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Tags: constitution | dc | rick santorum | convention of states

Rick Santorum: Why I've Joined the Convention of States Project as a Senior Adviser

Rick Santorum: Why I've Joined the Convention of States Project as a Senior Adviser
(Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 08 November 2021 02:56 PM

I had the pleasure of working with many honest, patriotic colleagues during my 16 years serving the people of Pennsylvania in the U.S. Congress. They want what’s best for their country, and some of them are still serving in our nation’s highest offices.

Unfortunately, the cards are stacked against them.

Washington is broken, and until underlying issues are fixed, all the good people in the world won’t heal what ails our country’s system of governance.

COVID-19 vaccine mandates, irresponsible spending, and an overreaching bureaucracy are all symptoms of the same disease.

We don’t have a people problem in Washington. Yes, we’ve sent some real radicals to D.C. in recent years, and yes, those politicians push for policies that make our country worse, not better. But those individuals are simply exploiting a broken system that must be restored.

When the Framers wrote the Constitution in 1787, they structured our founding document to create obstacles to an all-powerful federal government, which they saw as a threat to freedom. First, they specifically enumerated federal powers and included the 10th Amendment to reserve all remaining power to the states or to the people.

They instituted a system of checks and balances by dividing federal power into the three branches of the federal government. The Founding Fathers predicted that the branches would likely seek to expand power beyond what was proscribed, but that each would vigorously fight against this encroachment from the other branches.

For example, they gave the House and Senate the most power and then at once constrained that power by charging state legislatures with electing U.S. senators. This put a direct check on any attempt by Washington to take power from the states or the people.

Finally, they made it difficult for the Constitution to be amended to take power from the states by requiring three quarters of the state legislatures to ratify any change.

Over the last 100 years, this competitive structure has broken down — and the American people have suffered under an increasingly powerful federal government controlled by an increasingly powerful president.

The most serious blow was the passage of the 17th Amendment in 1913, which mandated the election of senators directly by the people.

This was considered an advance for democracy, along with the 19th Amendment shortly thereafter, but the Founders had good reason to balance democracy with republicanism.

After the 17th Amendment, state governments no longer had representation in Washington. Senators became more interested in getting reelected than protecting state sovereignty, and little was left to check the expansion of federal power.

The two other significant constitutional changes that led to a spike in power and the rise of an authoritarian presidency were not enacted by the people through amendment, but by rogue action of each of the branches.

The most egregious was constitutional amendment by judicial fiat. Constrained by our system that requires broad consensus for the exercise of federal power, the authoritarians saw the Supreme Court as an avenue for radical change with the consent of only five people.

It started with the court bowing to the pressure of the New Dealers by re-interpreting the Commerce and General Welfare clauses to allow for federal control over our economy and our lives.

This judicial activism has remained to this day, and it formed the basis for re-interpreting the 14th Amendment to establish the constitutional right to an abortion.

The Founders anticipated such power grabs by the branches, but they didn’t anticipate that the Congress would willingly cede its power as the sole lawmaking body in our country to the courts and, more recently, the executive branch.

This abdication has given rise to government by executive order and a regulatory state in which bureaucrats not elected by the people make polices on controversial matters that have all the force of law. It seems modern representatives are all too happy to give power away to avoid taking a position on controversial issues.

With each step in this process, everyday American citizens have a smaller voice in Washington. They also have a bleaker economic future. Unlimited federal power costs a hefty sum, and the federal government hasn’t been shy about spending taxpayer money to accomplish their aims.

In 1995, we were one vote away from passing a balanced budget amendment through the U.S. Congress. That failed, and Washington has never looked back.

The $28.6 trillion national debt is an anvil around the necks of our children and grandchildren, but even the most fiscally hawkish congresspeople would be laughed out of the room for proposing a balanced budget amendment today.

The annual debt ceiling fight reminds us every year that our elected leaders have little regard for reining in our finances and getting our country back on firm fiscal footing.

Washington won’t fix Washington. That’s why we must look to the people and the states, and that’s why I’ve joined the Convention of States Project as a senior adviser.

An Article V Convention of States is the last tool the states have left to reassert their sovereignty and rebalance the power between the federal and state governments.

A Convention of States is called by 34 states, and has the power to propose constitutional amendments that limit federal power, impose fiscal restraints on Congress, and mandate term limits for federal officials.

Under these topics, the states can propose amendments that address each of the issues I have mentioned.

Amendments can give the states a voice in Washington again, require a balanced budget, clarify that only Congress — not executive agencies — can make laws, and restrict Washington’s jurisdiction to a small, narrowly tailored set of issues.

This Convention is not a “constitutional convention,” as some have claimed. By itself, it does not have the power to amendment the Constitution. Instead, a Convention of States has the power only to propose amendments.

Thirty-eight states must ratify any amendments proposals after the Convention, which ensures that only the best, most popular amendments become part of our founding document.

There are good people in Washington, but they won’t save our nation.

Only the people and the states can stop the authoritarian juggernaut, and an Article V Convention of States is our most powerful tool.

Rick Santorum is Newsmax's Senior Political Analyst and served two terms in both the House of Representatives and Senate. 

© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


Newsfront
Washington is broken, and until underlying issues are fixed, all the good people in the world won’t heal what ails our country’s system of governance.
constitution, dc, rick santorum, convention of states
1051
2021-56-08
Monday, 08 November 2021 02:56 PM
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