Home / Blog / Article


August 30 2017

Tom Coburn: It's Time to Amend the Constitution to Impose Fiscal Restraints on Washington

by Charlotte Hays

Quote of the Day:

Sometimes our government defies its founding principles in ways that are not easily corrected through the political process. When this happens, Americans have three options: do nothing, take up arms, or seek a constitutional remedy in the form of one or more amendments to decisively correct our nation’s course.

--former Oklahoma senator Tom Coburn writing in The Daily Beast

 

The former Oklahoma senator, whose retirement from the Senate distressed fans of fiscal restraint, is devoting his retirement to helping pursue the third option. He writes in the Daily Beast:

Having studied our Constitution and having spent considerable time in Washington, D.C., as both a senator and representative, I can tell you that another major course correction is needed today. While our government was designed to be a constitutional republic, it no longer operates according to the actual text and meaning of the Constitution. Rather, federal courts, Congress, and presidents have stretched and perverted the Constitution to the point where its text has little relation to the actual operation of government.

This shouldn’t be troubling just to conservatives; it should be troubling to every American. Because if we have learned anything at all from history, surely we have learned that only when government is restrained by clearly written laws can freedom, justice, and equality thrive. When we allow individual rulers to make up the rules as they go, when we allow the law to be redesigned (or “interpreted”) according to the particular fancies of whoever happens to be in office, we make the non-ruling minorities unacceptably vulnerable to the more-powerful ruling majorities. This is anathema to our nation’s founding principles.

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.

The Convention of States Project, which Coburn cites, seeks to call a convention of states under Article 5 of the Constitution to restrict power and jurisdiction of the federal government. This is not the kind of action that is an outgrowth of what is generally called states rights but a recognition, Coburn explains, that the states created the federal government and that it is time to bring the federal government's spending back within what supporters of fiscal amendments see as constitutional limits.

Coburn concludes describing the purpose of a convention of states this way:

It is simply this: to restore the rule of law in America. To protect citizens from abuses of power by the political majorities who hold federal offices—including the Trump administration. And to restore the ability of ordinary people to have their voices heard regarding the policies that govern their everyday lives, by shifting those policy decisions back to the state and local level.

Don’t fall for the lie that the Convention of States Project is some conservative plot to impose their policies on the American people. The real agenda is exactly the opposite: to restore the power of the American people to decide public policies for themselves.

The late Justice Antonin Scalia engaged in a learned discussion of the possibility of such a convention at an AEI symposium. The Jefferson Statement, which calls for such a convention, has been signed by such notables as Georgetown law professor Randy Barnet, Princeton ethicist Robert P. George, C. Boyden Gray, who has served in numerous high positions in government, commentator Mark Levin, and former federal prosecutor and now National Review contributor Andrew McCarthy.

Finder's fee: Hot Air

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
Follow us