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Wed Aug 29, 2012, 11:59 PM

Every time I see folks promoting a constitutional amendment to fix something...

I cringe.

It is a tool at our disposal, true. But it's a very cumbersome one. It takes years to get these things through the Congress, and then voted on by every state legislature.

Look at what happened to the ERA. It got through the Congress all right, and then bogged down later. It has never been ratified.

I really think there has to be a better way to legislate our difficulties.

Your thoughts?

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Arrow 18 replies Author Time Post
Reply Every time I see folks promoting a constitutional amendment to fix something... (Original post)
CaliforniaPeggy Aug 2012 OP
JaneyVee Aug 2012 #1
CaliforniaPeggy Aug 2012 #5
WCGreen Aug 2012 #16
FreeJoe Aug 2012 #17
elleng Aug 2012 #2
CaliforniaPeggy Aug 2012 #6
yourout Aug 2012 #3
struggle4progress Aug 2012 #4
RKP5637 Aug 2012 #7
CaliforniaPeggy Aug 2012 #8
pa28 Aug 2012 #9
Jim Lane Aug 2012 #18
hfojvt Aug 2012 #10
CaliforniaPeggy Aug 2012 #11
Posteritatis Aug 2012 #12
CaliforniaPeggy Aug 2012 #13
cthulu2016 Aug 2012 #14
Cleita Aug 2012 #15

Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Original post)

Thu Aug 30, 2012, 12:05 AM

1. America is way too polarized for any changes to be made to the Constitution.

I think it takes like 2/3's of both houses & 2/3's of all states to amend the Constitution.

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Response to JaneyVee (Reply #1)

Thu Aug 30, 2012, 12:06 AM

5. Exactly right.

This is why I think we must find some other way.



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Response to JaneyVee (Reply #1)

Thu Aug 30, 2012, 02:26 AM

16. And there is also a time mandate to be considered....

I think that enough states have to ratify by a certain time frame to have the amendment pass.

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Response to WCGreen (Reply #16)

Thu Aug 30, 2012, 06:14 AM

17. 3/4

After an amendment is proposed by passing both the house and senate by 2/3 margins (or proposed by a constitutional convention), it must be passed by 3/4 of the states. There is no time limit to the process, but a time limit is often added in the proposal.

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Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Original post)

Thu Aug 30, 2012, 12:05 AM

2. You are correct about the process, CalPeg,

its VERY cumbersome, but in some instances its the only finally effective solution. Citizens United may be one of those, and the President suggested, I think, that starting the process gives the issue and public sentiment prominence, which might kick Congress' asses to TRY some other approaches (which likely won't work.)

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Response to elleng (Reply #2)

Thu Aug 30, 2012, 12:08 AM

6. I have serious doubts about the efficacy of this approach, my dear elleng.

However, you may be right about using it to give prominence to such problems as Citizens United.

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Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Original post)

Thu Aug 30, 2012, 12:05 AM

3. I am afraid a constitutional amendment is the only chance we have to kill Corporate Personhood.

It's a long shot but there are no other choices.

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Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Original post)

Thu Aug 30, 2012, 12:05 AM

4. It'll take a constitutional amendment to undo Citizens United

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Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Original post)

Thu Aug 30, 2012, 12:27 AM

7. There is so much division in this country I think it's very difficult to get the majorities. In a

strange way that might be good given the state of weirdness and hostilities this country finds itself in anymore. I would not like to see teabagger majorities, for example, pushing through constitutional amendments. It's a very strange country we live in these days.

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Response to RKP5637 (Reply #7)

Thu Aug 30, 2012, 12:32 AM

8. They've had more than their share of weird ideas for constitutional amendments.

I would not like to see them succeed, at all.

So that's the good thing about how difficult it is to get such amendments passed.

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Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Original post)

Thu Aug 30, 2012, 12:37 AM

9. Yeah. The practicalities of overturning CU by amendment are depressing.

Last edited Thu Aug 30, 2012, 01:28 AM - Edit history (1)

Ironically the major hurdle would be oceans of anonymous corporate dollars spent to defeat the effort.

Ideally President Obama would nominate two or three scholars to the bench and CU would be cut out like the cancer it is. Unfortunately, Citizens United is going to be the new Roe-Vs-Wade and any new justice will have to pass the litmus test of leaving CU alone if he/she hopes to have any chance of confirmation.

Maybe the court will do the right thing but I don't think we can count on it. I'm with Bernie Sanders on this and I think we have to start working on an amendment.

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Response to pa28 (Reply #9)

Thu Aug 30, 2012, 06:04 PM

18. Forget the amendment and act directly on the Supreme Court.

Citizens United was a 5-4 decision, so all it takes is one good appointment and we're there. (In practice, it will probably take more than one, because the odds are that the next retirement or death will be one of the 4. Nevertheless, the point is that we're pretty close.)

You write:

Ideally President Obama would nominate two or three scholars to the bench and CU would be cut out like the cancer it is. Unfortunately, Citizens United is going to be the new Roe-Vs-Wade and any new justice will have to pass the litmus test of leaving CU alone if he/she hopes to have any chance of confirmation.


To approve a Supreme Court justice who'll vote to overrule Citizens United, we need 60 Senators to break the filibuster. What else do we need for each path?

(1) Supreme Court - We also need to have a President who'll make a good nomination. This might well turn into something of a litmus test on our side.

(2) Constitutional amendment - We don't need the President (who plays no formal role in the process), but we need an additional seven Senators to get to 2/3, plus 2/3 of the House, plus 3/4 of the states.

IMO, it's clearly wrong to write off the approach of getting the Supreme Court to change its mind, because of the practical difficulties, but then embrace the Constitutional amendment.

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Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Original post)

Thu Aug 30, 2012, 12:48 AM

10. I am promoting a Constitutional Amendment

against cringing

Once it is ratified, that should take care of your problem.


But otherwise, I agree that it seems impossible, but such an amendment is the only way to trump SCOTUS on Citizen's United, and it ought to have solid public support. I do not think we are so divided on something so obvious and basic to America - elections should not be for sale.

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #10)

Thu Aug 30, 2012, 01:00 AM

11. I maintain my right to cringe, dammit! LOL

And you know I agree that elections should not be for sale, EVER. I simply think there has to be a better way to fix things than by constitutional amendment.

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Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Original post)

Thu Aug 30, 2012, 01:03 AM

12. It's also, in most cases, an incredibly heavy-handed approach

I don't get - or like - the tend for most of the states to amend their individual constitutions for what amount to minutiae (and almost always minutiae forbidding people to do something else) every two years - a combination of "we can't get a law passed" and "judicial review's scary."

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Response to Posteritatis (Reply #12)

Thu Aug 30, 2012, 01:07 AM

13. That is an excellent thought.

I think we out here in California are finally learning that lesson. I think (hope?) that we're finally slowing down whenever someone wants to amend our State Constitution.

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Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Original post)

Thu Aug 30, 2012, 01:11 AM

14. It is the only way to overturn a SCOTUS ruling on the Constitution

There are court decisions that can be undone through legislation, but fundamental constitutional reading cannot be.

For instance, no legislation could outlaw all abortion, or make the 2nd amendment not an individual right, or segregate public schools.

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Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Original post)

Thu Aug 30, 2012, 02:20 AM

15. If we got a Congress of honest legislators instead of the purchased

by industry ones that we have, then maybe we might get some useful laws passed that benefit all Americans instead of a handful of billionaires. We could then maybe solve a lot of the problems without needing any new amendments.

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