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Constitutional Convention?

What does Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s call for a #Second Constitutional Convention and voter support for #Outsider Candidates have in common? As we would say in Texas, “Well, let’s just take this ball of yarn and unwind it a bit.” Americans have a sense that something is wrong with our federal government. Easy to see why that is with $19 trillion in debt and a loss of leadership status in the world. Doubt that? Let’s do the math on one example: (4 detainees) - (7 detainees + interest on tens of billions of dollars of frozen Iranian assets) = “a whole bunch of negative”. The arithmetic of our current leadership (both Democrat and Republican) is not adding up.

There are two methods to amend the Constitution of the United States of America: 2/3 approval of both federal legislative bodies or an Article V Constitutional Convention. All 27 of the current amendments were achieved using the 2/3 of each federal legislative body approval method. In 1981, 30 states had called for a balanced budget amendment. The amendment has not been approved.

On the other hand Congress passed legislation to balance the budget by 1991 – and the Supreme Court overturned the law in 1986. In 1987 Congress enacted a reworked version. Almost thirty years later we still do not have a law requiring a balanced federal budget as we sink further in debt. With a dysfunctional Congress people now doubt that support from 2/3 of each house could ever be achieved to pass an amendment . . .or that the Supreme Court will not over rule it if they do.

An Article V Constitutional Convention has not been held since 1787 when the current constitution was ratified.   A Constitution Convention can be called for a single issues such as a #Balanced Budget Amendment or amendments for multiple issues including #Big Money Out of Elections and to overturn #Supreme Court Decisions”. The liberal think tank, The Center on Budget Policy and Priorities, is concerned that “states likely could not control a constitutional convention.” Some worry that once a Constitutional Convention is called the delegates will rework the entire constitution not just amend it.

In 1993, 45 states had pending applications meeting the requirements of an “open” Article V Convention. Threats of a Constitutional Convention have moved Congress to approve amendments in the past because Congress did not want to “lose control”. Just because congress has not called for a Constitutional Convention and courts have rejected it, does not mean it shouldn’t be done. Maintaining the balance of power between State Rights and the Federal Government is an important balance to maintain. What is the worry? Even if enough states filed the proper request for such a convention, it would still take 38 state legislatures to ratify any changes recommended by a Constitutional Convention before those amendments can be enacted.

What does all of the above have to do with the Outsider Candidates? Many believe that the federal government has lost its way, that the balance of power (executive, legislative and judicial) is off quilter and that states rights are being eroded. When “we the people” believe our “will” is being ignored, #Outsider Candidates begin to rise and those that support them get energized.   Rather than fear a Constitutional Convention getting out of control, we should fear a federal government that is out of control.   Equations are no longer adding up to the benefit of the American citizen and that has lead to the rise of “Outsider Candidates” – people who have never held public office before and on the other side an avowed socialist (See blog “I Agree with Robert Gates”). The Constitution states Congress “shall” call for a convention when the proper number of state applications has been received. It is Congress that is “out of order” in not calling a convention.

- Kathy Seei

References: The Center on Budget Policy and Priorities; Wikipedia

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