Skip to comments.Sen. David Long's Bold Play for an Article V Convention
Posted on 11/19/2013 8:49:19 AM PST by Kaslin
Fed up with Washington? Angry that elections don't seem to matter when it comes time to solving problems? Disgusted by the polarization that puts politicians' careers ahead of taxpayer interests? Frustrated because you don't think anything can be done about it?
Indiana State Senator David Long (R-Ft. Wayne) has experienced all of these feelings, but has chosen not to accept the status quo. He has a plan for returning power to the people where the Founders wanted it to reside.
Long is promoting an unused section of the U.S. Constitution as the ultimate check on big government. Article V provides two paths to amending the Constitution. One is through two-thirds of both houses of Congress, followed by ratification by three-fourths of the states. The other begins at the state level, where two-thirds of the legislatures ask Congress to call "a convention for proposing amendments." States would send delegates to this convention to propose amendments to the Constitution. Then, three-fourths of the states would ratify any amendments approved by the convention, either by their legislatures or special ratifying conventions.
Long notes that the Founders wanted the states to be able to amend the Constitution as a means of checking a runaway federal government. They understood human nature and its lust for power.
In a telephone conversation, Sen. Long claims the biggest objection to an Article V convention is that those who participate might take the opportunity to engage in mischief and wreck the Constitution. But, he says, the ability of delegates to go beyond the limits set by their respective legislatures would be clearly restricted and delegates who attempt to exceed their authority would be removed.
The Indiana legislature has passed two measures that would, according to Long, "Require delegates to take an oath to uphold the state and U.S. Constitutions and abide by any instructions given to delegates by the General Assembly." It also establishes "Indiana's intention to send two delegates and two alternate delegates to an Article V convention."
Writing in Federalist No. 85, Alexander Hamilton expressed faith in the states to control out-of-control government: "We may safely rely on the disposition of the State legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority."
Long says he has commitments from representatives of at least 26 state legislatures to attend a Dec. 7 meeting at George Washington's home in Mt. Vernon, Va. The goal is "not to decide on any amendment to be considered, but to put together a structure on how a convention will be run." Once that structure is in place, the convention would hope to establish a framework for reigning in overspending, overtaxing and over-regulating by the federal government and moving toward a less centralized federal government.
I asked him if any Democrats have signed on. "We've tried to get Democrats involved, but the Democratic Party is pushing back hard to keep any Democrats from attending." Long says while one California Democratic legislator has expressed interest, he thinks that Southern and some Western states (but not California) will get behind the idea, though he admits achieving the goal will be difficult.
Because both parties have failed to curtail the escalating size, reach and cost of centralized government, Long says, "States' rights have been trampled -- rendering the 10th amendment, (which protects state rights), almost meaningless." He adds, "The bigger modern-day threat to America is not a runaway convention, but a runaway federal government."
Call it a "Long shot," but it is one worth attempting. The Preamble to the Constitution begins: "We the people." It is the people who lend power to the federal government. If the people lend it, the people can also reclaim it when government exceeds its constitutional authority.
Sen. David Long may have discovered the only path left for attaining fiscal solvency. If he succeeds, future generations might recall Dec. 7, not only for Pearl Harbor, but for the beginning of a second American Revolution.
Art. V ping.
There are two ways to propose an amendment to the Constitution.
Article V gives Congress and an Amendments Convention exactly the same power to propose amendments, no more and no less.
Once Congress, or an Amendments Convention, proposes amendments, Congress must decide whether the states will ratify by the:
The State Ratifying Convention Method has only been used twice: once to ratify the Constitution, and once to ratify the 21st Amendment repealing Prohibition.
Depending upon which ratification method is chosen by Congress, either the state legislatures vote up-or-down on the proposed amendment, or the voters elect a state ratifying convention to vote up-or-down. If three-quarters of the states vote to ratify, the amendment becomes part of the Constitution.
I have two reference works for those reading this thread.
The first is from the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative pro-business group. This document has been sent to every state legislator in the country.
The second is a 1973 report from the American Bar Association attempting to identify gray areas in the amendatory process to include an Amendments Convention. It represents the view of the ruling class of 40 years ago. While I don't like some of their conclusions, they have laid out the precedents that may justify those conclusions. What I respect is the comprehensive job they did in locating all the gray areas. They went so far as to identify a gray area that didn't pop up until the Equal Rights Amendment crashed and burned a decade later. Even if you find yourself in disagreement with their vision, it's worth reading to see how the ruling class will try to dominate an Amendments Convention.
