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Posts by betty boop

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  • Congressional Duty vs. Discretion. Article V.

    10/10/2015 1:03:26 PM PDT · 2 of 2
    betty boop to Jacquerie; Hostage; Publius; Political Junkie Too; marron; xzins; Alamo-Girl; hosepipe; metmom; ...
    The states have submitted over four hundred Article V applications to Congress for a convention to propose amendments, yet Congress has never called the states to convene. A Congressional call to convention is not discretionary. It is a duty, a command that cannot be legitimately avoided, just like all of the other mandatory actions We the Sovereign People wrote into our governing document.... Since Congress has not called an amendments convention in the past, it is reasonable to assume it will not in the future.

    I readily acknowledge that there have been well over 400 State applications for an Article V COS in our history. Yet as you note, Congress has not yet called such a convention. And from this obvious fact, you draw the conclusion: There's "not a chance" that Congress would ever do so.

    I have difficulty following your reasoning — which only makes sense if one thinks that the simple arithmetical number of applications is in itself decisive for the purpose of a Congressional Call, and not the substance of such Applications.

    Though it's not spelled out in Article V directly, there is a very long tradition, completely backed up by Article V, that State Applications must bear on some more-or-less same idea that could inspire 34 states to work together in the proposal of amendments to the federal constitution. This is where your hated "aggregation rule" comes into effect.

    As you well know, Article V gives equal dignity and power to two modes of proposing amendments to the Constitution. One mode is by the Congress itself; the other is by the States themselves, acting in concert at least to the point of showing a 34-State quorum on common areas of concern. This is what the principle of aggregation refers to.

    When Congress takes up a proposed amendment, that body is already "aggregated" as to the purpose of doing that. To get two-thirds majorities in both houses, both must then "aggregate" their approval. Then they send their product to the States for the necessary three-fourths-of-the-states ratification before it can become constitutional law.

    My point is, when Congress uses its Fifth Amendment powers, it is doing so as a more-or-less unified body as to the issue under dispute. And two-thirds of both chambers must agree, before the matter can be sent to the States for ratification.

    So why should the States have to show anything less than indications of common, unified, purposeful action, when they submit Applications for an Article V COS?

    For the record, of all the 400+ State Applications thus far, only four have applied for "a general convention." But I think if another 30 States were similarly to apply, Congress would have no choice but to issue its constitutional Call.

    But probably few States are all that interested in convening a "general convention"....

    On the other hand, we have States vitally interested in sending a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution out for State ratification. Their number has most recently been "aggregated" at 28. That leaves another 6 states to go, before Congress is impelled to issue its CALL.

    I really don't understand, Jacquerie, why you find anything "unfair" in any of this. We have Article V, we have history, we have precedent, to go by.

    I just hope, and encourage you, not to lose heart, not to lose morale over this. Congress does not sit as critics of Applications, or judges of their content or merit. I gather it might feel that it has no obligation to act at all, unless and until 34 States Applications aggregatable as to general subject matter have piled up on the desk of the Clerk of the House....

  • The Purpose of Public Schools

    10/10/2015 11:53:19 AM PDT · 23 of 34
    betty boop to YHAOS; marron; xzins; Alamo-Girl; hosepipe; metmom; Trisha
    The solution should be readily obvious to everyone.

    Well, it would be, if we could just cut through all the CR*P.

    The educationist progressive, John Dewey, was a proselytizer of the "Prussian Model" of public education. The educational decline of America starts precisely with Dewey, around a 100 years ago.

    The Prussian model seeks to build "productive citizens." It cares more about inculcating "job skills" in students than in training them to be critical thinkers.

    John Dewey studied at the very knee of one Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767–1835), a prominent German philologist and man of letters, who believed that the very methods of education of our young must "evolve" with changing times and circumstances. In his own words,

    "The ancients concerned themselves with the strength and development of man as man; the moderns with his material well-being, his property, and his earning capacity. The ancients sought virtue, the moderns happiness.... The highest ideal of human beings living together, I believe, would be that in which each develops out of himself and for his own sake." [emphasis added]

    In von Humboldt's educationist scenario, "the state is only viewed as a means, there doesn't have to be as much effort on the part of the individual to support this means.... As long as the subject obeys the laws, and keeps himself and his dependents well provided for in an occupation that is not harmful to others, the state is not concerned about the exact manner of his existence."

    What better scenario can you think of, to undermine the principle of human liberty, and of human direct participation in a political culture of which we the people are supposed to be "sovereign?"

    Dewey's model completely negates any appreciation of human history as being in any way relevant to the proper functioning of a free people. Ultimately, with this sort of Humboldtian-style education, the only freedom the people have left is to pay their taxes on time [or else]. Humboldt's educationist plan boils down to grinding out reliable future taxpayers, by giving them "job skills"— all for the benefit of the State.

    And that's what "public education" is all about.

    If that's so, then it seems to me that we are on a course leading to mass suicide....

  • Culture — Not Genetics — Is the Key to Success

    10/08/2015 1:38:12 PM PDT · 20 of 23
    betty boop to SeekAndFind


  • Mabuhay! Hi all, I'm new and happy to be here!

    10/08/2015 1:21:06 PM PDT · 10 of 101
    betty boop to Raymond Pamintuan

    Who are you?

  • FReeper Jeff Head - in need of prayer - Cancer surgery (GOOD NEWS update @ #1638 1688 1931! 2059)

    10/08/2015 1:20:03 PM PDT · 2,089 of 2,101
    betty boop to Jeff Head
    Dear Jeff, I'm so glad to hear of these good reports! Godspeed!!!

    I continue to life prayers unto our Lord for your continued well-being!

    May He continue to bless you, and all your dear ones.


    10/02/2015 4:18:24 PM PDT · 134 of 134
    betty boop to Publius; NTHockey; ziravan; Hostage; Jacquerie; Political Junkie Too; P-Marlowe; trisham; marron; ..
    Incorrect. It would have been around 1895.

    Why is it, Publius, that I am always so GLAD to be corrected by YOU???

    1895 it is, for the record!



    10/02/2015 11:47:01 AM PDT · 132 of 134
    betty boop to NTHockey; ziravan; Hostage; Jacquerie; Political Junkie Too; P-Marlowe; trisham; marron; xzins; ...
    1. Congress calls the Convention, not the states. So, even if 34 states call for an Article V Convention, Congress is under no compulsion to accede.

    You are leaving out the practical point of what is needed to invoke a constitutionally valid Congressional CALL — which, under Article V, is mandatory upon the due Applications of 34 States.

    So, we have a 34-state criterion that has to be met, before Congress is mandated to act. What is that criterion?

    It seems there are two ways to look at this problem.

    The first is to say that, once 34 states have applied for an Article V COS on any subject matter whatsoever, that Congress must call the COS.

    By that criterion, Congress would have been constitutionally compelled to call a COS back in the 1970s, there having been 34 State applications by that time.

    The question then becomes, does Congress have a duty to respect a simple numerical tally of States making Applications — a simple arithmetic, mathematically linear tally of States — "1 + 1 + 1 ... + 1, + 1, + 1," until you get to = 34?

    Or is it reasonable for Congress to "aggregate" State Applications by a reasonably-close-subject-matter criterion, which goes beyond simple arithmetic? Just as human life, and the American polity, are not reducible to simple arithmetic?

    Anyhoot, the above seems to be the root of the main dispute here at FR about the Article V COS, which I desperately desire to see CALLED. Having said that, I hold to the latter view of the matter, for the reasons given here, and in other recent posts.

    I agree with your observation and conclusion at (2): State conventions are not directly accountable to State legislatures.

