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Opening remarks SJR67 Bayh Abourezk








Washington, D.C.

The subcommittee (composed of Senator Bayh, Metzenbaum, Abourezk, Allen, Scott and Hatch) met, pursuant to notice, at 10:10 a.m., in room 2228, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Senator Birch Bayh (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.

Present: Senators Abourezk and Hatch.

Staff present: Nels Ackerson, chief counsel and executive director; Mary K. Jolly, staff director; Ken Foran, minority counsel; Linda Rogers-Kingsbury, chief clerk; Kevin Murray, counsel to Senator Abourezk; Stephan Carter, staff ‘assistant to Senator Abourezk; and Kevin O’Donnel, counsel to Senator Metzenbaum.

Senator BAYH. The subcommittee will come to order please.


Today, the Subcommittee on the Constitution begins hearings on Senate Joint Resolution 67, a proposed constitutional amend­ment coauthored by my distinguished colleagues Senators Abourezk, Hatfield, and Gravel which would provide for the enactment of Fed­eral laws by popular vote of the people of the United States. My distinguished colleague from South Dakota, and a member of this subcommittee, Senator Abourezk, has graciously agreed to chair part of these hearings because of his deep and long-time interest in this subject. I wish to thank him and to commend him and his staff for their cooperation and for the work they have done in conjunction with the preparation for these hearings.

The idea of the public proposing national laws and then voting on them is most controversial, as most of us realize in the Congress. At the outset, let me point out that these 2 days of hearings on Senate Judiciary Resolution 67 are only the beginning of what promises to be a lengthy and serious debate on the merits of this resolution. For the most part, the witnesses scheduled to testify during these 2 days of hearings are favorably disposed to the pro­posed resolution. However, their views in no way reflect an intent upon the part of this subcommittee to narrow the range of interested witnesses. Certainly, on the contrary, before our hearings are completed the views of all organizations and individuals, both those for and those not so favorably disposed to this resolution, will have an opportunity to testify or provide statements for the record so that the broad spectrum of interest in this subject will be properly represented. So, as the subcommittee begins hearing testimony today, we do so determined to have a full and fair record on both the pros and cons of a national initiative process.

The initiative process, as proposed in the resolution before us, would give citizens the power to put a proposed~ Federal law on the ballot by gathering the signatures of 3 percent of those who voted in the previous Presidential election.

The resolution would further guard against the possibility of regional concentration of the signators, by providing that the re­quired signatures must include a distribution of signatures from 3 percent of the voters in at least 10 States. The signatures must be gathered within 18 months and be validated by the U.S. Attorney General. If sufficient signatures are obtained, the proposed law would be placed on the ballot in the next congressional election.

Under the initiative amendment, citizens would have the power to enact Federal laws with the exception of the authority to declare war or to call up the militia. The initiative also could not be used to amend the Constitution.

There are many significant reasons of citizens’ access to Gov­ernment processes why many citizens view the initiative process as a most desirable one. During these hearings, I am sure that they will be discussed, along with significant reasons as to why it may not be proper in our Federal Government to have such a change in the system. No change in the Constitution should be undertaken lightly. As one who has been involved in a number of constitutional re­visions, some successful and some not so successful, I think all of us understand the magnitude of this particular type of legislative process.

As we begin these hearings, I must say that I have serious reserva­tions about the initiative proposal on the Federal level.

It is with this in mind that the strong pluses and the strong minuses which come to mind upon reviewing this change will be made a matter of public record, debate, and discussion. I am anxious to see just where this leads us.

Again, I salute my distinguished colleague from South Dakota for his initiative in this. I believe these hearings will provide one, as well as the public, with a greater understanding of the initiative process.

I recognize two distinguished Members of the other body present this morning. They have not been strangers to this committee and have a deep interest in other matters that are before the Senate and before this committee in the constitutional area.

With the deference of my distinguished colleague from South Dakota, before turning over the Chair, I might point out that a statement from Dixon Arnett, who is an assemblyman from the 20th District of California, sheds some light on this topic. I would ask that it be placed at an appropriate place in the hearing record.

Without objection, I will now turn the Chair over to our dis­tinguished colleague from South Dakota.

[The following letter from the Department of Justice was marked “Exhibit No. 1” and is as follows:]



Washington, D.C., December 9, 1977.


Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.

DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This is in response to your request for the views of the Department of Justice on S.J. Res. 67, a constitutional amendment to provide for a national initiative.

While the proposed amendment certainly reflects the theory of democratic government, it is the considered judgment of the Department of Justice that It cannot be effectively implemented in the United States, at the federal level, in the Twentieth Century.

At the time of the drafting and adoption of the Constitution, the Founding Fathers elected to establish a representative or republican form of government rather than a pure democracy. Their basis for doing so was philosophic, historic and practical and reflected their awareness of the theories of Montesquieu, the demise of the Greek city states, and the difficulties of communication In the Eighteenth Century. The philosophic and historic reasons for relying on elected representatives as the legislative body remain the same today. The practical reasons for doing so are quite different but perhaps even more compelling.

It is true that the use of the initiative as a method of legislating is not in­herently inconsistent with a representative form of government, as witness the practice in a number of States. The practical problems, however, are magnified substantially at the federal level. First and foremost there is the complexity posed by the very fact that we have a federal system in which the powers of national legislation are circumscribed by constitutional constraints which can be extremely complex in their application to particular pieces of legislation. A perceived need can be met legislatively at the State level by appropriate legis­lation enacted under the State’s general police powers. At the federal level, there is no general police power and legislation must be premised on the enumer­ated powers In Article I, section 8. If the federal legislature should exceed its powers in this regard, there is both an Executive and a Judicial check on this excess—the veto power and the power of judicial review. If an Initiative were adopted, one of these checks would be lost.

The complexity of modern law, particularly at the federal level, makes it extremely difficult for even a limited number of representatives, using their own staff, the available technology, and the resources of the Executive Branch to avoid the adoption of inconsistent, contradictory or overlapping laws. This is true even though the present process refines a proposed piece of legislation through many stages—introduction, comment, subcommittee consideration, full committee consideration and floor debate in each of two houses. While not all errors are detected in this manner, more can be detected than would be the case if the total voting population of the United States were to be given a choice of voting yes or no on the text of a measure as complicated, for example, as the Social Security Act. As the Congress recognizes, adopting a policy state­ment phrased in general terms is far easier than fashioning a precise piece of legislation in the framework of a code of law containing fifty titles.

