Tag Archives: U.S. constitution

Article V

I think most Americans have a basic understanding that the Constitution can be amended, but that this is hard to do and therefore is not done very often. We treat our Constitution almost as a sacred text and that is one reason that even though our country is young compared to many others, its form of government has persisted in its current form longer than almost any other (I want to say longer than any other, but someone more knowledgeable than me could probably prove me wrong.)

Anyway, there is another way amendments can happen without the consent of Congress, which is for legislatures in two thirds of the states to force a constitutional convention. Sure, we all read about that when we studied the Colonial period in elementary school, right? I can actually walk over to Independence Hall on my lunch break any time I want and see where that all happened.

It turns out that as of now, December 2017, 28 U.S. state legislatures have voted to call a constitutional convention. 34 states would represent the two-thirds required. This could be a good thing. For example, a constitutional convention could clarify the definition of a “person” and get us the clean elections we so deserve. But that is not what is behind this. What is behind this is people who want to gut the federal government’s ability to tax, provide benefits, regulate interstate commerce, and protect the environment. This could actually be the beginning of the end of the republic.

becoming a new U.S. state

Just following up on what the U.S. Constitution has to say about my idea of a metro area seeking to become a state:

New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new States shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.

Hmm, so if the Philadelphia metro area (which includes parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware) wanted to become its own State, it would need to sell all three existing states and the U.S. Congress on the idea. It sounds far-fetched. Then again, rural voters are often under the mistaken impression that they are subsidizing urban areas, even though the evidence proves that the exact opposite is the case. So if Philadelphia wanted to leave Pennsylvania for New Jersey, and it were put to a referendum, people might go for it. Electoral votes would be a potential sticking point, so getting rid of the Electoral College could help make something like this slightly more plausible. It still sounds implausible under our current (241 years and counting) Constitution. Still, there could be enormous advantages to a metro area controlling its own tax policy, housing policy, infrastructure policy, environmental policy, etc.