Governor Greg Abbott calls on Texas to join other states in calling for an Article V Convention of the States to write new amendments to the U.S. Constitution. He says his 100-page “Texas Plan” “fixes this government run amok” and “returns lawmaking to the process enshrined in the Constitution.”
Abbott says his “Texas Plan,” is a detailed plan adding nine amendments to the U.S. Constitution. These amendments are intended to reinforce the constitutional amendments that are there.
Article V of the U.S. Constitution allows for a Convention of States to restrict the power of the federal government.
The governor made the announcement at the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s (TPPF) 14th Annual Policy Orientation for the Texas Legislature. The event is being held in the Hilton Austin Hotel in the Grand Ballroom.
During his speech, Abbott said “Our government was founded on the rule of law rather the caprice of man. That rule of law flows from our Constitution. That Constitutional foundations is now so often ignored that the Founders would hardly recognize it. Until we fix that foundation by restoring the rule of law all the repairs we seek through the policies you propose will never lead to lasting solutions.”
Abbott noted the acts of this week “show cracks in our Constitutional foundation.” He cited President Obama’s action threatening Second Amendment rights even though the Bill of Rights and the Constitution was designed to protect Americans from invasions of their liberties.
“The problem is these departures from the Constitution are not the aberration, they are now the norm,” the governor charged. He said the President has repeatedly exceeded his executive powers to impose far-reaching and heavy-handed regulations on everything from climate change to healthcare reform and immigration.
The governor also reprimanded the U.S. Congress, adding, “Congress is no better. They used to consider whether a proposed law could be squared with Congress’ Constitutionally enumerated powers.” He said, “Today’s approach is captured by the former Speaker of House. When asked to identify the Constitutional authority for Obamacare she angrily replied: ‘Are you serious?’”
Not to leave the nation’s highest court unrebuked, Abbott said the U.S. Supreme Court is a co-conspirator in abandoning the Constitution. He said, “Instead of applying laws as written, it embarrassingly strains to rewrite laws like Obamacare.” He accused the Supreme Court of frequently departing from the Constitution and amending it by adding words and concepts that are not found in the Constitution.
These increasingly frequent departures from the Constitution are destroying the Rule of Law upon which this country is founded, Abbott said. “We are succumbing the caprice of man that our Founders fought to escape.”
He said the only cure for these overreaches by the federal government and its judiciary is that the states must lead the way. Abbott said these problems will not be cured by Washington, D.C.
The Governor said he will be adding another item to the agenda for the next Texas legislative session. He said he was calling for legislation authorizing Texas to join other states in calling for a Convention of the States.
Abbott explained, “We combed through the Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist Papers, through court decisions from Chief Justice John Jay through Chief Justice John Roberts. Through every scrap of relevant materials all the way up to the executive office. We distilled the information into nine amendments to the Constitution that will restore the Rule of Law in America. We call it: The Texas Plan.”
Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio recently said he would support a constitutional convention to get term limits for members of Congress and federal judges and a balanced budget amendment, but the 100 page plan by Abbott is a serious, comprehensive, and detailed plan.
The step-by-step roadmap to get the plan accomplished has been attached below.
Importantly, Abbott’s plan addresses the concern of preventing a “runaway convention” by setting an agenda in advance.
His measures to prevent a runaway convention, detailed in the plan, includes the following:
- The Constitution also leaves it to the States to limit the scope of the convention itself. In fact, four States already have applied for constitutional conventions that include some portion of the Texas Plan, and all of them limit their applications to specific issues. Likewise, the Texas Legislature can limit its application for a convention—or its participation in a convention—to the specific issues included in the Texas Plan and discussed above. To the extent the convention strayed from those issues, Texas’s consent to the convention’s activities would automatically dissolve. State legislatures could even command in their laws authorizing participation in a convention that the state must vote against any constitutional convention provision not authorized by the state.(p. 67)
- Some nonetheless argue that the Constitution does not allow state legislatures to limit the scope of a convention. The critics seize on this argument to raise the specter of a ‘runaway convention,’ in which the States propose a convention to debate limited amendments, but in which the delegates end up throwing the entire Constitution in the trashcan. Even if that happened, none of the delegates’ efforts would become law without approval from three-fourths of the States. But even on its own terms, the criticism lacks merit. (p. 67)
- It is true that Article V does not expressly authorize States to limit conventions to particular issues—but the problem for would-be critics of the Texas Plan is that Article V also does not require general and open-ended conventions. Indeed, that is by design. (p. 68)
It takes 2/3 of the states to call a Convention of the States. It requires 38 states to pass the measure.
Prior to becoming Governor, Abbott was the longest serving attorney general in the Lone Star state. He also served as a justice on the Supreme Court of Texas, and as a state district court judge in Harris County (Houston).
Lana Shadwick is a writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as an associate judge and prosecutor. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2