If we get an Article V Convention, and it agrees on a proposed BBA, Congress will decide how it will be ratified. We assume Republicans will be in control of both the House and the Senate after the 2016 election. I assume there will be a Republican President. The most likely scenario is that the 34 state threshold is met in early 2017, in the first months of the new President’s term. The President will have an opinion on the better mode of ratification. He will be in the midst of his political honeymoon with Congress, and there will be pressure to accommodate his wishes.
Whoever he is, he will have promised to balance the budget. There’s a reason John Kasich –who knows more about balancing the federal budget than the rest of the field combined — is the one candidate who has campaigned, and campaigned hard, for a BBA through Article V. If he is elected, he will balance the budget, but he knows he’s going to need the club of a Constitutional Amendment to beat Congress into submission in order to do it. Kasich gets it.
I expect Rubio or Cruz to be President in 2017, and they’ll reach the same conclusion as Kasich. If you want to actually get a balanced budget out of Congress, any Congress, you’re going to have to beat it out of them. And a Constitutional Amendment, ratified by 38 States, after having been proposed by the States, will be a mighty club.
So the President gets Ryan and McConnell down to the White House, and asks them to choose ratification by State Convention. It’s been done once before, to repeal Prohibition. This way you get a decision within a year, meaning it will be in effect within the first two years of the President’s term — in time to be of value. And in purple or blue states with hostile Democratic majorities, the state legislatures are cut out of the process. It goes to the voters directly, up or down.
I think this is the most likely scenario. If the Democrats win the Senate next year we’re screwed. Even if we got to 34 we’d never see the light of day. If Hillary wins we’re screwed. She doesn’t really care about the Constitution.
If for some reason Congress chose the route of legislative ratification, we have a problem. It’s impossible for us to have complete control of 38 state legislatures, which means a legislative chamber controlled by Democrats would have to pass it. This could be very difficult. Something which is viewed as extreme or partisan could be stopped by a handful of Democratic state legislators.
This is the challenge for the Amendment Convention. They must craft a proposal designed to appeal to purple state voters in Maine, Minnesota, Washington, Oregon. Input from well meaning and serious Democrats would be appreciated. But they should not have veto power over this decision. That should be up to a simple majority of the states, or 26. We will rely on the political judgment of these 26 state delegations. They will decide what can be ratified, and what cannot.
This argument will be conducted at the Assembly of State Legislatures meeting in Salt Lake on Wednesday, November 11th, 1:00 MST. It may be on C-Span. You can get a live stream off the Assembly of State Legislatures website.
Perhaps I’m a little out of touch, living up here in the mountains, but if I’m a voter in Missouri and I see what’s going on at the University I’m going to be royally pissed off. It’s an absolute disgrace. The thing is, this has been going on for decades. I remember a lot of this exact same stuff happening in the 60’s. These university people have absolutely no balls. Nobody remembers Sen. S. I. Hayakawa of California, but he stood up to these crazy bastards at S.F. State, and got elected to the U. S. Senate because of it.
There are political implications to a lot of the craziness that’s going on.