Gov. Greg Abbott has called on the states to adopt nine new amendments to the U.S. Constitution to “rein in the federal government and restore the balance of power between the States and the United States.”
He says “the government’s flagrant and repeated violations of the rule of law amount to a wholesale abdication of the Constitution’s design.”
Setting aside the details of how a constitutional convention would be done, do you agree with Abbott that things have gotten so far out of control that changes in this founding document are necessary?
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Abbott’s argument for a constitutional convention is just a garbled rehash of ideas from Sen. John C. Calhoun of South Carolina (1782-1850).
Calhoun’s treatises rest on two flawed precepts. 1: That states are equal sovereigns of the United States — a direct contradiction of Article VI, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, and 2: That states can opt out of federal laws they do not like.
Both these principles were vehemently refuted by the U.S. Supreme Court in multiple cases before 1861 and were refuted in fact by the Union Army in 1865.
Paul R. Schattman, Arlington
The politicians in Washington ignore the biggest crisis we face. They think they can borrow and tax their way out of any real or imagined problem.
If interest rates were at historical levels, our so-called reduced current deficits would be well over a trillion dollars per year with no end in sight, and our debt would be near $25 trillion.
The best thing that could happen to our out-of-control government would be giving states a chance to teach the D.C. elites how rational people manage a budget. Our kids and grandkids would be grateful.
Maybe a constitutional convention could even give us guidelines for the use of executive orders that fit with the intent of the Constitution.
Jack Russell, North Richland Hills
Abbott wants to add nine more amendments, but I suggest he needs one additional for an even 10, and he could then call his scheme the Abbott Bill of Rights II.
For the 10th, I would suggest he include our state’s innate right for Free Guacamole on Your Burrito When You Order a Burrito Without Cheese.
Patrick Jenkins, Arlington
Abbott has a valid point. The federal government has gotten too large and is doing things that need to be addressed at the state level.
The unfunded mandates from Congress are a real problem for states because, unlike the federal government, states have to balance their budgets and each new mandate means more taxes at the state level or some service has to be cut.
We need an amendment to put term limits on members of Congress, like the president. We also need to do away with pensions for members of Congress.
The country ran better when Congress had members who served a couple of terms and then went back to their careers. The way it is now, they aren’t public servants but career politicians. When leaders serve too long, you end up with what we have now, basically one party.
Joe Burke, Fort Worth
We need to rein in lobbyists, not the federal government.
The National Rifle Association spent more money the first quarter of this year than was spent for all 12 months previously. (Note that the Senate vetoed against expanding background checks to purchase guns.)
Increasing states’ rights will not resolve this. The money trail needs to originate with the voters and not lobbyists, who represent self-serving corporations and stockholders.
William Frey, Fort Worth
We support Gov. Abbott’s proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution so that there is a better balance of power between the states and the federal government.
Adrian and Jean Fung, Arlington
While millions of Texans languish in poverty and lack health insurance, Abbot seems more concerned with federal encroachment than helping the people he was elected to serve.
As a resident of a state that ranks among the highest in poverty and the most uninsured Americans, I’d encourage Abbot to work with Washington to grow wages in Texas and expand access to healthcare.
The federal government is there to serve the people when the states won’t fulfill their obligations, which is exactly what has been happening under Rick Perry and Abbott.
Blerim Elmazi, Arlington
Gov. Abbott, in his call for a constitutional convention, is taking a necessary stand against the out-of-control growth and overbearing encroachments of the federal government. Those encroachments contravene the limiting intentions of the Constitution.
The Constitution in its wisdom sets out in Article V the very method Abbott and others have proposed for reining in the federal government. It is a check by the states, whose power in our federalist system was originally intended to be strong.
Perhaps each of Abbott’s proposed amendments needs tweaking. But, overall, his call for the constitutional convention is a good idea.
Gary Hancock, Arlington
It seems that Abbott wants to change our Constitution to make it more friendly to extreme conservatives.
Only 27 amendments have been ratified since 1789 — 10 of which happened very early with the Bill of Rights. Six amendments were adopted by Congress but failed to gain approval by the required number of states. In all, nearly 12,000 amendments have been proposed to Congress.
It seems Abbott would have better things to do.
Al Vincent, Arlington
Abbott wants to amend the U.S. Constitution to make things better for Texans ... as long as you’re white, Christian, male, heterosexual and a lifetime member of the NRA.
Joe Rooney, Colleyville
Abbott is content to represent only the Texans who voted for him, and is not interested in the rights and values of the many of us who did not.
His political goal seems to be Texas secession, and no doubt he will use the failures of D.C. to hold a constitutional convention and beat the drum for his treasonous separatist agenda.
Could we use a convention? Sure, to remove money from the election cycle, to guarantee transparency of lobbyists’ political contributions and to unequivocally clarify the wording of the Second Amendment.
Brent Burrow, Fort Worth
Abbott described his job as Texas attorney general: “I go into the office, I sue Obama, and I go home.” He has sued the Environmental Protection Agency 17 times and he’s still batting zero. How has that worked for Texas?
Calling for a constitutional convention shows no grasp of reality. There has been one U.S. constitutional convention — in 1787. It succeeded only by compromises. “No compromise” is now the only way to get elected.
We have real problems and we need people looking for real solutions, not more pipe dreams.
Guelma B. Hopkins, Fort Worth
Don’t mess with the Constitution. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
George J. Anthony, Fort Worth
I helped elect our governor. But I disagree with the idea of a constitutional convention.
If anything, Congress should impeach President Obama. But even this would take time and will not correct the path he’s on.
Jack O. Lewis, Haltom City