Senator Feingold Has Constitutional Opportunity

Senator Feingold Has Constitutional Opportunity

Like others promoting constitutional amendments, Senator Russ Feingold, Democrat, Wisconsin, apparently is unaware of the refusal by Congress to obey Article V of the Constitution. He has a fine idea: every senator must actually be elected rather than appointed to that position. In 1913 the 17th amendment created the potential for governors to make appointments to fill Senate seats until the next regular scheduled general election and 38 states allow this; there have been 185 such appointments. Feingold is right to condemn “decisions being made solely by the powerful, without the consent, or even the input, of the people.”

Congress is unlikely to propose the desired new amendment, however. All of the existing constitutional amendments were proposed by Congress. But many worthwhile ones have never been proposed and sent to the states for ratification. There is an alternative. Article V provides a convention route for proposing amendments. Interest in amendments has triggered over 700 applications from state legislatures to Congress for a convention of state delegates that could propose constitutional amendments. However an amendment is proposed, it still must be ratified by three fourths of the states and the constitutional limitations on Congress limiting it to propose amendments to our present constitution equally apply to a convention.

Senator Feingold and his amendment supporters from both parties, including Senators John McCain and Richard J. Durbin, Representatives James Sensenbrenner and David Dreier, and House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr., know how difficult it has been for Congress to have the courage to propose amendments that could provide needed government reforms despite wide public support, such as a balanced budget amendment and one replacing the Electoral College with direct voting for the president.

Sadly, few Americans know that Congress has stubbornly refused to obey Article V and honor the fact that the

3 thoughts on “Senator Feingold Has Constitutional Opportunity”

  1. 18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    The U.S. Constitution for Dummies, May 1, 2012
    By 

    I received a complimentary copy of this book in order to
    review it.

    This books was short and to the point, the main point being that those who don’t know their rights may one day be in danger of losing them. The author speaks in clear English to translate the flowery, more eloquent speech used to write the United States Constitution. He gives a glossary of definitions so that we know exactly what the words mean, rather than leaving them open for interpretation. I think the thing I like most about this book is that it doesn’t attempt to interpret the Constitution for us. He doesn’t tell us what he thinks the words mean, or what politicians or other influential members of society think the words mean. He gives us literal definitions and allows us to interpret the context based upon those definitions. He stays very apolitical. He also gives some interesting context about what was going on behind the scenes at the time that led to certain parts being included in the Constitution to begin with. He quotes the Federalist Papers and other documents written at the time so that we can see the debate that went on about why to word a particular article one way as opposed to another. That in particular was very enlightening for me. This book is a quick, easy read. And it is one that I will read again and again, and use to teach my children about their rights in this greatest nation on Earth.

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  2. 9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Vital data on our Bill of Rights, April 14, 2012
    By 
    software geek (san diego, ca United States) –

    I always thought that my childhood education was generally pretty decent on American History, especially compared to the current, youngest generation. I also believed I knew the Constitution and its Bill of Rights fairly well. And while I knew parts of it well, I certainly didn’t know all of it, nor the history that preceded and led to these rights. I came the realize that none of this was at all arbitrary. These rights were well thought out by the Founders and even the exact wording was given much consideration to get it correct. Mr. Clouden discusses each right in detail by giving its historical background that led to it, listing out the amendment itself and also, and very importantly, gives the definitions to key words of each amendment so that they are not misunderstood. The book also includes a thorough glossary.

    I only wish each representative of Congress, each judge and justice and the President and Vice President of the United States would study this book and the Constitution. They all swear an Oath to the Constitution but what good is that if they don’t know what is in it.

    Mr. Clouden also challenges us. With great knowledge comes great responsibility. It is OUR Bill of Rights. We need to take ownership of it and get others up to the same level of understanding. Freedom is a wonderful thing but along with it seems to be a constant battle to protect it from being snatched away. It really shouldn’t be that way, but current reality and history demonstrates that we have to continually fight to keep it.

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  3. 7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Historical Background — Know Your Bill of Rights, March 20, 2012
    By 
    Richard

    Know Your Bill of Rights does an excellent job to provide both a “basic” and “complete” historical context for the Bill of Rights. This is very well researched and documented, explaining the original intent, the historical context and the debates that preceded the drafting of the different items in the Bill of Rights, and then some of the ongoing historical evolution. The author extensively cites many viewpoints and concerns of a variety of historical figures that have been part of the discussion for these issues. The author brings a factual discussion of the history and debate(S)and avoids personal interpretation or opinion. This provides extensive background. As a result it is ideal for providing a full context of the many interpretations and debates that we see referencing the ammendments in “The Bill of Rights”. Definitely a must-read for those wanting a more complete understanding of history concerning the Bill of Rights.

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