Skip to comments.“A Convention for Proposing Amendments...as Part of this Constitution”
Posted on 04/25/2007 9:35:16 AM PDT by Publius
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Trust me, I've spent 25 years on this subject. There is a difference between conditional calls and absolute calls.
John / Billybob
When Congress passes an amendment on to the states for ratification, the states have a federal duty to perform under the rules delineated in Coleman.
When a presidential election is held, the states have a federal duty to choose Electors and have them cast a state's electoral votes according to the rules delineated in the Constitution as modified by the 12th Amendment.
The petitioning of a state for an Article V Convention is not a federal duty, but an option. Thus, a state may attach conditions and timelines to said petition, and this right is covered by the basic concept of state sovereignty.
John / Billybob
The 1992 law discharged all those petitions that were filed from 1789 to the day the bill was signed into law. Thus, as of today, 3/8/2010, the only valid petitions out there are those filed after 3/8/2003 -- and there probably aren't any.
But what about all those amendment proposals passed by the appropriate margins in Congess that have sat out there since 1789 without the proper number of ratifications? Did the new seven year rule consign those amendment proposals to the dustbin, or are they still out there for ratification purposes?
How convenient. Congress controls the “top down” method of amending the constitution - and no Congress, whether controlled by dems of pubbies, can ever be expected to proposed amendments which will meaningfully curtail their power. According to your post, that same Congress has also passed legislation which purports to give themselves effective control over the “bottom-up” method, the constitutional convention. Can you in your wildest dreams conceive of a Congress like our current Congress allowing a convention to proceed to debate issues where their control is threatened? They would endlessly prevaricate and hedge and obfuscate, finding infinitely miniscule faults in the states’ petitions to frustrate the call for a convention, even if 100% of the states so petitioned Congress.
How can Congress purport to control BOTH methods. What if, instead, 2/3 of the states called for a convention and proceeded to fund and hold the convention, without federal representation, according to whatever rules the officers selected by that convention devised? Congress be damned. I do not fear this process, where whatever results must be ratified by 3/4 of the states.
Frankly, allowing Congress to control the convention process makes as much sense as it would have made for the founders to allow King George to control the original convention. If the imperial federal government rejected an amendmdent, proposed by a convention it did not control but ratified by 3/4 of the states, then it would indeed be time to lock and load, and start erecting gallows on the mall in D.C.
Would Congress attempt to use any and all means to prevent a conventon? Absolutely! This is why Judge Napolitano pointed out how critical the wording was for those state petitions. However, once the two-thirds threshold has been met, Congress must call a convention, and this was reinforced by a number of old Supreme Court decisions.
As far as the states doing it on their own, Article V forbids it. Congress must call the convention for it to be valid. Further, when the convention finishes its work, should the convention produce one or more amendments, Congress must decide whether the states should ratify by the Legislaive Option or the Ratifying Convention Option. This has also been reinforced by some old Supreme Court decisions.
The biggest and most serious threat in your post is that Congress will try to weasel out of doing its job in calling the convention. I know it will, because it's about power, not about Democrats or Republicans. But that's where Judge Napolitano's warning comes in -- the states must coordinate to dot all the i's and cross all the t's.
Appreciate your prompt reply.
Next question: what are we waiting for? What a wonderful project for the boundless enthusiasm of the Tea Party movement, to start organizing to pressure the states to do what needs to be done.
The Tea Parties are wonderful things, but this will require the kind of legal thinking that only state legislators and ocnstitutional lawyers can muster. Every base and every word has to be covered, or else Congress will find a nit somewhere big enough to deny the states their constitutional right to convene to propose amendments.
Thank you both for your work on this thread. The subject is becoming more timely each day.
Once again, Americans will be called to go forward in a firm and steady manner, as they have historically in the face of challenges to their nation.
To quote Clausewitz:
strength of character does not consist solely in having powerful feelings, but in maintaining ones balance in spite of them.
An Article V Constitutional Convention is long overdue. The Founders put it in place to ensure that the will of the People and the States would not be infringed upon by the 3 branches, who may have some allegiance to each other. See Federalist Papers 50 and 51.
Some issues for this Constitutional Convention:
Term Limit Amendment
Balanced Budget Amendment
Clarification of “Commerce” and “General Welfare’ clauses
Repeal of Obamacare (individual mandate)
If you scroll to the end of the Federalist Paper, you will find a group of essays, one of which is the shortened and correct version of this essay.
Thanks for the clarification Congressman Billybob.
Congressman Billybob, aka John Armour of Asheville, NC, passed away last year. It was a major blow to FR.
I’m sorry to hear that.
I missed the report.