The provision in the proposed amendment restricting the power of Congress to amend or repeal legislation enacted by initiative further compounds the practical problems. Obvious errors in language could not be corrected promptly; unintended repeals of existing law could not be undone for two years. Initiatives fashioned to meet one set of circumstances could not be altered even if circum­stances changed drastically. Provisions struck down by the courts could not be altered to meet the courts’ objections rapidly, perhaps resulting in the total failure of an important program strongly desired by the people.

One technical problem of concern to this Department, since it would be charged with administrative responsibilities under the proposed amendment, is the requirement that the signature of registered voters be verified by the Chief Law Enforcement Officer. It must be recognized that some States, or counties within the States, do not register voters. This would place the Department in a position of attempting to verify voting qualifications under State law for each signatory in such States or automatically disqualifying all signatories in those States lacking a registration procedure. The Department is not equipped to perform this function on a national level.

While the Department recognizes the concern for citizen participation which prompts this proposal, it must oppose S.J. Res. 67 for the foregoing reasons.

The Office of Management and Budget has advised that it has no objection to the submission of this report from the standpoint of the Administration’s program.



Assistant Attorney General.

 [The following correspondence was subsequently submitted for the record and marked “Exhibit No. 2” and “Exhibit No. 3,” and follows :]





     Washington, D.C., January 18, 1978.


Congressional Budget Office, House Annex 2, Second and D Streets SW., Washington, D.C.

DEAR Ms. RIVLIN: On December 13—14, 1977, the Senate Judiciary Constitu­tion Subcommittee held hearings on the Voter Initiative Constitutional amend­ment introduced by Senators Abourezk and Hatfield, S. 3. Res. 67.

One of the questions that was raised was the cost of administering this pro­gram. Testimony from state election officials has indicated that it costs approxi­mately 21 cents to validate a signature at the state level.

I would greatly appreciate receiving a cost estimate from the CBO on this legislation.

Thanking you in advance for your cooperation.


BIRCH BAYH, Chairman.





Washington, D.C., February 27, 1978.


Chairman, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Committee on the Judiciary U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.

DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: Pursuant to Section 403 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Congressional Budget Office has prepared the attached cost estimate for S. J. Res. 67, a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States with respect to the proposal and the enact­ment of laws by popular vote of the people of the United States.

Should the Committee so desire, we would be pleased to provide further details on the attached cost estimate.


ALICE M. RIVLIN, Director.


February 27, 1978.

  1. Resolution Number: S.J. Res. 67.
  2. Resolution title: Joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Consti­tution of the United States with respect to the proposal and the enactment of laws by popular vote of the people of the United States.
  3. Resolution status: As referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, July 11, 1977.
  4. Resolution purpose: S.J. Res. 67 would allow the use of the initiative proc­ess at the national level. The initiative process allows citizens to place a proposed law on the ballot by gathering signatures of registered voters, equal in number to 3 percent of the ballots cast for President in the last Presidential election, including signatures from 10 states equal in number to 3 percent of the ballots cast in the last Presidential election in each of the 10 states. The chief law enforcement officer of the United States must certify the validity of the signa­tures, in consultation with the states, within 90 days after the presentation of the proposed law.
  5. Cost estimate: To become effective, this amendment must be ratified by three-fourths of the states. Thus, by itself, passage of the resolution by Congress does not result in a cost to the government.

The following table summarizes the costs that would be incurred if this reso­lution is passed and the amendment ratified.

Estimated costs:                                                                             Million
Fiscal year 1979 ——————————————————–              0
Fiscal year 1980 ——————————————————–                . 8
Fiscal year 1981 ——————————————————–                . 9
Fiscal year 1982 ——————————————————–           1. 9
Fiscal year 1983 ——————————————————–              1. 0

For the purpose of presenting these costs, it is assumed that the resolution will be passed, the amendment ratified, and the first proposed law presented to the Attorney General in fiscal year 1980.

The costs of this amendment fall within budget function 750.

  1. Basis of estimate: It was assumed that one petition containing the text of a proposed law and the required signatures would be presented to the Attorney General’s office in fiscal year 1980, and one in each non-election year and two in each election year thereafter.

Signatures needed to place a proposed law on the ballot must be equal in number to 3 percent of the voters in the last Presidential election. In 1976 there were 81.5 million ballots cast for the President. This was a 5 percent increase from 1972. It was assumed that there will be a 5 percent increase in the number of voters by 1980, bringing the total number of voters to 85.6 million. With the 3 percent requirement, 2.6 million valid signatures would be needed.

Based on statistics compiled by various states which now authorize the initiative process, it was estimated that 20 percent of the signatures collected on the petition will be invalid. Therefore, In order to ensure that the required number of valid signatures are attained, it is likely that at least 3.8 million signatures will appear on any petition in 1980 and 4 million thereafter, until the next Presidential election.

It was assumed that the federal government will reimburse the states for any costs they incur in verifying signatures for this purpose. Based on data compiled from a number of states, it was estimated that this cost in fiscal year 1980 would be $0.21 per signature. The 1980 cost per signature was inflated by the CBO estimate of the CPI inflator to obtain costs in later years.

Additional costs to the federal government with the enactment of 5.3. Res. 67 were projected to be incidental.

  1. Estimate comparison: None.
  2. Previous CBO estimate: None.
  3. Estimate prepared by: Chris M. Blair and Kathy Weiss.
  4. Estimate approved by:

(For James L. Blum,

Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.)

Senator ABOUREZK. First of all, I would like to express the deep thanks of myself and all of those citizens who are supporting the initiative constitutional amendment to Senator Birch Bayh, the chairman of the subcommittee, for holding quick hearings.

As James Kilpatrick pointed out in a column Saturday, that is not easy to do in Senator Bayh’s committees—to get hearings on any, as he calls it, “kooky” idea.

I want also to say that the only journalistic criticisms of this pro­posal for the initiative have come from George Will and James Kilpatrick, which leads me to believe that we are on to something good.

I will put my own statement in the record and ask that it be printed in full.



Five months ago, Senator Hatfield, Senator Gravel and I intro­duced Senate Joint Resolution 67, the voter initiative amend­ment. This marked the first time in our Nation’s history that legisla­tion had been introduced into either the House or the Senate which would allow for the use of the voter initiative process at the national level, even though the process has been proven effective in 23 States during the past 60—70 years.

