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Constitutional amendment

December 7, 2010
In The News
Jay Evensen, editorial page Editor, Deseret News
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Utah Rep. Rob Bishop introduced a proposed constitutional amendment this week that would allow states to repeal any federal law, regulation, tax or unfunded mandate. All it would take would be votes by two-thirds of state legislatures.

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The Repeal Amendment has long been a favorite of tea party supporters, and Bishop is co-chair of the 10th Amendment Task Force (the 10th Amendment says all powers not delegated to the federal government belong to the states, or the people – something the task force believes has been abused).

In a statement released Tuesday, Bishop said, "Recent history has shown that American liberties are threatened when there is an imbalance of power between the federal and state governments." He said that imbalance has been steadily growing, and this amendment could begin to restore it.

Actually, the real answer to restoring the balance would be to repeal the 17th Amendment, which changed the Constitution so U.S. senators are elected by the people and not by state legislatures. The Founders intended the Senate to be the watchdog for states' interests, while the House would look out for the interests of the people.

Amendments have been proposed to do this, too, through the years. In fact, for an interesting list of proposed amendments, go here. Utah's Orrin Hatch has proposed several of them.

Bishop's amendment makes sense, but it isn't going anywhere. Even the newly elected Congress won't give states that sort of power.