IS AN ARTICLE V CONVENTION OF THE STATES IN OUR FUTURE? LET’S HOPE NOT!
By: Lori Hendricks
Many groups are calling for an Article V Convention of the States as an alternate method of amending the Constitution. Article V states:
“The Congress, whenever two-thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two-thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress;…”
Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, and others as of late are touting a Convention of States (COS) as a means to pass a balanced budget amendment to reign in our out-of-control Congress. This is a dangerous proposition for a number of reasons, primarily the complete lack of precedent. ALL current amendments to the Constitution have been presented by the Congress. We have never had a Convention of States since the original in 1787.
The argument has been made that because it will be called for by the States that the states would, according to David Barton, another proponent, “limit the jurisdiction of the federal government”, however, there is no language in Article V that would limit the jurisdiction of the federal government. That is purely speculation. Further, there is no precedent for who would be chosen as delegates to the Convention. It will most certainly be bi-partisan and all states will be represented.
Another question yet to be answered is how many delegates will be selected from each State? The first Constitutional Convention allowed each state only one vote. Do you really believe larger states will agree to that this time? Again, no precedent and no outline for it in the article itself leaves this open.
There is no precedent for setting the rules for the Convention, although it could be assumed that since it will be called for by Congress, that it would set the rules, certainly a “Runaway Convention” is not without precedent. The Continental Congress had tasked the delegates to the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention of 1787 with “the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation”. Article XIII of the Articles of Confederation specifically stipulated that alterations must be confirmed unanimously. Neither of these mandates was followed. The Articles were replaced with an entirely new Constitution and ratification set to only three-fourths of the states.
Once a convention is called, it cannot be stopped or the actions taken, undone. With no predetermined rules or limitations which will have any bearing on what is actually done, it is not unthinkable that a new Convention of States would have the same end result as the first.
In 226 years there have been over 300 calls, but Congress has never allowed a call for the Convention of States to take place. In worthwhile cases, they have taken up the cause themselves. The Seventeenth Amendment, calling for publicly elected senators was finally called by Congress after 33 legislatures called for a Convention of States.
Additionally, there is no guarantee that a Convention of States would limit itself to only one amendment. Many states have passed a resolution for a convention, however, there is no consensus regarding the amendments to be considered or to limit the number. Further, it is not just conservatives calling for a convention. Groups like “Move to Amend”, which consists of over 250 radical leftist groups, are actively supporting a constitutional convention.
There have already been numerous amendments presented including:
- “Move to Amend” has proposed and passed amendments in California and Virginia, aimed at the removal of corporate personhood and providing for federal funding of all campaigns. This allows Congress to limit or PROHIBIT campaign donations by any group including the candidate themselves, thereby curtailing our most fundamental free speech, that of political free speech.
- There is an amendment proposed to add the verbiage “when serving in a militia” to the second amendment. Are you willing to risk it?
- A proposed Parental Rights Amendment would give the government jurisdiction over what used to be considered a God-Given Right. By enumerating this right, the government gains dominion over that right and as a result, those rights will come under attack.
- A Balanced Budget Amendment has been proposed many times and is a popular proposal now, but are there guarantees to require Congress to CUT SPENDING to achieve that balance?
Consider too, that because we have not yet answered the question of representation, will it be equal or based upon population? What happens if representation is not equal? What happens if that unequally represented convention changes the rules to eliminate passage by the States altogether?
Two of the groups pushing for a convention are Wolf Pac and Young Turks. Both are funded by George Soros who is pumping millions of dollars into the effort. Should a convention take place, guess which group will be better funded and whose amendments more likely to go through?
The argument that we have to change the Constitution to reign in the government is quite simply nonsensical. The problem is not the Constitution, it is the officials! We do not need to change the document, we need to change Congress and hold them to defending the document which they have sworn to protect and defend.
Our Constitution is a divinely inspired document that has served our nation for over 225 years. It is too precious to risk its demise.