Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Constitutional conundrum: Michigan demand for a balanced budget could trigger amendment convention

By Stephen Dinan  -  The Washington Times  -  Monday, March 31, 2014

madisonMichigan lawmakers last week voted to demand a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, a move that could set into motion a never-tested, widely feared convention with the power to rewrite part of the founding document.

The lawmakers voted to ask Congress to call what is known as an Article V constitutional convention.

If Congress agrees with the count, Michigan is the 34th state to do so, creating the two-thirds majority required to force the historic gathering.

But plenty of questions remain unanswered: Is Michigan really is the 34th state? If so, will Congress respond, will the courts get involved in forcing a convention, and what happens once a convention begins?

“It’s a bunch of question marks,” said Gerard N. Magliocca, a law professor at Indiana University who has performed some of the key research on Article V conventions.


Among those questions is whether an application can be rescinded and how similar the states’ calls must be in order to be valid.

Article V of the Constitution is strikingly vague. It lets Congress propose amendments, but it also allows that “on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, [Congress] shall call a convention for proposing amendments.”

That second option has never been exercised. All 27 amendments to the Constitution have been proposed through approval by two-thirds of Congress, but Gregory Watson, a constitutional scholar, said Michigan’s application last week could test the other method under Article V.

Taking it back

By Mr. Watson’s count, Michigan is the 34th state to call for a convention on a balanced budget. The chief problem is that about a dozen legislatures have rescinded their states’ applications.

“There is disagreement among scholars as to whether a state that has approved an application may later rescind that application. If it is ultimately adjudicated that a state may not rescind a prior application, then Ohio’s 2013 application for a Balanced Budget Amendment convention would be the 33rd and Michigan’s 2014 application would be the 34th [out of the necessary 34] on that topic,” Mr. Watson wrote in an email.

Rob Natelson, who has studied similar conventions among the states or Colonies going back to the 17th century, said states always have been able to rescind calls for a convention.

That means, by his count, 18 states that have issued valid convention calls on a balanced budget amendment. He said Florida’s 2010 application could be considered the 19th, but the Legislature added specific language on federal limits to state spending that might not be similar enough for Congress to consider.

Ultimately, it’s up to a skeptical Congress to judge whether enough states have crossed the threshold, said Mr. Natelson, a retired law professor who is now senior fellow at the Independence Institute.

“Congress has to make that initial decision,” he said. “I think it’s unlikely that a request for Congress to call a convention at this point would get anywhere.”


1 comment:

LOCKJ said...

This Article V project will Restore States rights and powers in a safe, simple, sure 20 word amendment to repeal the 14th, 16th and 17th amendments restoring the powers of the 10th amendment which the14th took away.


Post a Comment


Ron Paul America Cloud

Site Credits

Ron Paul America

is voluntarily affiliated with

Liberty Operations Group


Site created, maintained and hosted by

Liberty Web Services


#TurnOnTheTruth 2008 2012 4th amendment 911 ACTION Afghanistan war Agency Aggression Principle al-Qaeda Alan Colmes Alert America America's Fault Americans antigun AR 15 assault weapon Audit Authoritarian bailouts Believe Big Brother big government bill of rights Blame blowback bubbles Bush Campaign for Liberty Career Politician Eric Cantor Central Bank Charity China churches collapse Collectivism Commission committee Compassion Congress Conservative constitution Crash dangerous person Democrat Democrats Donald Trump Donald Trump. Planned Parenthood drones economic Economy Edward Snowden End the Fed European Union Federal Reserve Floyd Bayne floyd bayne for congress force foreign interventionism free market free markets GOP Nominee GOP Presidential Debates Government Great Depression gun control House of Representatives housing bubble HR 1745 I like Ron Paul except on foreign policy If ye love wealth better than liberty IFTTT Individual Individualism Institute Irag Iran Iraq war ISIL ISIS Judge Andrew Napalitano libertarian Liberty Liberty Letters Liberty Report Lost mass Media meltdown metadata Micheal Moore Middle East Mitt Romney nap National Neocons New Ron Paul Ad New York Times Newsletters Newt Gingrich No Non non-interventionism NSA NSA Snooping Obama Overreach overthrow Patriot Act peace Peace and Prosperity politicians Pope Francis President Presidential Presidential Race programs prosperity Race Racist Racist Newsletters Rand Paul Read the Bills Act recessions redistribution of wealth refugee crisis Repeal Obamacare Report Republican Republican Nomination Republican Nominee Republicans Revolution Rick Santorum Rick Santorum Exposed Ron Ron Paul Ron Paul Institute Ron Paul Institute Featured Articles Ron Paul Institute for Peace And Prosperity Ron Paul Institute Peace and Prosperity Articles Ron Paul Next Chapter Media Channel Ron Paul Racist Newsletters ron paul's foreign policy Ronald Reagan ronpaulchannel.com ronpaulinstitute.org Rosa DeLauro russia Samuel Adams Saudi Arabia Second Amendment Security Senate Senator September 11th attacks Show Soviet Spying stimulate Stock Market surveillance Syria tech bubble terrorist The the Fed the poor US US foreign policy Us troops USA Freedom Act Virginia Virginia Republican Primary voluntarism. Liberty Voluntary Warner Warning warrantless wiretaps YouTube