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The Road to a Constitutional Convention [updated]

How to get 34 states

Mark Levin’s Liberty Amendments have certainly drawn more attention than my own diary. If you are interested in my proposed amendments glance through my previous entries, but I agree with Levin that a convention is the only way to reign in our over grown National Government.  Pasting the relevant parts of Article V:

“The Congress, …on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments…”

There are several different types of calls including general calls with no specified rationale (class I – We want a convention), a general call with a reason for the call (class II – We would like to discuss x at a convention), and general call tied to a specific proposed amendment (class III – we will support a convention but only if x is proposed).

Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin all have outstanding class I applications.  Additionally Alabama and South Carolina have convention requests “each implying that other amendments may be considered” for a total of 7 states with class I and II applications.

There are several class III applications including Prohibition of Polygamy, Supreme Court Limitations, proposed tax changes, and balanced budgets among others.  There are a total of 31 states with outstanding requests that could generate a call for a constitutional convention (when combining class I, II, and III).  The 19 states that do not have any class I, II, or III calls are: Alaska**, Arizona*, Florida**, Georgia**, Hawaii, Idaho**, Louisiana*, Maine, Montana*, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina**, Oklahoma**, Oregon, Tennessee**, Utah**, West Virginia, and Wyoming**.

* States where Republicans control both houses of the Legislature (3)

** States where Republicans control both houses of the Legislature by 2/3 or more and the governorship (9)

In order to reach a 2/3 of states there need to be 34 state legislatures with Class I, II, or III amendment applications.  There are currently 31 applications outstanding and so only a need for 3 more.  A coordinated effort in the 9 ultra-conservative states without outstanding applications could easily tip the line for a convention.  However, any such convention would need to abide by all applications that are used to justify such a convention (address each each class II and class III proposal needed to trigger the convention, along with any others – a la Mark Levin).  I can easily imagine Wyoming, Utah, and Oklahoma quickly moving together within a week to pass identical legislation to trigger a convention.  The question would be whether these three states could move faster than ultra liberal states (California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, etc.) to cancel theirs.

Once a convention is triggered please keep in mind the representatives will be sent from the states, not the National Republican Party, Congress, or Senate.  The amendments will be decided at the state level, not by Congress.  Nothing needs to appeal to Pelosi, although it might be critical to convince Steve Bullock (Democratic governor of Montana).  If such a convention could be called it would be critical to form amendments in such a way that Democrats from conservative states (Iowa, West Virginia, Kentucky, Colorado) and even moderate to liberal states (Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, New Hampshire, etc.) could agree because in order to be ratified 3/4 of states would have to accept the amendments (38 states).  To meet this threshold all states with Republicans controlling both houses (28 states) would be needed along with 10 more.  That is, these amendments would have to appeal to state interests (change the National government back into a Federal government) rather than merely conservative interests.  But, at this point the two are aligned.  Where Levin and I differ on amendments is in this little detail.  He focuses on the Framer’s original intent, while I wrote mine under the mindset of what could appeal to narcissistic state congressmen who would like to retain more power for themselves (and less to the Federal government).

Disclaimer – I am not a lawyer and I do not play one on TV.  Most of this information has been garnered from Wikipedia.  Please feel free to correct me.

Update* To those deliberately misreading this – the use of polygamy in moving toward a convention would NOT be to specifically address polygamy.  It would be to acknowledge the requests regarding polygamy as made by many states.  Any address of polygamy would probably either be rejected or co-opted into a DOMA like definition (The Federal government recognizes only the union of one man and one woman as a marriage).  To think I have suggested anything else is intentional misreading of my post.  The point would be to address all outstanding Class III applications (most of which would be rejected at convention).

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