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Texas Matters: Gov. Abbott Backs Convention Of States To Rewrite U.S. Constitution


This week the State House Select Committee on State and Federal Power and Responsibility heard invited testimony on Governor Greg Abbott’s plan to make major fundamental changes to the United States Constitution.

Abbott is encouraging Texas lawmakers to adopt a resolution calling for an Article Five convention of States – which is one of the methods outlined in the Constitution to change the Constitution.

In order to call a Convention of States 34 states must call for a constitutional convention of states, after that and delegates are selected the convention can convene and work on passing new amendments to the Constitution, or it could rip up the document and start from scratch. The details are fuzzy about the workings because this has never been done before but one detail is firm; any constitution changes passed at the convention then have to pass at least 38 states to become amendments.

Despite this high bar for success, Abbott and others believe they can meet these requirements and make fundamental changes to the balance of power in the American government, shifting it in favor of states and away from the president and the Supreme Court.

Abbott wants an amendment to require a balanced U.S. budget and prohibit Congress from regulating any activity “that occurs wholly within one state.” He would also like to allow a two thirds majority of states to override a U.S. Supreme Court decision.

Andrew Oldham, deputy general counsel in Gov. Greg Abbott’s office, testified to the committee on the governor’s behalf.

But not everyone is in favor of Abbott's plan. Karen Hobert Flynn the national president of Common Cause is critical of holding an Article Five Convention of States.

Common Cause has released a document about the topic called “The Dangerous Path: Big Money’s Plan to Shred the Constitution.”

Which says, it is sounding the alarm about a dangerous proposal bubbling up in state Legislatures throughout the country.

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi