We have it. We just don’t use it. The overriding problem is that most of us don’t know that we have it. Our Founding Fathers gave us the oversight opportunity. If we don’t like what we see, we should take steps to make appropriate changes.
It’s a binary choice, yes or no, black or white. We can on one hand have the status quo where we run the risk of an increasingly biased Supreme Court, ever increasing polarization of Congress, and a President with ever increasing power.
Our Declaration of Independence railed against biased judges. In President Washington’s farewell address, he warns of potential despotism of our President and states that political parties must be restrained. Noting recent evolution of our government branches, status quo is dangerous.
On the other hand we can use the consent of the governed to institute appropriate oversight. But first we must overcome the negativism of the conservatives who fear that the liberals will take over and overcome the negativism of the liberals who fear that the conservatives will take over. Our actions must be non-partisan.
The Founders dealt with a smaller government in a different era of history. They did not give us a detailed road map. But they gave us the power to follow the will of the people.
Bias in the Supreme Court is related to the Congressional confirmation process. Increased power of the Presidency is related to the reluctance of a highly partisan Congress to restrain the power of the President. And restraint of the Legislative Branch of our federal government cannot be expected. We cannot expect the fox to effectively guard the henhouse. Yet Article I and the first part of Article V of the Constitution give all oversight power to Congress.
Effective oversight of our branches of government can only come from the second part of Article V of the Constitution. The only other option, undesirable at best, is overthrow of our government.
On its face, the second part of Article V deals with every aspect of government. But Congress is designed for, and has functioned well as a legislative body that deals with all legislative matters non involving oversight of the three branches of government. For most of our history, the better angels of the human nature of those in Congress have provided adequate oversight. Thus the second part of Article V has been relegated to the archives of the Founding Fathers library.
Paltry efforts to utilize the second part of Article V for oversight have been unorganized and burdened with partisan labeling. The bar is high for opening an Article V convention and single-issue frontal assaults have always fallen short. Leadership in these oversight efforts has been scarce to non-existent. Whether or not we have increased violence in the streets, we should be aware of the opportunity, and perhaps obligation, for appropriate government oversight.
The burden falls upon every member of every State legislature.