On July 10th, in the first hour of his radio show, Mark Levin (Constitutional Lawyer, A Tea Party Leader) announced the name of his new book, to be released August 13, is “The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic”. I’m taking a class on the U.S. Constitution, so I knew instantly that he was referring to Article V:
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…
In America, we have what political scientists call a “democracy deficit” – this occurs when a governing body claims their legitimacy is derived from the consent of those they govern, yet the governed have lost the ability to hold their government accountable. This term usually refers to, in political science literature, the illegitimacy of the European Union because it claims broad sweeping powers –the Euro / monetary policy, for example – yet the average European is effectively disconnected from EU policymakers. THAT is exactly what the progressives have done to America. Some examples:
- Obamacare passed despite the fact a) no one read it & b) 59% of public opposed it & just 39% approved it. (so why did it pass?)
- Although a new GOP governor was elected in Virginia in 2009, by huge margins, both of our U.S. Senators (Democrats) maintained their support for Obamacare.
- Over 84% want English to be America’s official language –no vote in Congress.
- In 2010, because of the tea party surge, the GOP gained 63 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, recapturing the majority, the largest seat change since 1948, largest for any midterm since 1938 and yet not one member of tea party caucus was elected to Speaker or given any leadership positions.
- In addition, those historic 2010 victories gave the House a mandate to repeal Obamacare and cut spending – yet under Speaker Boehner, members were pressured to approve Continuing Resolutions (CRs) that dumped trillions more debt on our kids & continued funding for Obamacare, Obama’s vacations, DHS purchase of 1.6 Billion rounds of Ammo and many other bad programs Why?
So, clearly, the American people feel untethered from their elected representatives…and the feeling is mutual!! The President, Congress, leaders of both parties are ignoring the wishes of the people except, strangely, the Supreme Court seems sensitive to “changes in public opinion” – but their supposed to make decisions on the facts, the law and THE CONSTITUTION!!! So, the voice of the people matters only when they happen to line up with the political elites, which means they don’t really matter at all.
The problem that has perplexed the Tea Party, and others who wish to restore sanity to our political process, is how to “Clean out the barn!”, as Ross Perot said, when reforms of Congress must be approved by the same Congress that needs reform. Asking Congress to reform itself is like asking criminals to turn themselves in. There’s a reason that seven of wealthiest 10 counties in America are within commuting distance of Washington, DC. Millions make a very good living off this corrupt system and they’re not going to let anyone derail the gravy train anytime soon.
So, what to do? Many of U.S. ask our intellectual leaders and, after “call your congressman” lost all its credibility, even our leaders were stumped. We tried to “vote the bums out” in 2010 – no luck. Even worse, in a blatant act of real voter suppression, we now discovered the IRS was being used to punish tea party groups, in the run-up to the 2012 election. We also discovered the NSA is being used to gather information about US including cell phone records, emails, Facebook postings, etc.
When confronted with the ugly truth of spying on all US Citizens – talk about your general warrants – Congress circled the wagons and claimed, simultaneously, that nothing new had been revealed by Edward Snowden, and Snowden had put the country in grave danger – how can both be true? Nevertheless, because all that FSA Court & NSA activity is being done in private, President and Congress asked that we trust them. Well, we don’t – as Obama himself admitted June 7th, when asked about the revelations:
That’s not to suggest that, you know, you just say, trust me, we’re doing the right thing, we know who the bad guys are… that’s not how it works because we’ve got congressional oversight and judicial oversight. And if people can’t trust not only the executive branch but also don’t trust Congress and don’t trust federal judges to make sure that we’re abiding by the Constitution, due process and rule of law, then we’re going to have some problems here.
Yes, Mr. President, indeed, we have “some problems here”. The distrust of government – at all levels, in both parties – is creating a serious problem. Which brings us to the beautiful simplicity of Mark Levin’s idea about the Liberty Amendments: using the 2nd part of Article V, we can exclude the folks we don’t trust anymore, the President and Congress, from the solution. Look again at Article V – there are two ways to submit amendments to states for ratification: 1) approval of two-thirds of Congress (not likely) or 2) approval from two-thirds of state legislatures. So far, all post-Bill of Rights Amendments used Option #1. Mark Levin, rightly, says it’s time to use Option #2. In fact, it’s the only option that can be used for meaningful reforms.
The good news is that, as a result of the tea party work in the 2010 elections, the GOP gained over 680 state legislature seats and now have unified control — meaning both chambers — of 26 state legislatures. Two-thirds of 50 states means we need about 34 total state legislatures to “call a Convention for proposing Amendments” – let’s call it the “Proposal Convention” –others will come up with other names, but I don’t want to call it a “Constitutional Convention” – Levin has made the point, rightly, that unlike the original Constitutional Convention, the Proposal Convention will not place amendments in the Constitution, but will propose amendments for the states to consider for ratification. Only if three-fourths of the states approve each proposed amendment, separately, would that particular amendment be added to the Constitution. In his book, the Liberty Amendments, Levin says he will cover the history of the amendment process as well as the constitutional arguments related to the amendments that Levin will propose. I can’t wait – not only is Levin brilliant, but on this subject in particular, it seems he was born to do this – argue reforms to restore liberty for U.S.
Indeed, Levin, a constitutional lawyer, has indicated he has already drafted the legal language for each of his proposed amendments. Before any amendments can be considered, the Proposal Convention itself must be called from 34 state legislatures. Fortunately, the large population states that are desperate to keep feeding at the federal trough – California, Illinois, New York, Michigan, etc., can’t stop this process. As long as 34 states approve, the Proposal Convention goes forward. I predict that, once the ideas catch fire, momentum should get us to the magic number 38 for ratification.
Of course, Levin’s book will cover all this with much greater detail, citations and research than I’m capable of. In particular, I’m curious to find out, in Levin’s book, which ideas he argues would make good amendments, and what our founders, like George Mason, had to say about this process. I am very excited to dive into the new book and see which areas I can help advance. I’ve already ordered a signed “deluxe” copy for myself and a copy for my kids in anticipation of Levin’s just announced book-signing tour to promote the book and the cause of freedom over tyranny. I plan to attend the book-signing August 24th at Tyson’s Corner, VA. Maybe I’ll see you there?
For details of what I’d like to see considered at the Proposal Convention, click:
The Liberty Amendments – My First Five