A Convention of States can pick up where Scalia left off

A Convention of States can pick up where Scalia left off August 31, 2016

The death of Justice Antonin Scalia has thrown this nation into a political turmoil.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell immediately said, “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”  Not to be outdone, Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid didn’t let any time pass before he had a statement of his own.  “It would be unprecedented in recent history for the Supreme Court to go a year with a vacant seat,” he said. “Failing to fill this vacancy would be a shameful abdication of one of the Senate’s most essential Constitutional responsibilities.”  Prominent liberal pundits actually celebrated Scalia’s death, while conservatives wondered if there was any foul play in his death. If you think the 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore was politically touchy, you better fasten your seat belts for the fight that will inevitably occur after Scalia’s death.

It doesn’t have to be with this way.

Imagine if the American people had more of a role in how our nation is governed.  Imagine if there was more accountability for both our members of Congress and the Supreme Court.  Luckily, the Constitution’s Article V has a provision where all this could be possible and more.

That is why the people must invoke our Article V constitutional rights to call a convention to amend the Constitution to solve so many of the problems facing us today, perhaps including the battle we face now to replace Justice Scalia on the Court.  We don’t have a list of constitutional amendments that we’d like to see pushed through.  The states and their delegates will be able to decide what kind of specific changes would limit the power, jurisdiction, and scope of the federal government.  However, one possible change I’ve heard discussed as I go around this nation is placing term limits on members of Congress and justices on the Supreme Court.  This allows the people to rule themselves more frequently and more consistently.

In fact, one of Justice Scalia’s most recent dissents from last summer reveals his wit, his way with words, and his conviction that our Constitution should guide everything our government does.  In King v. Burwell, the case in which the majority upheld a regulatory rewrite completely contradictory to the letter of the ObamaCare law, Justice Scalia scathingly dissented:

“Just ponder the significance of the Court’s decision to take matters into its own hands. The Court’s revision of the law authorizes the Internal Revenue Service to spend tens of billions of dollars every year… . It affects the price of insurance for millions of Americans. …

“So it rewrites the law to make tax credits available everywhere. We should start calling this law SCOTUScare.

“Perhaps the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will attain the enduring status of the Social Security Act or the Taft-Hartley Act; perhaps not. But this Court’s two decisions on the Act will surely be remembered through the years. … And the cases will publish forever the discouraging truth that the Supreme Court of the United States favors some laws over others, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to uphold and assist its favorites.”

This quote and case perfectly captures the dangers when our bureaucracy, Congress, White House, and – yes – even the Supreme Court forget about their constitutional limits intended to protect our freedom and liberty.

Justice Scalia stood firm on the principle that our Constitution proscribes the methods by which the people may implement their own change.  If something was not in the Constitution, people may urge their political representatives to pass laws.  If someone didn’t like something in the Constitution, it allowed the people to amend that Constitution.  It’s as simple as that.  Yes, the processes may be complex and it may be difficult – but it is certainly possible.

Justice Scalia intelligently, humorously, and courageously stood up for the Constitution for decades. Now that he’s gone, it’s up to us to do it.

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  • WetlinaWoman

    This is our time to step up! MAJOR BIG NEWS!!!

    Citizens for Self-Governance is hosting a first-ever simulated Convention of States (COSSIM) from Sept. 21 – 23 in Williamsburg, Virginia! Three sitting legislators from each state have been invited to that historic district to participate and experience the process of proposing and debating new amendments to the US Constitution. The rules for the convention are already laid out and published at the website so the commissioner’s (delegate’s) time can be devoted to debating various proposals. An actual Convention of States would set up its own rules and not be under the same type of time constraint. COS Project language for the topic of the convention is wide enough to allow for a great scope of amendment proposals; however, any that don’t fit the parameters of imposing fiscal restraints on the federal government, of reining in its power, or of term limits for officials and Congress will be out of order and not allowed by the parliamentarian. This is according to historical precedent regarding meetings between smaller conventions of state officials that have occurred many times, especially before the Civil War, the latest in 1922. Sign up to watch the live streaming of Friday’s plenary sessions which will take place from 8:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m ET. All meetings will be recorded for later online viewing at your convenience. New York and New Jersey are, as of September 1st, the only states that haven’t got commissioners lined up. All others are sending commissioners. Get involved! http://www.conventionofstates.com/livestreamrsvp

  • M Sellers

    I
    enthusiastically support the Convention of States Project which is the only
    solution big enough for the problems in our country. We must use Article V of
    the US Constitution to bring the power back to the people through the states.

  • Gregory Peterson

    “The death of Justice Antonin Scalia has thrown this nation into a political turmoil.”

    Well, no, it hasn’t. Any turmoil has roots that long preceded his death. His death has temporarily given the lower courts greater power, but that’s about it.

    In ‘King v. Burwell,’ the disputed passage is ambiguous. Interpreting it to bring it into conformity with the rest of ACA is sensible, especially in a time when Congress is controlled by Representatives and Senators much more interested in poison pill obstructionism and the politics of privilege and resentment than good governance.

    And, why, if such a convention ever happens, do you think that right-wing extremists can maintain control of it? Other people will demand to take part in it for their own protection and their own ideas.

    Why do we need to do something that we don’t know if it will work when we have a tried and true method that we know does work for greater justice? Unless, of course, greater justice is not your agenda.