At the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s annual meeting on Friday, Texas governor Greg Abbott called for a constitutional convention of States “to restore the rule of law in America.”
Abbott has proposed nine specific amendments to reign in federal government overreach and restore state autonomy, which conservatives argue has been steadily eroded since the founding of the United States nearly 250 years ago.
“The irony for our generation is that the threat to our Republic doesn’t come from foreign enemies, it comes, in part, from our very own leaders,” Abbott declared in his speech to the Foundation.
Currently, 27 states have filed active petitions with the U.S. Congress requesting a convention for the express purpose of establishing a federal balanced budget amendment.
Gov. Abbott is attempting to spur the Texas state legislature into action and file a similar petition, although his proposal goes beyond just requiring a balanced annual budget at the federal level.
Here are three of Gov. Abbot’s most interesting amendment proposals (courtesy Office of the Governor):
- Allow a two-thirds majority of the States to override a U.S. Supreme Court decision.
- Require a seven-justice super-majority vote for U.S. Supreme Court decisions that invalidate a democratically enacted law.
- Allow a two-thirds majority of the States to override a federal law or regulation.
The proposal sparked outrage from the Texas Democratic Party and the Texas chapter of the ACLU, both of which deemed Abbott’s plan as unserious and potentially dangerous.
Gov. Abbott and his political allies do have mainstream support in the Republican Party however, as presidential candidate Marco Rubio wrote an opinion piece in USA Today Wednesday promising to “promote a convention of states to amend the Constitution and restore limited government,” if elected.
Specifically, Rubio proposed term limits on both Congressional representatives and Supreme Court justices, as well as a balanced budget amendment.
“We are succumbing to the caprice of man that our Founders fought to escape,” wrote Abbott in a supplemental paper entitled ‘Restoring the Rule of Law with States Leading the Way’. “The cure to these problems will not come from Washington, D.C.“
Article V of the Constitution lays out two ways to propose amendments: two-thirds (34) states calling for a convention, or specific considerations drafted by the federal legislature (two-thirds of both Houses needed to consider). In each case, a three-fourths majority of the state legislatures (38) must agree on any specific amendment in order to ratify.
Since the first ten amendments were ratified in 1791, only 17 have been successfully implemented. The 27th amendment, which deals with Congressional salaries, was ratified in 1992.
All 27 amendments have been proposed by the U.S. Congress. A Convention of the States hasn’t been called since the Constitution itself was ratified in 1787.
[Dallas Morning News] [Office of the Governor] [USA Today] [U.S. National Archives]