The late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was a keen observer of the American political system. All the way back in 1979, Scalia had already identified the structural problems plaguing our federal government.
In the rare footage below, Justice Scalia calls Congress to task for ignoring the will of the people, for instituting massive, unaccountable bureaucracy, and for making "public service" a lifetime career.
His solution? An amendments convention as outlined in Article V of the Constitution.
"I listed first among the things that I would like to have considered the structural issues at the federal level. I do not have a lack of trust in the American people. I am the one here who is least terrified of a convention.
"We have come a long way. We have gotten over many problems. But the fact remains that a widespread and deep feeling of powerlessness in the country is apparent with respect to many issues, not just the budget issue. The people do not feel that their wishes are observed. They are heard but they are not heeded, particularly at the federal level.
"The Congress has come up with a lot of paliatives---the legislative veto, for example-which do not solve the problem at all. The basic problem as I have noted is simply that the Congress has become professionalized; its members have a greater interest than ever before in remaining in office; and it is served by a bureaucracy and is much more subject to the power of individualized pressure groups than to the unorganized feelings of the majority of the citizens.
"This and other factors have created a real feeling of disenfranchisement that I think has a proper basis. The one remedy specifically provided for in the Constitution is the amendment process that bypasses the Congress. I would like to see that amendment process used just once. I do not much care what it is used for the first time, but using it once will exert an enormous influence on both the Congress and the Supreme Court. It will establish the parameters of what can be done and how, and after that the Congress and the Court will behave much better.
"I would not want a convention for some silly purpose, of course. But I think there are many serious purposes around, many matters that profoundly concern the American people and about which they do not now have a voice. I really want to see the process used responsibly on a serious issue so that the shibboleth-the Richard Rovere alarm about the end of the world--can be put to rest and we can learn how to use the process responsibly in the future."
Want to join Justice Scalia in support of a Convention of States? Sign the Petition below!