Not what you think. No, this is about a silly email I received today asking people to pull together to get the Constitution amended. The information in the email is incorrect and the premise, while possibly noble, is misguided if anyone thinks it would ever work as prescribed. Here’s what the email says:
Governors of 35 states have already filed suit against the Federal Government for imposing unlawful burdens upon them. It only takes 38 (3 /4 of the 50)States to convene a Constitutional Convention.
This will take less than thirty seconds to read. If you agree, please pass it on.
An idea whose time has come!
For too long we have been too complacent about the workings of Congress. Many citizens had no idea that members of Congress could retire with the same pay after only one term, that they didn’t pay into Social Security, that they specifically exempted themselves from many of the laws they have passed (such as being exempt from any fear of prosecution for sexual harassment) while ordinary citizens must live under those laws. The latest is to exempt themselves from the Healthcare Reform that is being considered…in all of its forms. Somehow, that doesn’t seem logical. We do not have an elite that is above the law. I truly don’t care if they are Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever. The self-serving must stop. This is a good way to do that. It is an idea whose time has come.
Have each person contact a minimum of Twenty people on their Address list, in turn ask each of those to do likewise. In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one proposal that really should be passed around.
Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution
“Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States .”
Even the most casual observer should realize that something is not right here. It takes 2/3 of the state legislatures to ask Congress to convene a national convention to propose an amendment. Never mind that this has never been done—the point is all about the “2/3”.
Another option is to get 2/3 of both houses of Congress to agree on a proposed amendment.
In either case, asking Congress to pass such an amendment and expecting anything to happen as a result other than hysterical laughter throughout Capitol Hill is foolish.
But let’s explore further just for fun. There are 50 states. You cannot take a whole number value for 2/3 but rounded, that works out to 34 states. Not 38. The author(s) of the email are mistaken here.
Read your Constitutional law even closer and you’ll see that it’s the state legislatures that trigger this, not the governors. It doesn’t matter how many governors have done what.
“Article V — Amendment Process
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.”
And lastly, even if such an amendment were proposed, who in Congress would ever vote to restrict their privileges or to expand those same privileges to the masses? There are laws that apply to each group—Congress and the public—that are different and for good reason.
Lying before Congress can get a person charged with perjury or even lead to the impeachment of a president. If a member of the public tells a lie to another member of the public, well, they could get in trouble but clearly, it doesn’t have the same implications. Similarly, Congress has a privilege that protects against arrest except for certain conditions—a privilege dating back to colonial America and to England. To extend that privilege to the average citizen would result in near chaos.
The email is without any serious merit and hardly worth the time to read, much less blog about.