It can always be changed.
THERE was something a bit frightening about America’s new Constitution in 1787. The “Founding Fathers” feared their revolution may have been in vain, if they allowed the Constitution to be ratified as written. They felt that Article V made it nearly impossible for the people of the states (parties to the contract) to amend the new Constitution. They wanted the people and the states to have the ability to amend the Constitution for good reason. It was the bulwark against an oppressive central government.
According to Madison’s notes [September 15, 1787] of the Convention the first person to argue against Article V as it was written, was Mr. Roger Sherman of Connecticut. “Mr. Sherman expressed his fears that three fourths of the States might be brought to do things fatal to particular States, as abolishing them altogether or depriving them of their equality in the Senate.”1 Madison also notes that Colonel George Mason of Virginia spoke out against Article V as written. “Col: Mason thought the plan of amending the Constitution exceptionable & dangerous. As the proposing of amendments is in both the modes to depend, in the first immediately, and in the second, ultimately, on Congress, no amendments of the proper kind would ever be obtained by the people, if the Government should become oppressive, as he verily believed would be the case.”2 It was Governor Morris of New York and Mr. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts that made the motion to include “on application of two thirds of the states”. After a series of votes Article V was complete and the Constitution was sent to the states for ratification on September 17, 1787.
Patrick Henry made an impassioned argument against the Article V requirements during the Virginia Ratification debates.
“Hence it appears that three fourths of the states must ultimately agree to any amendments that may be necessary. Let us consider the consequence of this. However uncharitable it may appear, yet I must tell my opinion — that the most unworthy characters may get into power, and prevent the introduction of amendments. Let us suppose — for the case is supposable, possible, and probable — that you happen to deal those powers to unworthy hands; will they relinquish powers already in their possession, or agree to amendments? Two thirds of the Congress, or of the state legislatures, are necessary even to propose amendments. If one third of these be unworthy men, they may prevent the application for amendments; but what is destructive and mischievous, is, that three fourths of the state legislatures, or of the state conventions, must concur in the amendments when proposed! … A bare majority in these four small states may hinder the adoption of amendments; so that we may fairly and justly conclude that one twentieth part of the American people may prevent the removal of the most grievous inconveniences and oppression, by refusing to accede to amendments. A trifling minority may reject the most salutary amendments. Is this an easy mode of securing the public liberty It is, sir, a most fearful situation, when the most contemptible minority can prevent the alteration of the most oppressive government; for it may, in many respects, prove to be such. Is this the spirit of republicanism?”3
The Founding Fathers that debated in the state legislatures embraced the notion of the states calling for a convention. They insisted on it and they referenced this in their ratification letters to Madison.
“And the Convention do, in the name and behalf of the People of this Commonwealth enjoin it upon their Representatives in Congress to exert all their influence and use all reasonable and legal methods to obtain a Ratification of the foregoing alterations and provisions in the manner provided by the fifth article of the said Constitution; and in all Congressional laws to be passed in the mean time, to conform to the spirit of those Amendments as far as the said Constitution will admit. Done in Convention this twenty seventh day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty eight.”4
“Under these impressions, and declaring, that the rights aforesaid cannot be abridged or violated, and that the explanations aforesaid, are consistent with the said constitution, and in confidence that the amendments hereafter mentioned, will receive an early and mature consideration, and conformably to the fifth article of said constitution, speedily become a part thereof; We the said delegates, in the name, and in the behalf of the People, of the State of Rhode-Island and Providence-Plantations, do by these Presents, assent to, and ratify the said Constitution.”5
“And the Convention Do. In the Name & behalf of the People of this State enjoin it upon their Representatives in Congress, at all Times untill the alterations and provisions aforesaid have been Considered agreeably to the fifth Article of the said Constitution to exert all their Influence & use all reasonable & Legal methods to obtain a ratification of the said alterations & Provisions, in such manner as is provided in the said article-And That the United States in Congress Assembled may have due notice of the assent & Ratification of the said Constitution by this Convention.”6
The Constitution allows the Congress and the states to propose amendments and only the states have the authority to ratify those amendments. The first method allows Congress to propose amendments when such amendments are approved by at least a two?thirds vote in both houses.7 The second method requires Congress to call a constitutional convention to propose amendments when two?thirds of the States apply for such a convention.8
“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.”
