Episode 294: Article the First (Entry 070.JE0705)
Two, five. Article the first. On. The Constitution A. Are. You. Can you describe to the future Ling's the process just very briefly the process of amending the US Constitution. Oh. Wow, There's two different ways to do this. Am I, right? You either need. You can do it with state conventions, which is almost never done and I feel like I've heard the suggestion is a way to get around the. What the liberal courts or whatever those damn liberal core or is it a national convention? Can you do it with a national convention? Normally, it's under a series of state votes, right? Two thirds of the states three, four quarters of the states need to pass off. On an amendment of the Constitution, the other the other what would that be twelve and a half twelve and a quarter states have to come kicking and screaming oh? Yeah. They just have to suck it. You know I it has to pass both houses of Congress. Oh, interesting. Yes. So an amendment to the constitution has to make it through the House and the Senate, and then be ratified by three quarters of the states. So it's It's a it's a difficult process a like a like a laborious one and it's it's intentional that it'd be difficult. Of such that the constitution not be constantly buffeted by the winds of popular fashion Here's the what I was thinking of. As an alternative to having the two thirds majority vote in both houses of Congress. Two. Thirds of the state legislatures can call for a constitutional convention and Bypass Congress. Altogether. That doesn't happen that often does not has in fact never happened wouldn't that be fun a constitutional convention I would thrill to a constitutional convention but I don't think we can get the states to. To agree on that much you know we're in a time right now where it's seems unlikely that we could pass a constitutional amendment. About almost any topic because it would require requires the three fourths of the states both houses of the Congress agree that a thing needs to happen. And that seems very unlikely. It's ambitious. There are however. A few outstanding amendments to the Constitution I. Think they're all outstanding well, maybe not the one. They got the other one about the eighteenth in the twenty-first neither one of those well, they do stand out if they're not outstanding. But there have been. There have been twenty seven amendments to the constitution and the early ones. The first ones that we know of our are the that we know of. One, which we have record the ones that we think about as being the first are the bill of rights the first ten amendments to the Constitution we talk about them all the time. Hey, since we're. Now at twenty eight year gap I think since the twenty seventh amendment has passed and you've mentioned that it's difficult to amend the constitution. Yeah is twenty eight years of record. I just realized I. Don't know this. What's the longest gap? Between. Twelve and the thirteenth. Yeah nothing nothing after. The Twelfth Amendment is what make sure the vice president is not just the runner up That's what keeps Michael, Dukakis Vice President, and there was nothing between that and the civil war, the the post civil war amendments The Ashley by Polishing Slavery Defining Citizenship there during the right to vote. Those were all sixty odd years. Later, there were the longest gap there was there wasn't amendment proposed and not. And not ratified during that period what's called the Corwin amendment which on the eve of the civil war the Corwin amendment in attempting to keep the southern states from seceding. Proposed that it was basically a states rights amendment that we could amend the constitution and that would prohibit that would prohibit the federal government from. Yeah. Put Slavery in the Constitution. Basically like you. You cannot interfere in the states to administer themselves including specifically, you cannot outlaw states. That have. Legalized slavery it's actually in my Book Planet Funny Briefly Because Thomas Corwin who is now remember trying to get slavery in the Constitution actually had some wise things to say about how politicians should not be funny. which were true at the time. Seem pretty out of date now. Now, we really want our politicians to be funny. We just crack up at the antics of the current guy with his longtime his inability to go upstairs. It's a it's a hoot. What's interesting about the Corwin amendment is that it did pass through both houses of Congress oh really. But was only ratified by two states because they couldn't even get the whole south of because at that point, the the succession or the I'm sorry the succession movement, not the succession succession movement is me moving to my TV to watch succession on? Hbo It's delightful I thought the six, the succession movement was me going to the bathroom in the middle of succession not ever going back? But it were what happened what happened there was rather than the southern states going to the trouble of ratifying this they they. They were already to committed to the idea that they were going to secede from the Union. So. To states got around to it and the civil war broke out. Corwin amendment just a little too late to get slavery enshrined. Probably a good thing it didn't it is. Can you think of any other amendments? Let me give you a hint there are there are seven no, I'm six amendments to the Constitution proposed that were never ratified. Have they both passed two houses of Congress All of them. Pass two houses of Congress, and we're submitted to the state over waiting on the state and we're ratified by a portion of them but not the necessary three-quarters can you think of any mean the famous case here is the equal rights amendment right and it's famous to me because that Kerfuffle Mr. Off. Like. Alex. Little chick mark. Kerfuffle during our lifetime and it's recently been revived a couple I think one or two state legislatures have a passed the equal rights amendment within the last year or so and it leads it's led to questions about whether or not state approvals can expire like constraints unratified once ratified is there a time limit? this has been considered by the courts, a couple of different times and the original. The original ruling was some you know a court back in the twenties. Said Well, you know these amendments are these ones from yield and times that weren't ratified there too old. Yeah. They've expired but then a subsequent court said, well, wait a minute. There's nothing in any of these documents that suggests that there's an expiration date. And, the court can't. The the judiciary can't step in between Congress and the states and and make rules that that that don't exist about about legislation or about the constitution. So unless an amendment. Has Time or has a an expiration date baked into the proposal? the the ruling from the courts is that amendments are there just live their live? They're sitting out there that's right and some day all it's GonNa take is. North Dakota suddenly having a majority for the era and suddenly it will be in the constitution. So this is how we have twenty seven, th amendment. So I have considered the twenty seven as an omnibus subject because. Am I wrong. It was a kid trying to show up his high school principal or something is that is that right a student by the name Aguirre Greg? Yeah Greg Watson in the early eighties he was a government of student government at. Ut Austin some Alex, Keaton type Reagan nerd Reagan nerd at although. No not a Reagan nerd. He's gone on to work in legislative politics and. and has kind of. You know made. Made a pretty good career out of. Being. A progressive like other side of the aisle. Yeah. A guy working working in the in the halls of power. But at the time, Greg was A. An undergraduate at ut and he realized that. There was an amendment proposed. At the at the same time as the bill of rights. That was still alive and it was an amendment that had to do with. The Pay Congress's ability to grant a pay raise to its self arrays. Yeah, and it was it was important at the time there a lot of in the original constitutional convention. There was a lot of push and pull between the federalists and anti federalists and anti federalists were very concerned as as they are today with. With the federal government having too much power with it not representing the people with it not being populist and having it baked into the constitution that it was not a populist document and the federal government, a crew to itself all these powers that would make it. They didn't have to worry dangerously.