Conservatives Are Seeking Constitutional Amendments

The Free Press WV

Whatever success Republicans have amassed in taking control of all three branches of US government, and whatever fate awaits them as midterm elections near, some on the right are working to cement change by amending the Constitution, the AP reports. And to the mounting alarm of others on all parts of the spectrum, they’re pushing for an unprecedented Constitutional convention of the states. While opponents are afraid of what such a convention would do, supporters say it is the only way to deal with the federal government’s overreach and ineptitude. Among the most frequently cited changes being sought: amendments enforcing a balanced federal budget, establishing term limits for members of Congress, and repealing the 17th Amendment, which put the power of electing the Senate in the hands of the public instead of state legislatures.

For the past 229 years, constitutional amendments have originated in Congress, where they need the support of two-thirds of both houses, and then the approval of at least three-quarters of the states. But under a never-used second prong of Article V, amendments can originate in the states. Two-thirds of states—currently, 34—must call for a convention at which three-fourths of states approve of a change. For example, the group Citizens for Self-Governance is calling for an Article V convention focused on the federal government’s budget and power, and term limits for office holders. It has passed 12 states and one legislative chamber in another 10. But Karen Hoberty Flynn, president of Common Cause, has sounded alarms on a possible convention: “This is the most dangerous idea in American politics that most people know nothing about,“ she says.

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