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Trump won’t be able to terminate the US Constitution but a Republican-led effort to rewrite it continues

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An elephant trunk holding the constitution

iStock; Rebecca Zisser/Insider

  • Advocates on both sides of a long-running effort to rewrite the Constitution will face off again in 2023.
  • Conservatives have been pushing an unprecedented convention to re-write the US bedrock text since 1788. 
  • In 2022, a group with ties to Trump’s orbit was able to get four more states to join its efforts.

Senior Republicans torched Donald Trump’s idea to terminate parts of the Constitution. While the former president’s far-fetched idea will likely never come to pass, his allies are busy pushing an unprecedented rewrite of the foundational document that would fundamentally alter Americans’ daily lives.

While nationally, conservatives are frustrated by the lack of a red wave in the midterms, 2023 will offer them more opportunities to build on progress in pushing for a constitutional convention. 

“Show up at the town hall meeting. You don’t win this in one great land battle, it is a bunch of skirmishes,” former US and Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rick Santorum recently told supporters during a meeting at Pennsylvania’s statehouse. Santorum is connected with Convention of States, an organization founded by Tea Party stalwart Mark Meckler.

Earlier this year, Insider published an in-depth report on how conservatives are mostly behind a movement to invoke Article V of the US Constitution, triggering a convention of state delegations whose only precedent is effectively the authoring of the document in the first place. The movement’s supporters are drawn to how the framers of the Constitution created a second route to changing the document outside of the process that has been the traditional source of the 27 amendments to date.

Meckler’s organization is one of the largest players in the Article V push. The Convention of States successfully pushed four states to pass its model resolution in 2022, as Nebraska, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wisconsin joined 15 other states in formally calling for a convention. Article V requires there to be 34 states for a convention to be formed. 

Adding to its arsenal, Meckler’s organization formed a super PAC that spent more than $1 million in state legislative races. Much of the money was spent on primary races in which Convention of States tried to elevate supporters in states where they have yet to pass a resolution.

“Two years from now I expect to increase our involvement tenfold,” Meckler said during a recent Facebook Live, focused on how the midterm election results affect the future of the convention fight.

Meckler and those who are pushing a convention are encountering stiff opposition. The public interest advocacy group Common Cause is trying both to thwart any new convention pushes alongside repealing old resolutions calling a convention.

“We also know hearing what the opposition is talking about that they are going to be hitting every state that they can think of,” Viki Harrison, director of Constitutional Convention and Protecting Dissent Programs at Common Cause, told Insider.

The goal of repealing old resolutions is rooted in undermining a legal theory advanced by some convention advocates that unrelated state resolutions for a convention can be counted together to reach the 34-state threshold. This so-called “fuzzy math” theory is questioned by a number of legal scholars.

Convention of States is not alone in its pursuit of the Article V movement.

While conservatives are active on the issue, the topic does not perfectly split by ideological lines. That being said, Meckler’s organization has pushed a convention based on imposing term limits and a broad declaration limit “the power and jurisdiction” that could affect anything from environmental and education standards to making it difficult for someone like Dr. Anthony Fauci to serve for decades in the federal government. Outside of Convention of States, efforts to call a convention to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment also continue. There have been 28 states that passed a balanced budget-related resolution.

Some very conservative lawmakers, including Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, are vehemently opposed to a convention. Biggs wrote an entire book on how a convention could backfire.

As Insider previously reported, there have been hundreds of pro-convention resolutions passed over the more than 230 years since ratification. Some progressive groups, including one linked to Young Turks founder Cenk Uygur, have pushed pro-convention messages in the wake of Citizens United.  

Harrison and others involved in trying to thwart the movement have said that the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has fundamentally changed how Americans respond to this issue. While the high court has no role in a convention, Harrison said people are now aware that major changes to fundamental rights can occur.

“We’re talking about rights about Americans have taken for granted,” Harrison said. “I think that is what has woken the public up and why I am talking to way more about this this year than last year .”

Read more from Insider’s original report here.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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