There is an enormous threat to our democracy that most people have never heard about. That threat is a constitutional convention called by the states.
The last time such a thing happened was in 1787 and it was a total fucking mess. But there is a renewed effort spearheaded by the GOP and its funders (Kochs) underway, an effort that should keep you up at night.
Conservatives are pushing to call an Article V convention to add amendments to the Constitution. They need the approval of 34 state legislatures to compel Congress to call such a gathering. Right now, they have 28 states on board.
“I think we’re three or four years away,” said former Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn speaking at the annual convention for American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec) – a powerful rightwing organization that links corporate lobbyists with state lawmakers.
Conservatives have been talking about this for some time, completely off the radar of most on the left. The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic, a book by talk radio host and lawyer Mark Levin, published in 2013 lays out many of the right’s wishes. In it, Levin lays out and makes a case for eleven Constitutional amendments which he believes would “restore” the Constitution’s chief components: federalism, republicanism, and limited government. That’s right, “Constitutional Conservatives” want to re-write the Constitution.
Here’s what Levin proposed:
- Impose Congressional term limits
- Repeal the Seventeenth Amendment, returning the election of Senators to state legislatures
- Impose term limits for Supreme Court Justices and restrict judicial review
- Require a balanced budget and limit federal spending and taxation
- Define a deadline to file taxes (one day before the next federal election)
- Subject federal departments and bureaucratic regulations to periodic reauthorization and review
- Create a more specific definition of the Commerce Clause
- Limit eminent domain powers
- Allow states to more easily amend the Constitution by bypassing Congress
- Create a process where two-thirds of the states can nullify federal laws
- Require photo ID to vote and limit early voting
The book debuted at #1 on The New York Times Best Seller list in all three categories for which it qualified. It’s sold millions of copies and barely a peep has been made about it in left-leaning media.
It’s a scary list, ironically almost entirely devoted to removing liberty from U.S. citizens. It’s what Conservatives are pushing for and it’s worth the read to be informed on what the opposition is up to.
Also worth a read, Nancy MacLean’s Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America. It’s a fantastic look at the right’s relentless campaign to eliminate unions, suppress voting, privatize public education, stop action on climate change, and as discussed here, there plan to permanently alter the Constitution itself.