Since the introduction into the Senate, two bills have been intro­duced in the House, one by Congressman Jim Jones, (D-Okla.), and another by Congressman Guy Vander Jagt (R-Mich.). Fourteen Members of the House have cosponsored these two pieces of legisla­tion.

Today, this subcommittee becomes the first congressional com­mittee or subcommittee in either Chamber to consider this further expansion of voting rights of the American people—the right to vote directly on issues. In the five months since its introduction on July 11, the voter initiative amendment has become a serious consti­tutional proposal which is commanding the support of liberals, con­servatives, Republicans and Democrats alike. The voter initiative process is truly a bipartisan issue and it has generated support from the Americans of every political persuasion.

The response I have received to the introduction of this amend­ment has gone beyond my highest expectations. I have been con­tacted by a number of potential candidates for the House and the Senate who plan to use this issue in their campaigns next year. The mail I have received and the extraordinary amount of media cover­age given to this issue has convinced me that the concept of the American people voting directly on national issues is an idea whose time has come.

It is clear that the voter initiative amendment is overwhelmingly supported by the American people. The public again expressed sup­port for the right to initiative, when, just last month, the voters of the District of Columbia adopted the voter initiative process by an overwhelming 83 percent vote. In the 23 States where the voters have previously adopted the initiative process, there has never been a serious effort to repeal the process. In these States, the voter initia­tive has become an accepted, integral part of the decision making process.

The amendment has generated the support it has because the voting public realizes there is a clear need for it. Time after time, special interests of one kind or another block legislation in the Congress— legislation that often is strongly supported by a majority of Americans. In these instances, the people should have the right to make their voices heard in a legitimate, constructive manner. The voter initiative would provide the means to exercise that right.

The voter initiative provides a concrete means for citizen par­ticipation. It would make the legislative branch more accountable to the voters and it would allow for open educational debates on im­portant issues. Perhaps most importantly, it would lessen the sense of alienation from Government to which millions of Americans now profess and would perfectly complement our representative form of government by enabling the average citizen to more effectively and directly communicate with the Federal Government.

Today, people in 23 States including some of our largest—Cali­fornia, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan and Ohio—and hundreds of cities and counties across this country, vote regularly on an as­sortment of issues ranging from State constitutional amendments to statewide voter initiatives; to questions referred by their legisla­tive bodies; to local bond issues and tax levies. The right to vote on issues is a fixture of American life—a right that has been responsibly exercised countless times in the past several decades.

The voter initiative amendment and the growing national move­ment it has inspired is founded on the belief in the wisdom of the American people. This conviction is the cornerstone of our Constitu­tion, as well as our entire legislative and judicial system.

Because the foundation of the voter initiative process is our trust in the American people, politicians who wish to oppose the initiative process place themselves in an especially difficult position. Opponents of the initiative process appear to be saying that they don’t trust the people or that the people are not educated enough to vote on issues. What the critics ironically forget is that these very same “un­trustworthy and uneducated” people can be trusted and are educated enough to elect politicians to office.

While the arguments used in opposition to the voter initiative process deserve careful analysis and consideration, it is clear from the history of the initiative process, that the opposition arguments have been soundly refuted time and time again. The arguments that have been raised since the introduction of this amendment last July are the same arguments that were used in the early 1900’s when State after State adopted the voter initiative and are the same arguments that have been advanced in every city, county, and State where the issue has been debated since my home State of South Dakota first adopted the process in 1898.

In one way or another the debate about the voter initiative always comes down to whether politicians trust the American people suffi­ciently to allow the citizens the right to vote directly on issues. In my mind, it is clear that the people have proven themselves worthy of this direct democratic process.

One of our Republic’s strengths often cited by constitutional scholars is that the States can be laboratories for testing new ideas. In this case, the States, after an experiment of seven decades, have proven beyond a doubt that the voter initiative is a sound, basic, democratic process. The use of the initiative in the States has only increased the trust that we place in the American people. In votingon initiative issues, the people repeatedly have shown restraint and good judgment, and I can say that despite the fact that I personally may not have always agreed with the outcome of a particular issue.

This voter initiative amendment is not advanced as a panacea for the problems of our society and I do not want to give you the impres­sion that it is. The process does have its limitations. However, I think it is important to consider the voter initiative process vis a vis the Congress of the United States. The initiative is probably no better, no worse than the Congress. It is simply another, more demo­cratic means of making law, a check and balance to be issued when normal procedures break down.

I introduced this constitutional amendment, not because I seek to advance one particular issue or a set of “liberal” issues but because I think the American people deserve this basic democratic right. This right will help restore the people’s shattered faith in their ability to effect the course of their Government under which they live. In addition, the initiative process is a great educational tool which will result in open, significant debates on issues which other­wise might have been inadequately addressed. It is an important extension of voting rights, as were 6 of the last 10 constitutional amendments and is part of the evolutionary trend toward increased citizen participation in the affairs of our Government.

Since I am not seeking reelection, I do not expect to see the lengthy ratification process completed before I retire, but II expect that very soon after I leave elected politics, the Senate and the House of Representatives will send this constitutional amendment to the States for their ratification.

I look forward to these hearings today and tomorrow because we will hear from people of all political persuasions who have had ex­perience with the voter initiative process and who believe that the Congress should adopt this important constitutional proposal.

[Senate Joint Resolution 67, introduced by Senator Abourezk, was marked “Exhibit No. 4” and is as follows :]

Nader’s SJR67 testimony 1977


Hearing Before Subcommittee on the Constitution

Committee on the Judiciary U.S. Senate

Voter Initiative Constitutional Amendment

S.J. Resolution 67

November 13 and 14, 1977

Mr. NADER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Senator Hatch.

I would like to congratulate the subcommittee for having hearings on this important issue. Too often there is a neglect in Congress m exploring basic issues in democratic decision making. Certainly this one raises a basic issue which has been debated and deliberated since the Jeffersonian-Hamiltonian exchanges.

We do not have to develop very detailed foundations for the thesis that the process of governmental decision making has become more and more remote, not only from the people but from the legislative branches at the State, local and national level as well.

This is a process of decision making that has not only extended itself into the executive branch and subexecutive branch agencies but has moved even more remotely from the executive branch with the development of quasi-public institutions at all levels of govern­ment that affect people in as real a way as a traditional government agency would affect people.

I point out to you for example the New York Port Authority which is one of these institutions that does not seem to be either under Federal or State control as it straddles the three States of Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey.

Having said that, the point I would like to make is this. It is important to have a close understanding that the ultimate’ check on representative democracy is direct democracy.

