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.
Dana Milbanks takes to the Washington Post with an op-ed accusing Representative Rob Bishop (R-Utah) and the GOP of trying to "rewrite the Constitution" because Bishop wants to empower states against an overreaching government, by using the amendment process.
"This repeal amendment gives states a weapon, a tool, an arrow in their quiver," he told a group of state legislators assembled at the Hyatt in downtown Washington. Of course, states have fired similar arrows before, and it led to a Civil War and Jim Crow - but Bishop wasn't going to get into that.
"I actually hope to have a series of statutes and amendments -- several amendments and several statutes -- that we can introduce this year," Bishop continued, "with the sole goal of not just cutting down the power of Washington to do things to people, but more importantly, is to empower states."
Several amendments? Would it be easier if they just got some red pens and walked over to the National Archives to do the job?
Lest you think this is a hair-brained scheme by one Republican lawmaker, consider that the Repeal Amendment, as proponents call it, has won the endorsement of the man who will be the next House majority leader, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.).
"The Repeal Amendment would provide a check on the ever-expanding federal government, protect against Congressional overreach, and get the government working for the people again, not the other way around," Cantor said in a statement of support. "In order to return America to opportunity, responsibility, and success, we must reverse course and the Repeal Amendment is a step in that direction."
Cantor, Bishop and the other supporters of the amendment believe they are rebalancing the Constitution in a way the Framers would like. But it's strange that the lawmakers would show their reverence for the Founding Fathers by redrafting their work.
Glenn Reynolds over at Instapundit schools Milbank in his typical succinct way:
DANA MILBANK THINKS AMENDING THE CONSTITUTION IS A STRANGE WAY TO HONOR THE FOUNDING FATHERS. In doing so, he displays his ignorance. The amendment process, after all, is part of the Constitution. The Framers had no illusions that they were creating perfection, and believed in the sovereignty of the people and in the power of the people to revise the Constitution as needed, through the process they created.
Ironically enough, Milbanks could have found that little tidbit over at The Constitution for kids, grades 4-7.
The Constitution can be changed. The Constitution is changed by an "amendment." Among the amendments is a list of the rights of the people. By listing these rights, they are made special. It is illegal for the government to violate those rights. As of 2006, there are 27 amendments. Not all of them involve rights, but many do. The first ten amendments are special. They are called the Bill of Rights.
There is a whole section on the amendment process, written in a way that even a child can understand. Perhaps someone should email the link to Dana Milbanks.
PS- As to the idea itself to empower states, there are pros and cons, but when a government starts imposing laws that are undeniably opposed by the majority of Americans, then states probably should have more power to protect their citizens from an overreaching runaway government that is abusing it's power.