In 2006, my client, We the People, LLC, (“We the People”) was just a sparkle in the eyes of Jim Corrigan and Michael Elly, fueled by a desire to bring back the sounds, energy and emotions of the folk music era of the 60’s and 70’s. Over the years, as they say, one thing led to another, and they formed the folk group called We the People, which includes Buck Brown, Rick Durret, John Terrence, Jackie “Jazz-Smith” Jefferson, Charles Butler, and Tom Roady. Along the way, the group discovered that they shared similar political viewpoints which derived from their love of that era when folk music such as Blowin’ in the Wind served as a catalyst for change and voice for activist groups seeking to change the course of politics. So now, the We the People Folk Group writes and performs songs that seek to “bring back the sounds, joy, excitement and activism of American Folk Music from the 1960’s era.”
With that newfound common voice, the goals of the group began to fall in place. The group drafted a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that seeks nine changes, including Constitutional restraints on campaign contributions and fund-raising. The group’s 28th Amendment Petition was released on Presidents’ Day February 21st, 2011. We the People is seeking 84 million signatures to its petition to amend the Constitution. The petition can be found online here. We the People simultaneously released as a spoken musical performance of the 28th Amendment by the We the People Folk Group.
One major obstacle the group must overcome, of course, is Article V of the U.S. Constitution which provides only two means of amending our current Constitution, i.e., (1) two thirds of the majorities of both Houses must vote to amend or (2) two thirds of the State Legislatures may call a Constitutional Convention proposing amendments. In both instances, third quarters of the States’ legislatures, or 38 states, must ratify such an amendment. Our forefathers certainly did not make things easy. We the People proposes something of an end run around these requirements, by assuming that if 84.5 million people – or a calculated majority of the U.S. population – sign a petition requesting their proposed 28th Amendment be adopted, the amendment can be passed by “Popular Amendment,” something which is unprecedented in U.S. law. The group cites examples of this procedure being used in other countries such as Australia and England.