    And certainly, I DO agree with you that "No delegate (commissioner) may be a state employee nor hold any elected or appointed office."

    Thank you so much for writing, NTHockey!


    09/30/2015 6:21:09 PM PDT · 131 of 134
    betty boop to Jacquerie
    Return to first principles.

    That is precisely what I am attempting to do. It seems you are the "innovator" here, not me. FWIW.


    09/30/2015 1:58:27 PM PDT · 129 of 134
    betty boop to Jacquerie; Hostage; Political Junkie Too; Publius; trisham; xzins; metmom; marron; Alamo-Girl; ...
    If the states of their own volition met in convention tomorrow, and submitted amendments to their state legislatures the next day, who in turn held elections for delegates to state conventions, and over three-fourths of the conventions ratified a set of amendments, should the nation accept them as part of the Constitution?

    Probably not.

    For the question next becomes: What constitutional or legal basis do States think they have, who meet "of their own volition," and possibly may think that they might, by submitting their complaints to their respective State legislatures, get around federal, constitutionally grounded proscriptions against such a "populist" reconstruction of the ground of Authority of the American rule of law:

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    Maybe you don't see the problem the same way I do. S'okay.

    But what are you proposing? That the States should do an end run around history and precedent? How many States can you get on-board, who agree with one another as to the purpose of the convention?

    Anyhoot, to finally answer your question, above: I do not believe, on the state of the evidence I've seen so far, that the output of such a purely state-invoked convention could compel a Congressional CALL. For simple lack of standing, it having been produced by the States alone, not in collaboration with Congress — as Article V seems to require.

    JMHO FWTW. (I am not a lawyer....)


    09/30/2015 12:14:16 PM PDT · 126 of 134
    betty boop to Political Junkie Too; Hostage; Jacquerie; Publius; trisham; P-Marlowe; xzins; metmom; marron; ...
    Dear PJ, I realized that my last to you was probably not very enlightening. I think you and I are having some difficulty understanding each other's view of Article V. So, thinking it through, I'd like to try a different tack.

    The text of Article V is merely the tip of the iceberg. If you want to know what Article V requires, then you have to look below the surface language. In other words, discern the context in which Article V arises, its function in our constitutional scheme, and what is the foundation of its authority.

    By way of deep background, it may helpful to understand the fundamental form or most basic structure of the U.S. Constitution. Although the deliberations of the Philadelphia Convention of 1789 were conducted in utmost secrecy, we know from reliable sources (and subsequent publication) that the debate was often quite heated. Often disputes devolved on the issue of whether the proposed constitution would establish a “national” government, or a “federal” government.

    As Madison defined these terms in Federalist 39:

    ...the federal form ... regards the Union as a Confederacy of sovereign states; instead of ... a national government, which regards the Union as a consolidation of the States.

    On first appearance, that might sound like hair-splitting. But it was vitally important to the success of the proposed constitution that both views be accommodated, and compromise achieved between them. The genius of the Framers was to produce a constitution wherein it wasn’t merely a true–false case of an “either/or” situation WRT a choice of “national model” or a “federal model”; it was a matter of both being valid. Which of the two characters would be ascendent at any particular time is invoked by its relevance to the particular case under scrutiny, and the warrants granted to the national government under the Constitution. Thus the Framers gave us a “mixed constitution” — one that is both national and federal in character, constantly seeking the balance between the two.

    But on my reading so far, I think the Constitution gives a bit more weight on the balance scale to the federalist view. Which is right and proper, since the States are effectively the creatures of the people residing within them. And the ultimate sovereign authority of the U.S. Constitution resides with We the People, as a national body.

    On the other hand notice that, other than the direct election of U.S. Representatives to the Legislature in Congress, the Constitution takes great pains to interpose mediating bodies between direct expressions of popular will and electoral success of candidates for office. The idea here is to prevent electoral minorities from being abused by electoral majorities. A great example of this is the Electoral College. Although the President is elected to office by the vote of the whole people in its national capacity, the people do not elect the president directly. The Electoral College — a creature of the several States — does.

    Madison directly addresses the constitutional amending process later in Federalist 39. Possibly it would be unintelligible to the modern reader, absent the above backgrounder:

    If we try the Constitution by its last relation to the authority by which amendments are to be made, we find it neither wholly national nor wholly federal. Were it wholly national, the supreme and ultimate authority would reside in the majority of the people of the Union; and this authority would be competent at all times, like that of a majority of every national society to alter or abolish its established government. Were it wholly federal, the concurrence of each State in the Union would be essential to every alteration that would be binding on all. The mode provided by the plan of the convention [ultimately resulting in Article V] is not founded on either of these principles. In requiring more than a majority, and particularly the proportion by States, not by citizens, it departs from the national and advances toward the federal character; in rendering the concurrence of less than the whole number of States sufficient, it loses again the federal and partakes of the national character.

    The proposed Constitution, therefore, even when tested by the rules laid down by its antagonists, is, in strictness, neither a national nor a federal constitution, but a composition of both. In its foundation, it is federal, not national; in the sources from which the ordinary powers of the government are drawn, it is partly federal and partly national; in the operation of these powers, it is national, not federal; in the extent of them, again, it is federal, not national; and finally, in the authoritative mode of introducing amendments, it is neither wholly federal nor wholly national.

    Given this background, I can understand why the piling up of more than 400 State applications for Congress to CALL an Article V COS for the Purpose of Proposing Amendments has not yet resulted in a Congressional CALL for same. You don’t need all the States to propose amendments. You only need 34 of them. But if you are speaking of amending the Constitution, then it stands to reason that those 34 States would have a common interest in the matters such a convention would be tasked, and authorized, to address. Thus the importance of a clear call from the States as to the subject matter of such Article V COS.

    We ultimately must rely on precedent to guide us here. The best precedent, and the best evidence, was cited by Madison, in Federalist No. 40: It is the Philadelphia Convention of 1789 itself.

    This Convention had very clear subject matter.

    “Whereas there is a provision in the articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union for making alterations therein, by the assent of a Congress of the United States and of the legislatures of the several States; and whereas experience hath evinced that there are defects in the present Confederation; as a means to remedy which, several of the States, and particularly the State of New York, by express instructions to their delegates in Congress, have suggested a convention for the purposes expressed in the following resolution: and such convention appearing to be the most probably mean of establishing a firm national government:

    Resolved — That…a convention of delegates, who shall have been appointed by the several States, be held at Philadelphia for the sole and exclusive purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation and reporting to Congress and the several legislatures such alterations and provisions therein as shall, when agreed to in Congress and confirmed by the States, render the federal Constitution adequate to the exigencies of government and the preservation of the Union.”

    If you could get 34 States to simply recapitulate this formula today, or some other more or less similar text that could reflect their common concern, it is my firm belief that Congress could NOT evade its constitutional duty, under Article V, to issue a CALL for a COS.

    Just one thought to leave with you, before I sign off for now: Never forget that Article V itself was the product of a constitutional convention.


    09/30/2015 6:32:45 AM PDT · 125 of 134
    betty boop to Political Junkie Too

    Ooooopppps! Sorry for the double post.


    09/30/2015 6:31:17 AM PDT · 124 of 134
    betty boop to Political Junkie Too
    The point of discussion is that you want to entrust the aggregation of applications for an Article V convention to a Congress that you agree is broken, empowering them with a made-up requirement for single-subject applications that can only serve to stifle the call for a proposing Convention.

    You misunderstand me. (1) I am not "empowering" Congress; the Constitution does, specifically Article V. (2) Single-subject applications can result in multiple proposed amendments.

