The late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was well known for his staunch originalism–the belief that the Constitution means exactly what it did at the time it was written–and is respected by many for his faithful interpretation of the Constitution. The former law professor was deeply knowledgeable about the Founder’s original intent for our system of governance and offered unique insights on many topics–including the Article V convention for proposing amendments.
Uncovered footage reveals that Scalia argued for addressing “structural issues at the federal level.” “There is a widespread, deep feeling of powerlessness in this country,” he said. “One sees it on every side with respect to many issues, not just the budget issues. The people do not feel their wishes are observed–they’re heard, but not observed, particularly at the federal level. . . . The basic problem is that the Congress has become professionalized; it has an interest much higher than ever existed before in remaining in office. It has a bureaucracy that is serving it. It is much more subject to the power of individualized pressure groups as opposed to the unorganized feelings of the majority of the citizens. All of these reasons have created this feeling. . . of powerlessness.”
Additionally, he argued that the Supreme Court is also a part of the problem, bashing the Court for its judicial activism, arguing that it isn’t healthy for a people to depend on an unelected body of judges to “decide our fundamental beliefs.” He noted that the people have no recourse–apart from Article V–to overturn any undesirable ruling, which only exacerbates the prevalence of powerlessness.
“One remedy for that, the one specifically provided in the Constitution, is this amendment process which bypasses the Congress,” he continued. “I would like to see that amendment process used just once at first. I don’t much care what it’s used for the first time. I think just having it used once will exert an enormous influence upon both the Congress and the Supreme Court. . . . I think we’ll get the parameters established of how you do it, what can be done, and I think after that, the Congress and the Court will behave much better.”
To learn more about the legendary justice’s thoughts on an Article V convention for proposing amendments, watch the panel discussion below!
Just as Justice Antonin Scalia postulated, the national government’s disregard for the American people has left its citizens feeling powerless to make a difference–no matter who they vote for, it seems the government just keeps getting bigger while the citizen keeps getting smaller. Thanks to the Founders, however, we still have one solution at our disposal: an Article V Convention of States, which, as Scalia pointed out, will force Congress and the Supreme Court to “behave much better.”
To learn more about other historic statesmen who, like Justice Scalia, vouched for an Article V Convention of States, click here, and to join them in their support of this important, constitutional solution, sign the petition below!