A Convention of States Could Benefit Both Liberals and Conservatives | Opinion

The following is a lightly edited transcript of remarks made by Mark Meckler during a Newsweek episode of The Debate about a convention of states. You can listen to the podcast here:

Article Five of the Constitution contains the way we can propose amendments. The second way is that the states can gather when two thirds of the states decide, and they can propose amendments — and then those amendments go out to the states for ratification by 38 states. That's what it takes to put it in the Constitution.

So currently, there's an effort underway by our organization to have a debate around the idea of who decides. Should folks in the states decide for themselves? Or should Washington D.C. decide for them? The reason I think that folks on both sides of the aisle should be in favor of this is because the goal is to take power away from Washington D.C., and return it to the states; to allow folks in New York to make decisions for themselves. California, Texas, Oregon, Idaho, and other states have different characters socially and politically, and they should be able to make most of the decisions for themselves within constitutional bounds. This is good for folks on both sides of the ideological aisle.

Convention of States, Halfway, Nebraska, Resolution
The only way amendments to the U.S. Constitution have been made in the past is through Congress proposing amendments to the states under Article V of the constitution, The National Consitution Center reported. In this photo is a close up of the first printing of the final text of the United States Constitution is on display during a press preview at Sotheby's on September 17, 2021 in New York City. Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

We live under the Constitution of the United States. That constitution actually contains 17 enumerated powers, specifically designated for the United States government, for the federal government. It did not include things like the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA is a creation of the federal government, outside the bounds of the Constitution, justified under a broad interpretation of the Commerce Clause. I expect we're going to see that pared back.

Every single state in the United States of America actually has the equivalent of an EPA, and I'll give you a great example. I come from California originally, though I live in Texas now. CEQA (the California Environmental Quality Act) is their equivalent of the EPA, and regulates much more strictly than the EPA does. And I actually think that's a good thing, because I think California should have the right to do that.

And under current law, the way it sits today, a Republican president — say, President Trump — could limit that ability. A Republican Congress could limit that ability. I don't think that's a good idea. I think if California wants to have stricter environmental regulations, they should be allowed to, and that's what I'm fighting for.

Mark Meckler is CEO at Convention Of States Action.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.