    — bb


    09/30/2015 6:31:16 AM PDT · 123 of 134
    betty boop to Political Junkie Too
    The point of discussion is that you want to entrust the aggregation of applications for an Article V convention to a Congress that you agree is broken, empowering them with a made-up requirement for single-subject applications that can only serve to stifle the call for a proposing Convention.

    You misunderstand me. (1) I am not "empowering" Congress; the Constitution does, specifically Article V. (2) Single-subject applications can result in multiple proposed amendments.

    — bb


    09/29/2015 4:59:56 PM PDT · 120 of 134
    betty boop to Political Junkie Too
    The Senate still retains its powers, it's just the controlling link to the state legislatures that is broken.

    But absent the controlling link to the state legislatures, what powers does the Senate legitimately exercise under the Constitution? The Seventeenth Amendment absolutely extinguished the entire raison d'être for the Senate as envisioned by the Framers of the Constitution — that the Senate is the representative body of the States in Congress.

    And it's all been downhill from there.... Now it seems that the only people Senators "represent" is — themselves.


    09/29/2015 4:52:05 PM PDT · 119 of 134
    betty boop to Jacquerie; Hostage; Political Junkie Too; Publius; P-Marlowe; xzins; marron; Alamo-Girl; trisham; ..
    We The Sovereign People have the right to frame, adjust, and otherwise amend our governmental structure as we see fit via our states as long as we get permission from Congress?

    Oh for heaven's sake, Jacquerie, I said no such thing. Nor do I think such a thing.

    Congress is subject to the same Constitution that the States are. It is not a question of congressional supremacy vis-a-vis the States. Both must respect and adhere to what the Constitution requires.


    09/29/2015 3:06:03 PM PDT · 112 of 134
    betty boop to Political Junkie Too
    What other Constitutional power should we surrender?

    I don't know about you; but I'm not "surrendering" any. And I continue to find the U.S. Constitution a helpful and trustworthy guide in such matters.


    09/29/2015 3:04:23 PM PDT · 111 of 134
    betty boop to Political Junkie Too; Hostage; Jacquerie; Publius; trisham; P-Marlowe; Alamo-Girl; marron; YHAOS; ..
    Back in 1800, the states would not have needed Congress to call for a single-subject CoS; they would simply have instructed their Senators to introduce a bill in Congress to propose the amendment. The other states would then have supported the bill or not.

    Ah! But there's the "rub": The original constitutional "architecture" that recognized such powers of the Senate was utterly destroyed by the Seventeenth Amendment. THAT order is completely gone, owing to a frenzy of populist reaction to the public corruption of the times.

    These "progressive" populists evidently thought that a one-man-one-vote per citizen regime on any and all public questions was superior to the Constitution's plan, which called for institutions designed to mediate the effects of transitory public faction and frenzy. Such as the Senate — designed not to represent the people directly, but the several States, the ratifying parties of the Constitution.

    The Seventeenth Amendment took a wrecking ball to the very foundation of the Constitutional vertical separation of powers as between the national government and the several sovereign States, by denying the States representation in Congress.

    I think the Seventeenth is due for repeal. We have all seen its pernicious effects....


    09/29/2015 2:46:08 PM PDT · 109 of 134
    betty boop to Jacquerie; Political Junkie Too; Hostage; Publius; trisham; P-Marlowe; Alamo-Girl; marron; xzins; ..
    P.S. To All:

    It does absolutely no good to complain about the (implicit) aggregation rule.

    The real challenge here is to make the aggregation rule work for US — We the People of the United States of America, who on fundamental constitutional questions MUST act through our respective States.


    09/29/2015 2:24:39 PM PDT · 107 of 134
    betty boop to Jacquerie; Political Junkie Too; Hostage; Publius; trisham; P-Marlowe; Alamo-Girl; marron; xzins; ..
    Article V is merely the acknowledgment of the right of the Sovereign People to continually correct any errors of any kind....

    Absolutely TRUE; but to me, this truthful observation seems qualified by two things: (1) the Sovereign People do not act directly, but through the mediation of their States; (2) They cannot act at all, if their States do not make application to Congress for an Article V COS for the Purpose of Proposing Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Article V elucidates the constitutional manner in which this must be done. Absent the congressional CALL, it isn't going to get done.

    You wrote,

    IMHO, and with history as our guide, congress WILL NEVER CALL A CONVENTION.... It is therefore the duty of the states to just do it. Exercise a societal and constitutional responsibility; meet in convention to turn back tyranny.

    Well, certainly Congress has never issued an Article V COS CALL, at least not so far.

    Meanwhile, we have Michael Farris pointing out that, so far in our history, there have been over 400 State Applications to Congress to CALL an Article V COS. These Applications have been all over the "subject matter" of the sovereign people's concerns, which have varied over time. The evident fact remains that State applications on different subject matter will not be aggregated for the purpose of establishing the 34-state threshold necessary to force Congress into issuing the CALL, without which any contemplated convention would have zero constitutional basis, standing, or effect.

    "Aggregation" rules are not part of the facial text of Article V. But it seems to me the need for same is implied, and essential, on logical and common-sense grounds. In what other way can we find out whether the 34-state threshold has been met?

    I propose a thought experiment, actually two.

    The first would be something along the lines that you might warm to: Get 34 States to "call on" Congress to issue its congressional CALL to convene an Article V COS for the purpose of proposing amendments on the basis that this convention as contemplated would be a wide-ranging, general-purpose convention not limited to any particular subject matter going in. It seems to me they still have to get over the aggregation bar in some way. Maybe they could do that, by adopting virtually identical language in their Applications. Maybe something like, "This State is applying for an open COS not limited as to subject matter." If 34 States all said the same thing in their Applications, even if the Clerk of Congress and National Archivist are total morons, assuming they can read, they must recognize that identical language is identical language. If 34 States are using identical language, then how can Congress fail to aggregate them? Upshot: Congress "shall" issue its CALL. Possibly, this could work.

    Or second, how about lobbying, urging our state representatives to make Application to Congress for a COS dedicated to the single topic of repealing the Seventeenth Amendment? That situation is a lot more limited and straightforward than a "general purpose" convention. Get 34 States to apply specifically on the the narrow-focus matter of repeal of the Seventeenth, using same language, and Congress must issue its CALL. "Same language" should ensure that all such Applications qualify for aggregation. The language of any State's Application itself might specify that its application shall be aggregated with the applications of all other States on the topic of repeal of the Seventeenth.

    What would happen, under these two scenarios? It would be gratifying to find out.

    In conclusion, though Article V does not require a COS to confine its scope to a "single topic," there has to be some commonality of interest of the States that goes beyond purely regional or local problems, and it is in their Applications that the States make this known.

    Just some thoughts, FWTW. I'm struggling through this the same as you are, dear Jacquerie. Thank you ever so much for sharing your thoughts.


    09/28/2015 2:31:09 PM PDT · 97 of 134
    betty boop to trisham
    I’m beginning to have a better understanding, although far from complete.

    Same here, dear trisham!!! THANK YOU!


    09/28/2015 2:29:18 PM PDT · 96 of 134
    betty boop to Hostage; Jacquerie; Political Junkie Too; Publius; P-Marlowe; xzins; metmom; trisham; caww
    ... the rules stipulate that the Convention [itself] may create [ad hoc committees], not just the standing committees.

    Jeepers, I missed that part, on my first reading. But you're right. Natelson's proposed rules permit the creation of any ad hoc committee by majority vote of the Convention, provided that such a vote can occur only when a quorum of 26 state delegations are present to do business. If not, adjournment to the next day is required.

