Tea-Party affiliated group seeks constitutional change

A Tea Party activist is working to get state backing for a constitutional convention to pass a constitutional amendment that would give two-thirds of the states the ability to repeal congressional acts, such as the new health care law.

“It restores a lot of the sovereignty and a lot of the power that the states have lost,” said Marianne Moran, executive director of RepealAmendment.org and *former executive director of Tea Party In Action.

The Tenth Amendment has become useless because of Supreme Court decisions that have expanded federal power and because of the Seventeenth Amendment that stripped state legislatures of their right to name U.S. senators, Moran said.

“This doesn’t undo some of those bad Supreme Court cases and doesn’t resolve some of the problems of the Seventeenth Amendment, but it does restore some of the balance of power that was originally intended  ̶  and the mechanism by which we can control some of the out of control spending and get our debt under control,” she said.

Georgetown Law Professor Randy Barnett initially devised the idea in a 2009 Wall Street Journal opinion piece, which drew the attention of numerous Tea Party activists.

Several Tea Party groups back the amendment, Moran said.

Getting the backing of 34 states, the magic number needed under Article V of the U.S. Constitution to call a constitutional convention, could be an uphill climb, but Moran is undaunted.

Virginia will be the first state to vote on issuing a resolution calling for a constitutional convention to discuss what Moran calls the “Repeal Amendment” when its House of Delegates convenes in January.

“The founding fathers who put together our Constitution … were very, very concerned about the power a large federal government, which … was the driving reason behind the first 10 amendments; a lot of what they feared has come to pass,” Virginia House Speaker Bill Howell told The Daily Caller. “I think it is vitally important that we restore some of that balance, which has been taken away.”

Howell hopes to get bipartisan support for the resolution when he brings it up for a vote next year, and he has been working with state legislators in other states to convince them to back similar resolutions.

“It’s an issue that’s not a Democrat/Republican issue or a conservative/liberal issue,” Howell said. “I think most state legislators would be very interested in this…It returns to them some of that power that has been taken away.”

Moran has received overtures from other states in recent weeks since he published a Sept. 16 column in The Wall Street Journal in conjunction with Barnett about the proposed amendment.

“It would have to be a pretty egregious act by Congress to get two-thirds of the states to agree on anything,” Howell said. “But if that happened, I think this would be [a] tool I think they could have.”

The amendment would give the states the power to overturn federal laws even if they have the president’s signature.

“It takes 34 states to petition Congress and call for an Article 5 convention,” Howell said. “I think if Congress saw 30, 32 … states passing resolutions calling for the convention they would act  ̶  they’ve done that in the past…They did it with the Seventeenth Amendment and with other efforts.”

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  • dahni

    And a needed 29th Amendment. This is a start for refining it.

    29th Amendment

    1. Term Limits. 12 years maximum only. One of the possible options below.
    A. Two Six-year Senate terms
    B. Three Two-year House terms
    C. One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms
    2. No Tenure / No Pension. Members of Congress collect a salary while in office, and receives no pay when they are out of office. Salaries shall be capped at 75% of the Presidents alary.
    3. Future Members of Congress shall participate in Social Security. They do not have a separate retirement plan paid for by the American people.
    All government employees, Federal, State or Local, must participate in the same Social Security system as the rest of us.
    4. Congress will no longer vote a pay raise for themselves. Congressional pay will rise or fall annually by the lower of CPI or 3%.
    5. After serving the first day in office, no elected person will be permitted to accept a job that involves governmental funding until ten years after leaving the elected office.

    Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators woud serve their term(s), then go home and go back to work. Ask your current and potential Members of Congress if they will support these reforms.

  • dahni

    Here is another needed Amendment.

    For too long we have been too complacent about the workings of Congress. Many citizens had no idea that members of Congress could retire with the same pay after only one term, that they specifically exempted themselves from many of the laws they have passed (such as being exempt from any fear of prosecution for sexual harassment) while ordinary citizens must live under those laws. The latest was to exempt themselves from the Healthcare Reform … in all of its forms. Somehow, that doesn’t seem logical. We do not have an elite that is above the law.

    I truly don’t care if they are Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever. The self-serving must stop.

    In three days, most people in The United States of America can have the message. This is one proposal that really should be passed around.

    Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution:
    “Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States .”

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  • libertyatstake

    Better get started on my Amendments manifesto for the Constitutional Convention ….

    “Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive”