May 4, 2014
STATE-LED CALLS FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS: If you can’t get 2/3 of both houses of Congress to propose a constitutional amendment, you can bypass it and get 2/3 of the State legislatures to call for a constitutional convention. While none of the 27 constitutional amendments have been enacted via a state-called convention, the possibility is increasingly intriguing to those on both the political left and right.
Liberals and progressives have begun an effort to get States to propose a convention focusing on amending the First Amendment– yep, you heard that right. Vermont’s uber-liberal legislature on Friday just called for such a convention. They are furious over the Supreme Court’s decisions to uphold free speech via political spending in Citizens United and McCutcheon v. FEC. So they want to restrict the First Amendment by somehow trying to insert language that prohibits spending in political campaigns.
Conservatives and tea party supporters are considering calling a state-led constitutional convention to ponder amendments relating to balanced budgets, limiting federal power, and even repealing the Sixteenth Amendment (federal income tax). There is a large planning meeting for this possibility taking place in Indianapolis this June.
Hmmm…. let’s consider the themes here: The liberals/progressives want to amend the Constitution to limit one of our most fundamental freedoms. The conservatives/tea partiers want to amend the Constitution to limit government power. But somehow the average American–even prominent Republicans themselves– thinks of the GOP as the “Party of No”?