Mark Levin has championed the idea of holding a modern day Constitutional convention but few took the possibility of it actually happening seriously. Now, after government abuses continue to pile up, momentum is gaining. Will it actually happen? Glenn talks that and news of the day on radio.
Get more on this story from Mark's book The Liberty Amendments.
GLENN: Welcome to the program, Mark Levin. Glad to have you.
MARK: Glenn, how are you?
GLENN: I'm great. I'm a little upset. I just talked to Kevin O'Connor, the owner of Memories Pizza in Indiana. Sweet, sweet guy. They're afraid of opening up their shop because a -- try this on for size. You ready? A local TV station just happened to Google, and they were just looking for a few of the local persons in the small town on the Freedom of Religion Act. And they just wanted to find some local -- and they just happened to find this place that was decorated for Easter and had a sign about how we pray, you know, as a family. So they went in and they asked the daughter if you were asked to cater a gay wedding, you know, as a pizza place, would you do it? And they said, no, but we don't refuse service to anybody here. You know, and we have gay customers and whatever. But now they're being hammered. And a teacher in Indiana tweeted, who will join me tonight at Memories Pizza to burn the place down to the ground?
MARK: You know what, tell me how many gay people who run pizzerias are prepared to conduct ceremonies at evangelical weddings? You know, we could turn this all around. The fact of the matter is, what's going on here is so un-American, and the media are so pathetic. So totalitarian.
GLENN: No, no, Mark, hang on just a second. I'm going the other way. I think this is getting great. Maybe we should have a night where we go out and we break down their doors or -- hey, I know, we break all of the glass and we do it at night and we call it maybe the night of broken glass -- that doesn't sound -- hey, that's classy sounding. Let's do that.
MARK: It is just amazing to me. People understand this law, all it does is provide people of faith who can demonstrate that providing service at -- let's say, this is just one example. At a same-sex wedding, substantially burdens their religious practices and beliefs. Then you get to go to court, then you have this high burden, it's a substantially high burden where you have to prove that it's substantially burdens your religious beliefs and practices. And if the court says no, you have to service that wedding.
GLENN: Here's the amazing thing, nobody would go -- nobody would do this to the Amish. It's just because Christians -- so many Christians appear to be hypocrites. Because, quite honestly, a lot of Christians are hypocrites. And they don't live their --
MARK: They don't care about the Christians who are hypocrites.
GLENN: I know that. I know that. So there are a lot of Christians who are like, I don't really care. It doesn't matter to me. I'll serve anybody. Sure. I'll go serve a -- you know, a devil worship, you know, ceremony. Whatever. I'll go do that.
MARK: I want to read you something. It's very short. I want to read you something because I know you'll move on eventually. I want to hit this.
James Madison, the first Congress. He was chairman of the House Conference Committee on the Bill of Rights. His first draft of religious liberty related to the first amendment, which became the first amendment, read as follows, quote: The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any matter or on any pretext infringed. Unquote.
Now, getting it through the committee, the House, then to the Senate, then to the states, it changed to Congress shall make no law respecting the establishing of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. But this was the mentality. This is the background. In other words, even our pre-colonial times, people came to this country for religious liberty. Now, if the country doesn't stand for religious liberty, what the hell does it stand for?
GLENN: It doesn't stand for anything right now.
Let me ask you this, Mark, that says conscience. I would go a step further. If there is somebody who is, you know, really big in the Planned Parenthood movement and was leading the charge for everybody has got to have birth control at birth you need to be able to get birth control. And somebody -- and they run a print shop. And somebody comes in and they're evangelical Christians and they're doing this magazine and flier and everything else that says, you know, no to abortion and everything else, that would violate their -- it would be hard for them to do. I believe they have a right to say, I'm not going to take your business.
MARK: Well, ultimately at least from our founding principles, you're correct.
But you see, the religious liberty now should be the new civil rights movement.
GLENN: Yes, it should.
MARK: Because it's under brutal assault. And, of course, it's under assault because we have damn few institutions left to stand up to big iron-fisted centralized government, and this is one of them.