If representative democracy turns itself into an institutionalized tyrant or is arbitrary in its decisions or insensitive in its decisions, then there needs to be a resort back to the source of power in a democracy which comprises of course the electorate.

As the witnesses will no doubt inform you today, there has been a considerab1e history at the State level with initiative referendums and the Chairman certainly has had experience in that area, both personally and coming from the State where the first initiative I amendment was enacted at the State level in the late 19th century.

It is often said that while it may work at the State or local it simply cannot work at the national level. That is not entirely an insupportable assertion. If it is going to work at the national level, there has to be a correlative series of reforms in order that the severe imbalances in access to money and access to communications do not turn this instrument into simply a tool for oligarchic power.

This is the principal emphasis that I would like to make this morning. Unless something is done about access to mass communica­tions, the display of first amendment rights, which is the funda­mental substructure of any democratic initiative, will not be possible even in a remotely effective way. The people who exercise these rights must have comparable access to the technology that can dis­seminate the words and beliefs exercised under our first amendment. That means that not only must there be campaign finance standards as envisioned in the background materials to this proposed amend­ment to the Constitution, but there also needs to be, particularly by implementing statutes, a resolution of the access problem to the mass media. Indeed, even in the traditional campaign financial forum dis­cussions, it has been said by observers and students of this problem that the financial aspects are not the exclusive focus of reform. It has to also involve the access to the communication system.

Senator ABOUREZK. May I interrupt?

That all should be done in separate legislation, implementing legislation and not in the amendment itself; is that right?

Mr. NADER. Yes.

Senator ABOUREZK. Yes, that’s my view.

Mr. NADER. It would have to be done with an implementing statute.

Senator HATCH. Let me interrupt. Mr. Nader, you seem to be saying that in your opinion this particular joint resolution would not work if you do not take care of those two problems—basically the campaign finance standards and the resolution of access problems to the mass media; is that right?

Mr. NADER. It would not be free to work as well as the concept would imply. I can imagine in some instances it would work.

Senator HATCH. Certainly.

Mr. NADER. If for example there is a great fear of a particular health epidemic and there needs to be something done about it

can imagine it working just as it does now.

But obviously when you deal with issues of the distribution of power in our society, you have to have some fairness in the access to the communication system that is grantedly controlled by a very small handful of people and companies in our economy.

I would like to illustrate a point. For example, if there is a national initiative launched to overrule a populist piece of legislation that

Congress has enacted and the President has signed, if a national initiative was launched by the corporate institutions of the country and through their access to shareholders and to the mass media they could easily gain the requisite signatures and easily dominate the communications system. So, I think it is a little naive to think that only the people can really get the people behind them. Basically through such threats as mass loss of jobs which the companies can disseminate throughout the country or the increased cost of certain proposals that Congress has enacted then they could, lacking a countervailing source of information, obtain sufficient support for this kind of initiative.

That is not to say that the people cannot make up their own minds in an intelligent manner. The whole theory of democracy is that the broader the audience, the broader the value systems that are taken into account and the more likely will be the best decision for the society as a whole. While people can make mistakes like corporations make mistakes, to the extent that they can express their own interest as a people then they are expressing the broad values and interests of our society.

It is important to note that even with the expression of this popular interest there are still safeguards which this amendment does not disrupt. You have the safeguard of the initiative being declared unconstitutional. You have the safeguard of a two-thirds override with Presidential concurrence. And you have of course the safeguard of another initiative coming along and repealing the old initiative if, in the light of experience, it has not worked out well.

I think there needs to be more discussion, Mr. Chairman, of the side effects of this kind of national initiative proposal. One of the great needs in our society is the location of leadership. How do leaders arise in our society?

If there is principally one way that leaders arise in our society politically and that is through the formal political machines, the formal political parties, then we are going to deprive ourselves of some very basic reservoirs of leadership in the country. You just have to look at the composition of the Congress, for example, to see that one-half of the U.S. Congress comes from far less than 1 percent of the population called lawyers. One of the reasons that is true is that not only do lawyers tend to be trained for politics from law school on, but they have the time to be in politics. They have been able to combine both a practice and politics. They are viewed by society as perhaps the last remaining specialists who can be generalists as well and can be viewed as generalists in their commentary on public policy. Whereas people will say, “What does that architect know about politics?”, very few people will say, “What does that lawyer know about politics?”

But it is clear that the Congress does not draw from the broad base of leadership potential of our society.

In contrast, with the increasing development of initiatives and referendums and recalls at the State level, we have seen people who ordinarily would not be part of the political process come to the broader political process known as the initiative referendum o recall, and to get experience and to train themselves and put them selves forward as alternative leaders in our society.

That is one very important side effect of this process and in fact it may be just as important as the direct effect of this process. It opens many more opportunities for local, State and national citizen leadership and involvement than has been the case.

Imagine in the last 10 years the lack of leadership in our country of 250 million people compared to the leadership that our country drew forth before 1800 when the population was under 3 million. I think most of us in this country would agree that the leadership that came forward in the late 18th century in our country has not been exceeded in the 20th century in our country.

The second side effect that I think is important is that it puts a responsibility on the people. It is not only important to give people more rights and more opportunities to participate in decision making. It is also very important to put a civic burden on the people and to in effect say to them that they have no longer any excuses about not participating or deciding the future of their society and that they can no longer say, “You cannot fight city hall” and shrug off their responsibility. They can no longer say, “What is the use of trying everything is all locked up or rigged anyway?”

What the national initiative concept does, as well as State and local analogies, is to say to the electorate, “Listen, you have nobody to blame but yourself because you now have a direct tool of decision-making, namely the ability to propose and write your own laws.” That is very important.

The best antidote to cynicism in a civil sense is to endow the cynics with power. When those cynics are the electorate and the endow­ment of power is effective, then the issue of citizen obligation can come to the forefront as the dialog in our country and not the nagging issue of powerlessness.

I would like to add one more point because I know there are time limitations. Many of the people here have come a long way to testify today.

It is not likely that the proposal will be successful, as the Chair­man knows, in Congress unless it achieves a much broader awareness and support level throughoutthe country.

I think it is important, for example, for some of the national pollsters to develop specific polls on the subject and keep them up-to-date. It is also important to enlist many of the neighborhood and community organizations at the local level into this effort.

