Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Wants To Kill The Constitution Dead. Pew Pew Pew!
PEW! PEW! PEW!
Texas Governor Greg Abbott knows what's gone wrong with American government: it's let the Constitution get completely out of control! There's the Supreme Court telling the gays they deserve equal protection under the law, even when that grosses out straight people, and the federal government won't let states write whatever voting restrictions will keep Republicans stay in power, and God help us, the EPA is telling our corporate citizens they can't dump toxic sludge wherever the hell they want! And don't even get Greg Abbott started on Barack Obama's big gun grab, cleverly disguised as a number of incremental changes to background checks! Abbott loves the Founding Fathers soooooo much that, like Sylvia Plath, he has to kill them. So on Friday, Gov. Abbott unveiled his plan to fix the Constitution so good that nobody will even recognize it anymore. Or as he put it in a speech to the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Texas Republicans' favorite corporate-funded rightwing think tank,
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.
To do that, all we need to do is hold a little Constitutional Convention and bring in some teensy adjustments that Abbott insists will restore the balance of power between the federal government and the states, if by "balance" you mean the states can do any damn thing they please. To make America work the way the Founders truly intended (but didn't actually write into the Constitution), we simply need to add these nine amendments:
1. Prohibit Congress from regulating activity that occurs wholly within one State.
2. Require Congress to balance its budget.
3. Prohibit administrative agencies -- and the unelected bureaucrats that staff them -- from creating federal law.
4. Prohibit administrative agencies -- and the unelected bureaucrats that staff them -- from preempting state law.
5. Allow a two-thirds majority of the States to override a U.S. Supreme Court decision.
6. Require a seven-justice super-majority vote for U.S. Supreme Court decisions that invalidate a democratically enacted law.
7. Restore the balance of power between the federal and state governments by limiting the former to the powers expressly delegated to it in the Constitution.
8. Give state officials the power to sue in federal court when federal officials overstep their bounds.
9. Allow a two-thirds majority of the States to override a federal law or regulation.
Can't see how there could be any unintended consequences there! Gluttons for punishment can check out the full 90-page pile of crazy here; we recommend drinking heavily at a Tea Party rally first, so as to get yourself in the frame of mind that appears to have produced the text.
In case you're keeping track, this is the second call for a Constitutional Convention to be floated by a Republican this week; Marco Rubio offered his own version, but it was pretty unambitious by comparison, since it only called for a balanced budget amendment and term limits for Congress and the Supreme Court. Marco Rubio simply doesn't think very big, now does he? As Snipy reminded us when Rubio tried to insist that a Constitutional Convention wouldn't degenerate into legal chaos, because it would be limited only to the amendments it's called to address, there's actually no way to keep that from happening:
They can get together and decide they want to have some sweet sweet term limits like you asked for, or they can convene and impose Sharia law on your grandma. You’d think someone who likes to remind you of his law school education would remember that part.
As for Abbott's ideas, we're especially fascinated by that first one, prohibiting Congress from "regulating activity that occurs wholly within one State." Presumably that would gut minor annoyances like the Endangered Species Act, as long as you're careful to wipe out a species whose only habitat is inside Texas. Same for the Clean Water Act, depending on where the outflow ends up. Voting rights would definitely be up to the states only, so no problems imposing strict Voter ID laws. How about re-instituting Jim Crow, not that anyone would want to do such a thing? Presumably that would be radical enough that the Supreme Court might manage to find seven votes to overturn it, depending on who President Cruz appoints, of course. But hey, if two-thirds of the states decide to outlaw Islam or teach the Book of Genesis in science classes, it looks like there'd be nothing to stop them, since obviously the Supremes wouldn't be able to insist that the 14th Amendment really requires the states to abide by trivialities like the First Amendment anymore. The Court could insist that it does, but then the states could come right back say "Nuh-uh, we didn't come from no monkeys and we won't Allahu no Akbars here."
Terri Burke, executive director of the Texas ACLU, predictably thought Gov. Abbott's brilliant plan was a tad problematic. In a statement, she said, "Governor Abbott, as Texans, we prefer the Framers’ plan. Don’t mess with the Constitution." That would look right nice on a bumper sticker.
Our only regret is that Molly Ivins, who dubbed Texas the "National Laboratory for Bad Government," isn't around to comment on this latest crazy to come out of the Lone Star State.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.