Wednesday, August 25, 2010

On the methods, purposes and legitimacy of corrective Constitutional Amendments

Constitutional Scholar, Professor Rob Natelson, has written an interesting article posted at the Tenth Amendment Center concerning State initiated amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

By the way, the italicized descriptive I used in the previous sentence I sort of coined several years back when I discovered the procedure while reading the Constitution and the Federalist Papers. Natelson's descriptive is a bit different than my own, whereas it is denominated in his article the state-application-and-convention method -- a minor piece of trivia that only matters if someone is interested in searching the archives of this blog for my own posts on the topic of State initiated amendment proposals. Anyway,...

Below is a relevant excerpt from Natelson's article.

Mr. Natelson writes:

The Founders created the state-application-and-convention process primarily as a way to rectify federal abuses of power. The Founders recognized that clarifying and corrective amendments might become necessary even when the proper reading of the document seemed clear. The Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Amendments all are examples of clarifying and corrective amendments.

Precisely! And I think it may be time for another known as the 28th. Which is Fourteen multiplied by two. Hmm. ;-)


Chiu said...

I have no objection to the process of Amendment other than that, in the current situation, it demonstrates a lack of real will.

It's akin to trying to negotiate a treaty while your enemy is still shooting at you. First, the shooting has to stop. If the enemy is unwilling to stop shooting on their own initiative, then you shoot them until they stop shooting back.

That is to say, the time to call a convention to draft amendments clarifying the intent of the Constitution on various subjects is after the government has been largely purged of those who support deviant interpretations. Until you take action to purge those deviants (absent clarification), calling for clarification of the intent of the law is refusing to recognize that they are deadly and determined enemies of that law.

You must act to remove them from power, otherwise your convention is just an impotent protest.

Terry Morris said...

Well, I think the process of gathering enough States to force Congress to 'call a convention to propose amendments,' would necessarily involve several things that would probably work to our ultimate advantage, including a lengthy period of time. Passing such an amendment proposal around to the various State legislatures and having them present it to their citizens at large would involve the very kind of process that I'd hope to initiate by it in the first place. Were such an amendment proposal to gain popularity among the general populace, it may be an election point for those running for State congressional office as well as the national.

Chiu said...

How does a lengthy period of time work to your advantage?

It seems, now that you describe the process, that this is an invitation for the overwhelmingly progressivist media to vilify and denigrate your ideas over the course of several years while the forces of tyranny have a free reign over the government. When the proposed amendment fails to gather the necessary support for the ratification process, they will assert that their own interpretation to the contrary is thus ratified by the will of the people.

Terry Morris said...

Based on everything else that's going on, my hope would be that a new interest in the constitution as a whole governing system which cannot contradict itself would emerge. Certainly evil, anti-constitutional leftist forces would direct every effort towards undermining our efforts, but I'm personally not afraid of the battle that lies ahead.

Ultimately we know that the economy is going to go into an irrecoverable inflationary spiral. When that happens all bets are off anyway. The secession movement will probably gain a whole lot of momentum at that critical point, and the battle lines will again be drawn between lovers of liberty and the masses on the opposite end of the spectrum.

But what would you suggest?

Chiu said...

Well, as I've said before, on the political side you need to elect representatives willing to impeach and remove from office those who trespass against the Constitution. This is the most direct and also most plausible way to reverse the destruction of America.

In all other things, you need to consider seriously and prepare for the probability that you will not be able to gain a sufficient majority to actually accomplish anything, and thus be forced to live through national collapse. This fortunately has a synergistic political effect, as the saying goes, actions speak louder than words.

When those who say the nation is in danger act as though it really might be, they have more credibility than when they blithely devote themselves to the political sphere with no contingency efforts. The media morons will mock and accuse you of acting to destabilize society, but that actually helps those who argue that the system could really fall apart.

After all, it is apparently beyond the grasp of most people why it is that printing money out and mailing it to the undeserving makes everyone (including those receiving the lard) poorer. But when they realize that those talking about the problems really expect to see society fall, they might be inspired to think a little harder on the subject.