Vets Dying in Line is No Fairytale – VA Secretary’s Absurd Disney Comparison a Disgrace to Heroes
This Memorial Day as we honor the fallen, let us not forget our solemn vow to the living.Read More »
The assault on American traditions and freedoms led by the current congress and the Agitator-in-Chief has not gone unnoticed. The Tea Party movement is one such reaction. A popular movement to study and understand the original meaning of the Constitution is another (also see here). And finally, means to strengthen the original meaning of the Constitution, enforcing the original meaning with structural changes in the government, are being widely considered.
Last week Randy Barnett, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory at Georgetown University, inspired by the originalist vision of the Tea Parties, wrote an op ed in the Wall Street Journal that argued for the enactment of a federalism amendment limiting the powers of the federal government. Ilya Somin at Volokh and others have been sending their learned feedback to Barnett, who revised his proposal from the single amendment with five sections in his WSJ op ed to Ten Federalism Amendments.
The Ten Amendments of The Bill of Federalism
- Article of Amendment 1: [Limits on Federal Power]
- Article of Amendment 2: [Unfunded Mandates and Conditions on Spending]
- Article of Amendment 3: [Reserved Powers of States]
- Article of Amendment 4: [Recision Power of States]
- Article of Amendment 5: [No Federal Death Tax]
- Article of Amendment 6: [No Federal Income Tax]
- Article of Amendment 7: [Term Limits for U.S. Senators and Representatives]
- Article of Amendment 8: [Balanced Budget Veto]
- Article of Amendment 9: [Protection of the Rights Retained by the People]
- Article of Amendment 10: [No Judicial Alteration of the Constitution]
PJTV has a thorough discussion by Barnett and Tea Party organizers on the merits of the proposed amendment that is worth listening to if you have an hour to invest. If you don’t have the time, I’ll summarize what I think are the most important points from the discussion.
State sovereignty resolutions haven’t yet passed in all 35 states, but if they did that would be 70% of the states, which is more than the 2/3s requirement for constitutional amendments (though less than the 75% required for ratification). The fact they are being considered at all in 35 states including such heavily Dem states as Wisconsin and Iowa is an indication that federalism is more popular than the statist ideological echo chamber of the media would have us believe.
The point of this explication was that there is sufficient interest in the states to indicate that a raft of amendments limiting the power of the federal government have a chance of passing in the states, even if the federal legislature opposes them. Assuming the Constitution has any power left at all, this change cannot be stopped by the federal government!
That is the strategy.
Though these changes are never going to be popular with the political classes, they are popular with the grassroots, as demonstrated by the people’s Tea Party movement. It is impossible to force any centralized agenda upon the Tea Parties, but if conservatives can articulate the concerns of the movement they can use the momentum to reform the Republican Party as a winning conservative party rather than a bunch of feckless go-along-to-get-along Democrats lite doomed to always sabotage real conservatives and lose every contest to real Democrats (also see RMSP, RLC, Benedict Arlen Specter, the Gang of 12, and DeMint’s “Big Party” op ed).