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Our Founders' Warning: “Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories.” (Thomas Jefferson)

Why Not Include U.S. Referendums?

U.S. Referendums

Referendums are generally prepared by Government and submitted to the People for their approval. In some U.S. states and cities, a “referendum petition” can be used by the People to overturn legislation. Referendums are widely used around the world to legitimize actions that Governments want to take. Often the right to initiate referendum is presumed to be a proper power of Government without explicit authority granting the government that right. For example, the U.S. Constitution is silent on the matter. The U.S. government has never tested whether or not the Supreme Court would determine that it has the right to hold referendums. Following The Netherlands’ 2005 referendum rejecting the EU Charter, there remain only four major established democracies that have never held a national referendum: India, Israel, Japan, and the United States.

However, they can have sinister purposes, so their checks and balances should be very carefully considered. “Hitler used national referendums to withdraw Germany from the League of Nations in 1933 and to consolidate his powers in 1934. The ability of the Nazi propaganda machine to insure the desired result is well known.” (Polhill)

The procedures for indirect initiatives vary from state to state. For example, some state legislatures can submit an alternative ballot referendum on the same subject as the indirect initiative for the People to choose between. However, such complexities would detract from the core issues of the Amendment, and a simple form of indirect initiative process has been incorporated into the Amendment to facilitate IQA and Congressional cooperation.

Since nationwide referendums are not essential to Solution of the Problems addressed in this plan, it is better to limit the Amendment to nationwide Initiatives than risk its failure from non-essential referendums that are either within congressional purview or can be addressed by initiative.