Archive for the ‘Article V’ Tag

Turning   Leave a comment

I’m laying down the subject of Article V to move on to another.

Although I have spent a great deal of time and effort looking into Article V, I think it’s important to say that I am not convinced that such a movement will fix anything in our society.

We’ve drifted so far from liberty that we may never return to it without taking a sledgehammer to the current system and hoping a totalitarian dictatorship does not take its place.

Yes, I know there are those who believe that we already live in a totalitarian dictatorship, but friends who have immigrated from former Soviet-bloc nations and China tell me these folks really don’t know what they are talking about. To compare the United States to the governments they grew up under is, in their opinion, ludicrous. They at least have some frame of reference for what totalitarianism really is.

post-secession America mapWhich is not to say we’re not sliding that way pretty rapidly. My friends see that too, which is one reason I research and write as I do, because I think we’re running out of time to fix what is increasingly broken.

So, for a time, I am laying aside the discussion of government to explore something I think has a great deal more influence on us … or should … if we want to be actually free.

 

 

Trimming SCOTUS Authority   Leave a comment

How in the world did we end up with a Supreme Court that can rule tyranny is constitutional?

Examples?

  • Dred Scot
  • Plessy v. Ferguson
  • Affordable Care Act

Interestingly, the first two were later deemed unconstitutional by later courts, but we could have all have come to that conclusion easily enough without the SCOTUS telling us that. Clearly, keeping other human beings in slavery or in virtual slavery is unconstitutional.

So, since I’m throwing mud against a wall to see what sticks …

How about an Article V convention that proposes an amendment that requires that the Supreme Court base its decisions on the actual reading of the Constitution and their decisions can be overridden by state legislatures also operating on the actual reading of the Constitution?

What would be the outcome, do you think?

Trimming Congressional Authority   Leave a comment

What would you say if an Article V convention proposed an amendment that stripped Congress of its law-making authority?

  • I’ve already said I would be in favor of increasing the number of representatives so that representation would be based on populations of around 50,000 — maybe up to 100,000, but no more than that because Congress can’t effectively represent huge Congressional districts.
  • I’ve already said I would be in favor of term limits for Congress and the Senate.
  • I’ve already said I would be in favor of repeal of the 17th amendment to return control of the Senate to the states.

I would like to see an immediate repeal of all legislative laws in the United States and henceforth, all laws that Congress proposes must be signed off by the legislatures of the states — at least three-quarters of them. Once ratified, they would sunset after 10 years if not resubmitted to the states.

Does that seem drastic? What do you think would be the outcome?

Posted April 8, 2014 by aurorawatcherak in Government

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Amend Article V   Leave a comment

Yes, at the end of a series on amending the Constitution through a convention of the states to propose amendments, I am going to address changing the methods by which we amend the Constitution.

We have two methods. The only method that has ever been used is for two-thirds of each house of Congress to propose an amendment, which is then sent to the states for ratification.

The second method is for two-thirds of the states legislatures to call for a convention for the purpose of proposing an amendment (or amendments), which would again have to be ratified by the states. State legislatures have been taught to unnecessarily fear a “runaway convention” in which somehow same-sex marriage or repeal of the 2nd amendment becomes ratified.

The failure of the convention method to operate seemed like an unimportant matter when I first learned of it in college, but functionally it has given Congress a monopoly on all amendments. No amendment that Congress opposes, including necessary reforms of Congressional power, can be enacted if the states give all the power to reform Congressional power to Congress.

There have been a whole host of popular constitutional amendments that have gone nowhere in recent decades because of this monopoly on the power to amend the Constitution. Examples abound — balanced budget amendment, a line-item veto amendment, term limits, etc. — these might have been enacted if there had been a functioning alternative to the Congressional proposal method. That fact that one exists and we’ve thus far refused to use it doesn’t speak highly for the states as the guardians of liberty.

Cleaning up the wording in Article V so as to make it clear that this is not a constitutional convention but a convention for states to propose amendments would probably lay (some) those fears aside.