    So this would mean that you only need 14 out of 34 state delegations to establish an ad hoc committee, which may or may not correspond in any way with the Convention CALL. So, it is possible that such "side issues" as the adoption of Sharia law, or of a marriage amendment, could get legitimate standing at the COS.

    But whatever such an ad hoc committee ends up proposing, its findings and recommendations are still subject to a simple majority of the affirmative votes of 34 states, one vote per state delegation, before they can take effect as a proposed constitutional amendment. And then, they would have to survive the ratification process, requiring the assent of 38 states, not all of which have directly participated in the Convention.

    Thank you ever so much, dear Hostage, for all the diligent research and "constitutional imagination" that you bring to bear on the language and scope of the CALL for an Article V COS. Which is a two-way CALL: first by the States; then by Congress in constitutional response.

    THANK YOU!!!


    09/28/2015 1:57:43 PM PDT · 95 of 134
    betty boop to Jacquerie
    If Article V (less the last clause regarding equality of state suffrage) was by some magic removed from the Constitution, do you think the people/states would retain the power to frame our national government?

    Let me put it this way. Unless Article V can successfully be invoked by We the People, the only other recourse that We the People have is: armed insurrection. And We the People are very well armed.

    But not so well armed that we can confront the consolidated powers of the federal government, police and military, and expect we could prevail that fight.

    Article V is a safety valve. Without Article V, We the People have no constitutional means of calling the federal government to account for its abuses against its own citizens.

    We live in momentous times. I'll just leave it there for now.

    Thank you, dear Jacquerie, for sharing your thoughts and concerns, which I mainly share.


    09/28/2015 1:17:52 PM PDT · 93 of 134
    betty boop to Publius; Hostage; Jacquerie; Political Junkie Too; xzins; trisham; metmom; caww
    Thank you ever so much, dear Publius, for correcting the record here at FR.

    You remind us of what an arduous, uphill climb getting Congress to CALL an Article V COS is, in the first place.

    Have you had any news that the work of the National Archivist has improved, since Boehner created a special office within the National Archives, dedicated to research, adjudicate, and streamline aggregation matters; and caused that office to be filled, last January IIRC?


    09/28/2015 1:08:19 PM PDT · 92 of 134
    betty boop to Hostage; Jacquerie; Publius; P-Marlowe; Political Junkie Too; xzins; trisham; caww
    Many ‘positive’ slogans and phrases can be used to steer the movement into activities and discussions that are distraction-resistant.

    Indeed. It doesn't appear premature for doing a little PR spadework here. Just as Levin/ALEC have done so much "spadework" as to rules, procedures, and subject matter of the Article V COS, maybe we need to anticipate the public "reaction," once the COS hits the radar screen of the MSM and the other usual suspects, and try to prevent negative fall-out.

    First we have to learn not to shoot ourselves in the foot by, e.g., avoiding language that invokes past history — mainly Democratic Party artifacts, such as Jim Crow, segregation, George Wallace, et al. — but which no longer suffices to describe the real situation on the ground right now. Second, we have to learn that it is always unwise to gratuitously provide the ammo that your opponent — let's face it, your enemy — will surely use to try to shoot you, to wound or kill.

    When the COS hits the radar screen of the MSM, you can expect that these manufacturers of the Kultursmog will step up production such as you've never seen before, pumping out endless supplies of noxious gasses, empty nonsense, into what now passes for the public debate.

    So try to deny them entry in the first place. Most people nowadays would regard the "Tenth Amendment Powers" as a term of art entirely disassociated from the idea of "State," let alone states' rights.

    So let the MSM explain to the people what "Tenth Amendment Powers" are. That should slow 'em down for a while.

    Certainly under that burden, they won't get to George Wallace — a Democrat — anytime soon. :^)

    Thank you ever so much for writing, dear Hostage! It's always such a pleasure to hear from you.


    09/28/2015 11:45:10 AM PDT · 89 of 134
    betty boop to Political Junkie Too; Hostage; Jacquerie; Publius; P-Marlowe; trisham; xzins; metmom; caww
    The Senate is a perpetual convention of states, authorized by Article I, for the purpose of legislating. Prior to the 17th Amendment....

    "Prior" is the operative word here. Arguably, though the first part of your statement is indubitably correct, the Seventeenth Amendment absolutely detached the Senate from the state governments which they were intended to represent. They no longer represent state governments; arguably, they no longer even represent the people of their states. They are just a big political faction or club of "solons" in Washington, mainly representing party interests. In recent times, the Senate has ensured legislation that a majority of citizens demand has not got a snowball's chance in Hell of being enacted.

    That's history now, and we have to live with it. Unless we repeal the Seventeenth.... Which subject the Georgia Application contemplates.

    With all respect, PJ, I hope we can just agree to (cordially!) disagree on the entire matter of state Applications. You see the Application as "a Congressionally-imposed burden on states, which makes states subordinate to Congress."

    I just don't see it that way. In the first place, this is not a Congressionally-imposed burden. It is authorized by the plain language of Article V itself:

    The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, or on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments.... [emphasis added]

    This is hardly a constitutional demand that the States offer obeisance to Congress. It is a mere stipulation of the Article V procedural rules for the calling of a COS.

    After the COS is CALLED, Congress has neither a legislative nor executive role to play. Then, Congress' role becomes, as Prof. Natelson puts it, purely ministerial, like that of a diplomat acting as agent for a sovereign government in its dealings with other sovereign governments. (Which to my mind is perfectly fitting.) Congress has no will or power of its own WRT the COS or any of its procedures, rules, or subject matter.

    I sense perhaps what aggravates you even more than the "Application" issue is the "aggregation" issue. It is "best evidence" for upholding the well-precedented historical and juridical view that Article V does not recognize a "general convention" as an Article V COS. From this, I infer that a CALLED convention is always called for a reason, or reasons. Otherwise, to me, it might just as well be yet another drunken frat party, or late-night bull session of a bunch of stoned underclassmen.... Something completely beneath the dignity of the U.S. Constitution.

    Aggregation sets the criterion of states' intent to address common concerns, as stated in their Applications, by proposing and ratifying amendments to the Constitution. Thus, you need 34 states sending Applications addressing substantially similar subject matter. Then, once you've got 34 states, Congress MUST issue the CALL for the COS. And completely steps out of the picture, not to return until the Convention concludes its business, and actually proposes amendments.

    Then, Congress steps back in, to specify which mode of Ratification will be used, by state legislatures, or by state conventions. After Congress "disposes" of this matter, whichever ratification mode they choose, Congress is not further involved in the ratification process, other than to validate and record the states' votes.

    But here's some news that might cheer you up: According to The Article V Library, there are now 32 applying states that have qualified for aggregation by the National Archivist, for the purpose of convening a COS on a proposed balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution.

    Only two more states to go.... :^)

    Thanks ever so much for writing, PJ!


    09/28/2015 10:09:21 AM PDT · 87 of 134
    betty boop to Hostage; Jacquerie; Publius; Political Junkie Too; marron; xzins; trisham; metmom; caww; ...
    I am writing to my state’s grassroots and COS persons that we should avoid the phrase “state’s rights” because it is a trigger for unneeded and unwarranted adversity.... I am not advocating political correctness but rather political expediency. No need to get bogged down by the usage of trigger words that set a discussion off on a tangent of segregation or other unrelated issues and history.

    A most excellent suggestion, Hostage! I didn't think of that. But I'm sure you're right. Once the COS hits the MSM radar screen, I expect all Hell will break loose. There'll be such quantities of MUCK stirred up that it will be difficult to see straight. We had better not be providing the enemy with ammo he'll use to try to kill us.

    So, I'm swearing off "states' rights" language from now on. "Tenth Amendment Powers" would be my suggestion for a new moniker. That sounds harmless enuf. What talking head would want to rail against something that "abstract?"


