The saddest words of tongue or pen

In 1974 the  national debt was $475 million, and when Ford’s 1975 budget came out it added $53 million in deficit spending.  State legislators around the country were concerned.

Two of them, Senator Jim Clark of Maryland and Representative David Halbrook of Mississippi decided to do something about it, and they began a campaign to use Article V to get a Balanced Budget Amendment.  By 1979 they had 29 states.  But even though that was more than a majority, it wasn’t enough.  Because Article V is so poorly drafted, they needed 34, or 2/3.  They got to 32 in 1983 when Alaska passed a Resolution, but that’s as far as they got.  That’s as far as anyone has ever gotten.

What might have been.

If I am not for myself, who will be for me?

Below is the draft of model legislation for which I will be seeking sponsors in state legislatures.  Article V must be fixed before it can be used as it was intended.  The state legislatures have it within their power to fix it.  I would argue they have a responsibility to do so.  It’s self help, a self-empowerment that must be ratified by 3/4 of the States to take effect.

If we do get to 34 with this idea, I hope Congress calls for ratification by state conventions, rather than by state legislatures.  I want the people to vote for this, and educate themselves about Article V in the process.

The 2019 sessions of state legislatures are a little less than eight months away.  Plenty of time to find sponsors.

As the President likes to say, “Well see.”

 

A (JOINT ‐ CONCURRENT) RESOLUTION, Making a formal application to Congress to call a convention for the sole purpose of proposing for ratification an amendment to Article V of the Constitution which gives the States equal rights with Congress with respect to proposing amendments to the Constitution.

Application under Article V of the U.S. Constitution for an Amendment of Article V Convention

WHEREAS, Article V of the Constitution of the United States mandates that upon the “Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States” Congress shall “call a Convention for proposing Amendments”; and

WHEREAS, it was the intention of the Framers of the Constitution of the United States to provide the States equal authority to propose amendments to the Constitution as that of Congress, and

WHEREAS, the structure of Article V of the Constitution has made it impractical for the States to meet in convention to do such, thus preventing the sovereign States from exercising their role to correct the errors in the Constitution and to restrain the Federal government when necessary,

WHEREAS, as evidence of the foregoing, since the Constitution was ratified Congress has proposed 33 amendments to the Constitution, while the States have proposed none; and

WHEREAS, the legislature deems an amendment to Article V of the United States Constitution giving the States equal power with Congress to propose amendments is necessary for the good of the American people.

Therefore be it resolved by the legislature of the State of ___________:

The legislature of the State of _____________ hereby applies to Congress, under the provisions of Article V of the Constitution of the United States, for the calling of a Convention of the States limited to proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States which will require Congress to call a Convention for proposing amendments on the application of a majority of the several States, and that two-thirds of the several States in Convention shall be required to propose an amendment for ratification.

Section 2. The Secretary of State (or the proper officer for your state) is hereby directed to transmit copies of this application to the President and Secretary of the Senate and to the Speaker and Clerk of the House of Representatives of the Congress, and copies to the members of the said Senate and House of Representatives from this State; also to transmit copies hereof to the presiding officers of each of the legislative houses in the several States, requesting their cooperation.

Section 3. This application constitutes a continuing application in accordance with Article V of the Constitution of the United States until the legislatures of at least two‐ thirds of the several states have made applications on the same subject. It supersedes all previous applications by this legislature on the same subject.

 

 

 

 

 

The Fix Article V Amendment

It wasn’t a last minute mistake.  The screwed up language of Article V was simply the product of sloppy thinking.  The way it has been interpreted, it requires 2/3 of the states to agree to meet in Convention.  It should have specified that only a majority of states would be needed to for a quorum for an amendment convention, and then 2/3 of the states must agree in order propose an amendment.  Just like the Constitutional Convention itself, which only required a quorum of seven, or a majority to meet.  And just like Congress.

This simplifies the story, or the pitch, if you will.  It boils down to facts.  In the 229 years of the Constitution, Congress has proposed 33 amendments, and the states have proposed none.  That’s not the way it was supposed to work.

The Fix Article V Amendment would simply would allow 26 states to call a Convention, and that if 2/3 of the states agree, make a proposal for an amendment to the Constitution.  Just like the Constitutional Convention itself.  And just like Congress.

 

Not a massacre, a housecleaning

When the guilty clean house, it’s a massacre.  Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre may merit the name, but only because Nixon was guilty, and he was covering it up.

Trump is not guilty, and he’s not covering anything up.  He can order the AG to put an end to the Mueller conspiracy, and if he refuses he can fire him.  Then he can order Deputy AG Rosenstein to end it, and fire him if he won’t.  At some point he’ll get the kind of person Nixon got (Robert Bork) who understands that the Department of Justice answers to the President, and is subordinate to him.  And that person will put an end to the Mueller conspiracy.

The media will go nuts, and call it a constitutional crisis.  In fact, Trump would be putting an end to a constitutional crisis  — the  slow motion coup d’etat being perpetrated by the Deep State.

Timing is critical, and President Trump isn’t quite ready to pull the trigger.  This drives people like Lou Dobbs nuts.  Trump may not be a constitutional scholar, but he understands power.  And he understands that the power of the Presidency is adequate to deal with whatever the Mueller conspiracy does between now and the time Trump ends it.  With the pardon power, he can make Mueller, and anything Mueller may do, irrelevant.

So the President is gathering credits, allies, and supporters.  The economy continues to improve, month by month.  And there’s a decent chance he may get the Nobel Prize for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.  That explains the ZTE flip flop.  He’ll do everything he can to get that deal.  It’s got to be a good deal, but he’d dearly love to get it.

Because after he makes that deal,  he’s free to clean house at Justice.  He’d never be in a stronger position.  It will be the time to strike.

 

The story of the first technical amendment to the Constituiton

In Chisolm v. Georgia (1793) the Supreme Court decided to give itself jurisdiction over the states in suits by non-citizens of that state.  The court used the fuzzy language of Article III, Sec. 2 to justify its power grab.

So Congress proposed the 11th Amendment in 1794, which was ratified by 3/4 of the states in 1795.  It wasn’t controversial.  It was merely a technical amendment.  The Framers had not made themselves clear when they adopted the original language at the Philadelphia Convention.

So it should be with the Fix Article V Amendment.  All it does is correct some sloppy drafting.

But Congress would never pass such an amendment, since it empowers the state legislators.  So these legislators need to empower themselves by passing the Mason Amendment.

Why wouldn’t they?  Maybe the thought of exercising supervision over Congress is too scary.  Maybe they don’t trust themselves, or each other.  Or maybe they think Congress is doing just fine.