Tea Party Plot V. Democracy: Meet The '12 Percent Solution'

Conservative activists are talking about changing the Constitution to allow a small minority to nullify laws they don't like.
Tea Party Plot V. Democracy: Meet The '12 Percent Solution'

I've got a new story up at Salon. It begins like this:

"Tea Party hatches quiet-but-insane plot against democracy: Meet the “12 Percent Solution”

I listened in to a recent conference call with conservative activists. Their latest scheme? Nullify laws they hate.

What if there were a fourth branch of government that would allow the fans of “Duck Dynasty” to overturn Roe v. Wade, repeal Obamacare and pretty much nullify any federal law or Supreme Court decision they don’t like, based on the support of as little as 12 percent of the nation’s population? And what if that fourth branch already existed in the American constitutional order, just waiting to be properly realized?

That’s basically the dream of conservative activist Charles Kacprowicz, as described in a recent conference call with supporters, effectively summing up many of the deepest hopes and fears of right-wing America in the post-Bush era.

“The best that we have now is the idea of nullification. But the states right now do not have a provision in the Constitution that allows them to countermand laws,” Kacprowicz said. But he’s crafted a proposal that would change all that. “With this provision, in the Sovereignty and States Rights Amendment, they can countermand it, and they can disallow it when 30 states say ‘let’s stop.’ ”

Naturally, Kacprowicz had a red meat example close at hand. “Obamacare right now has at least 26 states who have already filed lawsuits against the government for imposing on them the tax and the imposition of Obamacare on the states,” he continued. “That’s already going forward. So you have that right there. We need four more states and Obamacare is history. And so that’s the kind of power that this has in this sovereignty amendment.”

Kacprowicz isn’t presently a leading player, but as this passage shows, he straddles two rising, radical state-level tendencies that the national media have woefully underreported so far: one an explosion of clearly unconstitutional “nullification” legislation, and the other a growing movement to call a constitutional convention (Kacprowicz prefers “amendment convention”) to pass a set of conservative dream amendments. Because he provides a uniquely crafted bridge between these two efforts, his ideas could prove significant in the near future.


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You can read the whole story here. And don't forget to check out the articles I refer to, later on in the piece, “Exposed: How the Right’s State-Based Think Tanks are Transforming U.S. Politics,” by Frederick Clarkson and “Nullification, Neo-Confederates, and the Revenge of the Old Right” by Rachel Tabachnick and Frank L. Cocozzelli.

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