    09/28/2015 9:58:39 AM PDT · 86 of 134
    betty boop to Jacquerie; Hostage; Publius; Political Junkie Too; trisham; xzins; YHAOS; metmom; caww; ...
    it appears to me that every suggested amendment from Mark Levin's Liberty Amendments could be motioned for consideration by the federal jurisdiction committee. They are precisely the sort of structural changes that must be approved by the convention and submitted to the states.

    Indeed. It appears that all of Mark Levin's Article V COS desiderata could be dealt with under the three proposed subject-matter standing committees — fiscal restraints, federal jurisdiction, and term limits — which are the scope of the recent Georgia Application that has been emulated in the COS Applications of Alaska, Florida, and at least one other state so far.

    It is my hope that the Article V COS will confine itself to structural amendments, not aspirational ones; like, for instance, a marriage amendment. A marriage amendment would "federalize" marriage — historically a state issue — the same way the Fourteenth Amendment "federalized" citizenship — something historically left to determination by the sovereign states.

    What we want to do is propose amendments to the federal constitution, NOT grant the federal government any new powers — which is arguably exactly what a marriage amendment would do.

    Plus Prohibition — the 18th Amendment — was an "aspirational" amendment; and we all know how that turned out; e.g., the explosion of organized crime, violence and mayhem; endemic public corruption at all levels, etc.

    But I'm getting 'way ahead of myself here. I've been trying to visualize how an Article V COS would work, if Natelson's proposed rules were to be adopted. And that's a whole lot like trying to "visualize" Niels Bohr's "atom." LOL!

    Thanks so much for writing, Jacquerie!


    09/27/2015 11:29:06 AM PDT · 81 of 134
    betty boop to Political Junkie Too; Hostage; Publius; Jacquerie; P-Marlowe; marron; Alamo-Girl; xzins; metmom; ...
    [The States] used Congress on their general purpose convention of states for the purpose of Article I legislating within the framework of the Constitution.

    Question: When has a "general purpose" convention of the states ever been called in American history? I see no precedent for such a thing.

    Even the first convention, the Philadelphia Convention of 1789, the mother of all constitutional conventions, was not a "general purpose" convention: The States convened for the purpose of remediating obvious defects in the Articles of Confederation.

    I have no knowledge whatsoever that a "general purpose" constitutional convention has ever been convened in American history. Maybe I've missed something. If so, kindly cure me of my ignorance.

    You wrote:

    You are sounding like the states are there to serve the federal government, and have to unite in some way to convince the feds to let them meet to discuss how to change their own method of governing.

    This is not my understanding, nor my position, at all. My fervent hope is that an Article V COS will be called for the main purpose of proposing amendments that restore and strengthen the Tenth Amendment powers of the States as recognized by the federal constitution, which the federal constitution as originally purposed was charged to uphold and defend.

    I do not at all regard the several states as mere administrative units of an overweening leviathan. The people, acting through their states, have a sovereign right to call their national government to account for transgressions against their natural and constitutionally-guaranteed liberties, which mainly occur whenever the national government works outside the scope of its very limited constitutional powers. And succeeds in doing so, mainly by invading and effectively nullifying the clear language of the Tenth Amendment.

    The States are the bulwark of the people against federal tyranny.

    I may be from Massachusetts; but I'm "state's rights," right down to the ground.

    In no way am I imploring Congress for "permission" to defend my natural and constitutional rights. Rather, I DEMAND that Congress perform its completely non-optional duty to call a COS, upon evidence that a 34-state quorum on subject matter has been established sufficient to FORCE such a call.

    Just some thoughts, FWTW.

    Thank you so very much for sharing your thoughts, PJ!


    09/27/2015 10:45:41 AM PDT · 77 of 134
    betty boop to Jacquerie; Hostage; Publius; Political Junkie Too; Alamo-Girl; marron; xzins; YHAOS; metmom; ...
    (1) The standing committees shall include rules, credentials, administration, fiscal restraints, federal jurisdiction, and term limits. (29) The convention may create ad hoc committees.

    Evidently, I'm not reading Natelson's proposed Article V COS rules the same way you are, dear Jacquerie.

    RE: the matter of "ad hoc committees."

    Natelson's rules presuppose that the COS will be substantially devoted to the issues delineated in the Georgia Application, which are three in number, each with its own standing committee: fiscal restraints (e.g., a balanced-budget amendment), federal jurisdiction — particularly viewed through the lens of the Tenth Amendment — and term limits. These are qualitatively different than the standing committees on rules, credentials, and administration, which refer to the organization and conduct of the convention itself.

    The fiscal restraints, federal jurisdiction, and term limits standing committees deal, not with convention organizational matters, but with the very substance and purpose for which the convention is called.

    Natelson's rules allow for the appointment of "ad hoc committees," which are appointed by any standing committee in order to enable it to execute its business. The ad hoc committees do not have a license to work on any business beyond the scope of the business of the standing committee that appointed them.

    At least, that is my reading, my understanding. On that basis, I would have to conclude that ad hoc committees have no plenary power of their own; their work is confined to the mission of the standing committee that appointed them. And this means that no ad hoc committee has the power to "ultimately debate whatever it wishes to debate."

    Just my thoughts, FWTW. Thank you so much for writing!


    09/27/2015 10:04:53 AM PDT · 75 of 134
    betty boop to Jacquerie; Political Junkie Too; Hostage; Publius; P-Marlowe; marron; xzins; metmom; hosepipe; ...
    However, an annual convention of the states would have an enormous effect on Scotus, and the Executive, even if it rarely overturned Scotus decisions or regulatory agency diktats.

    The only fly in the ointment I see WRT your proposed annual convention of the states, or any other regularly occurring periodic convention, is that such a convention would probably itself require a constitutional amendment to bring it into constitutional effect, because it would be a major institutional or systematic change that goes straight to the constitutional distribution of powers as between the national government and the States and the people thereof.

    Though certainly I am completely in favor of "a nationwide debate on the nature of government, freedom, and so many other fundamentals that the Left so easily gaffs off today," I just don't see how such a thing can be "forced" under our constitutional system of government.

  • A Protestant Response To Pope Francis' Address

    09/26/2015 2:54:04 PM PDT · 95 of 178
    betty boop to imardmd1

    Still the question remains: Who inserted the [brackets]? And for what purpose?


    09/26/2015 2:47:11 PM PDT · 66 of 134
    betty boop to Political Junkie Too
    A pragmatic interpretation would suggest that the Article V convention was for the purpose of determining if there was commonality sufficient to warrant an amendment.

    Pragmatically speaking, how does one convene a convention about anything, without people first corresponding together to find commonality about proposed subject matter? Especially if great time and distances have to be traversed in order to do this?

    On such a basis, I'm fully entitled to call such a thing a "frat party," nothing more.

    "Pragmatics" only takes you so far. And then, you have to start looking for the underlying commonality of substance that drove such "pragmatists" together to resolve commonly-perceived problems in the first place.

    My sense is Libertarian philosophy does not reach to this level of the problem.

    Might you perchance be a Libertarian?


    09/26/2015 2:34:34 PM PDT · 65 of 134
    betty boop to Publius; Hostage; Jacquerie; Alamo-Girl; marron; xzins; hosepipe; metmom; caww; trisham; ...
    Neither Congress nor the courts can legally step in.

    I didn't mean to suggest that the Courts have a role in any of this, any more than Congress does. They are completely "out of the picture" while the "sausage is being made." And completely out of the picture of the ratification process, once the mode of ratification has been stipulated by Congress.

