Igor Volsky catches pizza mogul and GOP presidential frontrunner Herman Cain pledging to “sign” a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion if he is elected president. There’s a big problem with Cain’s plan to sign this amendment, however, Article V of the Constitution:
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.
Notice who is not mentioned at all in this description of the constitutional amendments process? The president! Even if Cain were to move into the White House, his signature on a proposed amendment wouldn’t matter any more than if Rick Astley signed the amendment.
Sadly, Cain’s weak understanding of how the constitutional amendments process works is hardly an isolated problem. To the contrary, the man seems utterly incapable of reading the Constitution correctly:
- Confusing Founding Documents: In his speech announcing his candidacy for the presidency, Cain lectured the nation to “reread the Constitution.” Rather than take his own advice, however, Cain quoted the Constitution as saying that “when any form of government becomes destructive of those ideals, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it.” Those words are not in the Constitution, although a very similar phrase appears in the Declaration of Independence, which, in case Cain is not aware, is actually an entirely different document than the Constitution.
- Banning Worship: As part of a wide-ranging campaign of hate against Islam, Cain claimed that local communities have a right to ban mosques. The Constitution disagrees. It forbids laws restricting the “free exercise” of a person’s faith.
- No More Medicare or Medicaid: During his time as a talk radio host, Cain claimed that absolutely every single line of the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. One problem with this radical view is that if Congress cannot subsidize health care — one of the key functions of the ACA — then Medicare and Medicaid are also unconstitutional.
- Unrepealable Laws: Cain doesn’t just support a radical tax plan that would create the largest deficits since World War II, slash taxes on the wealthy and jack up taxes on the poor, he proposed effectively locking that plan in place permanently. The Constitution forbids lawmakers from preventing their successors from repealing new laws.
- Letting Arizona Start A War: Cain also wants to give each state the power to set its own immigration policy. The Constitution, however, leaves immigration almost entirely up to the national government because immigration policy is so closely tied to foreign policy. Nations have gone to war over another nation’s treatment of their citizens, so no one state should have the ability to force the entire United States into this kind of conflict.
Simply put, Cain epitomizes the Republican Party’s overarching attitude towards the Constitution. There’s no need to actually read the thing, just pretend it already does whatever you want it to do.