The last three years of a supposedly conservative, yet ineffective, Republican majority in Congress has made it abundantly evident that Congress will never rein in the power and scope of the federal government or end its wasteful spending.
The U.S. Constitution provides a mechanism for the people, via the states, to impose restraint on the federal government and restore the balance of power among the executive, judicial, and legislative branches, and between the states and centralized government. Article V reads : “The Congress…on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which…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, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof…”
Citizens for Self-Governance (CSG) has submitted an application for the Idaho legislature to approve an Article V limited topic Convention of the States (COS). Section 1 of the application reads as follows: “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 amendments to the Constitution of the United States that impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of office for its officials and for members of Congress” (http:www/conventionofstates.com; emphasis added). Once two thirds of the states (34) have applied with a uniform application for a convention, Congress must call for the convention to occur.
Two factors eliminate any chance for the CSG Convention of States application to lead to a “runaway” convention or adoption of “liberal” amendments. First, the amendment topics that can be proposed at the convention are limited to the three (conservative) topics on the application; the uniform application passed by 34 state legislatures is the basis for the convention “call” by Congress. And second, three fourths of the states (38) must ratify any amendment that is passed by the Convention of States. All that is needed to block an amendment from implementation is a “no” vote by one legislative branch of 12 states.
As an example, the states could propose a three-fifths over-ride amendment to limit the power of the federal executive, legislative and judicial branches when
- the President issues an executive order that exceeds his authority under the Constitution (e.g., DACA);
- executive branch departments and agencies pass rules that have the effect of law (including enforcement standards) but were not approved by Congress;
- Congress passes legislation such as the Affordable Care Act which usurps power and liberty from the states and the people; or
- the Supreme Court issues rulings such as Roe v. Wade and the June 2015 same-sex marriage decision which establish constitutional “rights” that do not exist.
The wording of such an amendment might read as follows:
Three-fifths of the state legislatures may pass a uniform resolution to reverse and nullify any prior executive branch decision (e.g., Presidential executive order or executive action) or ruling (e.g., rules adopted by executive branch agencies and departments); any federal legislation signed into law by a current or past President; and any prior Supreme Court decision. The state legislatures’ over-ride decision shall not be subject to state governor signature or veto, Presidential signature or veto, or state or federal court action.
I drafted this amendment to give three-fifths over-ride authority to the state legislatures because that is the state-level branch of government which is most accountable to the people, especially in Idaho where our senators and representatives are elected every two years. A three-fifths over-ride amendment would give the states power to end federal tyranny over the states and the people. For example, thirty states (including Idaho) have legislation or state constitution amendments affirming “traditional marriage.” Theoretically, all of those states would pass a three-fifths over-ride resolution to nullify the Supreme Court’s recent same-sex marriage ruling. Given that about three-fifths of the states currently have a conservative legislature, NOW is the time to pass the Convention of States application and begin the process of resetting the balance of power in favor of WE THE PEOPLE and the states that form our Union.