    What I did mean was that, any constitutional amendment proposed and ratified in such an undisciplined, sloppy manner would be challenged in Court as having been passed and ratified in an unconstitutional manner. Thus deemed to be NOT a valid constitutional amendment, after the fact.

    Do I worry about nothing here?


    09/26/2015 1:20:03 PM PDT · 61 of 134
    betty boop to YHAOS; Hostage; Publius; Jacquerie; Alamo-Girl; marron; xzins; trisham; caww; hosepipe; ...
    There is no limit on who might be sent to attend this convention, or what might be proposed.

    Dear YHAOS, you articulate a fairly common concern. Indeed, when I first heard that preparations for an Article V Convention of the States for the Proposing of Amendments to the U.S. Constitution were going on, well below the radar screen of public notice, I was concerned. So I did a little research.

    One of the first things I found out was that there are certain “interested parties” who wish to foment as much public confusion as possible about the Article V COS, and to teach the public to fear one. Mainly for the reasons you gave, above. And mainly for the preservation of their own status-quo interests.

    Getting down to nuts and bolts, your stated concerns are two in number: (1) “There is no limit on who might be sent to attend this convention”; and (2) “what might be proposed” at such a convention.

    The first seems to have two main aspects: (a) the number of delegates (“commissioners”) that a given State might send to the convention; and (b) the qualifications (“credentials”) of the delegates, which goes straight to the matter of how they are appointed.

    The American Legislative Executive Council (“ALEC”) has done an amazing amount of spadework in proposing and defining Article V COS rules pertaining to both these questions. (Which eventually would have to be passed by the entire Convention, on a State-by-State, one-vote-per-state simple majority basis, in order to take effect.)

    ALEC’s current working document suggests five commissioners per participating State would be nominal; but in order for the COS to be recognized as proceeding from the States, ALEC can only suggest. Any State can send as many delegates as it wants to. But astute procedural rules, as developed by ALEC, limit opportunities for political demagogy — such as a maximum of two speeches by any State delegate on a single topic, limited to ten minutes in duration, that must be intervened by another delegate’s speech before the first delegate can make his second speech on the single topic — should keep sober deliberation on a fairly even keel, to the frustration of political opportunists.

    As to (b), the qualifications of delegates. They are completely chosen by the States they are to represent. The historical precedents as to the manner of selection validate two methods, which IIRC have been concurrently accommodated in past conventions: appointment by State legislature; or by State popular referendum. I gather any State can choose whichever method it will follow. It is answerable to its own electorate for its decision.

    Your second concern deals with the fear of a “runaway convention.” Let’s look at that.

    In the first place, it seems to me we ought to consider the Article V constitutional recognition that the U.S. Constitution itself is subject to modification over time, to meet changing circumstances, to remove defects in its original construction that have become manifest over time. That is why the Constitution itself contains its own amendment process.

    Which is what Article V specifies. Article V recognizes two legitimate channels of constitutional change: the proposal of Amendments by Congress, or by a Convention of the States (“COS”). Both methods are perfectly equal in constitutional dignity in all respects. Both methods are subject to ratification by three-fourths of the States (as Congress “directs,” whether by State legislatures or by State conventions called for the purpose) before they can be constitutionally adopted and made effective as basic elements of our rule of law.

    A COS can only exist if it is “called” by Congress. To be “called,” 34 of the several States must show that they want to work together on an issue that calls for modification of our basic rule of law. The issue might be, for instance, a balanced budget amendment. Any State interested in pursuing this issue must file an Application to Congress that clearly indicates this purpose. If another 33 States file similar, or (better!) virtually identical Applications on this single topic, then Congress cannot fail but to aggregate them, and, finding the 34-state threshold having been achieved, MUST issue a CALL for a Convention of the States, recognizing a 34-state quorum as sufficient for the conduct of business for proposing amendments on the relevant subject matter.

    Which has no effect whatsoever, unless 38 States ratify their product.

    Which is to suggest that I think the “runaway convention” fear is unfounded. For if a Convention has been called on the basis of subject matter “X,” then you can’t legitimately redirect the Convention to subject matter “Y.”

    If you do, you’d get killed in Court….

    Anyhoot, dear brother in Christ, just some thoughts, FWTW. Hopefully, you might find some of them helpful. Thank you ever so much for your reply!

  • A Protestant Response To Pope Francis' Address

    09/26/2015 10:08:49 AM PDT · 47 of 178
    betty boop to imardmd1
    Is the above what he actually said in an address on American soil at this time?

    No. It's what you think he said. Note the [brackets] inserted in the text. Who inserted them? The piece reads a quite different way, if you take the [brackets] out.


    09/24/2015 3:05:08 PM PDT · 58 of 134
    betty boop to xzins
    Short of ‘shoot all the lawyers’, I’m not sure how to fix that. :>)

    Well. That would be a good place to start. :^)

  • Federalism: Yesterday and Today

    09/24/2015 3:03:35 PM PDT · 87 of 88
    betty boop to trisham
    My brain hurts. :)

    Well I know that feeling, dear trisham!

    It's hard to get a grasp on things, when the very meaning of words is constantly being redefined. Such words, as for instance: Federalist; Nationalist; Republican; Democrat; and so forth.

    From the very beginning of the American nation, the spirit of partisan politics began to take hold.

    Washington and his presidential successor Adams were clearly aligned with the Federalist school of thought. When Jefferson subsequently emerged, he called himself a "Republican." And fought the Federalists tooth and nail, every chance he got.

    But what does this drama mean, if we don't know how to define "Federalist" and "Republican?"

    So I am very grateful to Publius for his insight that the designation/definition "Federalist" originally referred to the problem of "States' rights v. national government rights," and came down on the side of the rights of the States, in balance with the original constitutional plan as specified in the Tenth Amendment.

    And so, I am a Federalist. Go figure!!!


    09/24/2015 1:38:52 PM PDT · 56 of 134
    betty boop to xzins; Publius; Jacquerie; Hostage; P-Marlowe; Alamo-Girl; marron; onyx; hosepipe; metmom; ...
    I would be excited if they just came up with an amendment requiring an annual budget; better a balanced one, but I’ll even settle for the existence of a budget requirement.

    Well, that might "buy us some time." Certainly if we do not rein in runaway federal spending, leading to unconscionable federal debts so vast that already it would take several generations of future taxpayers — our children and grandchildren at the very least —to pay down. But then Washington continues to pile onto the existing national debt load each and every year, like clockwork.

    If this situation is not corrected, then America is going to fall into a Black Hole from which it CANNOT extricate itself. It's just a matter of time. Then we will witness a national "fire sale," total societal breakdown and social chaos.

    So a Balanced Budget Amendment is urgently needed, since Congress evidently cannot discipline itself.

    But to me, a BBA is just a "finger in the dike," an attempt to forestall an impending disaster for yet a little while longer. What a BBA does not reach to, is the roots of the disorder that is setting up the disaster.

    To get to the roots of that disorder, I truly believe that constitutional amendments strengthening States' Tenth Amendment powers are most urgently needed.

    Just some thoughts, dear brother in Christ. FWTW

  • Federalism: Yesterday and Today

    09/24/2015 1:10:49 PM PDT · 85 of 88
    betty boop to Publius; Lee'sGhost; Alamo-Girl; marron; xzins; hosepipe; Hostage; Jacquerie; metmom; trisham; ...
    Federalist meant — and should mean today — a greater emphasis on state authority than federal (or national authority). Hamilton’s little ploy still confuses people today. Thanks to Hamilton, people still tend to think of a Federalist favoring a greater national authority, when in the strictest sense of the word, it should mean the opposite.