Of course, the successful exercise of an Article V convention would also do that. We fear what we have not done before.

Let’s do it!

Amendment Restoring Federalism   Leave a comment

The Founders feared concentrated powers and so created a federalist system.  Contrary to modern progressive spin, even the Federalists at the Constitutional Convention were not big government advocates (with the possible exception of Alexander Hamilton). They were federalists in that they believed the states, which formed the union, retained the strong position in the relationship and informed the “federated” government of its duties and obligations. That formulation of power — from states to DC and not the other way around — was the standard for about 80 years. We were not a nation, so much as a federation.

The term “federalism” has been demonized since the Civil War, relabeled “states’ rights” and usually forced to walk lock-step with slavery and the Confederacy. States’ right has been painted as evil and inherently abusive and anyone who questions that mindset is deemed “separatist”, “racist” or “unAmerican.”  The tactic has worked. The word “federalism” invokes passionate emotion in a day when so few Americans have any idea of the history of federalism or even of the Constitution.

Federalism is about states’ rights, yes! But it is also about individual rights. We are all, or could be, closer to our state and local governments than we are to the national government. Our Founders understood this and yet, for about a century, the federal government has increasingly sought to homogenize laws throughout all the states rather than allow for regional variations.

In 2011, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Bond v. United States that “by denying any one government complete jurisdiction over all the concerns of public life, federalism protects the liberty of the individual from arbitrary power. When government acts in excess of its lawful powers, that liberty is at stake.”

And yet you need to look no further than the EPA regulations on “clean” air to see that the homogenization of laws throughout all the states violates the liberty of individuals living in Alaska. Ultimately, the federal overreach rests with an interpretation of the Constitution that our founders would not recognize.

The powers “reserved to the states” under the 10th amendment are functionally non-existent if the Constitution’s enumerated powers are infinitely capricious. The 10th amendment doesn’t tell us what powers belong to the states, but its message is clear — the federal government has limited and enumerated powers, the states have all the rest and the states are required to exercise vigilant enforcement to keep the federal government in its place.

Yet, in 1985, a 5-4 court ruled in Garcia v San Antonia Transit Authority that “state sovereign issues — are more properly protected by procedural safeguards inherent in the structure of the federal system than by judicially created limitations on federal power.”

In other words, the judiciary is unwilling to limit federal power so beg Congress to do it.

Does any of us really think Congress will limit the power of the federal bureaucracy? Mark Begich is my senator — he who advocated for a carbon tax that would give ultimate power over commerce.

Article V is the people’s means to force reform where reform is needed. The only other non-violent alternative to strengthening federalism is simply to emigrate to some other country and hope things will be better there. I think that has about as much chance of working out as Mark Begich representing the people of Alaska.

Amendment to Restore Commerce   Leave a comment

Randy Barnett, constitutional law professor at Georgetown University suggests a list of 10 proposed amendments to the United States Constitution that would constitutionally enshrine certain ideas based on states’ rights and free market libertarianism.

We’ve already looked at some of his proposed amendments. Restrictions on the Congressional power to tax, Congressional term limits, and the “repeal amendment” are examples.

Amendment 2 of his bill of federalism would limit the Commerce Clause, by overruling the current interpretation, making it clear that commercial activities that occur wholly within a state are not subject to Congressional legislation.

It would restore the original intent of the Commerce Clause and leave intrastate activity to be prohibited or regulated by the states, or be left completely free of any regulations as states may choose.

If the regulations of any state become too oppressive, it is much easier for citizens or businesses to move to a friendlier state than to leave the country.

The proposed amendment would expressly permit Congress the power to regulate interstate pollution and to address such national security matters as the possession of weapons of mass destruction.. It would also leave untouched the delegated powers of Congress to regulate wholly intrastate activities to enforce civil rights as authorized by the 13th, 14th, 15th and 19th amendments.

It only restricts the improper interpretation of the Commerce and Necessary-and-Proper clauses that have been applied to wholly intrastate activity.