I want to caution, however, the need for thinking through a rather comprehensive supplementary statute in order to make sure that this opportunity, as some others in the past, does not get captured unfairly by the very special interest groups, particularly the corporate struc­ture, in the country

This is not to say that the resulting reforms in a supplementary statute will prevent a corporate-sponsored initiative from ever win­ning. It is to say, however, that there will be contention in the marketplace of ideas that is not obstructed by how deep your pocket is or how thin your pocket is.

This is, I think, the basic operational safeguard that the subcom­mittee should pay attention to in the coming months.

Thank you.

Senatorr Abourezk. Thank you very much. That is an excellent discussion of the issue and its side effects.

We did not include a referendum procedure in this for various reasons. I’m curious to know what you think about the inclusion of such a process in this amendment.

Mr. NADER. I think they go hand-in-hand.

Senator ABOUREZK. It would be your position that we should properly include it?

Mr. NADER. Yes.

Given the safeguards that apply to each one, I do not see any reason why the referendum power should be deleted.

Senator AB0UREZK. Senator Hatch?

Senator HATCH. Mr. Nader, I too have enjoyed your discussion here today.

How would you suggest, for instance, that we bring about this access to major media communication? I assume that it is for the benefit of all citizens.

Mr. NADER. There are two ways to do it. One is to require a certain amount of time to be devoted the way they do in England for elec­tion campaigns with, of course, the campaign finance limitation developed in a way where the allocated amount of time on the mass media cannot be easily nullified by simply buying up enormous amounts of additional time. I think that is one proposal.

The second would be to develop a more consistent procedural access to the deliberations of the Federal Communications Commission. That would not just apply to initiative and referendum proposals but basically it would apply to the need for the viewers, the television viewers and the radio listeners to have a mechanism whereby they can participate and make a contribution to critical FCC policy whether it relates to access to new satellite technology or to the more routine issues that the FCC deals with in terms of access to the electronic media.

Senator HATCH. You have asserted in your testimony that the decision making process is remote. I believe you have implied that this particular joint resolution would be a positive step in the direction of making that process less remote and more direct to the people.

I agree with you that there is a great deal of remoteness in the decision making process of the Government and Ii cite the fourth branch of Government, the bureaucracy, as a perfect illustration with more than 60,000 or 70,000 pages this year in the Federal Register. This frustrates almost everybody in society.

I also can think of the countless remote decisions that are made behind closed doors by, let’s say, the Federal judiciary.

My question is this. Should Senate Joint Resolution 67 be broad­ened to include the recall of Federal judges?

Mr. NADER. Not unless Federal judges are elected.

Senator HATCH. Would you prefer that they be elected?

Mr. NADER. No.

Senator HATCH. In other words, your answer to that would be no?

Mr. NADER. Yes.

Senator HATCH. Why?

Mr. NADER. I think there needs to be a branch of government that is insulated from politics, even if it is at the price of insulating them

from popular politics. Until we see that there is a gross abuse of this insulation, I think it is a good thing for society to have a branch of government that tries to make decisions on the basis of the merits and the law and the conscience of the judges.

Senator HATCH. Personally, I agree with you on that.

I do think that we may need some form of a recall approach with the Federal judiciary that resolves these problems of the tyrannical and overbearing and dishonest and unfair judge.

Senator ABOUREZK. We have an impeachment procedure.

Senator HATCH. We have that but it’s almost an impossibility tinder our Federal judicial system to impeach anybody in any reasonable period of time.

Mr. NADER. Mind you, the benefits of this insulation are so great that I think the society can take several judges that a significant portion of the people may not like.

Senator HATCH. We’ve had to up to this point.

Mr. NADER. Also if you’re going to have the ultimate constitu­tional safeguard for this initiative proposal be in the judiciary, then it seems to me you have to have a degree of insulation or otherwise the initiative process could upset the basic constitutional safeguard by simply recalling the judges.

Senator HATCH. Although I agree with you on your basic premise here I don’t think you seriously believe that judges are insulated from politics, do you?

Mr. NADER. No, they’re not wholly insulated from politics but the y are more insulated from politics

Senator HATCH. After they are on the bench than they are before? Mr. NADER. Yes, and they are more insulated from politics than a legislator by definition.

Senator HATCH. No question about it.

Mr. NADER. So, we’re not going to ever develop a system and nobody should be so naive as to expect the system that is that insu­lated. I think it is more insulated than other branches of government, however.

Second, the judiciary is not permitted to be overt about its connection with politics.

Senator HATCH. One of the points that came up yesterday, which I thought was a rather interesting point was this. I would like to get your viewpoint on it. Should this amendment be passed and should we have the right to have an initiative and, let’s say, that the rights of referenda are added to it, would you be in favor or would you not be in favor of requiring the Congress of the United States, once the percentage requisites are met, to have to consider this and vote up or down on whatever that initiative or referendum petition stood for within, let’s say, a reasonable period of time after the requisite number of votes or signatures are obtained?

Mr. NADER. That is like the Massachusetts model I think.

Senator HATCH. Yes. This way it would force Congress to vote and it might save the taxpayers money. If it is passed it might solve the problem and it might not.

Mr. NADER. I would like to think about that more. It is a difficult call to make. But as long as Congress is permitted to do that anyway, then it’s easier at first glance to say no to your question.

Senator HATCH. Until you think about it?

Mr. NADER. Yes. In other words, if Congress is still free to act because they see a referendum wave coming, then it’s easier to say no to your question unless some experience is built up. This is what we do not have. We do not have national experience on this. Unless some experience is built up to warrant an affirmative response, then I don’t think so.

Senator ABOUREZK. If the gentleman will yield, it seems to me that if you did forward the issue on to the Congress before it goes out on the ballot, then I think you would have to provide an up or down vote by Congress without amendment. If you provided it for amendment they could water it down enough so that people would say that it’s not worth it and they wouldn’t want an initiative.

Senator HATCH. That’s one of the arguments. If you make it requisite that they vote on a particular initiative, then that is on that particular initiative on that particular basis with that amendment. That means that you will at least have the expression of Congress which can then be overruled by the people in the national initiative vote.

But it may also resolve the difficulties right there on the spot if Congress votes for it.

Mr. NADER. On the other hand, you may have the California model where they may, for example, pass legislation that is 30 percent of the amount that is proposed by the initiative and take the steam out of the initiative movement. This was done to some degree during the nuclear initiative. There was a direct connection between the California legislature moving with its three bills and the pendency of the election day on the broader initiative on nuclear power plant are some of us who think that those three bills, having been enacted, took some of the steam out of the vote a few days later.

