Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Time for a Constitutional Convention?

Well, Lawrence Lessig and Mark McKinnon certainly think so. In today's Daily Beast, the two - one a conservative one a liberal - lay out their rationale for why a Constitutional convention might just be a good idea. Write the pair,
Washington is hopelessly addicted to money and thus to the status quo; drunk with power and incapable of getting sober and fixing itself. It’s time for an intervention—by the states.

As anyone with a cursory interest in the United States Constitution knows, there is a way to amend the Constitution without Congressional approval. As laid out in Article V, the Constitution states (emphasis mine),
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, 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, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

This may be the only way we can rein in Congress. As Lessig and McKinnon state, Washington has long since abandoned any pretense of adhering to their constituents' wishes. Members of Congress engage in open graft, corruption and legal thievery to grease the palms of their corporate, nonprofit and governmental special interests. And thei spending is simply out of control. And if I were to propose amendments, they would be as follows:

  1. Any Act passed by Congress will apply to all elected, appointed and career members of the executive, legislative and judicial branches.

  2. No regulatory agency has authority to alter or amend its scope or requirements without said regulation being reviewed and approved by Congress.

  3. Neither Congress, the Executive nor the Judicial Branch may nationalize or have any ownership interest in any business, industry or other commercial endeavor.

  4. Neither Congress nor any State may mandate the individual purchase of any goods or services.

  5. Prisoners of War and non-legitimate combatants as defined by the Geneva Convention are not entitled to any access to any US court.

  6. No executive order may remain in effect for more than 365 days without Congressional review and approval.

  7. No Act of Congress may remain in effect for more than five years without Congressional review and approval.

  8. The President shall have a line-item veto as defined in California's Constitution Article IV, Section 10e

  9. The Second Amendment shall be interpreted as follows: The right of individuals to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

This would be a good place to start. We need to get the career corruptocrats out of Washington and remind Congress that this is a Federal system of checks and balances - not a parliamentary format where the national government has all the power!

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