The anti-amendment amendment lives

A little less than a year ago, I blogged at The Same Rowdy Crowd about One Minnesota Ballot Initiative I Could Support.

In said blog, Captain Obvious pointed out that Minnesota is supposed to have a representative democracy, where we elect leaders to make decisions for us, rather than a direct democracy, where elected officials pass the decision-making buck back to the voters who elected them to make decisions.

My specific complaint was about Minnesota conservatives’ rush toward a rash of constitutional amendments as a means of bypassing the normal two-branch lawmaking process, which includes a liberal Governor in possession of a veto pen.

I then proposed, somewhat cheekily, that:

(T)here is one ballot initiative I could support. I wrote it this morning in in my parlor with a feather quill, but I have faithfully transferred it to typeface for you:

‘Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to require an affirmative vote of seven-eighths of the State Legislature before more Constitutional amendments can clutter voters’ ballots?’

Please sign the petition and consider making a donation at

Rep. Kim Norton
Rep. Kim Norton

Well, Politics in Minnesota’s Weekly Report recently noted:

Rep. Kim Norton wants to bring constitutional amendments back on the table in the form of an amendment to make it harder to pass amendments (her bill would require a two-thirds legislative majority to pass a ballot measure instead of a simple majority).

It’s probably just a happy coincidence that Representative Norton  (DFL-Rochester) and I landed on the same solution, the Anti-Amendment Amendment.  We’ve never met, and I can’t imagine someone as respectable as Norton would read my blog.

Moreover, our proposals aren’t identical.  I proposed a seven-eighths (~88%) majority, while Norton is proposing a two-thirds (~67%) majority.

But, I hereby cave to Norton, and endorse her two-thirds proposal.  So Norton and Loveland are now constitutionally copasetic, like Jefferson and Madison.

Needless to say, this is a historic moment at WWP.  I am currently retrofitting the “Wry Wing Politics” banner with the additional text “…and Constitutional Scholarship,”  and I am holding onto that feather quill for future display at the Minnesota History Museum.

This post was written by Joe Loveland and originally published on Wry Wing Politics

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