Explanation of Vote Against HR 1109

I vote NO to this resolution, Mr. Speaker, for the following reasons:

First, I do not believe that Congress needs a resolution just to exercise its constituent power to amend the Constitution. That power is inherent in Congress, granted by the constitution itself, and no resolution is necessary to confirm it. When Congress acts as a National Board of Canvassers, does it need to pass a resolution declaring itself as such before it may exercise the powers of that body? Of course not. This representation believes that Congress does not need to declare and approve its use of non-legislative powers. These powers, while different from its general plenary powers, are nevertheless inherent in Congress, and there is no need to file and pass a resolution regarding their use.

Second, the resolution professes to have arrived at a “clear and manifest” understanding of the meaning of the deletion of the words “voting separately” from Article XVII Section 1. This is obviously a crass construction applied by the resolution that would disregard the separate vote of the Senate—in spite of the apparent pattern of separate voting in the rest of the provisions of the Constitution. Such is a poorly disguised attempt to overpower the independent character of the Senate and the bicameral nature of the legislature by the tyranny of the majority, and I refuse to abide by it.

Third, I object to the professed purpose of this resolution to proceed with a manifestly unjust interpretation of the voting procedure simply to spark a justiciable controversy. I do not regard that as a good enough reason to pass an unnecessary resolution calling for congress to approve the use of a power it inherently possesses—at the expense of our taxpayers’ money, wasting precious time that could have been better spent deliberating CARP.

I ask, Mr. Speaker, must Congress now make a habit of acting unreasonably so that the Supreme Court can tell it which way is the correct one? That professed goal of this resolution trivializes judicial power to that of engaging in the discipline of intentional truants. What is more, it belittles the capacity of Congress to make rational decisions by itself.

Finally, notwithstanding any “pledges and covenants” made in this resolution that there will be no term extensions for the incumbents and that there will definitely be elections, I remain unconvinced. The extraordinary powers of a Constituent Assembly, which are granted directly by the people, cannot be limited by the exercise of a common plenary power. The spring cannot rise higher than its source. Consequently, the scope of amendments that the Assembly may propose cannot possibly be bound by a ‘whereas’ clause in a House resolution.

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