On Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott, aiming to spark a national conversation about states’ rights, said that he wants Texas to lead the call for a convention to amend the U.S. Constitution and take back power from a federal government “run amok.”
From The Dallas Morning News:
“If we are going to fight for, protect and hand on to the next generation, the freedom that [President] Reagan spoke of … then we have to take the lead to restore the rule of law in America,” Abbott said during a speech at the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Policy Orientation that drew raucous applause from the conservative audience. He said he will ask lawmakers to pass a bill authorizing Texas to join other states calling for a Convention of States.
Along with the speech, Abbott released a nearly 70-page plan – part American civics lesson, part anti-Obama diatribe – detailing nine proposed constitutional amendments that he said would unravel the federal government’s decades-long power grab and restore authority over economic regulation and other matters to the states.
“The irony for our generation is that the threat to our Republic doesn’t come just from foreign enemies, it comes, in part, from our very own leaders,” Abbott said in a speech that took aim at President Obama, Congress and the judicial branch.
The proposal for a convention, which has been gaining traction among some among conservative Republicans, comes just as the GOP presidential candidates begin to make forays into Texas ahead of the March primary election. The state, with 155 delegates up for grabs, will certainly be a key player in the party’s nominating process.
By this point, you may be wondering just what a constitutional convention or Convention of the States is and why it would be a big deal. A convention is one of two ways that the U.S. Constitution can be amended, and it’s described in Article V. One way is that Congress can propose amendments approved by two-thirds of the members of both chambers. The other method allows two-thirds of the state legislatures to call for a convention to propose amendments. Republicans backing the idea are confident that because they control state government in a majority of states, their ideas would prevail.
In both cases, the amendments become effective only if ratified by three-fourths of the states.
So far, the U.S. Constitution has been amended 27 times. None of those were amendments generated by a constitutional convention.
Critics say there’s a good reason. In an editorial lambasting Rubio’s plan, USA Today‘s editorial board warned that such a process could invite mayhem and further poison the nation’s vitriolic political scene. It would also raise unresolved questions about the years-long process of ratification. And some conservatives who otherwise agree with Abbott and Rubio on many issues fear a convention could lead to greater restrictions on guns and money in politics and greater overall power for the federal government.
Abbott, in his plan, dismisses many of those criticisms, saying that he would…