Clearly the Founding Fathers recognized the necessity of amending the Constitution. Madison and Hamilton wrote about it extensively in Federalist #43 and #85. Through experience and learning the Constitution would need to be amended. They recognized that the American people would elect unworthy people into the Congress and that body could become oppressive and steal the Liberty from future generations. This is why they embraced the notion of the states being able to call a convention for the purpose of proposing amendments.
The American people find themselves being governed by a Congress who are unworthy of that trust. The Congress has allowed the general government to grow massively over the past 100 years. We sent unworthy people to that body that have driven our nation into unbelievable debt. In our name the Congress has an $18 trillion dollar operating deficit and $200 trillion in unfunded promises (social security, medicare, medicaid). In our names this government has sanctioned the murder of 56 million babies since Roe v Wade and we indiscriminately bomb other people around the world. To prop up wealthy corn farmers ethanol mandates starve the poorest in meso America as we burn up corn on the nations highways. With an environmentalist zeal our government is responsible for the death of a million babies per year in sub saharan Africa from malaria, because we deny them the use of DDT. It is a government that regulates light bulbs, toilets, shower heads, automobiles, education, banking, insurance, virtually everything in our lives is regulated by this behemoth Leviathan. That is not Liberty that is slavery.
These unworthy people in Congress and the Leviathan are not going to STOP … EVER … until you are impoverished or dead. We have only one way out. The states must call for a convention to propose amendments and once again proclaim their sovereignty.
1The Records of the Federal Convention. September 15, 1788. pg 629
3Patrick Henry, Virginia Ratification Debates, Thursday June 5, 1788.
4Ratification of the Constitution by the State of Virginia; June 26, 1788.
5Ratification of the Constitution by the State of Rhode Island; May 29, 1790
6Ratification of the Constitution by the State of New Hampshire; June 21, 1788
7US Constitution, Article V
CONSERVATIVE-BASHING is easy sport. The Conservative’s radical ideas, from individual responsibility and fiscal sanity, Constitutional Republic, and Republican Party infighting, leave Conservatives vulnerable to attack. The Conservative stand on states rights and federalism, amnesty and welfare, makes Conservatives seem callous and mean. Such assessments overlook the Conservatives desire for freedom and individual Liberty as they continue to address the attack on our Constitutional Republic. Mark R. Levin’s new book gives us the Founders constitutional path to restore our Constitutional Republic.
Mr. Levin brings intellectual evidence of two sorts. He has run Landmark Legal Foundation for many years, has written several books Men in Black, Liberty & Tyranny, Ameritopia, and hosts an extremely popular radio show nightly. He is a Constitutional scholar and a clear-eyed patriot about the current state of our Constitutional Republic.
Much of Mr. Levin’s book are notes and original text of the Founders to support his eleven amendments. He uses their words to illustrate how his eleven amendments comport with the original understanding of our Constitutional Republic. For example Term Limits.
AN AMENDMENT TO ESTABLISH TERM LIMITS FOR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
SECTION 1: No person may serve more than twelve years as a member of Congress, whether such service is exclusively in the House or the Senate or combined in both Houses.
SECTION 2: Upon ratification of this Article, any incumbent member of Congress whose term exceeds the twelve-year limit shall complete the current term, but thereafter shall be ineligible for further service as a member of Congress.
The Founders would be aghast at the professional politicians that occupy our government in Washington DC. While many Founders like James Madison and Thomas Jefferson spent a lifetime in government, they cycled between the states and Washington DC. The original concept was the citizen servant, not career politician in Washington DC. The career politician finds themselves motivated to do things to justify their existence. Generally the things they do to justify their existence harm the citizen and this amendment is designed to return us to the original concept of citizen servant.
