Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Great Minds and the Constitution

Bill Niskanen, chairman of Cato Institute, comments at Cato Unbound about Nobel laureate James Buchanan's proposed amendments to the Constitution. Niskanen's view, like mine, is that Prof. Buchanan's proposal doesn't go far enough. Specifically, Niskanen proposes a nullification amendment and a secession amendment. My very own rewrite of the Constitution happens to include such provisions:
Delegations of the States shall convene every four years for the purpose of considering revisions to and revocations of acts of Congress and/or holdings of the Supreme Court of the United States of America. Such conventions (hereinafter "convention of the States") may revise and/or revoke any act or acts and/or any holding or holdings, in the sole discretion of a majority of State delegations present and voting. . . . (from Article VII)

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Each State retains the right to secede from this Union, but secession must in each case be approved by three-fourths of the members of each house of a State's legislature and ratified within thirty days by the executive of the State. At least one year must intervene between the ratification of an act of secession and its execution, during which time the act of secession may be nullified by a majority of the total number of legislators of a State. Revocation does not require ratification by the State's executive. (Article VI, Section C.2)

Niskanen doubts the effectiveness of a secession amendment. I don't. The prospective secession of a large number of Red States -- which contain a disproportionate share of costly-to-replace military installations -- might get the attention of those Blue Staters who understand the virtue of "the common defence."