TX gov proposes constitutional convention; would give states power to overturn federal law

Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, holds a news conference with Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, (not pictured) in the U.S. Capitol to discuss Syrian refugee legislation on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015.
Bill Clark | CQ Roll Call | Getty Images
Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, holds a news conference with Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, (not pictured) in the U.S. Capitol to discuss Syrian refugee legislation on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called for a convention of states to pass nine new amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in what he is calling "The Texas Plan."

Citing what he characterized as constitutional overreach by President Barack Obama's executive branch, Congress and the Supreme Court, Abbott said the crux of his plan will be to strengthen the Tenth Amendment. That amendment says that "the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Throughout his Friday address, Abbott repeatedly accused the federal government of moving away from the original intent of the country's founders.

"These increasingly frequent departures from Constitutional principles are destroying the rule of law foundation on which this country was built," Abbott said. "We are succumbing to the caprice of man that our founders fought to escape. The cure to these problems will not come from Washington D.C. They must come from the states."

And so, he said, a convention of states is the best way to "fix the cracks in our broken Constitution."

The governor's office said the nine proposed amendments will be:

  1. Prohibit Congress from regulating activity that occurs wholly within one State.
  2. Require Congress to balance its budget.
  3. Prohibit administrative agencies—and the unelected bureaucrats that staff them—from creating federal law.
  4. Prohibit administrative agencies—and the unelected bureaucrats that staff them—from preempting state law.
  5. Allow a two-thirds majority of the States to override a U.S. Supreme Court decision.
  6. Require a seven-justice super-majority vote for U.S. Supreme Court decisions that invalidate a democratically enacted law.
  7. Restore the balance of power between the federal and state governments by limiting the former to the powers expressly delegated to it in the Constitution.
  8. Give state officials the power to sue in federal court when federal officials overstep their bounds.
  9. Allow a two-thirds majority of the States to override a federal law or regulation.