Skip to comments.Fear Not An Article V Convention
Posted on 07/24/2013 1:36:41 PM PDT by Jacquerie
A government designed to secure our unalienable rights has become something of a black-hole that devours our liberties. In the sum total of our three national branches, fewer than 1,500* men and women push around over 300 million citizens without restraint or fear for their personal safety. What is to be done? If we weigh the potential benefit, meaning the restoration of our republic, against the remote disadvantages of an amendment convention, there is little reason to avoid one.
Theres been some hubbub at FR recently over both the necessity and danger of the states calling an Article V Convention. Mark Levin lit the fuse on July 10th when he showed a little more leg, when he revealed the title of his new book, The Liberty Amendments, Restoring the American Republic. We know eleven chapters will be devoted to eleven amendments that include repeal of the 17th amendment, the grant of state recall authority over senators, and term limits for congress and federal judges.
He made it clear that from Article V, this convention of state delegates could only recommend amendments and not draft a new constitution. Instead of congressionally derived amendments, Article V acknowledges the right of a sovereign people and states to go around our near hopelessly corrupt and consolidated government. As done a couple dozen times before, the people/state derived amendments would be subject to ratification, as are congressionally sourced amendments, by at least three-fourths of the states.
All well and good, right? Well, not everyone agrees.
Is there a danger an Article V convention could produce a positive right, USSR type of constitution that would make Saul Alinsky proud? It is not at all likely.
The reason resides in our history. As in 1787, todays states would send delegates, not representatives. There is a big difference. As opposed to our congressmen and senators, amendment convention delegates will be agents of the states. Delegates from states that actually wished to restore republican freedom would arrive not with plenary powers, but would be subject to legislative instructions that restrict their jurisdiction. Limited to specific areas, and perhaps backed up with enforceable sanctions, it would take a bold delegate to dishonor his commission. This isnt to say some states wont send some far left radicals with rather wide open instructions. Perhaps the CA delegates would be cleared for full a full Alinsky. Still, it is doubtful that more than a handful at most would promote this.
State delegates to Philadelphia in 1787 were charged with improving the Articles of Confederation. That they did, but at a cost of recommending the ditching of what very little remained of the confederation government. For freepers who believe the constitutional convention will be todays model, theyre partly right. Delegates with restrictive state commissions in 1787 followed their instructions. For instance, the majority of delegates from New York left the convention because the evolving constitution violated their instructions. Similarly, due to their commissions, delegates from Delaware practically forced the compromise that provided for equality of state suffrage in the senate.
To summarize, no state delegate to an amendment convention will arrive without instructions. It is less than unlikely that any significant number will have something remotely close to carte blanche authority to create a social justice, utopian hell. The remaining adults in the room will be armed with specific amendment topics or perhaps detailed instructions from their legislatures.
* One president, 435 congressmen, 100 senators, and 875 Article III judges.
I agree with Mark that carrying on as we are is hopeless, and that Congress, which has surrendered OUR sovereign powers that WE granted to it to the Administrative State, over which we have no control, will not reform the system.
I’m not crazy about an Art V convention, but on the path we now are on, we’re about finished.
It’s a great idea - but the truth is - we’re under Soviet-style occupation and there is NO WAY IN HELL the Ruling Class Oligarchs are going to permit any attempt to restrict their power or the regime they have established.
This government has already shown us the contempt they have for We The People - that was self-evident during several TEA Party demonstrations and Town Halls.
The rule of law is dead.
The only way such Liberty Amendments become enacted is going to be by force, because assuredly - the MarxoFascists and the Ruling Class will use force to prohibit their implementation.
Such is history.
Heck, we can't even agree on what the right things are among ourselves.
Heck, we can't even agree on what the right things are among ourselves.
He is assuming that the state legislatures will select delegates and give them narrow instructions, but Article V doesn't say so. Even if the states call for a convention, it is likely that the delegates will be popularly elected.
Im not crazy about an Art V convention, but on the path we now are on, were about finished.
Scouts Out! Cavalry Ho!
The above post is worth the read (for the questions raised in the posting, & the hole(s) pointed out in the Goldwater Institute article / report.)
If I remember correctly, it took about an hour or more just to format the posting above.
A new Constitutional Convention at this point in history would end in civil war. Additionally, there’s no point in it. The problem now isn’t the Constitution, it’s the willingness to ignore it.
“Another added benefit is that WE would take charge of the debate.”
Why do you believe “WE would take charge of the debate”?
If “WE” have what it takes to take charge of the debate, why haven’t we done so?
If “WE” have what it takes to take charge of the debate, why have we let things get to the place they are now?
Article V doesnt mean a constitutional convention.
I understand that Madison dreaded a second con-con but also know that Jefferson later regarded such a convention as a practical remedy to troubleshooting the nation’s problems.
I don’t dread a con-con because the product of a con-con is not an amendement to the Constituton as many people seem to think. A con-con only proposes an amendement to the Constituton which the states can choose not to ratify.
