Amending the Constitution – replying to Tom Coburn

Article: The Constitutional Amendments We Need Today

I’ve said before to be wary of someone who talks about amending the Constitution. Yes, I know I’ve mentioned an amendment I’d like to see passed, but I’m not saying I’m immune from the criticism. So feel free to critique the amendment I’m proposing.

In this installation, however, let’s discuss the amendments that Tom Coburn from The Daily Beast wants to see:

This is why I have dedicated my retirement to the mission of correcting our nation’s course through the constitutional process of proposing amendments to accomplish three goals: impose fiscal restraints on Washington, limit federal power and jurisdiction to that which it was actually given in the Constitution, and set term limits for federal officials.

Three amendments specified, so let’s tackle them individually. Not going to go in order, and you’ll see why when I start with this one:

Limit federal power and jurisdiction to that which it was actually given in the Constitution

In other words, the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. I think Coburn really needs to read the Constitution he proposes amending. And let’s also not forget the power of the judiciary to take those Amendments and apply them against the government and hold them to it.

Term limits for federal officials

And I’ve discussed this idea in detail as well:

Needless to say this is an idea that’s been brought up numerous times. And I’m generally opposed to this idea as well. A Constitutional Amendment is not the remedy for political failures.

Impose fiscal restraints on Washington

And again, an Amendment is not the remedy for political failures. Not to mention this could create more problems than it solves. Want an idea as to what I mean? Look at what is threatened with a “government shutdown”.

The problem with trying to put fiscal restraints on the Federal government is it doesn’t alleviate the liabilities and obligations that government has. And that is where the problem with Federal spending comes in. An Amendment won’t alleviate that.

Stop trying to use the Amendment process to circumvent the hard questions that need to be addressed.