Choosing The President Based on Amending The Constitution?

This election season has seen more than its share of candidates vowing to “create Constitutional amendments” that will do … well, whatever: end abortion, ban gay marriage, permanently end the income tax, or what have you.  These promises have certainly proved beneficial for those candidates making them — and somewhat detrimental to those who refuse to.

But these promises, unfortunately, are less than empty.  This is true for two reasons, both of which have to do with how an amendment comes to be.

First, the proposed amendment has to garner a 2/3 majority vote in the Legislature.  Never happen — especially when you consider what those proposed amendments would be.  The amendments in question this year are largely Republican-oriented; bans on gay marriage and abortion.  Even if 2/3 of the Legislature was Republican (which it isn’t, and I’d wager won’t be, certainly for the next eight years), not all Republican representatives would agree to vote for them.  So, barring slipping Sodium Pentathol into the Congressional coffee urns, it’s unlikely any proposed amendment would even pass this first step.

But let’s, for the sake of argument, pretend that whatever needed to happen, happened, and that some amendment — let’s say a Family Protection Amendment to ban gay marriage — did pass the first test.  Now, it has to go through the Legislative houses of every state, and garner a majority vote there for ratification (by 3/4 majority of the states).  This, of course, is a process which could take years.  For example, Amendment 27, restricting pay raises for congress, was proposed in 1789, and not ratified until 1992.  Granted, this is an extreme case, but you see the point.

Does anyone (Mike Huckabee, for example) honestly believe that such contested ideas as the gay marriage ban and abortion ban will even get to the ratification level — let alone pass?

Fred Thompson has been ostricized by neo-con activists such as James Dobson for no other reason, frankly, than being a realist.  There are other, better ways to fight abortion.  Ways that could actually work.  But it starts with good judges. 

The promises to pass amendments, as dear as these are to the hearts of many conservatives, are simply empty words.  And the sooner voters understand that, the better.



One Response to “Choosing The President Based on Amending The Constitution?”

  1. Randolph Finder Says:

    Yup. And I think that in both cases the defense (opposing them passing) is easier than the offense (getting them passwd). Heck, at this point, you probably have close to 34 senators who would be willing to speak on the floor of the Senate opposing an pro-life amendment (as opposed to simply voting). And in the state legislatures, I think getting to 38 would take a great deal of work. (Dixie and some of the intermontane west would be easy, but you need states like Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.)

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