His focus is on Article 5 of the U.S. Constitution, which involves amending the constitution. This could stem from any of a handful of topics for which he and other Lone Star Republicans have clashed with President Barack Obama’s administration in recent history: healthcare, abortion, refugees, illegal immigration, gay marriage, gun rights, EPS regulations – just to name a few.
Abbott offered the following constitutional amendments:
- Prohibit Congress from regulating activity that occurs wholly within one State.
- Require Congress to balance its budget.
- Prohibit administrative agencies—and the unelected bureaucrats that staff them—from creating federal law.
- Prohibit administrative agencies—and the unelected bureaucrats that staff them—from preempting state law.
- Allow a two-thirds majority of the States to override a U.S. Supreme Court decision.
- Require a seven-justice super-majority vote for U.S. Supreme Court decisions that invalidate a democratically enacted law.
- Restore the balance of power between the federal and state governments by limiting the former to the powers expressly delegated to it in the Constitution.
- Give state officials the power to sue in federal court when federal officials overstep their bounds.
- Allow a two-thirds majority of the States to override a federal law or regulation.
In its most basic explanation, proposing amendments can occur in essentially one of two ways:
- a proposal by Congress with a two-thirds vote in both chambers; or
- a constitutional convention called by two-thirds of all state legislatures.
But that is just the first step, because an amendment must also be ratified to become part of the Constitution:
- This can happen either by three-fourths of state legislatures or conventions in three-fourths of states.
- The only amendment ratified by state conventions is the 21st. In 1933, this move ended the national prohibition on alcohol.
- Unlike other federal legislation, constitutional amendments do not require approval by the President.
Changing the Constitution is no easy task:
- Only 27 amendments have been ratified since 1789 – ten of which happened very early with the Bill of Rights.
- Six other amendments were adopted by Congress but failed to gain approval by the required number of states.
- In all, nearly 12,000 amendments have been proposed to Congress.
Abbott’s speech before the Texas Public Policy Foundation in Austin could amp up the anti-federal dialogue across the nation, likely leaving Republican White House hopefuls plenty to dissect as the first primary votes are just weeks away.