Also, I don’t expect to see a con-con in the foreeseable future. This is because the corrupt federal government doesn’t want Constitution-ignorant citizens to find out that it is the states, not the federal government, who uniquely controls what the Constitution says, the states thus having absolute control over the federal government. If such knowledge become widespread then it would probably throw a major monkey wrench into the Progressive Movement agenda to unconstitutonally centralize government power in DC.
Finally, there’s nothing wrong with the Constitution, imo, other than PC interpretations of it. What patriots need to do instead of trying to fix something that’s not broke is the following. Patriots need to wise up and win 2/3 conservatives majority control of both Houses of Congress in 2014. Then conservative-controlled Congress will have the constitutional authority under the Constituton’s Clause 2 of Section 7 of Article I to override presidential vetoes. Clause 2 means that Congress will be able to repeal Obamacare without Obama’s signature.
Congress will also be able to impeach Obama, Biden, justices and everybody else in DC who needs to be impeached.
That is precisely what is being spoken about in this article.
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.
For instance, the 17th Amendment changed the fundamental nature of our previously federal government. We can thank it for making possible the seating of anti-10th Amendment judges to the federal bench.
A convention to propose amendments is not an open ended constitutional convention.
There can b e no “Article V” Convention. There is no provision for a Constitutional Convention to be limited to anything less than the whole Constitution. Given that delegates cannot be limited to sensible right thinking people anything that would come out of a Convention at this time would run to thousands of pages and would attempt to cover in fine every situation that might arise, as happened with the European Constitution.
A fascinating topic. I recall a rather detailed thread in which Publius interviewed the late great Congressman Billybob (John Armour) on the topic. Pinging the Man...
I agree with Senator Long's intent. I wish he hadn't implied there is a constitutional provision to call for an open constitutional convention.
I have two sources that attempt to take apart all the issues and fill in the gray areas. The first is a document from the American Legislative Exchange Council, a lobbying group. This document by Robert Natelson has been sent to every state legislator in the country for guidance purposes.
I think that 90% of Natelsons document is correct, but there are places where I think he got it wrong. The reason he got it wrong is that he didnt read the next document. Certainly I found no indication in his endnotes that he was even aware of its existence. Its not available online, and the only reason I have it on my hard drive is because I edited the brief in Walker v. US in 1998-2000. Here is where I posted it to FR as a reference source.
This 1973 document attempted to fill in all the gray areas of every part of the amendatory process, Amendments Convention included, and I think they did a thorough job. If you combine the two documents and resolve the conflicts in favor of the ABA Report, I think you get a clear picture of how an Amendments Convention would operate.
I dont fear it. Its the means by which the states take control of the proposal phase of the amendatory process by proposing amendments on their own without going through Congress.
In the end, youd need three-fourths of the states to ratify, either by the State Legislature Method or the State Ratifying Convention method, as Congress so chose. Thats the actual safety valve to prevent violence being done to the Constitution, either by carelessness or design.
Want to bet? Once you call a convention to propose amendments, it as open ended as the delegates want it to be. And you can bet that the first order of business will be the same as last time, i.e. making all proceedings behind closed doors.
This is my take on how an Article V Convention would turn out: a nightmare run by Alinsky radicals.
It’s from my third novel, “Foreign Enemies And Traitors.”
Whoops, linky no worky. Click the excerpts link to FEAT part one.
I agree with you. Read about the “Philly Con-Con” in my novel linked above. It would be run by Alinsky radicals with tens of thousands of “disaffected urban youths” surrounding the convention center, and jamming the seats.
Thanks for replying Jacquerie. I'm going to make a note about Congress's limited power to lay taxes and then a brief word about 17A.
Regarding Congress's limited power to lay taxes, given the remote possibilty that you aren't aware of the following, please take note. Justice John Marshall had officially clariified that Congress is prohibited from laying taxes in the name of state power issues, essentially any issue which Congress cannot justify under its constitutional Section 8, Article I-limited powers.
"Congress is not empowered to tax for those purposes which are within the exclusive province of the States." --Justice John Marshall, Gibbons v. Ogden, 1824.
Regarding the 17th Amendment (17A), I used to beat the drum for the repeal of 17A and would still support its repeal.
Since I now know about Justice Marshall's clarification of Congress's limited power to lay taxes, 17A doesn't matter imo. This is because federal lawmakers take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution. That oath includes respecting Justice Marshall's clarification of Congress's limited power to lay taxes imo, 17A or no 17A. So Congress can go ahead and lay direct taxes as long as the federal budget doesn't include federal taxing and speniding programs beyond the scope of what Congress can justify under Section 8 and other miscellaneous things in the Constitution that Congress must spend money for.
Soft oatmeal reasoning, as one would expect from the Goldwater Institute, which is controlled by leftist/globalist infiltrators.