How about an amendment to the effect that O’Garbage and everybody who ever accepted a job from him must immediately commit seppuku?
“It represents the view of the ruling class of 40 years ago.”
That’s another amendment: every change made in the last 40 years is null and void.
That includes every change in everything.
But you can't codify vigilance. Nothing can replace the will of the American people to remove politicians for their mischief. In the end, that is the only language the politicians understand. The on-going will of the American People is the only long-term solution for keeping government in check.
Is Mark aware of Long’s efforts?
Yes, very much so.
December 7th was also the day when Delaware became the first state to ratify the Constitution. If California fails to attend, that would probably be a good thing.
If the meeting is a success and at least 34 states send identically worded petitions to Congress for subject matter for an Amendments Convention, the liberal states will attend that convention or else they will have no voice in the proceedings.
There is nothing wrong with the constitution and amending it could go places you’d rather not want to consider.
Let’s just follow and enforce the damn thing instead of trying to interpret the finer nuances of what we think it should mean and we will be fine.
Convention of States Project ping.
Who gets to decide these issues, the courts, the Congress, the state legislatures?
I know if I ask you I am likely to get an informed answer.
I think zero pushed America past its ‘awkward’ stage, it’s time to shoot the bastards.
That makes sense. On the other hand, if it appears they will get 34 to commit to attending the convention of states, they may be forced to attend to gather intel and disrupt.
But that's the rub, isn't it? They have not enforced the damn thing since the new deal and we have no institution located in Washington DC, not the Congress, not the president, not the courts, who show the slightest inclination to enforce the damn thing. That institutional bias against enforcing the Constitution is endemic, it is inherent in Washington, and it cannot be cured in Washington, and probably cannot be cured by conventional elections.
As to the danger of a runaway convention, we Republicans and conservatives still control a majority of the state legislatures and it would take three quarters of them voting against our principles to change the Constitution against our liking.
In my view we have to balance the risks of driving the country over the cliff if we continue on automatic pilot or facing a rather limited risk of a runaway convention.
Is this guy a part of that groups effort you were talking about last week???
I would recommend printing off both reports to which I linked and reading them carefully.
In the end, Congress can do certain things to blunt the efforts of the states:
So how do I think it will play out?
Article V ping!
Senator Long and the Indiana legislature got going last July, about a month before Mark’s book went public.
I’m not aware of any connection between Long and ConventionofStates.com.
BTW, Convention of States is looking for state volunteers and leaders. (hint)
Each time, congress stepped in to sidetrack the process.
There is no doubt congress will attempt the same.
I expect rat and rino skulduggery behind the scenes. Individual state legislators will be cajoled/bribed/threatened.
If that does not work, congress will attempt to compromise the amendments, by offering their own watered down versions.
Twenty six states went for Obama in 2012. What are the chances of most of those calling for the convention, much less ratifying anything that comes out of it?
I would like to see Washington decentralized with senators and congressmen operating from offices located in their jurisdictions and conducting legislative business through teleconferences.
But this time I don't think they'll be able to pull it off. It's a combination of the American people's low opinion of Congress and the ability of the Internet to disseminate information without the usual corporate filters. I see that old 1991 bill of Orrin Hatch's as the way they'll go to "tame" the Convention, but it may not survive the House or the Supreme Court.
Although I would support repealing the Progressive Movement 16th and 17th Amendments, there is nothing wrong with the Constitution per se.
The real problem with the “Constitution” is low information voters who don’t understand that the Founding States made the Constitution to limit (cripple) the federal government’s powers. And the remedy to restoring the constitutional republic is to get citizens up to speed on the federal government’s constitutionally limited powers. When that happens voters will be less likely to be tricked into voting for corrupt federal politicians who promise constitutonally indefensible federal spending programs to win votes.
But patriots are going to have to get citizens up to speed without the help of the media, including Obama guard dog Fx News, because the corrupt media is protecting the unconstitutonally big federal government.
