Friday, November 25, 2016

Jeb Bush on the Future of the Republican Party

Jeb Bush has a nice piece up at the Wall Street Journal, and in it he gets fully behind an Article V Convention of the States. To remind, Article V of the U.S. Constitution provides the means for its alteration by future generations, and it says:

"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."

To explain, if a super-majority (2/3) of both chambers of Congress determine that an amendment is desirable, it is then sent to the States where 38 of the 50 must ratify it for it to amend. The Constitution has been amended using this method for all 27 of the existing amendments.

An alternative method would be for 2/3 (34) State Legislatures to call for a Constitutional Convention of the States in which Amendments could be proposed completely apart from the wishes of the national legislature. Those amendments would then go to the States for their ratification, and again, 38 of the 50 would need to ratify amendments for them to take on the force of law. Such a means of amending the Constitution has never been used.

The Founders specifically insisted on this latter method because of a fear that the Congress might itself become too tyrannical, and that there would need to be a method of amending that could occur utterly outside its authority. Initial discussions at the original Constitutional Convention did not include this "federalist" method of amending, but some who watched the sovereignty of the several states decline in that proceeding insisted on its inclusion.

With Republicans in control of 32 state legislatures, it is time for the Article V movement to switch into high gear. R's should market this as a means to update the Constitution THE RIGHT WAY, rather than having unelected judges legislating from Federal benches. They must remind people that 38 States would STILL have to ratify anything that came out of the Convention. They will need a few States where they don't control the legislatures to pitch in on this effort, so it cannot be seen solely as a way to push a conservative agenda. Attach items issues like term limits to the discussion, things that cross party lines for popularity.

Jeb is right on this.


"The Hammer" said...

Agree, what would be on your list? The judiciary needs some attention (not crazy about this 'lifetime' appointment stuff) perhaps repeal the 17th Amendment and really take the money out of politics. I would be up for a Separation of BUSINESS and Govt Amendment; in other words do away with ALL forms of corporate welfare.
What say you?

Anonymous said...

Credit for bringing this concept to the public square should go to Mark Levin, who published The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic in 2013. I haven't personally read it, but have heard him speak of it on his radio show. He proposes some potential amendments in the book.

The Conservative Wahoo said...

1. Absolutely concur with repeal of 17th Amendment. If you'd like, I can send you a copy of a seminar paper on this I wrote in grad school....but not to take "money out of politics" but to bring the States back in.
2. I'd like to hear a thorough debate of term limits--though at this point I am unpersuaded. The Founders debated this and decided not to, and that has some weight to me.
3. Levin proposes a method of overturning Supreme Court cases if either both chambers of commerce decide to do so by 3/5 majority, or if 3/5 of the States do so. I would restrict this solely to the States, and by a 3/4 majority.

Mudge said...

You meant "chambers of Congress" but you wrote "chambers of commerce." Repealing the 17th Amendment and adding term limits are aimed at making such a typo more difficult to perceive.

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