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.