Amendment Process

Boehner Debt Ceiling Bill Dead On Arrival With Its Demand For Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment For Later Raising Of The Debt Ceiling In 2012!

The Debt Ceiling proposal of Speaker of the House John Boehner barely made it through the House of Representatives yesterday by a vote of 218-210, with 22 Tea Party radicals voting against the proposal.

It has already been defeated in the Senate by a motion to table it, and the President has already indicated that he would veto it were it to pass the Senate.

And there is good reason to defeat it, as it requires another vote in six months on the extension of the debt ceiling, in the midst of a presidential campaign, and would guarantee further economic turmoil while the economy is in such a deep recession. It is reckless and irrational to complicate the economic recovery, and the Democrats are right in demanding an extension of the debt ceiling for 18 months until after the Presidential Election of 2012.

But beyond all this, there is another element to consider, and that is the demand under the Boehner legislation that the Congress MUST pass a balanced budget constitutional amendment, or else the debt ceiling will NOT be raised at all, six months from now!

This is economic terrorism at its worst, and it is, of course, impossible to accomplish!

Realize there are 240 Republicans in the House of Representatives in the 112th Congress, and 47 Republicans in the US Senate.

To accomplish the passage of any constitutional amendment and send it on to the states, a two thirds vote is required in both houses, which means you need 290 votes in the House if everyone is voting, and 67 Senators.

This would mean that at least 50 Democrats in the House of Representatives and 20 Democrats in the Senate would have to support such an amendment, and that simply is NOT going to happen under any circumstances!

And the irony is even if such an occurrence came about, there is almost no chance that 38 state legislatures (three fourths of the states) would pass such an amendment by a majority vote in both houses!

All that would be needed is to have one house of the state legislature by a one vote margin of defeat in 13 states kill the amendment, and one must recall that the proposed Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s reached 35 states, three short of the required 38, and then died.

So the possibility of a constitutional amendment under the so called “best circumstances” to be added to the Constitution is less likely than that we are going to send astronauts to Mars in the next decade!

In other words, the odds are absolutely ZERO!

Back To the 19th Century Mentality: Proposed Amendment Would Permit State Nullification Of Federal Laws! Have We Failed To Learn The Meaning Of Our Constitution? :(

Just as we begin to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the beginnings of the Civil War over the next year, we now see a movement promoted by Congressional Republicans, including future House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, to propose a constitutional amendment that would allow states to overrule any act of Congress, effectively nullification of federal law! 🙁

This battle was fought by Andrew Jackson in the Nullification Crisis of 1832-1833, when he threatened John C. Calhoun and South Carolina with federal military intervention if that state refused to obey the federal tariff law.

It was also being threatened by Zachary Taylor if any state attempted secession during the debate over the Compromise of 1850.

It was also the reaction of Abraham Lincoln when the Southern states seceded from the Union and seized American military property and bases in 1860-1861.

These were three Presidents of different parties, all from Southern slave states of birth, who were ready to uphold the federal government’s authority over the states, and actually led to Lincoln’s actions against the Confederacy during the Civil War.

But now, a century a a half after this issue was supposed to have been resolved by the Northern victory, there is a push on to allow just that–states refusing to obey the federal laws and Constitution and claiming the right to do so! 🙁

If the legislatures of two thirds of the states–34–voted for such a repeal of a federal law, it would not be in effect. So far, 12 states have supported such an amendment being introduced.

Of course, two thirds of the House of Representatives and two thirds of the Senate would have to agree to such an amendment, which is hard to imagine, as it would limit their own power and authority.

Additionally, 38 states, three fourths, would have to ratify such an amendment, and that also seems extremely unlikely, as there are more than 12 states which certainly, in a political sense, would oppose such a concept.

While one cannot be sure of the exact dynamics of which states would be opposed to such an amendment, were it to make it through the House of Representatives and Senate, the likelihood would be that the following states would NOT support such an amendment: Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, California, Washington, Oregon, and Hawaii.

Thirteen of these seventeen states would be enough to stop such an amendment, and realize that there are other states that might also oppose it, including Maine, Ohio, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, Montana, Colorado, and New Mexico, which would bring the total to a potential 25.

And also realize, in other states that might be seen as supporting such an amendment, all that would be needed to defeat it is a one vote margin of defeat in one of the two houses of the state legislature.

Another consideration is that such an amendment would allow small states with small populations to have equal influence on such nullification, despite having, in many cases, tiny population totals as compared to large states, so even large states which might be motivated to support such an amendment would not be pleased that small states would have an inequitable influence on repeal of federal laws.

So basically, this is all demagoguery, and a sign that many people do not understand their own Constitution, and the concept that ONLY the national government can speak for the nation through the tortorous process of passing laws through our Congress, and that the state legislatures, many of them incompetent and corrupt on a far greater level than our Congress, have no ability or competence or justification to interfere with what is good for the nation at large,whether they like it or not!

Tea Party Activists: Back To The Articles Of Confederation, States Rights, And Secession! NO WAY! :(

There is a new movement developing to promote a constitutional amendment to take away the power of the federal government, and allow states to refuse to obey federal laws and statutes! This is secession all over again, just as we come close to the 150th anniversary of the secession of the Southern states between December 1860 and April 1861! 🙁

Tea Party activists and other conservative interests want to negate the effects of the Civil War, which ended for all time the concept that states rights could be utilized to defy federal law and the Constitution!

Basically, what these radical extremists want to do is revive the Articles of Confederation, which denied the national government any real authority, and totally failed between 1781-1789! The American people were in the “critical period” during this decade, with states going their own way and no federal authority to enforce the concept of one nation indivisible! The Founding Fathers saw the necessity of a stronger national government when they gathered at Philadelphia in the spring and summer of 1787, and drew up the Constitution we live under now for 221 years!

These Tea Party activists fail to understand our history, and the essential nature of having a central government which keeps order and promotes freedom and liberty!

The history of the states is that many have failed to promote equality and freedom, so all this does is try to revive the past, when the mass of common citizens were denied just treatment under the law!

Do we really want to go back to the era of the Articles of Confederation; or the times of the Southern Confederacy; or the Gilded Age, when big corporations ran rampant over the rights of their workers, and immigrants and women and children were exploited for the benefit of unbridled capitalism? 🙁

Do we want the rights of minority groups and women taken away by state governments that historically have not given any concern to basic human rights?

Is this not a power play by conservative interests to bring back the 19th century, the “good old days” of slavery, segregation, labor exploitation, mistreatment of women and children, and widespread nativism against immigrants? 🙁

Has not the American dream been advanced by the federal government, the Supreme Court, and Presidents of both parties who saw the NATIONAL interest, not petty, sectional and regional interests, as essential for the common good?

The fortunate thing about this mad rush to destroy everything that has been good about our national experience is that it requires a constitutional amendment–two thirds vote of the House of Representatives and of the Senate, and three fourths (38) of the states with majority vote in both houses of the state legislature!

This is a tall order, and thank goodness, the Founding Fathers, in their wisdom, made sure that outrageous ideas such as this loony amendment would not see the light of day, beyond the suggestion itself!

The American people need to make clear in their votes this November that the Tea Party activists are repudiated as a anti democratic movement that would take away progress, human freedom, equality, and basic fairness!

The American dream was not meant to be in the form that these disgraceful extremists wish to take it! 🙁