I am writing in response to the “Publius Huldah” (PH) article published by the Gem State Patriot on January 11, 2018.
PH derides a mock convention of states (COS) based on the content of the amendments proposed. I agree that some of the amendments’ wording was flawed, but that doesn’t negate the need for the amendment itself! You can’t expect an assembly that meets over a weekend to figure out and address all the flaws in the wording of a proposed amendment. The actual convention will take much longer and have the benefit of legal expertise from the delegates themselves or the associates they bring to help inform their decisions. If PH has concerns about the content and process of the mock convention, she should have asked to be a delegate (or been an adviser to the delegates from her home state)!
By focusing on the flawed wording of the amendments, PH overlooks the main issue: The current Constitution is NOT okay “as it is,” so it will NOT solve the problem of centralized government over-reach if federal officials “just follow the existing Constitution.”
Amendment (or repeal) of the 16th amendment is clearly needed to restrict the “income” of the federal government, which right now can tax individual income to acquire general funding, social security funding, and Medicare funding. Here’s my suggested wording for PH’s red pen. (I propose this amendment as an alternate idea to what was considered at the recent mock convention. I am sure there are many other good ideas that should be considered at the COS, including outright repeal of direct income taxation.) The content displayed in red is new wording compared to the current 16th amendment. The intent of this revised wording is to define income, set an upper limit on the percent taxation, and require a 2/3 majority of Congress to approve the tax rate.
The Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes on individual earned incomes and corporate net profits, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration, excluding from such taxation dividends, capital gains distributions, interest earnings, pensions, annuities, social security distributions, and other forms of non-earned income. The rate of uniform or graduated earned income taxation and corporate profit taxation shall not exceed 10%. Any tax rate established shall be approved by a two-thirds majority of both houses of Congress.
A means to negate (abrogate) past actions of the federal government is also clearly needed. Such an amendment would give the states the power to negate Supreme Court decisions such as Roe v. Wade (which made abortion – the murder of unborn citizens – a “right,” in direct violation of the 14th amendment), the Affordable Care Act individual mandate decision, and the same-sex marriage ruling (which annihilated states’ 10th amendment rights by wiping out many states’ amendments defining marriage – Idaho’s included). The states could also get rid of unconstitutional agencies like the Dept. of Education and end unconstitutional executive orders such as President Obama’s DACA pronouncement. Here is my proposed wording for a “3/5 over-ride” amendment. Maybe PH will slash the wording to pieces as well … but she can’t deny the need for the states to have this power!
Three-fifths of the state legislatures may pass a uniform resolution to reverse and vacate 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.
A “procedural” amendment that narrows the legislative authority of Congress is also needed. For example, aren’t you tired of a Congress that ties unrelated issues to “must pass” legislation? This amendment would address that problem (and others) that the Constitution is silent on:
Legislation introduced by either the House or the Senate shall address only one topic per bill. Amendments to any bill shall pertain only to the topic of the original bill. The legislature shall provide to the citizens of the United States a five day period of public review and comment on every final proposal for legislation before it is voted on by the people’s representatives or senators. Every piece of legislation that is introduced and voted on must contain reference to the section of the U.S. Constitution which gives authority for that function of the federal government (enumerated or implied powers) discussed in the legislation. No legislation shall be introduced or passed by Congress during the “lame duck” session between the dates of the General Election and the date the next Congress is sworn into office.
Does PH really think Congress will propose these amendments and send them to the states? (I think not. Congress couldn’t even muster the courage to impeach Justice Bader-Ginsberg for her failure to recuse on the same-sex marriage decision. Or to impeach President Obama for the three-page list of offenses I sent them.) The Founders recognized that the Congress might become so enamored of their own power they would begin to “lord it over” the states and the people. For this reason, they made provision in Article V for the state legislatures to be able to petition Congress to call for a convention so the states can propose amendments. This provision puts the states (not Congress) in charge of completing both the amendment proposal and ratification processes.
Speaking of ratification: I am certain that any “flawed” amendment that passes the convention will be rejected by the legislatures of the states. A “no” vote from only one legislative body (House or Senate) of 16 states will kill any amendment! There are far more conservative legislative bodies than that.
I am also certain that the states can pass and ratify these amendments within a few years, while Congress continues to ignore the cries of citizens who seek to restore the balance of power in favor of the states and the people. The out-of-control Congress will NEVER impose self-restraint through amendments that restrict their income and authority. But We the People of the sovereign states can reclaim our Republic if we have the 3/5 over-ride amendment and 16th amendment repeal or revision in our hands. With those two amendments, we can at least undo the damage done by the federal government’s failure to follow the current Constitution and a previous generation’s decision to ratify the 16th amendment.
patriot residing in Lemhi County, Idaho