Note that if patriots can organize to elect 2/3 conservative majority control of both Houses of Congress in the 2014 elections then the Obama tyranny will effectively be water under the bridge. This is because Congress will have the constitutional authority, under Clause 2 of Section 7 of Article I, to override presidential vetoes. In other words, Congress will be able to repeal unconstitutional Obamacare, for example, without Obama’s signature.
Congress will also be able to impeach federal government “leaders” who are not upholding their oaths to protect and defend the Constitution, particularly when it comes to respecting the federal government’s limited powers.
You would need 34 states. Which ones? My state is lib statist central (CA).
My suggestion is move to a red state
Founders wanted the states to be able to amend the Constitution as a means of checking a runaway federal government. They understood human nature and its lust for power.
***Can you please add me to your Article V ping list?
Thank you Jacquerie.
Repeal the 16th. Strip the congress of the ability to writ tax law. Institute a national retail sales tax of say 15%. I would fight against more but support less. Constitutionally prohibit property taxes. Constitutionally prohibit transfer payments of any type. Repeal the 17th amendment. Constitutionally prohibit judicial review. Require a balanced budget. There are more but these are the heavy hitters necessary to protect against government mendacity. Pass all of Mark Levin’s Liberty Amendments. Some of which may seem negated by the above but you can’t trust the damn government.
This is a comment worth disputing and debating. I'm not sure where it will end up, but let me tee it up.
Are we sure that a "liberal state," by virtue of its electing Congressmen and Presidents who align with the Democrat Party, are also saying that they agree with the direction that Nancy Reid and Barack Clinton are taking the country?
Could it be that "liberal states" just want to be left alone to allow abortions, marry anything, and restrict guns in much the same way that "conservative states" want to be left alone to hunt, raise their families, and participate in faith-based organizations?
I think that, aside from the New Deal as a national solution with socialist (nee liberal) tendencies to get the country out of the Great Depression, today's "liberal" agenda stems from the lessons learned from Roe v. Wade.
In Roe, the question in its simplist form was whether it was an undue hardship for a woman who resided in Texas to have to travel to Louisiana to get an abortion. She wanted to have the abortion in Texas. SCOTUS ruled, in essence, that it WAS an undue hardship for someone in a "conservative" state to have to travel to a "liberal" state for a "liberal" activity, and that the "liberal" activity must be available everywhere.
The reverberations of that line of thought have brought us gay marriage, gun bans, and environmental regulations from liberal states to conservative states, as well as restrictions on faith-based organizations and school prayer from liberal states to conservative states. It is hard to think of cultural flows the other way -- what conservative values have been forced onto liberal states? Voting reform? Immigration enforcement? Right-to-work reform?
So, is it axiomatic that "liberal states" would attempt to disrupt an Article V Convention because they want to be a part of a larger national agenda of centralization of liberal principles from Washington DC? Or would they also want to go back to a time of localization of politics?
First off, the Mount Vernon meeting is not the Amendments Convention. It's just a preparatory meeting to discuss how the petitions to Congress for an Amendments Convention should be worded -- the wording must be identical -- and what rules should be followed at the Convention. (Congress may try to overrule that; see my long earlier post.) Liberal states will not send representatives to Mount Vernon because they like the present system where the Feds pay for most of everything. The last thing they want is to be financially responsible for everything that goes on in their states. It's about money, not control. These states will hope that the Mount Vernon preparatory meeting leads to nothing. In their black little hearts, they no doubt wish that Obama would call out federal law enforcement to break the meeting up.
However, at the actual Amendments Convention -- assuming that 34 or more states call for one and Congress sets the time and place -- the liberal states will be there to blunt conservative changes to the Constitution. If they can find a way to get around the rules and introduce their "dream" amendments, such as repealing the 2nd and 22nd Amendments, they'll give it a whirl. They won't win, but they'll try to jam sand into the machinery.
I am just concerned that this is not the way to go to effect the kind of changes we need in this country...The effort is well thought out, but I am concerned that it leaves the door open for some political elements in this country to really undermine this Constitutional Convention process...
I will undoubtably keep my eyes and ears peeled, and wish nothing but the best for those wanting to do this, I just feel it is a waste of time and effort at this point...And it is a distraction for the process we still have in place for next year to actually do something similar to the problem...
Nothing personal at all to you or anyone else wondering why I’m not jumping in with both feet on this...I just feel we are not quite to “that” point yet...