Texas Gov. Greg Abbott calls for Constitutional Convention to take back states’ rights

Dallas Morning News – by Brandi Grissom

Gov. Greg Abbott, aiming to spark a national conversation about states’ rights, said Friday that he wants Texas to lead the call for a convention to amend the U.S. Constitution and wrest power from a federal government “run amok.”

“If we are going to fight for, protect and hand on to the next generation, the freedom that [President] Reagan spoke of … then we have to take the lead to restore the rule of law in America,” Abbott said during a speech at the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Policy Orientation that drew raucous applause from the conservative audience.  

Along with the speech, Abbott released a nearly 70-page plan – part American civics lesson, part anti-Obama diatribe – detailing nine proposed constitutional amendments that he said would unravel the federal government’s decades-long power grab and restore authority over economic regulation and other matters to the states.

“The irony for our generation is that the threat to our Republic doesn’t come just from foreign enemies, it comes, in part, from our very own leaders,” Abbott said in a speech that took aim at President Obama, Congress and the judicial branch. All three, he said, have “run amok.”

The proposal for a constitutional convention, which has been gaining traction among some among conservative Republicans, comes just as the GOP presidential candidates begin to make forays into Texas ahead of the March primary election. The state, with 155 delegates up for grabs, will certainly be a key player in the party’s nominating process.

Abbott hasn’t endorsed a candidate, though the field includes Sen. Ted Cruz, who was one of Abbott’s top employees when the governor was attorney general. Abbott is likely hoping to boost his national profile within the GOP as eyes turn to the state.

This week, presidential contender U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., published a piece in USA Today endorsing the idea of a constitutional convention to restore limited government. In April, 27 active petitions had been filed with Congress seeking a convention to amend the constitution to require that Congress adopt a balanced budget.

Congress would be forced to act once 34 states joined the effort. So far, Cruz hasn’t endorsed the idea.

By this point, you may be wondering just what a constitutional convention is and why it would be a big deal. A convention is one of two ways that the U.S. Constitution can be amended, and it’s described in Article V. One way is that Congress can propose amendments approved by two-thirds of the members of both chambers. The other method allows two-thirds of the state legislatures to call for a constitutional convention to propose amendments. Republicans backing the idea are confident that because they control state government in a majority of states, their ideas would prevail.

In both cases, the amendments become effective only if ratified by three-fourths of the states.

So far, the U.S. Constitution has been amended 27 times. None of those were amendments generated by a constitutional convention.

Critics say there’s a good reason. In an editorial lambasting Rubio’s plan, USA Today‘s editorial board warned that such a process could invite mayhem and further poison the nation’s vitriolic political scene. It would also raise unresolved questions about the years-long process of ratification. And some conservatives who otherwise agree with Abbott and Rubio on many issues fear a convention could lead to greater restrictions on guns and money in politics and greater overall power for the federal government.

Abbott, in his plan, dismisses many of those criticisms, saying that he would call for a limited scope to the convention.

The plan lays out nine specific proposed amendments that would:

  • Prohibit congress from regulating activity that occurs wholly within one state.
  • Require Congress to balance its budget.
  • Prohibit administrative agencies from creating federal law.
  • Prohibit administrative agencies from pre-empting 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.

A convention, Abbott wrote, would force the federal government to “take the Constitution seriously again.”

“The only true downside comes from doing nothing and allowing the federal government to continue ignoring the very document that created it,” Abbott wrote.

James Henson, director of UT’s Texas Politics Project, said Abbott’s posture aligns well with the prominent stream of thought in the Republican Party that it is time to resuscitate state power as a check to the federal government.

“I would find it fairly unlikely that this would get traction on the national level,” Henson said. “On the other hand, it’s not the first we’ve heard of this.”


14 thoughts on “Texas Gov. Greg Abbott calls for Constitutional Convention to take back states’ rights

  1. Abbott, first off, you should read the constitution and believe it as written.

    You are in favor of Cruz for pres., all the while he is not eligible because he is not natural born.