The scholarship of Mr. Levin’s book fixes the problems that led to the 17th Amendment – direct election of Senators. The Founders wanted the states represented by two Senators selected by the state legislature, but the politics within the states resulted in many Senate vacancies. Mr. Levin’s Amendment fixes the problems and returns to the Founders original concept.
AN AMENDMENT TO RESTORE THE SENATE
SECTION 1: The Seventeenth Amendment is hereby repealed. All Senators shall be chosen by their state legislatures as prescribed by Article I.
SECTION 2: This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.
SECTION 3: When vacancies occur in the representation of any State in the Senate for more than ninety days the governor of the State shall appoint an individual to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the term.
SECTION 4: A Senator may be removed from office by a two-thirds vote of the state legislature.
Mr. Levin’s Amendment outright repeals the 17th Amendment, addresses term limits, and forces the Governor to appoint a new Senator in the case of a vacancy. This fixes the Senate vacancy problem that caused the 17th Amendment to be ratified in the first place.
The other extremely important Amendment suggested by Mr. Levin is a control on the Supreme Court. The Founders never envisioned a Supreme Court where the vote of one judge could over turn the Constitution.
AN AMENDMENT TO ESTABLISH TERM LIMITS FOR SUPREME COURT JUSTICES AND SUPER-MAJORITY LEGISLATIVE OVERRIDE
SECTION 1: No person may serve as Chief Justice or Associate Justice of the Supreme Court for more than a combined total of twelve years.
SECTION 2: Immediately upon ratification of this Amendment, Congress will organize the justices of the Supreme Court as equally as possible into three classes, with the justices assigned to each class in reverse seniority order, with the most senior justices in the earliest classes. The terms of office for the justices in the First Class will expire at the end of the fourth Year following the ratification of this Amendment, the terms for the justices of the Second Class will expire at the end of the eighth Year, and of the Third Class at the end of the twelfth Year, so that one-third of the justices may be chosen every fourth Year.
SECTION 3: When a vacancy occurs in the Supreme Court, the President shall nominate a new justice who, with the approval of a majority of the Senate, shall serve the remainder of the unexpired term. Justices who fill a vacancy for longer than half of an unexpired term may not be renominated to a full term.
SECTION 4: Upon three-fifths vote of the House of Representatives and the Senate, Congress may override a majority opinion rendered by the Supreme Court.
SECTION 5: The Congressional override under Section 4 is not subject to a Presidential veto and shall not be the subject of litigation or review in any Federal or State court.
SECTION 6: Upon three-fifths vote of the several state legislatures, the States may override a majority opinion rendered by the Supreme Court.
SECTION 7: The States’ override under Section 6 shall not be the subject of litigation or review in any Federal or State court, or oversight or interference by Congress or the President.
SECTION 8: Congressional or State override authority under Sections 4 and 6 must be exercised no later than twenty-four months from the date of the Supreme Court rendering its majority opinion, after which date Congress and the States are prohibited from exercising the override.
This Amendment gives Congress and the states power to override majority opinions and it embraces the concept of federalism and states rights. Term limits on Supreme Court Justices is an absolute necessity, because as Mark R. Levin lays out in detail in his book Men in Black the Supreme Court Justices that were racist, mentally incompetent, and several verifiably insane.
With the ever growing size of unconstitutional government, Levin frames the argument with federalism and states rights. Levin’s plan bypasses Washington DC and returns the power to the states. Article V of the Constitution was specifically inserted by the Founders as a protection for the states and the people. The highlighted portion of Article V below gives us the Constitutional method to secure the future.
“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.”
Probably the most powerful element of Mr. Levin’s plan is the virtual repeal of the insidious 14th Amendment. Or at least reversing the insidious manner in which Congress and the courts use the 14th Amendment to bludgeon the states and the people. This may be his final volume of his Liberty trilogy, but as Liberal media collapses and alternative media grows. Mr. Levin will most likely devise a plan to reach-out to more-and-more Americans with the message of Liberty.
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