On August 3, 2017, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice joined President Donald Trump on stage at a rally to announce he is officially switching his party affiliation from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party.
Governor Justice’s change in party affiliation means the Republican Party now boasts control of 33 governorships, as well as 33 state legislatures (including Nebraska, which uses a single legislative body).
While this is a tremendous blow to the morale of Democrats, who across the country must be wondering “when do we finally start winning,” it also signals something far more important.
The Grand Old Party now has the two-thirds majority required if only one additional Democratic controlled legislature should agree to call a Convention of States, in which they can pass any amendments to the United States Constitution they believe are necessary.
These could include a balanced budget amendment, reduce the power of federal courts (think the ones who arbitrarily decide what President Trump does is unconstitutional), and even change or at least specifically spell out the role of the Federal Reserve in creating monetary policy.
In short, Republicans can now do whatever they want to the U.S. Constitution, assuming they actually get together and decide it’s time to act.
1. Congress can propose amendments to the Constitution at any time if 2/3 of both houses of Congress agree.
2. A Convention of States can propose amendments if 2/3 of states submit applications for such a convention. These applications must all deal with the same issue (i.e., limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government).
The Founders knew the federal government might one day become drunk with the abuses of power. The most important check to this power is Article V. Article V gives states the power to call a convention for the purpose of proposing amendments to the Constitution.
By calling a convention of the states, we can stop the federal spending and debt spree, the power grabs of the federal courts, and other misuses of federal power. The current situation is precisely what the Founders feared, and they gave us a solution we have a duty to use.
The process for calling a Convention of States is also relatively straightforward, and several states have already passed legislation calling for such a convention.
Essentially, all 33 Republican controlled states would need to pass legislation in their state House and state Senate, then send the legislation to their state’s governor and have it approved.
This has already happened in several states, including Texas.
After two thirds of states declare it is time for a convention, there is nothing congress nor the president can do to stop it from happening. All the states would send delegates to a mutually agreed upon location, probably initially in Washington, D.C. but potentially anywhere in the country, and begin deliberating on what changes should be made and what amendments should be added.
The best part? These delegates are not necessarily politicians, and would almost certainly not be members of the U.S. Congress.
This means they would be able to get a fresh start without the puppet strings of lobbyists and special interests.
While we are still a long way off from actually calling a Convention of States, it is heartwarming to know the Grand Old Party technically has the numbers required to do so if they were to wake up and realize it is time.
Updated August 7: We incorrectly stated Republicans need 33 states. They need 34.