Texas Governor Reveals a Republican Plan to Replace the U.S. Constitution

Eric Zuesse

Now that the Republican Party controls over two-thirds of America’s 50 State Senates, and also over two-thirds of America’s 50 State Houses, the Republican Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, has laid out a plan to impose upon the nation a new Constitution, which might now become possible to do on account of this Republican takeover of so many state legislatures. 

His plan, introduced on January 8th, notes that the existing Constitution’s Article V (five) presents two methods by which a national convention may be called together in order that the Constitution can be amended (or else entirely replaced): one method is by votes in the U.S. Congress, the other method is by votes in the state legislatures. He writes:

Article V establishes two paths for proposing constitutional amendments. Congress controls the first path. Under it, Congress can propose constitutional amendments by a two-thirds vote in both houses. The States control the second path. Under it, the two-thirds of the state legislatures can call for a constitutional R E S T O R I N G T H E R U L E OF LA W -66- convention to propose particular amendments. In either case, no amendment becomes effective until it is ratified by three-fourths of the [legislatures of the] States.

Until now, only the Congressional path has been used. However, that path seems to be extremely unlikely to work at all in the foreseeable future, because the two political Parties are unprecedentedly opposed to each other, and because of the extremely low likelihood that the Democratic Party will soon have less than one-third of the seats in the U.S. Senate and also in the U.S. House. Furthermore, the last Constitutional amendment that was passed, which was in 1992, the 27th Amendment, didn’t even need any authorization of a convention to be called together to place it before the legislatures of the various states: it was instead among the first twelve U.S. Constitutional amendments that were proposed, all of them in 1789, and only ten of those, which constitute our Bill of Rights, were then approved by three-quarters of the state legislatures, but the two that were not, remained available for subsequent final approval by three-quarters of the state legislatures; and #27 just happens to have been one of those two, and was finally ratified by three-quarters of the state legislatures in 1992; the other of the two is still hanging. 

The second-to-last, #26, passed in 1971, lowered the voting-age down from 21 years to 18 years, in order to stop insulting Vietnam-War draftees who could die for their country but could not vote in its elections, was the least-controversial and the fastest-approved U.S. Constitutional Amendment ever.

The third-to-last, #25, passed in 1967, dealt with Presidential succession, in the wake of the Kennedy assassination, and filled in a vagueness in the existing Constitution concerning Presidential succession. It too was an uncontroversial solution to an old problem that had recently risen to its peak public prominence in the immediately preceding years.  And that was also the pattern for Amendments #s 20-24. 

The most recently passed amendment that was really controversial was #19, women’s suffrage or right-to-vote. It entered the Constitution in 1920.

Therefore, we would have to go back nearly a full century in order to be able to find an instance where a really controversial Constitutional Amendment was passed using the congressionally-initiated approach. 

By contrast, in all of the publicly-available-online history of party control of state legislatures, which goes only back as far as 1938, there is nothing even approximating, for the Republican Party, anything like the overwhelmingly high degree of Republican control of U.S. state legislatures that came into force starting in 2011 and continuing thereafter, but peaking right now, at nearly 3 to 1 Republican control. This might even be unprecendented in U.S. history.

Thus, the only way that something as controversial as possibly replacing the Constitution might be able to generate the required constitutional convention which would then be able to pass it to the states for their approval or not, would be by taking advantage of the current extraordinarily high degree of one-party (Republican) control of both houses of the legislatures in all of the states. This unprecedented possibility is now at least an incipient action-plan from the Texas Governor.

Because the Republican Party already controls over two-thirds of the state legislatures, such a convention can now be called together by the Republicans on that extraordinary basis; and, then, If the 2016 elections manage to increase that Republican state advantage to three-fourths, the trip-wire could be pulled, and there would finally become a real possibility of replacing the Constitution.

The core of Abbott’s proposal, which he calls “The Texas Plan,” is 9 Constitutional amendments that would basically restore the Articles of Confederation that preceded the U.S. Constitution, and thereby return the nation to being largely separate and independent states (where slavery was common even in the north). Here are those proposed amendments:

”We the People” can reign in the federal government and restore the balance of power between the States and the United States. The Texas Plan accomplishes this by offering nine constitutional amendments: 

I. Prohibit Congress from regulating activity that occurs wholly within one State. 

II. Require Congress to balance its budget. 

III. Prohibit administrative agencies—and the unelected bureaucrats that staff them—from creating federal law. 

IV. Prohibit administrative agencies—and the unelected bureaucrats that staff them—from preempting state law. 

V. Allow a two-thirds majority of the States to override a U.S. Supreme Court decision. 

VI. Require a seven-justice super-majority vote for U.S. Supreme Court decisions that invalidate a democratically enacted law. 

VII. 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. 

VIII. Give state officials the power to sue in federal court when federal officials overstep their bounds. 

IX. Allow a two-thirds majority of the States to override a federal law or regulation. 

For example, his first proposed amendment would enable each state, if it so chooses, to restore slavery, by prohibiting the Federal Government from “regulating activity that occurs wholly within one state.” (States would then be able to compete against each other to attract corporations that want to pay a minimum wage of zero. This country would again have a “free market”; but slave-property would have no freedom at all, while investors would have the unencumbered freedom to pay zero wages, other than providing to slaves what’s necessary in order to enable them to survive to work — a libertarian’s heaven.) On the same basis, each state would be able to post the Ten Commandments inside its courtrooms, and to segregate public bathroom facilities, lunch counters, schools, etc. It would be a libertarian’s heaven on multiple counts.

