Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Repeal Amendment

In September, Randy Barnett and William Howell penned a WSJ op-ed calling for a new, tea-party-esque amendment to the Constitution. The Repeal Amendment would allow two-thirds of the states to repeal any federal law. Draft text reads:

Any provision of law or regulation of the United States may be repealed by the several states, and such repeal shall be effective when the legislatures of two-thirds of the several states approve resolutions for this purpose that particularly describe the same provision or provisions of law or regulation to be repealed.

The NY Times has now taken note, linking the proposed amendment to attempts to undermine Obama-care. Naturally, any endeavor seeking to reign in the federal government will find opposition in big, blue states. But the concept is an interesting and serious defense of states' rights, and has a growing national appeal.

Always remember: Anything can happen.

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Discussions - 4 Comments

It is a serious defense of federalism, not that vile phrase "states rights." States do not have "rights", they have sovereign powers.

I would think such a provision would have to create a category of law superordinate to federal statutory law, lest it be technically possible for Congress to respond to the state legislatures by re-instituting the original law. (And would you put it past the likes of Harry Reid to engineer that?) Congress is stupefyingly inefficient, but can still likely act with more alacrity than 34 state legislatures with their varying session calendars and members with businesses and professional practices to run.

"any endeavor seeking to reign in the federal government"

I think it's rein not reign. Although the federal government does reign supreme without this amendment.


Not saying that I favor it yet.

August, 2013

Dear State Legislator,

I'm sure you've been thinking about the fact that with the ratification of the Repeal Amendment, you are now potentially responsible for reviewing each and every part of the the United States Federal Code. Enclosed you will find valuable information about how, by suscribing to one of our packages, you can not only have access to our computer-friendly Code and Commentary, but can be provided with 36 hour notice a teleconference on any of the particular laws you wish to understand. Let's say you're called to review the Naval Ordinance law of 1961 or the HUD law of 1982 and need an opinion fast---you can either blindly follow you party leadership, or actually be informed about the substance of the law in question! Our crack bipartisan team of 21 political scientists, 19 historians, 187 lawyers, and 13 assorted egg-head consulting types could potentially be at your beck and call, given your enrollment level.

Good Luck,

George Q. Washingtonian,
President, Know-It-All Consulting Consultants

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