Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Potential "repeal" amendment worthy of debate

With Republican and Tea Party gains in the last elections, the “repeal” amendment to the Constitution is getting increased attention. The basic idea is that if legislatures of 2/3 of the states so vote, it will repeal the targeted federal legislation. Although I am always leery of tinkering with our fundamental law (witness the 18th Amend.), I think this proposal is well worth exploring. Federalism, the 10th Amend., and alleged federal over-reaching are not new issues. They have been with us since the founding of the Republic. One of the key factors in America having a stable democracy is that there are lawful processes for challenging legislation that at least some people do not like. The proposal would strengthen the concept of limited government and complement separation of powers, checks and balances, and the Bill of Rights. It will help quell fears of a run-away, authoritarian federal government. Given our national political diversity, and the requirement that 2/3 of state legislatures must concur, the overruling or repeal of federal legislation will probably be a very rare occurrence. Of course, if one does not value the concept of limited government, the proposal is automatically a bad idea. Let’s start thinking about and debating this proposal. For more on the amendment see LINK


  1. Thanks for sharing. On the surface the repeal movement looks great but the site lacks biographical data about the group, making me cautious.

    PS: I shared your blog link with Canseco's campaign office to serve as an informative pulse here in the Big Bend. He'll be sworn in January as the U.S. House Representative for Texas' 23rd Congressional District.

  2. John:
    Thanks for sending that along to our new Rep. I believe the draft amendment was created by Randy Barnett a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and Prof. of Law at Georgetown University. If you come up with anything more on this, please pass it on.

  3. Although it appears to be clear, I would like to see the repeal amendment specifically say that it does not apply to repealing anything in the Constitution. More on "repeal amendment" at Cato Institute: