Skip to comments.Phony Constitutional Amendments
Posted on 08/02/2015 6:31:07 AM PDT by Kaslin
How do you know when a presidential candidate is being deceptive? No, silly, not when his or her lips are moving. Candidates often tell the truth -- like when they say they want your vote or your money. Moving lips are not a reliable clue.
So what is? Any statement that envisions an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
_Politicians often act as though the Constitution is a sacred text handed down from heaven, like the Bible. Unlike the Bible, though, they have all sorts of recommendations for improving it. These proposals fall into two general categories: hopeless fantasies and pathetic frauds.
This year, both Republicans and Democrats support revisions of the nation's charter. After the Supreme Court said gay couples have a constitutional right to marry, Ted Cruz said every justice should be subject to a retention election every eight years -- junking the life tenure for all federal judges provided by the framers.
Scott Walker wants an amendment to let states ban same-sex marriage. Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee also said the decision called for altering the Constitution.
Jeb Bush is against those proposals, but he has his own changes in mind. He favors an amendment to require a balanced federal budget. Rick Perry endorsed that when he ran in 2012. He, Huckabee and Santorum have endorsed an amendment to ban abortion.
Not that the GOP has a monopoly on such designs. Bernie Sanders is sponsoring a constitutional amendment to override the Supreme Court's rulings on campaign finance and "stop billionaires from buying elections." Hillary Clinton is on board, and so is Martin O'Malley.
What all these measures have in common is that they have no chance of coming to pass in the foreseeable future, if ever.
We've already elected a president who supported the Federal Marriage Amendment: George W. Bush. If he couldn't get it through at a time when the citizenry opposed same-sex marriage, a Republican successor is not going to get it through now, in stark defiance of public opinion.
Supporters may say Bush didn't make much of an effort, which is true but doesn't help their case. He didn't make much of an effort because he knew that trying to get it approved by a super-majority in both houses of Congress, and then winning ratification by three-quarters of the states, would be a waste of time.
The balanced budget amendment is one of those ideas whose time has come -- and gone. Back in the 1970s, there was even a push for states to call a constitutional convention to consider it, which fell short of the 34 needed.
Ronald Reagan was for the amendment, and so were many Democrats. But it went nowhere. In the 1990s, the need became even less evident when Congress and President Bill Clinton managed to eliminate the budget deficit all by themselves.
Overriding the Supreme Court's rulings on campaign finance regulation is even harder to imagine. In the first place, it would require a lot of ordinary people to demand action on a subject they understand only dimly. In the second, it would face concerted and well-funded opposition from the very interests that supposedly are empowered by the status quo.
The logic of the supporters undermines the plausibility of their strategy. If Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers can use their fortunes to prevent the election of candidates they dislike, why couldn't they prevent a constitutional amendment they reject? Passing the amendment, on the other hand, would prove it isn't needed, by dramatizing the weakness of moneyed interests.
In any case, it's not going to happen, if only because Republicans, who are universally opposed, are so dominant at the state level. After the 2014 elections, the GOP held legislative control in 30 states. Given their huge disadvantage, Democrats might as well try to land a kite on the moon.
Endorsing a constitutional amendment is a way of evading useful action, often because there is nothing to be done. Rather than admit defeat on a matter that is important to some voters, candidates try to gull them with solutions they know are bogus.
No one should be fooled. As Mark Twain might say if he were still around today, there are three kinds of falsehoods: Lies, damned lies and constitutional amendments.
How about letting States ban no-fault divorce?
What good are new Constitutional amendments if current ammendments aren’t being followed?
You just gotta love a defeatist ...
All you need is one Chief Justice with something to hide.
And a diabolical President who is allowed to hang it over his or her head.
I’ve always thought that proposed amendments to the Constitution are a silly issue to debate in a Presidential election, considering that the President has no role in the process.
You take all avenues within the framework of the constitution as part of the process of correcting the problems.
Those that think that you can just jump that because it’s “not going to work” and go into secession, or some sort of shooting war, have decided to forsake the very document they claim to revere, out of expediency and have not forfeited all of the moral and legal high ground.
I’ve been making this point for some time. Supporting an amendment is just a way for pols to pretend they are doing something about the out of control judiciary. Anyone as smart as Cruz knows it won’t happen, and it’s unnecessary. Congress has constitutional power to limit SCOTUS jurisdiction by any “exceptions” and “regulations” they choose to enact. That’s a much easier row to hoe than passing an amendment. If any of them were serious about it, they would be working for that rather than an amendment they know will never pass.
That, and we now know who he is trying to scuttle.
Mentions Cruz once after a litany of other candidate posits, but posts a picture of Cruz as the headliner.
Transparent projection much?
Yeah. In a sane world.
There's ALREADY an Amendment that allows states to ban same-sex marriage. It's the Tenth Amendment.
The states delegate power to the federal government, not the other way around.
Read post #11. I don't know who that Texas Eagle guy is but that is one of the most intelligent posts I've ever read on FR.
Or anywhere for that matter.
Saying they want an amendment is the ultimate playing to the crowd lip-service. It’s even more pathetic lip-service if they’re already in Congress. About 100 amendments a year get proposed, and every couple of decades one even gets out of committee. Any candidate who says they want an amendment is really saying “I want credit for fighting this, but I don’t actually want to fight it”.
Not just that, but perhaps the Article V approach to an Amendments Convention, with the specific stated purpose to limit the feral government.
The writer's mention of the amendment that Cruz was suggesting is perhaps the only one of the crop that is intended thru the Art V mechanism. All the others, the presumption is of using the Congress-initiated mechanism.
Interesting alone that the author does not even make any distinction between the two mechanisms, nor mention Art V in the first place.
phoney amendments like the 16th and 17th?
The President has the bully pulpit.
Not to mention the power of the VP in congress.
1)A balance budget amendment very nearly passed Congress, failed by 1 vote in the Senate I believe with 1 RINO voting no. Passing it is not an entirely unrealistic goal.
2)GW Bush supported an amendment to ban gay marriage, such an amendment could have passed in 1995 maybe but the time it was proposed, it was too late. Scott Walker supports an amendment to basically reinstate the defense of marriage act. Sadly even amendment will not pass now, but it certainly could have during the W Bush administration if anyone had the foresight to realize the damned court would toss out DOMA.
I would be quite content to leave the supreme court alone if we threw out the 17th amendment and returned that power to the states.
We would probably be a lot closer to 80 GOP senators in the senate.
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