    Thank you for clearing that up, dear Publius! Hamilton himself is a tad confusing, on his history. So is Jefferson for that matter. Whatever, we are all sinners. But I just hate it when people gratuitously change the historical meaning of words....

    Anyhoot, by the above definition, I'm definitely a Federalist.

    Thank you so very much for this excellent, thought-provoking article, Publius!


    09/24/2015 10:44:21 AM PDT · 52 of 134
    betty boop to Publius; Jacquerie; Hostage; P-Marlowe; Alamo-Girl; marron; xzins; hosepipe; metmom; YHAOS; caww; ..
    Concerning those 28 applications for a convention to consider a balanced budget amendment: It does no harm for them to sit out there. It does not preclude a state from applying for a convention using Georgia's language.

    Well I hope the states will consider doing so. I'm all in favor of a balanced-budget amendment. BUT — a BBA, if ratified, would not reach to my main concern, which is the vertical distribution of powers as between the national government and the States, thus the people thereof.

    The federal leviathan has invaded and usurped the Tenth Amendment RETAINED powers of the states. Our system of self-government requires, demands, the restoration of the original federal–state power distribution contemplated by the Framers. The federal government has a relatively few grants of power that are clearly specified in the Constitution. All other powers are retained by the states and the people.

    To abandon this principle puts us in a topsy-turvy world in which absurdities are routinely spawned. Such as, for instance, the absurdity of five black-robed lawyers unilaterally imposing, against all reason and precedent, their preferential view of the "social welfare" on 320 million Americans, without their consent.

    The "Georgia model application" for an Article V COS, while dealing with BBA matters, goes straight to stipulating the means and measures to restore and protect the Tenth Amendment powers of the states and the people.

    I fervently hope and pray that an Article V COS will be convened soonest, around the subject matter of the Georgia model.


    09/24/2015 9:34:38 AM PDT · 51 of 134
    betty boop to Publius

    I’ll check it out Publius. Thanks!


    09/24/2015 9:33:32 AM PDT · 50 of 134
    betty boop to YHAOS
    This could easily become a two-headed monster!

    How so, dear YHAOS? Please share your thoughts?

  • Carly Gets It Wrong: Hits Carson, Agrees With Hillary On Muslim President

    09/24/2015 9:31:15 AM PDT · 44 of 44
    betty boop to xzins; Ziva; P-Marlowe

    At the debate and subsequent interviews, it looked to me like Carly was performing as an actress, playing to a script.

    The second GOP debate wasn't a debate — it was a reality TV show. Carly took up a whole lot of time; and Ted Cruz got little more than 8 minutes in a 90-minute "debate."

    Anyhoot, as already mentioned, I sense that Carly is very calculating; and further, I'd say "manipulative" isn't too strong a word to describe her.

  • Carly Gets It Wrong: Hits Carson, Agrees With Hillary On Muslim President

    09/23/2015 4:44:55 PM PDT · 39 of 44
    betty boop to xzins
    Fiorina, according to media reports, went on to say that people of faith, regardless of their particular religion, "make better leaders" and spoke of how her own Christian faith sustained her during some of the most challenging moments of her life.... Hummm, people of “faith,” regardless of their particular religion “make better leaders” and there’s moral equivalence between all “faiths”?... The notion that all religions are equal in informing the moral direction of their adherents strikes us as being strangely flippant, as well as ignorant.... Both Fiorina and Clinton missed — intentionally or otherwise — the point Carson was making, which was not CAN a Muslim be President, but SHOULD a Muslim be President?

    Since she has so clearly laid down her moral relativist credentials, why should I care about what Ms. Fiorina thinks? Indeed, why should I believe anything she says?

    She's a great student of fact and situation, and does her homework right down to the nonce. I'll give her credit for that.

    But in the end, to me, she comes across as brittle, calculating, and graceless....

    For one thing, I heard her tell us that women are not a minority group. Indeed, that they are not a "group" at all, rather some 53% of the U.S. population.

    But then, after The Donald's "face" comment, she played the feminist card — and feminism is intensely group-centered and group-conscious. Evidently to garner the sympathy of potential voters, who happen to be women.

    I was really disgusted by that. It struck me as totally hypocritical and self-contradictory.

    And so, I don't trust her much. Let's just leave it at that for now.

    Outstanding post, dear brother in Christ. THANK YOU!!!


    09/23/2015 4:02:50 PM PDT · 47 of 134
    betty boop to Publius; Jacquerie; Hostage; P-Marlowe; Alamo-Girl; marron; xzins; hosepipe; metmom; YHAOS; caww; ..
    The 4 applications for the Levin/ALEC effort are not being aggregated with the 28 applications for a convention for a balanced budget amendment, even though there is a certain commonality of language. The Archivist is tabulating these two efforts in two separate columns.

    Whatta surprise.

    But I am very heartened by this:

    The good news is that if the Levin/ALEC effort eventually gets 34 states to apply, the resulting convention would be authorized to discuss a balanced budget amendment as part of the "fiscal restraint" clause of the Georgia application. The "power and jurisdiction" clause would open up amendments to establish a procedure for state nullification, trim the ability of unelected bureaucrats and judges to write law, and remove the 17th Amendment. The "term limits" clause speaks for itself.

    Well, it seems to me all those states applying for a COS geared toward proposing a balanced-budget amendment might do best by rescinding their narrowly-focused original applications, and get on-board with the Levin/ALEC effort. The latter, if successful, would certainly address their balanced-budget concerns.

    Plus it would give them the chance to weigh in on the other principal matters of the Levin/ALEC proposal: (1) remediating profound distortions in the distribution of "power and jurisdiction" of the federal v. state governments (definitely including the courts), so drastically departed from the Framers' Constitution; (2) term limits of federal office-holders, whether elected or appointed; (3) repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment, which relates to (1).

    Thank you ever so much, dear Publius, for yet another illuminating essay/post!


    09/23/2015 2:21:54 PM PDT · 45 of 134
    betty boop to Jacquerie; Publius; Hostage; P-Marlowe; Alamo-Girl; marron; xzins; hosepipe; metmom; YHAOS; caww; ..
    Delegates will be strictly controlled by state commissions.

    I would prefer to see Delegates (a/k/a Commissioners) controlled by convention RULES that all state delegations (a/k/a state commissions) have sworn to uphold and submit to. Or is that a minor quibble?

    You wrote:

    Avoid static analysis. What is all-important is the change in national attitudes a convention will bring about. The mindset of the nation will change, knowing that a regular convention of the sovereign states on behalf of the people exists to look over the shoulders of the Uniparty.

    I rarely do "static analysis," for the world is ever dynamically on the move, and thus refuses to reduce to "static analysis" for its full description. It is always more than what "static analysis" can describe.

    I very strongly empathize with your sentiment that American society/citizen psychology would get a remarkable boost from a successful Article V COS. Just let's not get too far ahead of ourselves: FIRST we have to have a FIRST successful COS. That done, we know how to have another.

    But again, FIRST you need a FIRST one. I would urge all those who care about their constitutional liberties to concentrate their efforts on forcing the necessary constitutional CALL, which comes only though Congress.

    To do everything that can be done with that result clearly in view.

    Subsequently, if we learn that the People of the Several States want to hold an annual COS, "to look over the shoulders of the Uniparty," well by then they will have learned how to successfully call one. So if they want one, they'll know how to get one.


    09/23/2015 1:46:05 PM PDT · 44 of 134
    betty boop to Publius; Jacquerie; Hostage; P-Marlowe; Alamo-Girl; marron; xzins; hosepipe; metmom; YHAOS; caww; ..
    A petition is sent from a subordinate entity to a superior entity. The states are not subordinate entities, but equal, in this situation. The term "application" is more correct than "petition."