But I'll tell you something else, Glenn, if they think they're going to find people of faith, whatever their faith is, who are just going to buckle under and say, all right, fine, I'll just throw my faith out the window and do what I'm told. And, you know, three years ago, this wasn't even a big issue, now it's a big issue. It ain't going to happen. People of faith, big faith. I don't mean sort of secularists who show up on Saturdays and Sundays depending on their faith. I mean people who are actually believers, they won't buckle under to this stuff.
GLENN: Does this bother you that we're talking about this while Christians, Muslims, atheists, and homosexuals are being thrown off a building by ISIS?
MARK: Well, you're right. It's amazing. And not just ISIS, by the IslamoNazi regime in Iran which we're negotiating with.
GLENN: Yeah, I find this incredible.
MARK: Are they doing that in Indiana, by the way?
GLENN: We're bashing a pizza parlor in Indiana, yet we're sitting down trying to find common ground with people who are currently killing, crucifying homosexuals.
MARK: Because it's easy. It's easy for some doofus who graduated with a D-minus from journalism school to go into a pizza parlor and harass a little girl. It's quite different if they actually flew over to Tehran and demonstrated that they are real journalists, they have really guts, but they're not. They're pathetic.
GLENN: Well, how about the journalist from Iran that is now no longer welcome because he spilled the beans and said it's like the United States is negotiating on behalf of Iran. And now he can't go back to Iran or he'll be killed and arrested.
MARK: Of course. That's quite right.
GLENN: There's real journalism for you. Let me switch subjects here. First of all, let me ask you about Iran. We had a conversation yesterday.
MARK: You asked it.
GLENN: I know that. We had a conversation yesterday. We can't let that stand. The Congress cannot let that stand. Do you think Congress will do anything if he comes back with a deal with Iran?
MARK: No. You know, they seem to think going on Fox and beating their chest is doing something. It's doing nothing. Here's what happened, Glenn. As soon as Mitch McConnell was elected, the next morning, he went in front of the Mitch McConnell Memorial, something or other, in Kentucky, and announced that we will not shut down the government.
Now, first of all, to preemptively blame yourself for shutting down the government seems fundamentally stupid to me, but there you go. That's number one.
Number two, what he really means by that is we're surrendering the power of the purse. If Congress surrenders the power of the purse, above all else, impeachment and the rest, it has no power. That's what congresses do. They spend money. They tax. They borrow. What the hell else do they do? So if every prior Congress uses the power of the purse to try and effect change in departments and agencies, in presidential directives, and so forth and so on, when you surrender that, you have no power left. So what are they going to do exactly? That's number one.
Number two, in the Senate, they should abolish the filibuster while this guy is president of the United States because that's a rule. That's not in the Constitution. In order to fight this imperial president. But he won't do it.
Now, you and I can talk until we're blue in the face. The answer is, they won't do anything to stop this president. He knows it. And this is why he pushes harder and harder and is more and more
GLENN: I will tell you, Mark, I'm getting a lot of mail from people that say that you and I are among the only ones that are taking on Karl Rove, Grover Norquist, and the G.O.P. But I don't think that's true. I think there are millions of Americans who feel exactly the same way. These guys got to be stopped. They just have to be stopped.
MARK: Well, these guys have been hanging around forever. Let's look at Karl Rove. The architect, pretty funny, huh? Let's look at his record. Number one, in 2006, you know, when George Bush came in, he didn't win the popular quote. He did win legitimately the electoral college, so he was a legitimate president. But who was the architect of that? Rove. Then in 2006, we lose both the House and the Senate. They had a Republican House and Senate when they came in, we lost them both, under who? The architect. Karl Rove. We lose with McCain. We lose with Romney. Now they tell us conservatives can't win. This guy is a Svengali. You're right to take him on. I despise him. And I despise what he's doing to my party. It's still my party, barely. And I despise what he's doing to my country.
As for Grover Norquist, that is one seedy character, no question about it.
GLENN: Okay. Let me change this subject --
MARK: And, by the way, thank you for slamming away. And I've done everything I can on my social sites to support you.
GLENN: Well, thank you. I know that. And I know that I'm not alone because you were leading this with Karl Rove. You've been there before I was.
