15 January 2013

My latest post over at United Liberty: "A follow-up on the 22nd Amendment Discussion"

As some of you may know, I also contribute to United Liberty, a libertarian-leaning blog based out of DC that includes a lot of great contributors and the great talents of its Editor-in-Chief and friend of the East Metro, Jason Pye.

My latest write-up follows up on one of Jason's earlier posts about the resolution that was submitted by a New York Democrat to repeal the 22nd amendment (that limits the POTUS to two terms).

As Jason mentioned, as did my article, it's a non-issue. It's not going to happen. So don't bother worrying about it...

Here is the text of my write-up:

Last week, United Liberty Editor-in-Chief, Jason Pye, wrote a column discussing why the 22nd Amendment, the one that limits the president to two terms, would never be repealed; despite the fact that there is been a fair amount of press and attention given to the introduction of a resolution by New York Dem, Jose Serrano, that would do precisely that.

Without getting into specifics, Mr. Pye simply said the reasons why this would never happen were “pretty obvious,” and that it was a non-issue. He is correct. And for many of the regular readers of UL, I’m sure it is pretty obvious, but I thought I would take a moment to specifically talk about why it won’t happen for some of the readers who might not fully understand the process.

As many of us know, there are exactly two ways in which the Constitution of the United States can be amended: either by Constitutional Convention, or by a 2/3 vote by Congress with a 3/4 ratification vote by the various state legislatures.

No amendment has ever been passed by a Constitutional Convention, and it seems very unlikely that it would ever happen. In order for it to happen, 2/3 of the state legislatures would have to vote for and call for it. With our polarized electorate, and since many of the states themselves seem so polarized, it just seems like an all-out impossibility.

With the other way, I don’t know if we would ever see both the U.S. House and Senate pass a joint resolution with 2/3 votes for anything that wasn’t supported by over 70% of Americans, and repealing the 22nd Amendment would not enjoy anywhere near that type of support. Furthermore, if it did somehow make it out of Congress, I would bet every dollar I’ve got that 75% of the States in the Union would never pass it. While a New York or a California might go for it, a Wyoming and a Nebraska would not. And naturally, there are many more red states than blue right now.

I remember having discussions with people back in the 90’s when there seemed to be genuine excitement and enthusiasm about doing this to get Clinton more than two terms. I told multiple people back then, as I have been now, “remember - it’s got to go through the states. We’re fine.”
And this is yet another example of how finely constructed our Constitution is. They made sure to make amending the Constitution a process that wouldn’t fall victim to the existing majority or passing whims, but rather only done when it was truly supported by a majority of the electorate. Of course, there have been bad amendments (16,17,18th), but this is one that will never get legs. As Jason said, worrying or fretting or this is a “colossal waste of time.”