    I stand GLADLY CORRECTED by you in this matter of "petition" vs. "application." The states cannot appear to be going to Congress hat-in-hand, as if begging the "master" for some crumbs from his table. As you wrote, "The states are not subordinate entities, but equal, in this situation." That is, WRT an Article V COS. Thank you for pointing this out, Publius!

    As to the Georgia language: Is this found at the entry POM–285, of the Congressional Record — Senate, dated July 9, 2014? Just read it. This application gives as its subject matter:

    That the General Assembly of the State of Georgia hereby applies to Congress, under the provisions of Article V of the Constitution of the United States, for the calling of a convention of the states limited to proposing amendments to the United States Constitution that impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of office for its officials and for members of Congress....

    Then it had the good sense to provide an "anti-aging" mechanism, and frankly states it is (wants to be) subject to aggregation with other states' applications that bear on the same subject matter.

    On a quick review, I see that the Georgia language is virtually identical to the applications language of Alaska and Florida. Other recent applications — Louisiana, Michigan, Tennessee — seem to limit their scope to a balanced budget amendment. That's only one of the items in the Georgia et al. applications. That being the case, I wonder whether Congress would aggregate all six. What do you think, Publius?

    I thought this was a simply brilliant insight:

    ...the ALEC-sponsored pre-conventions are doing precisely what you wish with respect to agreeing on application language and internal rules of procedure. This is to occupy legal ground before Congress can claim it and try to impose its own rules. [added itals]

    And indeed, I found Natelson's draft of proposed convention rules cautious, careful, and pro-active in defining the legal playing field, with an especial view to warding off potential congressional and/or court challenges, down the road.

    Thank you so very much, Publius, for your highly instructive essay/post!


    09/23/2015 12:24:12 PM PDT · 41 of 134
    betty boop to Jacquerie; Hostage; Publius; P-Marlowe; Alamo-Girl; marron; xzins; hosepipe; metmom; YHAOS; caww; ..
    You seem to be fearful of a convention.

    I am not fearful of an Article V COS. Indeed, I deeply, deeply desire one.

    What I AM fearful of is Congress finding reasons not to CALL one. And the easiest excuse for them not to do so is to declare that there are not 34 state applications that can be aggregated together to reach the Article V threshold of 34 states on the basis of similar or identical subject matter.

    Here's an historical list of Article V petitions from the states, for the calling of a COS by subject matter, in historical order. As to subject matter, these petitions are all over the lot. I haven't been through the entire list; but suspect there are not 34 petitions sufficiently "alike" as to subject matter to be recognized by Congress as "aggregatable" for the purpose of establishing the 34-state threshold — without which Congress will not issue a CALL.

    Even though Article V is silent about the details of the qualification criteria of state applications, there is ample historical and legal precedent WRT the aggregation rule. It also conforms with plain common sense.

    You ask, "why must applications be single topic?" A single topic can be remarkably broad in its effect. For instance, the "single topic," "Recovering and Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Powers of the Several States" would cover most if not all of Mark Levin's list of amendment desiderata in one swell foop. Each of Levin's items would be completely valid at the COS, because each is within the meaning and scope of the controlling "single topic." Each would be referred to the relevant committee for debate, to be voted on separately in that committee by a simple majority of that committee's commissioners. If passed out of committee, then each state delegation, each having one vote, yea or nay, will vote the measure. If it passes, it is eligible as a stand-alone proposed Amendment that can then be submitted for ratification.

    So, a "single topic" doesn't necessarily mean only a single amendment can result. A "single topic" can result in multiple proposed Amendments, each of which would be subject to ratification separately.

    If you want to call a convention just for the purpose of having one, without any structure or common purpose, you will likely end up with a three-ring circus that produces nothing. But Congress would likely never CALL such a convention. We need to be realistic about our prospects, which, as a practical matter, means never letting Congress use the excuse that the 34-state threshold has not been met. If there were 34 state applications using more or less identical language, Congress MUST aggregate them, and therefore could not find any constitutional or legal pretext to refuse to CALL the Article V COS.

    The best idea I heard today was from the link that Hostage gave in his last to me. I do not have the name of the person who proposed this, but he said that what was needed is a "pre-convention of the States" to flesh out the issues, define the mission, and try to get everybody on the same page. Indeed, the ALEC Conference which developed proposed COS rules was actually a kind of "pre-convention convention" already. What ALEC did (so brilliantly, IMHO) with the rules should be the model of another "pre-convention convention," convened to flesh out the question, "What will be the subject matter of the COS?" and to articulate the state applications language in as uniform language as possible.

    Then, I do believe, we will have our best chance to convene an Article V COS.

    Just some thoughts, FWTW.

    Thanks so much for writing, Jacquerie!


    09/22/2015 8:31:10 PM PDT · 35 of 134
    betty boop to semimojo; Jacquerie; Hostage; Publius; P-Marlowe; Alamo-Girl; marron; xzins; hosepipe; metmom; ...
    What possible constitutional topic could not be characterized as relating to the power distribution between the states and the federal government?... A subject so broad as to include everything would not and should not be considered a single topic.

    And yet this "single topic" — the corruption/destruction of the constitutional, vertical separation of powers as between the national government and the states — goes straight to the root of all the difficulty. So, best to attack the root, not the branches and leaves higher up the tree.

    You want tho kill a snake? Go straight to its head, and lop it off. Same difference....

    "Keep your eye on the doughnut, not on the hole...."


    09/22/2015 8:19:48 PM PDT · 34 of 134
    betty boop to Jacquerie; Hostage; Publius; P-Marlowe; Alamo-Girl; marron; xzins; hosepipe; metmom; YHAOS; caww; ..
    For counting purposes, an application is an application, no matter the reason.

    That is not my understanding. I rely on Professor Natelson in this:

    ...Founding-Era practice, upon which the Constitution’s amendment convention was based, was to limit in advance the topic and scope of multi-government conventions. Discussions from the Founding Era reveal a universal assumption that applications would be made to promote amendments addressing prescribed problems. The first application ever issued, that of Virginia in 1788, was arguably limited as to subject, and hundreds of later applications have been limited as well. Indeed, the central purpose of the state application and convention procedure — to grant state legislatures parity with Congress in the proposal process — would be largely defeated unless those legislatures had the same power Congress does to define an amendment’s scope in advance.

    It also follows from historical practice, not to mention common sense, that Congress should aggregate together towards the two-thirds threshold only those applications that address the same general topic. — Robert G. Natelson, State Initiation of Constitutional Amendments: A Guide for Lawyers and Legislative Drafters

    If there is no specificity to state applications as to at least the general subject matter of concern, then why not just let the states apply, on the grounds that "there is no specific purpose of the COS in view, we're just applying for a COS to do whatever we feel like, once it is "called" by Congress, and we are there on the scene?"

    If that's the case, how does one come up with a 34-state tally, sufficient to invoke a COS? I strongly doubt Congress, ever so jealous of its powers and prerogatives, would be willing to credit a 34-state tally on the basis of "we applying states will figure out what we're gonna do, once we get there."

    If anything, that would be the very prescription for a "runaway convention."

    And that is why I think — rightly or wrongly, you tell me — that an "application is an application," only when it has a reason, at least a generally specified reason stated in advance; it's not an application to effect constitutional amendment on the basis of "no matter the reason."

    And that "reason" is discoverable by general conformity of the texts of state applications' subject matter. You get 34 states to agree in general on that "reason," then Congress MUST issue the CALL for a COS.

    Other than that, it's not gonna happen.

    Or at least, that is my understanding.