Gov. Greg Abbott’s plan to amend the holy crap out of the U.S. Constitution looks to be a non-starter judged solely by the complete lack of buzz surrounding his “big” announcement. Red saw Megyn Kelly giving him what-for on her show a few nights ago, but other than that – cue the crickets. So instead of directing so much of his energy towards not actually running the state he was electing to govern (hence the title “governor”), Tom Herman of the Austin American-Statesman suggests that Abbott turn his attention to a document that actually could use some revising – namely, the bloated, turgid and all too frequently amended Texas Constitution.
Abbott is correct on another front: There indeed is a Constitution overdue for a major overhaul. It’s our very own semi-beloved Texas Constitution, a 90,000-word, 385-section, 491-amendment mélange of a mess of a pastiche of a patchwork of a guiding document.
The last real run at reworking the Texas Constitution — and it turned out to be a run that barely got beyond the starting line — was in 1999 when then-state Sen. Bill Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant, and Rep. Rob Junell, D-San Angelo, tried it.
As the 1999 legislative session began, Ratliff and Junell noted a new millennium was approaching and “we must exercise foresight to prepare this state and its citizens for the challenges of the next century.”
From the Annals of the Constitution – In 1860, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee of Thirty-Three submitted a proposed constitutional amendment protecting slavery in all areas where it already existed. The proposed amendment was intended to stop states from seceding. Following the election of Abraham Lincoln, the secession fury picked up in the South. The Republican Party was committed to restricting slavery in the Western territories, and Southerners were dead set on protecting their right to own other human beings. The House of Representatives appointed the Committee of Thirty-Three, consisting of one member from each state, to investigate avenues of compromise that would keep the South from seceding.
Most of the floated plans involved an expansion of slavery into the Western territories, but that fight was what had killed off the Whigs and given rise to the Republican party, and Northern states were opposed to any further slave states entering the Union. The only plan to make it out of the committee was submitted by Thomas Corwin of Ohio and called for an amendment to protect slavery, enforce the fugitive slave laws, and repeal state personal liberty laws. The South was increasingly concerned faced with numbers of slaves escaping to the North and the personal liberty laws made it difficult to return persons to the condition of chattel slavery. South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, and Alabama had already seceded by the time Corwin made his proposal. The plan went no where and the issue of slavery was only resolved with a long and bloody civil war.
And this is why floating absurd plans to amend the Constitution to fundamentally alter our federal system are a stupid idea Governor Abbott.
In the wake of Gov. Greg Abbott’s call to fundamentally alter the structure of our country’s government, the Texas Tribune speculates about the almost total lack of support yet forthcoming from other Tea Party stalwarts such as Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. Even Sen. “Krazy” Konni Burton (TP- Colleyville) – never one to wander too far from the lunatic fringe – is maintaining radio silence on Abbott’s plan. It seems as though the Tea Party is hesitant to get behind supporting a constitutional convention that might spiral out of control.
Someone was nice enough to leave a copy of “Restoring the Rule of Law With States Leading the Way” by Gov. Greg Abbott on Red’s desk. Red has yet to work his way through the 92 page tome complete with 353 endnotes. When he does, you will be hearing more. But, there are two things that immediately strike Red about Our Poor Idiot Governor’s proposal:
First, why is OPIG so reluctant to do the job he was actually elected to do? He seems to have little or no interest in attempting to run Texas. OPIG spends most of his time grandstanding, filing absurd lawsuits, and kowtowing to the TP base that elected him. Exactly how much of the state’s time and money was wasted on this non-starter of a “plan?” Will someone send an open records request?
Second, if by some unf0rtunate happenstance, OPIG’s 9 constitutional amendments were to pass, then the seeds of a second American civil war will have been planted. The “indivisible” nation that we pledge allegiance to will be no more. We will once again be a collection of states – and we know how well that worked out last time. And if – under the new constitution (for that is what OPIG’s proposal would essentially create) – some of those states still can’t get their way, then what would be the natural option for these newly emboldened states? Cessation. The precedent is firmly established in blood, sweat and tears that unilateral cessation is not an option in our republic. The inevitable result of such an attempt would be rebellion and civil war. And if you thought the last one was messy . . . Red for one does not want to see this country torn asunder by fools like Abbott.
Gov. Greg Abbott (TP-Texas) appears to have bigger things on his mind than simply running the state that he was elected to lead. Abbott has come out with a call for a constitutional convention and 9 proposed amendments to the Constitution that would fundamentally alter the federal-state system that has worked pretty darn well for almost 225 years. To put this in perspective there have been exactly 27 total amendments to the Constitution in more than two centuries and 10 of those were essentially done in a deal to get the Constitution ratified in the first place.
Abbott’s plan is mostly a direct attack on the U.S. Supreme Court – a profoundly c0nservative institution for the most part. Red finds this a bit strange from a former Justice of the Texas Supreme Court who had no problem interpreting (some would argue making) law to benefit and kowtow to the corporate masters and insurance company overlords that rule that Court. Abbott was more than willing to carry their water at the expense of the rights of ordinary Texans. Among his more foolish proposals are a balanced budget amendment – something that any economist worth his salt will tell you is a prescription for economic disaster.
Here are the short hand descriptions of what Abbott proposes:
- Prohibit Congress from regulating activity that occurs wholly within one State.
- Require Congress to balance its budget.
- Prohibit administrative agencies—and the unelected bureaucrats that staff them—from creating federal law.
- Prohibit administrative agencies—and the unelected bureaucrats that staff them—from preempting state law.
- Allow a two-thirds majority of the States to override a U.S. Supreme Court decision.
- Require a seven-justice super-majority vote for U.S. Supreme Court decisions that invalidate a democratically enacted law.
- 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.
- Give state officials the power to sue in federal court when federal officials overstep their bounds.
- Allow a two-thirds majority of the States to override a federal law or regulation.
Keep on moving if viewing a dead wild hog is going to ruin your day. Red understands and is not judgmental about those who are judgmental about Red.
Red was out exercising his new and entirely superfluous constitutional right to hunt in Texas this weekend. Red clearly understands that hunting is not for everyone and that not everyone will approve. That said, wild hogs are a complete menace in Texas. They harm the land, cause erosion and soil loss, destroy vegetation, displace and predate on native fauna and are on rare occasions dangerous. The weekend tally was Red 1 Hogs 1. Red will be distributing a lot of sausage to friends and family this Christmas.