by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
We can measure the continuing distaste and disrespect for the two and the parties by the progress of the Convention of States movement, regardless of which major candidate wins the 2016 election.
Meeting in Williamsburg, Va., a week ago, the nascent movement tried to show that a convention to propose amendments to the Constitution could be run with dignity and clarity, even though Article V of the Constitution has nothing to say about how such a convention should be organized after two-thirds of state legislatures ask for one. …
… The new movement therefore recruited 137 members of state legislatures to pretend to be delegates at a dry-run convention of the states. And the delegates earnestly drafted and presented amendments, discussing them in free and open debate.
Their decorum was intended to warm the hearts of many who believe that U.S. politicians, from top to bottom, have become too ruthless and intolerant. These delegates, however, were all on the same side in the movement to hamstring the federal government. So decorum aside, the six amendments they adopted might make most citizens’ and nearly all politicians’ blood run cold. They constitute a radical departure from the arc of U.S. history, and certainly from the path of the past 103 years.
• Requiring a two-thirds vote of Congress to approve any increase in the national debt, and ending the power of Congress to mandate spending by states or municipalities.
• Placing 12-year term limits on members of Congress.
• Limiting the powers under the constitutional clause that authorizes Congress to regulate interstate and international commerce.
• Giving Congress a right of approval of federal regulations. No regulation challenged by 25% of the members of either house would go into effect without support from majorities in both houses, and the president would have no veto against their decisions.
• Repealing the 16th Amendment, which authorized imposition of the income tax in 1913, and requiring supermajority votes for creating or raising federal taxes.
• Giving the states the power to abrogate any federal law, regulation, or executive order by votes of three-fifths of state legislatures.