Are you afraid of one humongous amendment that says "Amendment XXIIX: Delete the Constitution and all 27 prior amendments, and replace it with this one?"
>> “Im not crazy about an Art V convention, but on the path we now are on, were about finished.” <<
Really just beginning, through the fulfillment of the remainder of the prophecies of The Revelation.
He said that he would send strong delusion, and it is here in a big way. Go Yeshua!
>> Are you afraid of one humongous amendment that says “Amendment XXIIX: Delete the Constitution and all 27 prior amendments, and replace it with this one?” <<
Its coming soon through UN treaties, and the GOPe won’t lift a finger to stop it.
It is shocking that so many freepers are unwilling to grasp a nonviolent means, unavailable in 1776, to institute reforms that could save our fast eroding freedoms.
Think about who would benefit from such a convention.
Conventions cannot be controlled by the people.
Re-read Article V: when the legislatures of 2/3 of the states ask for a convention, Congress calls for the Convention. So it is Congress,, not the state legislatures, which will set the rules for holding the convention, selecting the delegates, etc.
Correct and thank goodness.
Majoritarian, democratically derived tyranny is the foundation of what ails our republic. The Framers were aware of the danger and specifically crafted a Senate of the States to make sure we did not end up where we are today.
Most of those “majorities” are fraudulent anyway.
We do not have free, honest elections.
First, how are going to hold them to the wording of the Constitution? If that was possible, we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in.
Second, read Article V, it doesn’t say that 3/4s of the state legislatures must ratify, it says, “...when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress;”
Should Congress choose Conventions in the states, what are the rules of those Conventions? Can Congress or the Federal Courts make the rules? I would wager that they think they can. Which gets us back to my initial statement, i.e. a Convention in the current climate would result in civil war.
"I think the following shall I say is a slam dunk rebuttal to (Thane_Banquo) your premise offered."
Growing up, my mother would say to me & my brother "don't take a chance, keep it in your pants."
In regard to a Constitutional Convention (Con-Con) "don't take a chance, keep what you got!
We have used state ratifying conventions twice in our history: once to ratify the Constitution, and once to ratify the 21st Amendment repealing Prohibition.
There is both ample precedent as to how state ratifying conventions work. It's not new territory.
There are two examples, one under the Articles of Confederation. The only convention held under Article V doesn't provide precedent of how conventions must be done, but rather a single example of how an Article V convention can be done.
The structure and scope of a new convention would be dictated by Congress, which Article V does not put limits on, and any challenge to Congress would ultimately rest with 5 members of SCOTUS.
I'm still holding fast to my statement, i.e. an Article V convention held today would lead to civil war.
Two very different things.
There is absolutely no good reason to have a convention with delegates if there are no changes to be made to a proposed amendment. It goes to the state legislatures and they vote up or down. This has been the case with all but one amendment, and with good reason.
Article V may allow Congress to restrict a convention to the single purpose of voting up or down, but it by no means limits Congress from creating an open convention.
In the current political environment, an move toward an Article V convention is dangerous as hell.
Then read the second document to which I've linked. You'll find conflicts in a small number of areas. This document is rigorous in its own way, and I think the conflicts can be resolved in favor of the second document.
Between these two documents, 99% of the gray areas in Article V's amendatory process can be resolved. You may not like the answers, but the best minds in constitutional law have taken a crack at the problem.
With all due respect, and I really mean that, the best minds in constitutional law and SCOTUS often split 5/4.
I appreciate the posted material, but to be frank, the publications address how to go about an Article V convention.
My analogy is that you are suggesting a safe way to drive through Detroit at 2AM, while I’m suggesting that it is far safer to avoid Detroit, and still arrive at the same destination.
If you want to amend the Constitution and you have 2/3 of Congress on your side, write the amendment and send it to the state legislatures. Don’t even open debate on a Constitutional convention, and you will never get an open convention.
I don’t see the benefit of circumventing the legislatures, as one would hope that they would be picking delegates if there were a convention.
There is absolutely no way that a convention would produce conservative amendments. The Dems and RINOs would do what they do now: gang up on conservatives and shove a pile down our throat.
If conservatives bring about a convention, they’ll end up with every liberal wet dream being enshrined in the New Constitution.
The result will be civil war.
If you have any doubt, consider this: Texas is one of the most conservative States in the union. That said, Speaker Joe Staus rules with a coalition of democrats and moderates.
HE would send delegates to the convention and they won’t be conservative.
He would marshal the votes to ensure passage of the Liberal (not liberty) Amendments
If we can’t depend on Texas (and so long as Straus is Speaker, we can’t), then what State can we depend upon?
The idea that conservatives are going to take over a convention is a pipe dream. The reality is that the “conservatives” sent to such a convention are going to look remarkably like Boehner and McConnell, if not McCain and Lindsay.
An Art V convention, here and now, is the spark that will start a war.
Considering you responded to the title, and not the substance of my post, I have nothing more to say.