We the People

We the People

Today is Constitution Day! I wanted to give you someting specific to think about. Here is a post on an Article V convention (called by the states) to curb the power and errant ways of the federal government from a few weeks ago. I’ve added an article from Nick Dranias at the Goldwater Institute and links to their work on Article V. And  I’ve added a great article by the champion of the 9th and 10th amendments, Randy Barnet,  on a “Repeal Amendment” being introduced in Virginia. What if the states could repeal federal legislation? Should we join the great state of Virginia and call for this in Minnesota?

Everyone knows that the founders gave us three “co-equal branches” of government and carefully crafted “checks and balances.”  It has not worked perfectly but the founders anticipated that problem.  Article V of the U.S. Constitution permits Congress to amend the Constitution–this is widely known. What is not widely known is that state legislatures can also petition Congress for a convention; two thirds (34) of the states are required. Any amendment passed at the convention has to be ratified by three fourths (38) of the states. An Article V convention has never been called. Is it time?

The Constitution has been amended 27 times. The first 10 amendments are the Bill of Rights; they were ratified in 1791 a few years after the Constitution was ratified. Interestingly, the twenty-seventh amendment was part of the proposed Bill of Rights in 1789 but it was not ratified until 1992 by the vote of Michigan. It contains a common concept of “good government” today; that pay raises for Congress cannot take effect until after an intervening election.

There is a growing movement to call an Article V Convention. There is always fear of a “run away” convention, though the requirements of Article V to both call a convention (two thirds rule) and to ratify an amendment (three quarters rule) would seem to make that unlikely.

Clearly, we have a “run away” federal  government. The founders gave the states a tool to address weaknesses in the Constitution and abuses by the federal government. We will be exploring this option from time to time here at the Minnesota Free Market Institute.

Former Senator Norm Coleman has decided that it is time for an Article V convention. Here are his most recent remarks on the subject.  http://americanactionnetwork.org/news/aans-ceo-norm-colemans-remarks-alec-conference

Here is a link to the Goldwater Institute’s Nick Dranias on Article V conventions:  http://www.goldwaterinstitute.org/article/5008

Here is the Wall Street Journal’s article calling for a “Repeal Amendment.” The authors are Randy Barnett, who has championed the 9th and 10th amendment for decades and William Howell, the Speaker of the Virginia House of Delgates. The Repeal Amendment would give states the power to repeal legislation passed by Congress. They published this in the Wall Street Journal yesterday and plan to introduce the amendment to Virginia this January: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703466704575489572655964574.html