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Your Opinion: Limitations on federal power

Your Opinion: Limitations on federal power

February 27th, 2011 by Frank Rycyk, 406 Chestnut St., Jefferson City in News

Dear Editor:

A constitutional convention is not needed to amend the U.S. Constitution. "The Congress, whenever two-thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this constitution ..."

Congress may initiate amendments. States may not. "Twothirds of the several states ..." may, however require Congress to "call a convention for proposing amendments ..."

There is such a proposal before the Missouri Legislature. A recent News Tribune editorial pointed out several potential problems with a U.S. constitutional convention. There might be many unintended consequences.

This Missouri proposal may, however, have the power to force Congress to act. Since Congress seems unlikely to act, on its own, to limit its own power, such stateinitiated prodding might prove helpful. Faced with a choice between being required to call a convention and initiating an amendment, Congress seems likely to choose the latter.

I consider the United States to be fortunate in having a difficultto-amend constitution. The constitutions of some nations appear to be much easier to amend. Look at what is happening in Venezuela. The constitution is being amended rapidly to give the president close-to-unlimited power. Hopefully, most U.S. citizens would not want to see such a power grab here.

I admonish our legislators to view this proposal in a new light. I admonish our local legislator to sell the idea in a new light.

The powers of the federal government over state government need to be limited. The threat of a "call-to-convention" could, eventually, lead to such limitation of powers.