Time for Constitutional Reform
Under Article V of the Constitution, an amendment proposed by Congress must receive a 2/3rd voting majority in both Houses and ratification by 38 state legislatures or ratifying conventions. The formal restraints of Article V, however, have not stopped Congress or the President from increasing their powers through favorable court decisions or the failure of other branches to exert the checks and balances envisioned by our Founders.
By contrast, there has only been one amendment in the last two centuries that enlarged the power of the states – the 21st Amendment – which repealed national prohibition and restored state control over “intoxicating liquors.” In terms of restraining federal power or protecting state prerogatives, however, the states have been ignored by Congress in the constitutional amendment process.
Fortunately, more and more citizens and state officials are realizing that the time has come for constitutional reform and that only the states can provide the necessary checks and balance to curb abuses at the federal level. Indeed, there is a growing sense that these problems will never be addressed by Congress or the President without a series of constitutional amendments that restrain federal spending, rein in the scope of federal powers, and restore greater equilibrium to the federal/state balance of power.
The Framers understood that the states would need the ability to protect themselves from overweening central government, and this was why the Framers concluded that Congress should not have the exclusive power to propose amendments and why, as a result, Article V explicitly provides for a convention process controlled by the states.
In short, it is time to resurrect and reinvigorate the Article V “convention for proposing amendments” in a non-partisan manner so that proposals which will never be taken up by Congress have a level playing field where they can be fairly debated, considered, and approved for ratification by the states.