Amending the Constitution is an inherently federalist process

Sarah Palin’s comments opposing gay “marriage” in a recent interview:

Allah over at Hot Air worries about the federalism implications of a federal marriage amendment:

Normally I’d call this another reason for the base to love her, but the implications for federalism make me wonder how reaction will shake out. Althouse, who’s been pretty high on her (but isn’t a member of the base, needless to say), finds it “genuinely dismaying.” I find it more perplexing than anything else given that she’s on record recently as supporting a federalist approach to abortion. I can understand the opposite position, of banning abortion at the federal level via amendment (as Huckabee wants to do) but letting the states handle marriage on grounds that the dire moral imperative in protecting innocent life should trump normal conservative inclinations towards state rights, but what’s the argument for Palin’s vice versa? Is it simply a question of identifying which issue federal judges are more likely to tinker with at this point and taking that issue out of their hands before they can act? McCain shares that concern — but thinks that any amendment can and should come after a problematic ruling, not before.

Allah needn’t worry. Amending the Constitution is an inherently federalist process (emphasis mine):

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

U.S. Constitution, Article V

Through their legislatures, the states get the last word on any proposed amendment, and the citizens of the states have a helluva lot of influence over state legislators. If a federally-introduced amendment does not have the support of the vast majority of the citizenry, it will not be ratified.

2 comments

  1. Brain Shavings

    Allah swings and misses. Again.

    In a post on RNC Chairman Michael Steele’s mealy-mouthed answers about abortion, Allahpundit restates his own reservations about a human life amendment to the U.S. Constitution … based on his understanding of federalism. Here’s the…

  2. Brain Shavings

    It’s not Federalism if Allahpundit doesn’t like it

    Aw, not this again. Look, I understand that the infamous Allahpundit is pretty liberal on social issues. That’s fine. He’s entitled to be wrong, and it’s not at all surprising (he’s an atheist based in…