The Watering Hole; Friday January 8 2016; Constitutional Convention, Anyone?

“One of the things I’m going to do on my first day in office: I will
announce that I am a supporter, and as president I will put the weight
of the presidency behind a constitutional convention of the states so
we can pass term limits on members of Congress
and the Supreme Court and so we can pass
a balanced budget amendment.”
(Marco Rubio)

Article V. of the United States Constitution states, in part:

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 . . .

There is one huge problem associated with any call for a Constitutional Convention, and it’s a simple one: in a Convention, the entire body of the Constitution is subject to review and can be altered and changed. The more traditional route to Constitutional modification has been via the amendment process, a process which essentially allows one change at a time, and is therefore subject to a great deal of detail-focused scrutiny. It’s highly unlikely that the same could ever be said concerning a Convention — and that moot point is, in itself, very likely a foundational reason as to why such a convention has never yet been called.

Times have changed, however, particularly in regards to the fact that the notion of calling for a Constitutional Convention has now been urged not only by Marco Rubio, but also by, among others, the Koch Brothers’ ALEC organization as well as by wingnut talk radio goombah Mark Levin who, in his book  The Liberty Amendments provides a proposed amendment list, including:

1. Term limits, including for justices.
2. Repealing Amendment 17 and returning the election of senators to state legislatures
3. A congressional supermajority to override Supreme Court decisions….
4. Spending limit based on GDP
5. Taxation capped at 15%
6. Limiting the commerce clause, and strengthening private property rights
7. Power of states to override a federal statute by a three-fifths vote.

Other right wing amendment proposals include

* A redefinition of the General Welfare Clause (the original view was the federal government could not spend money on any topic within the jurisdiction of the states)…

* A prohibition of using international treaties and law to govern the domestic law of the United States

* A limitation on using Executive Orders and federal regulations to enact laws (since Congress is supposed to be the exclusive agency to enact laws)…

* Requiring the sunset of all existing federal taxes and a super-majority vote to replace them with new, fairer taxes

A moment’s ponder of those mere eleven goals strongly suggests that the primary goal of all those who today are calling for a Constitutional Convention is a simple one, i.e. to, in effect, destroy everything good and vital the United States has accomplished  over the last two-and-a-half centuries and has, in result, come to represent both at home and in the world. Given the players in the convention game, it’s not much of a trick to imagine their ultimate goal is to instead convert the country into what could perhaps reasonably be called, say, a Feudal Christian Caliphate, a national entity designed to serve only the needs of the few — the oligarchs and the theocrats — and never the needs of the many, of ‘We the people.’ National well-being will not be the goal;  the goal will, instead, become the directed acquisition and distribution of wealth and power to only the few.

Should that indeed become the case — if a Constitutional Convention is called, i.o.w. — I do herein and hereby volunteer my verbal skills AND assistance to at least the front end of the plutocratic theocracy’s constitutional rewrite project by submitting this slight but generous modification of the 1787 Constitution’s Preamble, written so as to suit the needs and goals of potential beneficiaries everywhere:

We the people of the United States, in order to form
a more perfect union,
establish justice,
insure domestic tranquility,
provide for the common defense,
promote the general welfare,
and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity,
do ordain and establish
this here rewrite of the
Constitution for the United States of America.

Yee Haw.

There is no charge.

P.S. See also: Marco Rubio’s Plan To Lock Tea Party Policies In Place Permanently


19 thoughts on “The Watering Hole; Friday January 8 2016; Constitutional Convention, Anyone?

      • Only in the real world, the one which no longer exists in the US. Here, folks like Cotton are gifts of god — they protect our nation from terrists everywhere, and they always are willing to go the extra mile to save Israel. From itself, even. The fact that they’re really nothing but stupid and greedy Malaprops goes unnoticed.

  1. Here are some random thoughts on why some of these amendments are either just plain awful or totally unworkable.

    Term Limits
    We do not need a Constitutional Amendment to enact term limits for Members of Congress, we already have a mechanism for that. It’s called VOTING! If people are fed up with their representation in Congress, then they should get up off their asses and vote them out. This is a terrible proposal because it just gives people an excuse to not show up to vote. And when voter turnout is low, Republicans win.

    As for term limits on federal judges, I would only agree to something like a 24-year term limit. You don’t want federal judges to constantly have to worry about pleasing whoever is in power at the time, which is why our founders set no such limits.

    Repealing the 17th Amendment
    This is incredibly narrow-minded and stupid. Why would Republicans propose taking the right of the people to vote away from them? Bad idea. And it was a bad idea on the Framers’ part to have States choose their Senators.

    A Congressional Super Majority to override SCOTUS
    I admit I didn’t read the proposal, but this one I don;t get. Only a simple majority of both houses and a non-veto by the POTUS is all that’s needed to override the SCOTUS. And they’ve done it before. The RFRA was one such example.

    I’ll have more thoughts later.

    • “A Congressional Super Majority to override SCOTUS
      I admit I didn’t read the proposal, but this one I don’t get. Only a simple majority of both houses and a non-veto by the POTUS is all that’s needed to override the SCOTUS. And they’ve done it before.”

      No, Wayne. A law declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court doesn’t become constitutional just because Congress passes it again with a super majority. Currently, there’s only two ways to do that:

      1. Amend the Constitution.

      2. Add more justices to the Supreme Court, justices that will presumably vote “the right way.” Then find a suitable case to shepherd through the system and bring it before the Supreme Court to give it an opportunity to overturn its previous decision.

      Both of these procedures takes far more time than reintroducing a bill in Congress and voting on it. Remember the Terri Shiavo fiasco? Republicans reconvened Congress over a weekend to run that bill through both houses. The can act that fast, if they want to.

    • Rule number one: ANY amendment proposed or supported by a Republican is guaranteed to be at least subversive enough to further empower the right wing fascist movement that has come to define the Republican Party.
      Rule number two: If the Republicans should manage to bring forth a Constitutional Convention, and since they already have extensive control of state legislatures across the country, the end result will very likely be that they can rewrite the Constitution to their hearts content, and that there is NOTHING we the RATIONAL people can do to derail their goals. And they know that.

        • I’m contributing five bucks to the Repug’s “loyal opposition” along with the instruction to change the words in the second, make it read “keep your arms bare” and not say anything (Republicans don’t read all that well in any case), then when it’s ratified, bang zoom!

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