which currently is doing nothing about the growing unconstitutional tyranny inflicted upon the people by Barack Hussein and his executive branch.
This method can be found in Article V of our constitution. It is called a convention of states, the design of which is to amend our constitution in the event We the People ever become the victims of an overbearing, tyrannical federal government that must be restrained, which is the case today. Article V text follows….
“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.”
All three branches of our government appear to be working in concert to thwart the will of the people and to escalate the growth of the voracious monster we call our federal government.
There are two methods to amend our constitution, the traditional method, via congressional legislation, as is the case with all 27 of our existing amendments. Or by a convention of states, which requires a 2/3 majority of states to submit the application to congress, and a 3/4 majority to ratify amendments.
Among the independent movements afoot pushing for a convention of states, or constitutional convention, is the organization “Convention of States,” which can be found here…. conventionofstates.com. Please visit the site and get involved in reining back our out-of-control federal government. I am involved as a volunteer for this organization.
Please get involved in Convention of States and help save America from the growing tyranny of our federal government, and insodoing guaranteeing that the America your children and grandchildren inherit will be free and prosperous.
From Brandi Grissom, The Dallas Morning News
Updated at 3:45: Revised to include response to Gov. Abbott’s speech and add reference to the Convention of States.
Updated at 1:54: Revised to include comments from Gov. Abbott’s speech.
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. He said he will ask lawmakers to pass a bill authorizing Texas to join other states calling for a Convention of States.
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 irony for our generation is that the threat to our Republic doesn’t come just from foreign enemies, it comes, in part, from our very own leaders,” Abbott said in a speech that took aim at President Obama, Congress and the judicial branch.
The proposal for a convention, which has been gaining traction among some among conservative Republicans, comes just as the GOP presidential candidates begin to make forays into Texas ahead of the March primary election. The state, with 155 delegates up for grabs, will certainly be a key player in the party’s nominating process.
Abbott hasn’t endorsed a candidate, though the field includes Sen. Ted Cruz, who was one of Abbott’s top employees when the governor was attorney general. Abbott is likely hoping to boost his national profile within the GOP as eyes turn to the state.
This week, presidential contender U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., published a piece in USA Today endorsing the idea of a convention to amend the Constitution and restore limited government. In April, 27 active petitions had been filed with Congress seeking a convention to amend the constitution to require that Congress adopt a balanced budget.
Congress would be forced to act once 34 states joined the effort. So far, Cruz hasn’t endorsed the idea.
By this point, you may be wondering just what a constitutional convention orConvention of the States is and why it would be a big deal. A convention is one of two ways that the U.S. Constitution can be amended, and it’s described in Article V. One way is that Congress can propose amendments approved by two-thirds of the members of both chambers. The other method allows two-thirds of the state legislatures to call for a convention to propose amendments. Republicans backing the idea are confident that because they control state government in a majority of states, their ideas would prevail.
In both cases, the amendments become effective only if ratified by three-fourths of the states.
So far, the U.S. Constitution has been amended 27 times. None of those were amendments generated by a constitutional convention.
Critics say there’s a good reason. In an editorial lambasting Rubio’s plan, USA Today‘s editorial board warned that such a process could invite mayhem and further poison the nation’s vitriolic political scene. It would also raise unresolved questions about the years-long process of ratification. And some conservatives who otherwise agree with Abbott and Rubio on many issues fear a convention could lead to greater restrictions on guns and money in politics and greater overall power for the federal government.
Abbott, in his plan, dismisses many of those criticisms, saying that he would call for a limited scope to the convention.
The plan lays out nine specific proposed amendments that would:
- 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.
A convention, Abbott wrote, would force the federal government to “take the Constitution seriously again.”
“The only true downside comes from doing nothing and allowing the federal government to continue ignoring the very document that created it,” Abbott wrote.
James Henson, director of UT’s Texas Politics Project, said Abbott’s posture aligns well with the prominent stream of thought in the Republican Party that it is time to resuscitate state power as a check to the federal government.
“I would find it fairly unlikely that this would get traction on the national level,” Henson said. “On the other hand, it’s not the first we’ve heard of this.”
Democrats were quick to denounce Abbott’s plan Friday, saying the governor has misplaced priorities.
“America added 292,000 new jobs in December. But under Abbott, Texas fell to sixth in job creation, remains the uninsured capitol of the nation, wages and incomes remain far too low for hardworking families, our neighborhood schools are still underfunded, and college education is slipping out of reach,” Texas Democratic Party Deputy Executive Director Manny Garcia said in a statement. “Texas families deserve serious solutions, not Tea Party nonsense.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas issued a statement with similar sentiment.
“Governor Abbott, as Texans, we prefer the Framers’ plan. Don’t mess with the Constitution,” said Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas.
But Democrats haven’t been the only ones to chide the idea of fiddling with the Constitution.
Last year, House legislators filed measures calling for such a convention. State Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, unleashed a screed against the proposal when it came before the Senate State Affairs Committee in May. He compared the idea to “a petulant teenager who’s lost a few basketball games and plans to burn down the gymnasium.”
“The constitution has served us well for over 200 years. The problem is not the constitution,” Estes said, adding that the solution is to elect more conservative lawmakers. “Slap a bumper sticker for Ted Cruz on your car and get after it and knock yourself out.”
Estes went on to promise a filibuster if the measure came to the Senate floor.