Sunday, September 19, 2010

Protect State Interests!

Hold the presses- from the Commonwealth of Virginia, we have a great new idea for the Constitution of the United States. A columnist over at the Richmond Times-Dispatch is calling for of all things a constitutional convention. Specifically, Marianne Moran wants the states to band together to establish a negative check on federal power. I for one think this is a great idea.

The states cannot be forgotten in our political system. They are the basis of our constitutional order. After all, thirteen of them existed for almost a decade prior to the ratification of the Constitution as separate political entities and before that as colonies to the British Crown. They must have a voice in shaping the law of our new nation. But too often, our federal government ignores the will of the states.

Marianne Moran proposes that the states be able to vote down a law already passed by Congress, but she would require 2/3rds of the states. Critics may complain that this would allow states representing just 37% of the U.S. Citizens to block popularly supported laws. But I'm sure this won't happen. In fact, I think that just 50% of the states should be required in order to block a federal law.

Actually, I was just thinking- it might be really hard to get a bunch of different states to reject the same laws at the same time and have there be a coherent set of grievances emerge as to why the law was nullified. Instead, why not have the states all meet together in one deliberative body to accomplish this work? That way, representatives of states would have the ability to try to persuade each other cooperate to accomplish a bunch of objectives at once.

I must be on a roll here, because I just had another idea. if we let the laws take effect and then we ask the states to exercise only a negative power, they might be timid to do so. They might like one part of a law but not another, and it might not be clear which is more important. How about instead of giving states a check on federal laws after they're passed--and this is a fairly radical proposition, I know--why don't we ask the states to send representatives to make the laws in the first place?

Ok- I'm going to go check my pocket Constitution so I can start drafting the language to put this plan into action. I'll be right back.


I just went over my pocket Constitution Article I Section 3, and, I'm sorry to tell you, but we've been reinventing the wheel here. The U.S. Senate already exists.

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