States could even impose apartheid laws, imprison homosexuals, prohibit practicing or teaching the Muslim faith, require Jews to be publicly marked as “Jew,” etc. However, any libertarian who favors equal rights — even though enforcing those rights will necessarily entail a lot of government intervention that libertarians oppose — will not join in the joy of those who do favor such equality. So, even some libertarians would oppose a state’s right to impose bigotry. There is a conflict within the libertarian community between the equalitarian individual-rights libertarians versus the states-rights libertarians; and this split will weaken the support for “The Texas Plan.”

One-party rule, if it’s the Republican Party, would return America not to the early republic, but to even before that, and without any of the human-rights protections that were instituted by the U.S. Constitution. This would clearly be a states-rights libertarianism.

If “The Texas Plan” even begins to gain support from other Republicans, then Greg Abbott’s initiative will have made abundantly clear that the Republicans are extremist far-right; and, if that happens, then America’s voters will know very clearly what they are voting for when they vote for a Republican. However, if “The Texas Plan” fails to win the support of other Republicans, then equalitarian individual-rights libertarians will be the future of the Republican Party.

So, no matter what happens, the fate of Governor Abbott’s initiative will tell us a lot about what the Republican Party stands for — and what it doesn’t.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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  • I hope most will view and understand this without gambling, and counting on the action in D.C. or any politician which ‘NONE’, ‘ZERO’, ‘ZIP’ can be trusted or have our best interest in mind!

    Jan 9, 2016 Nullify! Chapter 12: Defining Nullification

    *Courts Not Needed*

    “When enough people say no to the federal government and enough states pass laws backing those people up, there’s not much the feds can do to force their so-called laws, regulations, or mandates down our throats.”


  • Chad

    This is the continual propaganda that serves to cover 7 USC 18 (territorial jurisdiction). The Constitution begins with “We the PEOPLE of the UNITED STATES!” Not “We the PEOPLE of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA”. The US is federal territory ONLY. The USA is all lands of America. And _S_tates are creations of the federal govt (see the Northwest Territorial Ordinance). Of course, the original 13 states and their governments were not creations of the federal govt, but the Civil War solved that “equal footing” problem, and turned those 13 from sovereign _s_tate (geographical) governments into _S_tates. _S_tates are created by various acts, all in accord with the Northwest Territorial Ordinance. whereby the US donates some of it’s territory to a _S_tate to fund itself with (land is the only real wealth) – since no USA govt has any authority to steal from people outside their own lands. The rest of the geographical area is public, where only the common law is in effect. “Law of the land” is “law of the land that you own/work”, eg, territorial jurisdiction. In America, every man is king on his own land. The US Constitution (and federal codes) are federal documents for federal lands, and State constitutions (and State codes) are State documents for State lands. This is the truth, the reality, but 99.99999% of the population in the USA is oblivious to it:


    Truth is, people have simply aquiesced to jurisdictional fraud in the USA, and have accepted unlawful jurisdiction because they are too stupid and lazy to fund their own non-employee common-law sheriff, justice, and jail in their counties that will stand on the lawful foundations of the USA. The lawful way to fix the USA in accord with the foundational Organic Laws is for landowners within counties to fund their own non-employee sheriff, justice, and jail, and start arresting federal and State agents that try to exercise power outside of federal and State lands (not all the geographical land within a _s_tate, but only that which is expressly held by a _S_tate). Employees have ZERO lawful authority. A true public officer holds an office, a position of public trust in the common-law sense, a non-employee that is supported voluntarily by landowners, and personally posts his own official bond which is sacrificed in the event he violates the public trust. Once we went beyond that way of life due to usury/industrialization, we took a bite of the poison apple, and there is no possible way of living with integrity afterwards. Circa 1835 was the most prosperous time in USA history in terms of the essentials and ease of life, and any form of human life beyond that is doomed. There ARE limits to all things in the natural world, beyond which there is only decay. Yes, there really are. Believe it or not.

    Of course, there is the major problem of having been overrun and overpopulated by landless people – and there’s not enough productive land for all of them now – so … I just don’t see any good solution, and my bets are on this world continuing to spiral into Hell, and I feel certain that mankind will finish himself off in the future – humans are just too arrogant and ignorant of a species to last long.

  • Brockland A.T.

    This should get interesting, if Constitutional reform ever seriously takes off and the anti-Second Amendment crowd weighs in.

    At least there is some respect for the actual legal process of reform.

    Proportional representation – get the government you want, today!


  • January 11, 2016 On the verge of bankruptcy: ’62’ percent of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings

    As reported by CNN Money, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had its worst four-day start in the history of Wall Street, with trillions in wealth vanishing on fears that China’s “infrastructure first” economy is in dire need of transformation to a consumer-driven model.


  • Locie Compton

    Obviously this report has stooped to fearmongering in an attempt to discourage what is a massive movement to return the rights to the states that was meant to be..speaking of slavery instead of the dwindling rights and freedoms and the massive over wieldy oppressive restrictive micromanaged international government governed usa federal government.
    The tpa hands self governing control over numerous federal issues including water supply( rivers lakes ponds rainfall runoff reservoirs) environmental issues..( wildlife management, national parks,mineral rights, sales already in progress to foreign countries thru blm to stripmine areas across the west..should be for america only!!)to international government committees.its called the new world order or one world order but in truth its the overthrow of the us government by a world government in which the usa has one minority vote concerning any of the hundreds of thousands of laws contained in agreements and treaties already in effect and even more coming in the upcoming TPP already signed and authorized by the TRAITOR IN the oval office and waiting in congress…including punishments for the usa if all demands by the boss government is not OBEYED by the usa.
    We NEED to RECLAIM OUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS AS STATES to be able to empower our nation again as the rules and demands in most of these treaties specify FEDERAL not state powers.