This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," August 12, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: I'm very happy to be joined out of the bunker, the author of a brand new book, "The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic," radio talk show host, best-selling author, the great one Mark Levin.
How are you, brother? Good to see you man.
MARK LEVIN, AUTHOR, "THE LIBERTY AMENDMENTS": Good to see you.
HANNITY: Glad to get you out of the bunker there. The book is phenomenal.
LEVIN: Thank you.
HANNITY: All right? I've read it cover to cover. I want to start with -- you believe America is now in a post-constitutional period and that there is -- that this was anticipated by our framers in 1787. And there is a mechanism that they have created that would allow amendments to begin in the states.
I'm not explaining it as well as you. I want you to lay out the case.
LEVIN: Well, I think we have to stop fooling ourselves. You know, I've written other books about political philosophy and conservatism and non-conservatism. You look at the government today, it is not really a representative republic. You got a massive bureaucracy pushing out 3,000 laws every year. Nobody has voted for them. Nobody even knows who they are.
You look at the Supreme Court today. One justice moving in one direction or the other, issues these breathtaking laws that have affected the entirety of society with no recourse. We have the president of the United States brazenly, you know, rewriting laws and saying if Congress doesn't act, he will act. And then you have Congress writing these massive laws under the cover of dark, issuing them quickly on matters that they don't have any write to legislate about, and conferring enormous authority on this departments and agencies they create, delegating lawmaking authorities to the executive branch.
So, it is not really a representative republic. It's not really a federal republic. It is a not a really a constitutional republic. Because we're unmoored from the Constitution. And for 100 years, the progressive movement, I call them the state-ists, have been chiseling away and chiseling away at the constitutional construct. And it is time for conservatives and other Americans to say, you know what? They've succeeded. This is why we have top-down government. This is why the government is involved in everything from selecting our toilets and our light bulbs and our automobiles and our toasters. Now they're in our health care. They're collecting all kinds of data on us.
And I'm simply saying, I think it is time, if Americans want to remain free, to start reacquainting ourselves with the Constitution and specifically article five and specifically the second part of article five, which is the amendment process. The framers thought, some of them in particular, that we might reach this point with an oppressive centralized government.
You look at the Constitution. It is written to prevent this, but they feared that, you know, politicians would lack virtue and we would reach this state. And so they left us a legacy. They left us the Second Amendment process under the Constitution which essentially bypasses Congress, bypasses the federal government and gives the states the power collectively in a convention -- not a constitutional convention --a convention the Constitution says for proposing amendments to the rest state.
HANNITY: That's very different, though.
LEVIN: Very different. Because the Constitution is not up for grabs any more than Congress with two-thirds of both houses recommends amendments to the Constitution. Here, the states would be recommending amendments to the Constitution.
The reason the framers did this is because they said an oppressive federal government, an oppressive Congress, is not going to reign itself in with constitutional amendments. And I'm not into just amending the Constitution willy-nilly. I'm into following the process the Constitution itself grants us.
We are the progeny of the framers of the Constitution. This is our heritage. And we can beg senators and congressmen to reform themselves all we want. It doesn't appear they're prepared to do it. We go beg the Supreme Court not to issue outrageous decisions based on their own policy preferences. They ignore us. The president of the United States could care less what we think.
So this is a way the framers believed for the grassroots, the people engaged with state delegates and state senators, to begin a long process of taking our country back.
HANNITY: This is an answer to all those people that are watching the status create this all powerful central government, and assault on individual liberty. And all the people that say, what can we do, this is the answer.
Now, article five provides two methods to make these amendments. Explain in total what that means. Because it has only been used one way, historically.
HANNITY: Twenty seven amendments. It has only been used the one way initiated in Congress, explain the second way.
LEVIN: Well, two-thirds members of both houses in Congress can propose amendments, sent them to the states, and you need three-fourth of the states to ratify them to become part of the Constitution. There's another way, the second way that is never actually been tried in an effective manner, it is never actually been done. But it has as much legitimacy and authority as the other method. And it bypasses Congress. Essentially, you need two-thirds of the states to inform Congress that they're going to hold a convention for the purpose of proposing amendments just as if Congress has a meeting and proposes amendments.
And at that convention, amendments can be debated and discussed and so forth. But they don't become part of the constitution unless three-fourths of the states when presented with them adopt the amendments.
And I would just say to some skeptics -- not a lot but some skeptics who claim to be conservatives and constitutionalists but are basically RINOs and who like the status quo -- this is the process the Constitution provides for occasions like this. If you support federalism, I mean, now is the time to do it. If you think states should have more authority, now is the time to do it.
This federal government is a juggernaut in the opposite direction. And the circle of liberty around every individuals getting smaller and smaller and states really have no say in anything anymore.
HANNITY: You said you took on this project, not because you think the constitution is outdated. You believe it is just the opposite. The state-ists have been so successful, you say, that they have disfigured and dismantled the Constitution.
Now, you propose a series of amendments. You actually write them out. You call them "The Liberty Amendments." Let's go through the process of what this would mean and how it would give power back to the states.
LEVIN: Well, first of all, people will say, don't you support the Constitution? Why do you want to change it? I love the Constitution. I revere the Constitution. It has been changed. I call this a post-Constitutional period.
Quickly, an example. ObamaCare, obvious. Congress passed a law it didn't even have the power to pass. The president of the United States signed a law he didn't have the power to sign. The Supreme Court upheld the law that is lately unconstitutional. They twisted the statute, changed the language of the statute, rewrote the statute, and this is going on all the time.
HANNITY: Let me ask you, and follow up on that. Because lawmakers exempt themselves from ObamaCare. And the American people, if it is good for them, why isn't it good for them and their staffs?
LEVIN: Because we have these governing masterminds, this professional ruling class. And when you look at the framers (audio gap), there was never supposed to be a professional ruling class. There was this thing called rotation in and out of office. That's why the senator served six years. Congressmen, two years. But they didn't have term limits back then because it never even occurred to them that you would have senators serving 36, 42 years, or members of the House, 20, 30, 40 years. It didn't even occur to them. They felt strongly in a citizen legislature.
And it is interesting. Thomas Jefferson who was not at the constitutional convention, one of the complaints he had about the Constitution, and he ended up supporting it, was this issue of rotation. He thought members of the House shouldn't serve more than one year. And interestingly just on that one subject, in most of the 1800s, members of the House served two years and that was it. Fifty percent of them there was turnover.
So I hear people saying, "What about continuity?" Continuity of what? This?
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