Abbott should fix Texas’ problems before amending U.S. Constitution

Abbott should fix Texas’ problems before amending U.S. Constitution

by Ana Jordan, for
Jan. 27, 2016

I read with unease Gov. Greg Abbott’s plan to ask the Texas Legislature, when it meets in 2017, to approve a convention of states for the purpose of amending our U.S. Constitution. It alarmed me, not just because Abbott believes we should alter the most important document in America’s 240-year history but also because he intends to initiate the amendment process by going through a Texas Legislature that was elected by less than a majority of Texans.

Two of the nine amendments that Abbott intends to pursue are particularly troubling. Together, they would “allow a two-thirds majority of the States to override a U.S. Supreme Court decision” as well as “a federal law or regulation.” These amendments would give unprecedented power to state “delegates” to overcome federal authority that the Constitution has very delicately assigned separately to the U.S. Supreme Court, Congress and the president. Abbott justifies these proposals in part by pointing to the “accountability” of state elections, which he says would “restore the people … to the role of the truly supreme arbiter of the Constitution.” Abbott acknowledges that the U.S. Constitution offers legitimacy to the policy choices made by our state and federal representatives because they “have to stand for election.”


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