It’s a great idea, but ….

Doesn’t the 10th amendment already make clear that the federal government may not stick its fingers into intrastate commerce? If they’re ignoring the 10th, how does adding another amendment make them any more likely to obey it?

Constitutional Tax Reform   Leave a comment

In November 2013, Congressman Jim Bridenstine introduced HJ Resolution 104 to repeal the 16th amendment. Bridenstine and his cosponsors, Ron DeSantis and Thomas Massie contend that the 4th amendment was negated by the 16th amendment. The 4th amendment acknowledges “the right of people to be secure in their persons, houses, paper, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.”

Repealing the infamous amendment that created the national personal income tax is kind of a holy grail among conservatives. Even if you think repeal is unlikely, it still makes sense on principle. We can argue what should replace it … if anything … but the fact is that the 16th amendment shattered the Constitution, which required proportional taxation through the states, not an individual income tax that makes every income earning American a direct slave of the federal government.

The trio of Congressmen do not believe that abolishing the 16th Amendment would be a complicated process if their plan attracts the full support of the American people. House Joint Resolution 104 would eliminate the gift and estate taxes, taxes on investment earnings, and both personal and corporate income taxes. After the legislation gains approval there would be a two-year time period in which a new revenue system might be crafted.

The authors and supporters of House Joint Resolution 104 do not feel that knowing exactly how the 16th Amendment will be replaced has to be accomplished before repealing the amendment and abolishing the IRS. According to the Repeal 16 website, taking care of the “root problem” is the most important part of the equation. The website noted that before the 18th Amendment was repealed, ending the Volstead Act (prohibition), the federal government had not yet decided how to regulate alcohol.

“The 16th Amendment should be repealed, and the IRS should be eliminated. Viable alternative plans for raising revenue fairly to support constitutionally enumerated functions of the federal government have been proposed. As long as the 16th Amendment is in place and lobbyists dominate Washington, these alternatives will never be considered. The income tax code has become too complex for citizens to understand, and the annual time and expense required to comply with the income tax code has become intolerably burdensome.” Jim Bridenstine

According to the site “Repeal 16), The repeal and replace the Sixteenth Amendment approach is fairly simple, straightforward, and contains just three primary steps:

  • · Demand that every member of the House and Senate agree to co-sponsor the Repeal the 16th Amendment bill.
  • · Deliver that demand by writing, and emailing legislators, rallying friends, attending town-hall meetings.
  • · Engage in primary election activities against incumbents who choose to stand with the IRS and against we the people.

And, my own suggestion is, of course, for this to be a primary subject at an Article V convention of the states.

The immediate result of the repeal of the 16th amendment would be a return of the right of states to gather taxes in the way that they choose and to submit proportional payments to the federal government. How that would look would vary from state to state. If you’re okay with paying a state income tax, move to a state with an income tax. If you’re okay with paying a state sales tax, move to a state with a sales tax. If you would rather not pay taxes directly, you can advocate for your state to institute some other system. Alaska might just sell its natural gas to Japan and live off those proceeds, for example.

A secondary result would be to end revenue-sharing. That’s where the opposition would come in. But think about it! If the citizens of Alaska are no longer sending more than 1/3 of their income to the federal government, they might be willing to pay an income tax (or something else) to the state to receive tailored benefits that the citizens of individual states desire … or not, as the case may be. We do have the 13th largest oil reserve in the world, after all.

The federal government would still be funded, though likely at a substantially lower level. The jobs the federal government does now that are necessary (I’m willing to accept that there may be a few) can be done as effectively by state governments or … well, really, there’s a lot of stuff that can done by private industry and, if it is something people cannot live without, it will still exist, because people find a way to do what they cannot live without.

The major difference would be that the federal government would be beholden to the states for its funding, which would keep it in check … theoretically … if we remember what happens when we don’t keep our eye on it.

Jacquie Biggar-USA Today Best-selling author

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