The Right-Wing Attack on the Constitution

Illinois hate group funds NRA camp for childrenFor a group that prides itself on its reverence for the Constitution, the Tea Party sure has a lot of proposed changes to the Constitution. In particular, Tea Party members seem to want to repeal amendments 14, 16 and 17  to the Constitution and to add a few more, for good measure.

What kind of “Constitutionalist” party is this? It seems like Tea Party types would rather scrap the whole thing than put the Constitution up on a pedestal. How can a movement say that it wants it government to be “based on the Constitution” when it also wants the Constitution to be changed so fundamentally?

Here is a list of Amendments Tea Party members and conservative Republicans want revised or repealed along with some of the key persons leading the war on these particular Amendments.

14th Amendment

  • Jeff Landry: revise
  • Mike Lee: Repeal
  • Rand Paul: Repeal

Passed in 1866, the portion of the 14th Amendment that has drawn conservative ire is the Citizenship Clause, which defines citizenship as extending to all those who are born in the United States, regardless of the immigration status of the parents.  Additionally, Rand Paul wishes to repeal the 14th amendment because it interferes with a private business’s right to ban black people from its premises, and also because it allows anyone born here in America to be American.

16th Amendment

  • Sharron Angle
  • Paul Broun
  • Jeff Landry

All three wants to repeal the 16th amendment. Ratified by Congress in 1913, the 16th Amendment allows the federal government to tax the income of American citizens directly.

17th Amendment

  • Paul Broun
  • Ken Buck
  • Jeff Landry
  • Mike Lee
  • Joe Miller
  • Rick Perry
  • Lee Southerland

All want to eliminate the 17th Amendment, although after Democrats made their positions an issue Buck and Southerland reversed themselves (at least publicly…..).The 17th amendment, of course, permits the direct election by the voters of U.S. Senators.  Before the 17th Amendment was ratified in 1913, state legislatures, not the voters, appointed the senators from a given state.

There have been additional pushes to restrict or remove the 19th Amendment which gives women the right to vote and the 21st Amendment which would in effect reinstate prohibition.  (The 21st Amendment repealed the 18th Amendment, which instituted prohibition.)

Several leading Tea Party members and other conservatives have also been pushing for deeper measures to include:

  • A Repeal Amendment which would grant Congress the right to overturn Supreme Court opinions with a two-thirds vote
  • A  States’ Rights Amendment which would amend the Constitution so that a 2/3 vote of the states could overturn any federal law passed by the Congress and signed by the President.
  • To abolish lifetime tenure for federal judges by amending Article III, Section I of the Constitution.
  • A federal  Constitutional Amendment  defining marriage as between one man and one woman.
  • A  Balanced Budget Amendment.
  • A National Debt Relief Amendment, which once ratified would prohibit Congress from increasing the federal debt unless a majority of the states approve.
  • An Anti-Abortion Amendment.

And if all this is not enough, there is also a push to repeal Congress’ power to spend money.  Remember, the Constitution gives Congress power to “provide for the common defense and general welfare,” which grants Congress the authority to create federal spending programs such as Social Security.

They also want to Change Article V of the Constitution which outlines how to add amendments to the Constitution.

And last but not least, there is talk of Anti-Sharia  Constitutional Amendments being discussed in the near future.

For the Tea Party along with the ultra-conservative lunatic fringe elements in the GOP to boast that they are Pro-Constitutional certainly seems a joke in this context.

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