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The Case for a ‘Repeal Amendment’

American ConstitutionRandy E. Barnett and William J. Howell
9/16/2010

The authors note that Virginia is considering a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow two thirds of the states to repeal a federal law. They argue that the Repeal Amendment would help restore the ability of states to protect the powers “reserved to the states” noted in the 10th Amendment. And it would provide citizens another political avenue to protect the “rights… retained by the people” to which the Ninth Amendment refers. In short, the amendment provides a new political check on the threat to American liberties posed by a runaway federal government. And checking abuses of power, they conclude, is what the written Constitution is all about.

Barnett is a professor at the Georgetown University Law Center. Howell is the Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates.

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