Walter E. Williams

To change the constitution requires not a majority but a two-thirds vote of both Houses to propose an amendment, and to be enacted requires ratification by three-fourths of state legislatures. The Constitution's Article V empowers two-thirds of state legislatures to call for a constitutional convention to propose amendments that become law when ratified by three-fourths of state legislatures. I used to be for this option as a means of enacting a spending limitation amendment to the Constitution but have since reconsidered. Unlike the 1787 convention attended by men of high stature such as James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and John Adams, today's attendees would be moral midgets: the likes of Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Olympia Snowe and Nancy Pelosi.

In addition to an abhorrence of democracy, and the recognition that government posed the gravest threat to liberty, our founders harbored a deep distrust and suspicion of Congress. This suspicion and distrust is exemplified by the phraseology used throughout the Constitution, particularly our Bill of Rights, containing phrases such as Congress shall not: abridge, infringe, deny, disparage or violate. Today's Americans think Congress has the constitutional authority to do anything upon which they can get a majority vote. We think whether a particular measure is a good idea or bad idea should determine passage as opposed to whether that measure lies within the enumerated powers granted Congress by the Constitution. Unfortunately, for the future of our nation, Congress has successfully exploited American constitutional ignorance or contempt.


Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Walter Williams' column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.