One of the interesting consequences that went under the radar from last November’s elections is the fact that Republicans gained almost an overwhelming majority in state legislatures. So big in fact that they are now just two states away from being able to initiate a Constitutional Convention, and with states having liberal of Democratic majorities nearly being unable to have any say in the process.
American has not had a Constitutional Convention since 1787 when the Constitution was written and signed, and over the next 230 years any amendments to the document have all originated from Congress.
The State Senate of Tennessee has laid the legislative groundwork for something that hasn’t been done in the United States of America since the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia. With a vote of 27-3, the Tennessee Senate has voted to call a “convention of the states” in order to draft and pass an amendment to the Constitution that would require balanced budgets to be passed every year.
For those who are little fuzzy on their high school U.S. history knowledge, the Tennessean explains that the U.S. Constitution can be amended in two ways. The first would require a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers of Congress, an unlikely outcome in today’s hyper-partisan political arena. The second, on the other hand, requires that two-thirds of the states (34 in total) pass a resolution calling for a Constitutional Convention.
There are two ways to propose amendments to the Constitution. The first and more traditional method is through a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Then the amendment is sent to the state legislatures, where it needs ratification by three-fourths or 38 states in order to become law. Nearly all 27 amendments have followed this path.
But the Constitution also provides a second, more populist path to amending the document. If two-thirds or 34 states pass a resolution calling for a Constitutional Convention, delegates from all 50 states will meet to draft an amendment. This is what the Tennessee lawmakers are calling for in their resolution.
Of course, calls for a convention to pass a balanced budget amendment started in the 1970s and have failed each time. That said, with Republicans now controlling 32 state legislatures, this latest effort initiated by Tennessee seems to have the best chance of succeeding so far. – Zerohedge
Thoughts on bringing about a Constitutional Convention are mixed among scholars since such an act could provide states the ability seize power back from the Federal government, or it could potentially destroy the union as a whole. But more than this, it could allow the states to reign in much of Washington’s political power such as by creating amendments for term limits, and even repealing the amendment which facilitates the direct election of Senators.
As the ongoing populist movement continues to create change in many aspects of society and government, there has probably never been a more appropriate time for the states to come together to take a hard look at what their government has become. And if necessary to use the power of a Constitutional Convention to take back the power that is rightfully theirs from the bureaucrats in Washington who were never meant to rule over them.
Kenneth Schortgen Jr is a writer for The Daily Economist, Secretsofthefed.com, Roguemoney.net, and Viral Liberty, and hosts the popular youtube podcast on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Ken can also be heard Wednesday afternoons giving an weekly economic report on the Angel Clark radio show.