Senator HATCH. It may be good or bad on a given occasion. All I’m saying is that I’d like you to think about it and submit ~what you ~really feel, after reflective thought, would be the best approach here. That appeals to me.

Mr. NADER. Let me make one more comment. Your proposal then raises the question— Senator HATCH. It’s not my proposal. I’m just throwing it up for discussion here today.

Mr. NADER. But the point you raise raises the question of two insti­tutions on a parallel track with the initiative process and the ability of powerful interest groups undermining the initiative track by going to the Congress.

Congress is very susceptible to campaign finance and powerful politics. I find it a little bit worrisome that that alternative could

use to undermine the initiative track.

Senator HATCH. It might be used to bolster it. We might auto­matically pass it.

I submit to you that power politics and special interest groups will have just as much say, if not more, in public initiatives under this particular amendment.

Mr. NADER. They certainly will—

Senator HATCH. It’s a new way of doing things.

Mr. NADER. It certainly will if there are inadequate finance stand­ards and access to the media.

Senator HATCH. You’re saying campaign finance standards be applicable and be written right into this bill?

Mr. NADER. Or by supplementary statute or the implementing statute.

Senator HATCH. Would you prefer to have it written into the amendment?

Mr. NADER. No, because we’ll end up with an Indian-type constitu­tion of great detail. I think our Constitution’s level of generalities has benefitted us.

Senator HATCH. Inasmuch as you are a strong advocate of greater popular control and more direct democracy, what would be your view with regard to having Supreme Court decisions, which hold that an act of Congress is unconstitutional, be submitted to the people in a popular referendum a p proach?

Mr. NADER. If the decision is made on the basis of a statute, that could be done. If it is made on the basis of the Constitution, I would oppose it.

Senator HATCH. What is your rationale for excluding the people from some decisionmaking and including them in other decisions? You seem to be in favor of some democracy but not a total and complete democracy.

Mr. NADER. I think this amendment to the Constitution envisages opening up the national initiative to reform at the statutory level. I do not think it envisages opening up the national initiative to amend­ing the Constitution.

I think for the time being the existing way of amending the Con­stitution should be continued.

Senator HATCH. You seem to agree with me then that the reason the Constitution is such a viable document is that it is not a great detailed document and it is difficult to amend. lherefore, amendments have to have some validity and really great validity before they have much chance of success. That is probably a superior system to any others; is that right?

Mr. NADER. Also for another reason and that is that the Constitu­tion stands as a safeguard of minorities. The Constitution stands for the proposition that even if there is a majority will expressed through the electorate, that it will have certain limits in its impact and it cannot alienate or violate the rights of minorities.

Consequently, I think there needs to be a reasonable shield between the constitutional amendment process and popular elections.

Senator HATCH. Do you see any dangers in the direct democracy approach? As you know the framers of the Constitution were con­cerned about that and they considered the merits of a direct democ­racy and rejected it in favor of a representative democracy as I think you’ve characterized it, or as a Federal republic.

One witness testified yesterday that the adoption of this amend­ment would open our system to radicalism and emotionalism.

That was Professor Bachrach. He said the adoption of this amend­ment would open our system to radicalism and emotionalism if I remember his words correctly and it would be harmful to our estab­lished practice of a moderate form of government whereby con­flicting interests are channeled through the deliberative process of a representative assembly. He felt if this resolution becomes law that it will really prevent radical liberal proposals from becoming reality, many of which we have seen become reality in the past. He cited with, particularity the problems of urban decay, et cetera, and civil righti and so on.

His big concern was that this will really work to turn around a lot of the “gangs” that have been made through representative democracy rather than direct democracy.

Mr. NADER. One of the functions of the initiative is public educa­tion and public debate and the involvement of many people who don’t aspire to be local or state or national leaders.

Senator HATCH. Keep in mind that his point was that the special interest groups will at that point take over and they will brainwash the people, or at least I felt that was his point. They would brainwash the people to the point where really several of the things that are most wrong with society, which might be resolved by what he termed as “radical liberalism” will not be able to be resolved.

Mr. NADER. I would say first of all that as far as the civil rights point is concerned, that is taken care of by the constitutional barriers to any such incursions on people’s civil rights by the initiative.

Senator HATCH. But take one illustration. Pardon me if I inter­rupt you again.

Let’s take busing. That is not taken care of and a lot of people feel that we should enforce busing to restore a balance or to create a balance. In certain areas. of the country there is no question that probably it would be defeated.

Mr. NADER. First of all, that depends on how strong a stand the Supreme Court takes on the busing issue which could override an initiative.

Second, it might not be a bad thing if people concentrated on corporations and property taxes and housing policy instead of bus­ing. They might get to the basic roots of the problem.

Senator HATCH. They might not do that. They might concentrate on balancing the budget and many of these other concepts that I think I characterized yesterday, that is not balancing the budget but some aspects that may be characterized as radical conservatism.

Mr. NADER. That is a risk that you take in a democracy. These are the debates that have been considered for over 200 years.

Senator HATCH. You’re willing to take those risks, and support this particular resolution; is that right?

Mr. NADER. Of course, but I recognize that information being the currency of democracy that there must be access to mass comn­munications or otherwise you will basically have a manipulative process run amuck. If people are not able to communicate to one another through the mass media in the process of advancing an initiative and if other people, who are not a part of the initiative, cannot hear the arguments of those who propose the initiatives, then I think, without much speculation, we can anticipate abuse of this instrument of direct democracy.

Senator HATCH. I have one more question.

Senator ABOUREZK. Go right ahead. I have a natural gas con­ference and this is a crisis day over there so IL have to go over. We’re on the verge of being sold out. [Laughter.]

Senator HATCH. 1. think that’s true.

Senator AB0urezk. So go right ahead.

Mr. NADER. Think of what it would be if we had a national initia­tive on natural gas regulation.

Senator HATCH. I’m worried about that. [Laughter.]

I can offer some other initiatives on the other side.

Senator ABOUREZK. I will excuse myself and turn this over to Senator Hatch to continue the hearings. I want to thank Mr. Nader and the other witnesses very much. I apologize for having to leave but this is happening right away and the initiative will be a longer process.

Let me ask one question before I go.

What do you think of the 3 percent, 10 State requirement? Have you given any thought to where it should be more or less?

Mr. NADER. I would probably recommend a little more in terms of States so that we do not get excessive regional concentration.