    I will do my best to make sure your Cons. convention(if it’s even lawful) does not get off the ground because you are a usurper with your favor for a usurper for pres.(even though it’s CEO for the whole criminal occupation, which includes the states).

  2. I bet they would love to have states’ rights back about now, as the people rise up to enforce the Bill of Rights and hang both the state and federal traitors.
    Sounds like some other powerful entity is having a problem with the federal communists who hold the reigns of power right now.

  3. It’s a scam to sell a constitutional convention to the people, and once convened, there will be no Bill of Rights when it’s done.


    Of course not. They have to be endlessly hounded and watched just to keep them from trampling the constitution as it is, and anyone who thinks these traitors should be trusted with changing it is an idiot.

  4. Wtf all of those items are already in force through the limited powers outlined in the Constitution. This drive for a convention is not genuine. If they want feds to obey the lae, start hanging feds.

  5. To tell you the truth, none of this matters when you get down to the real problem. All they are doing is paying lip service to the constitution so the sheeple continue thinking that it is still in effect.

    There was a Senate committee in 1973, back during the Vietnam conflict. It’s called the Special Committee on the Termination of the National Emergency.


    Since March 9, 1933, the United States has been in a state of declared national emergency. In fact, there are now in effect four presidentially-proclaimed states of national emergency: In addition to the national emergency declared by President Roosevelt in 1933, there are also the national emergency proclaimed by President Truman on December 16, 1950, during the Korean conflict, and the states of national emergency declared by President Nixon on March 23, 1970, and August 15, 1971.

    These proclamations give force to 470 provisions of Federal law. These hundreds of statutes delegate to the President extraordinary powers, ordinarily exercised by the Congress, which affect the lives of American citizens in a host of all-encompassing manners. This vast range of powers, taken together, confer enough authority to rule the country without reference to normal Constitutional processes.

    Under the powers delegated by these statutes, the President may: seize property; organize and control the means of production; seize commodities; assign military forces abroad; institute martial law; seize and control all transportation and communication; regulate the operation of private enterprise; restrict travel; and, in a plethora of particular ways, control the lives of all American citizens.

    A majority of the people of the United States have lived all of their lives under emergency rule. For 40 years, freedoms and governmental procedures guaranteed by the Constitution have, in varying degrees, been abridged by laws brought into force by states of national emergency. The problem of how a constitutional democracy reacts to great crises, however, far antedates the Great Depression. As a philosophical issue, its origins reach back to the Greek city-states and the Roman Republic. And, in the United States, actions taken by the Government in times of great crises have-from, at least, the Civil War-in important ways, shaped the present phenomenon of a permanent state of national emergency.
    End Quote.

    The Senate already has acknowledged that we are living under a permanent state of national emergency (martial law) right now. None of this has changed since the report came out in 1973. How can changing the constitution matter if its been suspended?

    1. Chili, nice post!
      I downloaded and skimmed the 1973 report. On March 9, 2016 it will be 83 years that the American people have been under the Emergency Powers Act. This act sounded too complex back in 1973 to have any recommendations to terminate it.
      Now it truly may take a Constitutional Convention to undue this tangled mess we are under.
      We must work to bring power back, permanently, to our Congress and to the people.
      Any new emergency powers act must have a termination trigger by a majority of, we, the people, imho.

  6. More lip service from our owners. This won’t even be a news blip in a week. What does the barber say…. Next……!

  7. Change the Constitution, I got an idea, use the current Constitution and make them honor their Oath to it. If they won’t value the current system or even try, what do you think a new order would look like?
    The States should use the Rosa Parks method first, just don’t comply. The States weak leaders and fear is the cause of all of this in the first place.

    tenthamendmentcenter dot com/2012/05/16/the-rosa-parks-method-for-liberty/

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