Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Randy Barnett proposes that the Tea Party movement focus its agenda on passing this proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution:
Section 1: Congress shall have power to regulate or prohibit any activity between one state and another, or with foreign nations, provided that no regulation or prohibition shall infringe any enumerated or unenumerated right, privilege or immunity recognized by this Constitution.
Section 2: Nothing in this article, or the eighth section of article I, shall be construed to authorize Congress to regulate or prohibit any activity that takes place wholly within a single state, regardless of its effects outside the state or whether it employs instrumentalities therefrom; but Congress may define and punish offenses constituting acts of war or violent insurrection against the United States.
Section 3: The power of Congress to appropriate any funds shall be limited to carrying into execution the powers enumerated by this Constitution and vested in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof; or to satisfy any current obligation of the United States to any person living at the time of the ratification of this article.
Section 4: The 16th article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed, effective five years from the date of the ratification of this article.
Section 5: The judicial power of the United States to enforce this article includes but is not limited to the power to nullify any prohibition or unreasonable regulation of a rightful exercise of liberty. The words of this article, and any other provision of this Constitution, shall be interpreted according to their public meaning at the time of their enactment.
Me likey. This amendment does not specifically address the rampant overspending that seems to be the primary motivation behind the Tea Party movement, but I would hardly be upset if this text was added to the U.S. Constitution. Or if the phrase "And we really mean it!" was tacked onto the end of the 10th Amendment.
There is a delicious whiff of revolution in the air. Tea Parties everywhere. The Governor of Texas talks about secession. Montana declares federal gun laws invalid within its borders. State legislatures pass sovereignty resolutions.
I certainly hope that Barnett's dream comes true and the states do call for a constitutional convention -- and that Congress complies. But if it does not, let us remember the words of Abraham Lincoln:
"This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or exercise their revolutionary right to overthrow it."