Senator ABOUREZK. If you send in a letter on the other point that Senator Hatch mentioned, would you give some thought to how much more and the basis you might have for it?

Senator HATCH [acting chairman]. I will ask unanimous consent that anything that you send us be incorporated in the record.

Mr. NADER. This resolution is not without its dangers to corporate crime, dangers to bureaucratic waste, and dangers to the nullification of the people’s rights by bureaucracies and other large economic institutions. I don’t think that’s the issue. The issue is how can we make it fair so that those who want to work the democratic process can have a fair opportunity to prevail.

Senator HATCH. I agree with you that if we’re going to have it, it has to be made fair. I agree with you that it should be expanded to more than 10 States and possibly broadened from a percentage standpoint. Professor Abraham of Virginia testified yesterday and suggested up to 5 percent or something like that. There ought to be some reflective thought put into it.

I also submit, however, that there are many other things that I think the vast majority of Americans would vote on such as; bal­ancing the budget, which could be very harmful if you do it by 1980. And also impossible, or lopping off aspects of the bureaucracy, which may not be good because of the lack of reflection.

There are many other things like the development over environ­ment. There are many things that certain people think are just purely liberal issues that really need balance. I think, without total reflection, this could cause chaos in America.

I have great sympathy with this idea. I think that people across the country are going to be pretty reflective before they vote on any of these initiatives petitions and I think if we can get into this bill or into any implementing legislation the character of mass media access which you have suggested—and I think that’s a good point—then I think maybe it has some possibilities.


Let me ask one more question. Is not the cure for remoteness lou -government regulation by unelected bureaucracies and unelected judges? These two branches are not even touched by this resolution and yet they are making many, if not almost all, of the decisions in society today. This is what is really frustrating to most citizens in our country.

Mr. NADER. First of all, appropo of your earlier point, recall the Reagan sponsored initiative in California on the budget in taxatioL

Senator HATCH. We had one in Utah.

Mr. NADER. It lost.

Senator HATCH. Yes, because of the way it was written.

Mr. NADER. People are often astonished at how sensible people can be.

Senator HATCH. That has won also in other areas and we lost one in Utah which is reputed to be a conservative constituency.

Not “we” but whoever submitted it lost it. But I am submitting that there can be a number of problems here. This sword cuts both ways.

Mr. NADER. The process is also revocable. That is what’s good about it. In a few years if the consequence of the first initiative is untoward it can be repealed. It’s not like something cast in bronze.

What was your second point?

Senator HATCH. The basic question was this. Isn’t the remoteness in government c~used by the bureaucracy and the unelected bureauc­racy and the unelected judiciary? I have respect for the Federal judiciary so don’t infer from my comments that I want to bring special controls on the Federal judiciary that will bind it down and make it susceptible to politics. On the other hand we have to acknowl­edge the fact that there is an awful lot of legislation being created by judicial fiat today and certainly almost all, I think, is being created by the bureaucracy. So those are areas where remoteness is a reality.

Mr. NADER. The initiative process will affect those areas because it will affect the laws under which government agencies operate and the laws that are used to interpret conflicts before the judiciary.

Second, I think one of the consequences would be considerable reduction in certain kinds of government activity. For instance, a lot of what this town is all about is the dissemination of subsidies or indirect subsidies to commercial and industrial operations. So, that is a lot of activity.

Senator HATCH. I think it’s creating retirement programs for lawyers. I think that we have made the legal profession the most important profession in the world in this country. It’s a multibillion dollar profession and we’ve done it unnecessarily.

Mr. NADER. That is what might be expected of a Congress that is 50 percent lawyers.

Senator HATCH. That may be. I think it has resulted from advocates like yourself who are pushing programs that make everything litigious.

Mr. NADER. No. I think it largely comes from the impact of com­plexity arising out of special interest group pleading like the tax code.

We are trying to simplify the tax code and in fact we could reduce the tax code to one-tenth of the bulk that it is now and who would be the main opponents of that?

Senator HATCH. I would suggest to the contrary. The people responsible are those who have been advocating widespread and wholesale class action usage and those who have been advocating many of the litigation-type approaches here in Washington which have resulted in billions of dollars of cost to consumers without a heck of a lot of benefit.

Mr. NADER. Of course, as you know I thoroughly disagree with you.

Senator HATCH. I know that.

Mr. NADER. But I would like to point out that the class action is an efficiency instrument. It’s a wholesale instrument.

Senator HATCH. Only if it’s fair.

Mr. NADER. Certainly.

Senator HATCH. It’s not fair.

Mr. NADER. But in terms of the burden on the judiciary it is an infinitesimal fraction compared to the commercial litigation between companies and

Senator HATCH. I’m not talking about a burden on the judiciary. It is truly that. There is no question about that. A lot of litigation created here in Washington is a burden on the judiciary.

But it is far more than that. It’s a burden on the taxpayer and the consuming public and so forth.

Mr. NADER. I think the record will show that consumer legislation has saved the consumers enormous amounts of money not to mention the pain and anguish of human casualties.

Senator HATCH. I do not think it will show that. I think it will show billions of unnecessary dollars, even though there needs to be considerable legislation. I don’t mean to say that I disagree totally with you but maybe that’s a little off this subject.

Let me ask you this. I have enjoyed your testimony this morning. I think it has been articulate and I think it has been very fine testi­mony. I think it has been well-reasoned. I haven’t made up my mind on this particular joint resolution because I see some awful prob­lems both ways. I see some nice solutions both ways, but I have a tendency to want to go very slow in doing away with that which our Founding Fathers set up even though I do not consider that sacrosanct. I still believe that we ought to be very slow in making these types of wholesale changes.

But I think your testimony has been excellent. As usual I have enjoyed it very much. I enjoy you very very much.

Do you have anything else to say?

Mr. NADER. One more point. I think we can learn from the ex­perience at the State level as will be expressed by the People’s Lobby in California who will be testifying today and the Initiative Amer­ica People who have gone to many States and I think have the pulse of what many people in this country feel on this issue. So, it’s not entirely speculative. We do have a good history of initiative and referendum.

Senator HATCH. I agree on the State level but I think it may be a far cry in application when it becomes federally applicable. That may be where we run into difficulty because it’s almost impossible to foresee what kind of ramifications it will have.

Mr. NADER. There are differences, of course, but it’s important, when you deal with a State as large as California, to see what we can learn from that experience.

Senator HATCH. I certainly agree with you there.