Let's talk a little about North Dakota. It became the 27th state to call for a constitutional convention. When I saw that there had been 27 states. This is your idea. It came from -- well, it was the founder's idea, but you're the one that brought it up in your book, and it caught fire. And when I saw that we were, what, six states away --
PAT: We're almost there.
MARK: Thirty-four we need.
PAT: Seven states. We need seven more. Now, so the legislatures of these 27 states, Mark, have already voted on this?
MARK: All right. Let me slow this down a little. Let me unravel this a little.
First of all, the language is important. Because the John Birchers who despise me -- and the feeling is mutual -- tell you that this is a constitutional convention. It is not. Article five says convention of the states.
MARK: There's a reason why that's important. They're not free to just go to this convention and throw out the Constitution. They actually have to go to a convention of the states. Look at it as a meeting of the states. The state sends delegates to meet, and they meet to discuss possible amendments to the Constitution, just as Congress meets all the time and they can propose amendments. Well, now a certain number of states can meet and propose amendments. Now, first of all, let's start right there.
Do we believe in federalism, or do we not? Do we believe the problem is this overbearing centralized federal leviathan, or do we not? So as conservatives, immediately this should be attractive to us. We have an ongoing constitutional convention, it's called the Supreme Court. We have an ongoing constitutional convention, it's called the president and Congress. They're changing, undermining, usurping the Constitution daily. This is the only recourse we have to fight back. That's number one.
Number two, I don't believe we should only be focused on a balanced budget amendment. Our problem is systemic. Our problem is structural. We are no longer a constitutional republic. Or federal republic. Or representative republic. I don't know what the hell we are. But we're not that. To say I just want a balance budget amendment. You'll be balancing the federal budget, but the Congress will still be out of control and Obama and the Supreme Court. That's why there are other things that need to be done. Term limits for members of Congress. Term limits on the Supreme Court and so forth.
GLENN: I will tell you, when I saw that it was only budget, I thought, well, that's a good start, but term limits should be in there as well. And everybody agrees on term limits, except those in power. And the only way it will happen is through a convention of states.
MARK: That's correct. The only way you'll bust up this entrenched professional class is to bust them up. Begging them to bust themselves up or beg them to restrain themselves, they're not going to do it.
GLENN: Here's the problem with this that I've not been able to solve. You've probably thought it all through. The problem is, not necessarily with the politicians, I mean, it is with the politicians. But it doesn't stop there. The State Department needs to be just fumigated. So how do you get -- you get new guys coming in all the time, you're going to have all the Karl Roves, all the professionals that are there, who are like, no, no, you don't know how the game is played. We've been setting this up for a long time. You just do this. How do you get the State Department to react to politicians? They think these guys will come and go. We'll be here forever.
MARK: Here's a couple things. Number one, this is why among my proposed reform amendments, three-fifths of the state legislatures. You know, the state legislatures, Glenn, acting together are more powerful than the federal government, period. This is what people don't get. The framers said, okay, here, we'll give you a fire alarm. And if the house is on fire, pull the damn thing. So my proposal is that the state legislatures, if three-fifths of the legislatures want to override a federal statute or a federal regulation -- if they can do it within two years, they do it. And there are other proposals in there. You're talking about the permanent bureaucracy.
MARK: Well, we have to elect people, or in my view, appoint senators through the state legislature process, who are going to do that.
MARK: We can only go so far. You've made the point that the real war here is a culture war. Okay, if Americans don't want to be free, they're not going to be free. You're the latest to say this. Franklin said it. Lincoln said it. Reagan said it. You've said it. It's true. If we don't want to be led by virtuous people, we won't be led by virtuous people. If we want to live under the iron fist of invisible shadowy consultants and operatives, then we will. But there are certain things we can do to address this like term limits, like giving the state legislatures the power to appoint senators again and giving state legislatures the power to override these outrageous federal regulations and federal statutes. We wouldn't have Obamacare today if the state legislatures would step up. We wouldn't have an out-of-control EPA today if the state legislatures would step up. So when I talk to these state senators and representatives, I say, pal, you have an obligation under the federal Constitution to step up. Now step up and do something.
GLENN: Mark Levin, it is great to talk to you. Great to have you on the air.
MARK: You're a good man, my brother.