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The tragedy in the Middle East and Ukraine: canaries in a coal mine

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Unfortunately, the Framers left the issue of how "the people" could go about obtaining amendments to be established by" subsequent amendments." There have been no such subsequent amendments proposed by Congress and no subsequent proposing convention has ever been called. The federal government has proposed all 27 of our amendments and state governments have ratified all but one. This in a country which, Madison wrote in Federalist 53, would have a Constitution "established by the people and unalterable by the government."

Strong amendments are now required. However, Neither of the two methods explicitly described in Article V can produce the strong reform amendments we need. A proposing convention would be vulnerable to being controlled by "big money" and the proposing of genuine reform amendments would attack the personal best interests of the Members of Congress.. However, we have the right to amend our Constitution and Madison said, on the next-to-last day of the 1787 Convention, that "he did not see why Congress would not be as bound to propose amendments applied for by two thirds of the states as to call a convention on the like application." These words provide us with a third method of amending our Constitution.

Conclusion: The ball appears to be in the State legislatures' "court.".

A number of state legislators, mostly Republican, are now active in attempting to bring about a constitutional convention. [2] This suggests a significant level of dissatisfaction with the federal government. If this dissatisfaction is present among Democratic legislators as well, perhaps a coalition to obtain strong reform amendments might be possible.

[1] Hamilton wrote, in Federalist 80, that "There ought always to be a constitutional method of giving efficacy to constitutional provisions."

[2] Tom L. Bianco. AP, "Some Lawmakers seek US constitutional convention," June 12, 2014

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Neal Herrick is author of the award-wining After Patrick Henry (2009). His most recent book is (2014) Reversing America’s Decline. He is a former sailor, soldier, auto worker, railroad worker, assistant college football coach, (more...)

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