We appreciate your testimony and the effort that you put forth to be with us today.

Mr. NADER. Thank you.

Senator HATCH. Our next witness is Mr. Don Whiting, the election supervisor of the State of Washington, Olympia, Wash. We’re happy to welcome you to the subcommittee, Mr. Whiting. We are most in­terested in your testimony.

ABOUREZK’S BILL: A chance to exercise voter initiative

[From the Washington Post, July 26, 1977]

ABOUREZK’S BILL: A chance to exercise voter initiative

(By Nicholas von Hoffman)

 Jim Abourezk, the Democratic senator from South Dakota, has introduced a constitutional amendment in Congress that would allow voters to pass laws themselves by national referendum. This idea ought to pur foam flakes on the lips of that kind of conservative who likes to remind you that the United States of America is a republic and not a democracy. Still, it is those same conservatives whose tummies fill with acid each time the boys and girls In Congress vote themselves another raise, but with the Initiative, as this referendum procedure is called, the same conservatives could vote that raise out of existence.

In fact, under the Abourezk proposal we could cut Congress’s pay in half. That wouldn’t balance the budget, of course, since it would be a symbolic act, not a true economy, but we have symbols to give us satisfaction when the facts can’t.

The Abourezk proposal Is practical, reasonable and judicious. For a proposition to be put on the ballot, signatures would have to be gathered in at least 10 states and would have to equal in number 3 or more per cent of those who voted In the last presidential election. Thus, to put a proposition such as outlawing subsidies to the tobacco industry on the ballot in time for the next congressional election would require 2.45 million ballot signatures.

The Abourezk amendment wouldn’t give the people the power to declare war—Congress does that often enough already without outside help—or call out the Army or amend the Constitution or pass any law in violation of it.. Thus the courts would have the power to review citizen-made law and nibble it to death just as they erode congressionally made law. Congress would have the power to repeal or amend a law passed by the national referendum, but for the first two years after passage that could only be done by a two-thirds roll call of each house. Thus a simple majority would not be enough to thwart the people’s will, and while It could still be done, those doing it would have to do so in full view of their constituents.

Residents in the 23 states, mostly in the Midwest and Far West, who have the Initiative already, will see nothing disturbing or dangerous in extending the practice to the nation. Experience with it goes back 60 or 70 years, so that If the Initiative was going to have the awful consequences its opponents have prophesied, they should have occurred.

The history of the thing is, as Abourezk says:

“Even when issues do reach the ballot by Initiative, voters traditionally act with restraint. Measures which are very controversial or are unreasonably drafted tend to fail at the polls. Citizens are not likely to qualify a proposal for the ballot, or to subsequently pass such a proposal unless it has widespread support.”

Initiative was proposed and pushed by the turn-of-the-century faction in the Republican party who called themselves The Progressives. As such, it wasn’t a Populist-Radical measure so much as it was a middle-class-reformist one. It’s never been used by lower class or poor people as a political tool because it takes too much money, too much organizing and too much detail work.

In a state like California, with a large, college-educated middle class, it gets considerable use. It can’t make rain when there’s a drought and it can’t put out forest fires, but it certainly has helped to make political discussions _ in that state more exciting and more substantive. With the Initiative there are concrete measures for voters to debate and choose, not only a variety of political smiles and profiles to pick from. Indeed, the existence of these refer­enda may force candidates to be considerably more forthright. The threat of one may also discipline the state legislature to act on bills it would other-wise let languish for a decade or two in committee.

Abourezk is careful not to claim too much for the Initiative idea. It won’t cure all that ails us; if it stimulates higher voter participation rates that will be nice, but don’t expect it. It may even encourage cowardly national legislators to be dilatory and delay action on controversial bills because they hope a national referendum will take them off the hook.

Nevertheless, the idea is in accord with the times. Abourezk makes the point that six of the 10 last constitutional amendments have extended voting rights in one way or another. Knowing the public sentiment has never been more important to us. It’s no accident that public-opinion polling occupies such a large place in our discussions and its conclusions are taken to be so authoritative. The Initiative Is but a louder and more precise way for the vox populi to speak.

Senate Joint Res. 67

S. J. RES. 67


July 11 (legislative day, MAY 18), 1977

Mr.   Abourezk (for himself and Mr. Hatfield) introduced the following joint resolution; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

              JOINT RESOLUTION 

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States with respect to the proposal and the enactment of laws by popular vote of the people of the United States.

       Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution if ratified by the legislatures of  three-fourths of the several States:
Section 1. The people of the United States shall have the power to propose and enact laws in accordance with this article except with respect to carrying out the powers granted to Congress in clauses 11 and 15 of article I, section 8 of this Constitution This article does not grant the people of the United States the power to propose amendments to this Constitution.

“Sec. 2.  A law is proposed by presenting to the chief law enforcement officer of the United States a petition that sets forth the text of the proposed law and contains signatures, collected within the eighteen months prior to such presentation, of registered voters equal in number to three per centum of the ballots cast in the last general election for President and which  includes the signatures of registered voters in each of ten States equal in number to three per centum of the ballots cast in the last general election for President in each of the ten States.  Within 90 days of such presentation , the chief law enforcement officer of the United States shall determine the validity of the signatures contained in such petition through consultation with the appropriate States.  Upon a determination that such petition contains the  required number of valid signatures, he shall certify such petition.  He shall then direct that the proposed law be placed on the ballot at the next genera] election held for choosing Members of the House of Representatives occurring at least one hundred and twenty days after such certification. The Congress shall provide by law reasonable procedures for the  preparation and transmittal of such petitions, and for certification of signatures on such petitions. For the purposes of this section, the term ‘State’ shall include the District of  Columbia.

 “Sec. 3. A proposed law shall be enacted upon approval by a majority of the people casting votes with respect to such proposed law and shall take effect thirty days after such approval except as otherwise provided in the proposed law.  Any law enacted pursuant to this article shall be a law the same as any other law of the United States, except that any law to repeal or amend a law enacted pursuant to this article during the two years immediately following its effective date must receive an affirmative roll call vote of  two-thirds of the Members of each House duly elected and sworn. No law, the enactment of which is forbidden the Congress by this Constitution or any amendment thereof, may be enacted by the people under this article.

“Sec. 4. The Congress and the people shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

Reference added by People’s Lobby:

·        Article 1 Section 8. Powers Granted to Congress

·        Clause 11. WAR.  To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water.

·        Clause 12  Army.  To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be fore a longer term than two years.