NOTE: Since I posted this, I recently came across the following from a Constitutional lawyer that puts Article V in perspective:
“Why a “balanced budget” amendment is a vicious trick: Amendments supersede all language to the contrary in the existing Constitution. Eg., the 13th Amendment superseded Art. I, §2, clause 3 & Art. IV, §2, clause 3 because they were inconsistent with the 13th Amendment. So a “BBA”, which authorizes Congress to spend money on – and hence have power over – whatever they decide to put into the budget, would supersede the list of enumerated powers at Art. I, Sec. 8, clauses 1-16. All the spending on stuff like environmental regulation, federal firearms laws and regulations, education, subsidies, abortions, etc. is now unconstitutional as outside the scope of powers delegated. But with a BBA, if environmental regulation, gun control, abortions, etc., etc., etc., is put into the Budget, Congress may now lawfully spend money on it – and hence have power over it. Don’t be fooled by the clamorings of the uninformed. Don’t jump on the bandwagon pulled by others who don’t understand the consequences of what they are doing. A BBA converts the federal government FROM one of limited and enumerated powers only TO one of general and unlimited powers.”
One thing that socialists, progressives and so-called conservatives have in common is the purportedly unrelated efforts that are calling for a Article V Convention of States (COS). The COS drums that are being beaten by this pro-Article V coalition are so loud that it is almost impossible to hear the arguments against it. This is not surprising when we consider some of the enticing Article V proposals that are being suggested. But, once the conservative coating is scratched off, the self serving, corporate funded and bitterly progressive pill would be fatal to our republic if swallowed. The common irony is that the only way our Republic can be saved is by a COS and many usually well-meaning state legislators are falling for it.
These ‘conservatives’ argue that if a convention is not held, the federal government will continue to expand until Washington, D.C. consolidates all the power and exercises absolute control over everything. On the other hand, the liberals, socialists, Marxists and communists have been planning and pushing for an Art V for decades as an avenue to finally change all of the things they see as wrong with our system. If these state legislators were as committed to federalism, states’ rights, and forcing the federal beast back inside its constitutional cage, wouldn’t they be on record opposing the acceptance of even a single cent of federal grant-in-aid money? Wouldn’t they be on record offering and voting in favor of bills to declare state economic independence from the federal government? Instead, many states cash the checks with one hand and shake their fist at Washington with the other. The federal government provides at least one-third of the budget of most states. The states have bowed to Washington by their addiction to “free” federal money and have sold their sovereignty and now pretend to be the victim and lead the charge to right the wrongs to reclaim what has been stolen from them. This is inconsistent with being committed to state sovereignty. The facts don’t lie.
If the states really wanted to ‘free’ themselves from the situation they themselves created, then they would begin immediately to exercise the only solution that is historically, legally and constitutionally sound – nullification. Art V supporters, however, contend that the states do not have the power to rein in or disregard Washington when it exceeds its constitutional authority. This is a curious and odd position to take when the COS plan is for them to save us from that same federal government. How can we count on these same states to step up and reclaim their sovereignty, that they themselves squandered, at a COS when they refuse the simpler alternative of nullification? Isn’t it more likely, with the obvious economic realities between the state and federal governments, that the delegates would work to improve their state’s share of monies? Would a person with common sense appoint a crack addict to punish their pushers?
Our Constitution has been progressively ignored by all levels of government. When has our government, on any level, ever pushed and voted for a law or regulation that makes us more free? Why is Art V the only part of the Constitution that our leaders have given such attention and made a priority? The only reasonable answer is that an COS does nothing to enforce the Constitution. Indeed, it is the only part that can change it by adding amendments. Have we not had enough of ‘hope and change’? It is undeniable that the only guarantee of a conservative outcome is nothing more than the proponents rose-colored promises made by the Compact for America, ALEC and others that call a COS. The conservatives that are pushing for a COS believe that they have the skill and power to not only propose amendments that will survive the legal challenges but also be able to persuade the progressive, Soros funded delegates to agree with them. This is highly unlikely to happen.
Today, we have entrenched power forces led by the likes of Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid. And, we have notoriously weak leaders like current House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who rarely miss a good compromise to keep the peace. These are the people who will decide the rules for the convention, including the delegate selection. There is no provision in Article V empowering state legislators to choose the delegates to a Constitutional Convention or to “limit” the scope of a Con-Con. There are no rules for a COS, no regulations or instructions, and once a Convention is underway, the delegates answer to NOBODY! Congress will call the delegates, most likely our state federal delegation, one of whom (a tough old (conservative) bird, just voted to confirm a radical leftist for AG. Can we trust them to follow the rules and proposals dictated by state legislatures? Do you think Pelosi and Reid would pass up an opportunity to set their own rules to guarantee a Constitution to their liking? The amendments that are supported by the socialists ( balanced budget, term limit and various other “power to the people” amendments) are all opposed to the principles of liberty that the Founders put into the Constitution. Any conservative constitutionalists who proposes an amendment that even slightly changes the Constitution or alters the balance of power is signaling that their hearts are far removed from the Founders. We can control the federal government and we don’t need a COS to fix what we already have the power to restore. With the law and the Constitution on the state’s side, we act like we won and then we surrender. The states have chosen to be enslaved and have allowed our republic to decay to the point it has. Even though this has the hallmark of good intentions, it only points to the lack of states understanding of the Constitution and their inability to resist federal encroachment. The solution is already in place… follow the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, not the Article V part, the rest of it. Every one us has the obligation to research this subject and, to that end, this article will provide several enlightening links.
A “Constitutional convention” is called to rewrite the Constitution. An “amendments convention” or “Article V convention” is tailored to a narrower and specific purpose. This convention, according to the Compact for America, would be called for the consideration and recommendation of a balanced budget amendment to Congress. Forty-nine states already have this requirement for a balanced budget, either by statute or in their constitutions, yet many still have large debts and deficits. There has never been an Article V convention and there are no legal guidelines to govern the proceedings. The claim that the delegates could only consider a specific amendment has no constitutional or legal authority. In fact, there is no limit as to what amendments could be proposed and therefore, no limit to the ratification of alterations that could, and most likely would, be dangerous to the Constitution, our liberty and our freedoms.
There have been previous calls for an Article V convention but the closest was in the 1970’s with the interest in a balanced budget amendment. All 27 of the constitutional amendments that have been adopted came from Congress. The fact that amendments have been done before is not a justifiable defense for a Article V convention today. The amendment process was originally developed (granted) by William Penn in 1682. In 1787, eight of the states provided for amendments. The first 10 amendments to the Constitution were ratified in 1791 only because some of the states agreed to amending after they knew that the Bill of Rights would be a part of it. That 1787 convention was in itself a runaway convention. The first thing that the delegates did was trash the Articles of Confederation and start over to design a more powerful and new central form of government. They also changed the ratification process that required the thirteen states to be unanimous for any revisions to be accomplished by only nine states. That convention was held behind closed doors and many of the compromises took place in bars. Even if we stipulated that this currant convention would be public and televised, there would be no stopping after-hours private meetings, and any proposed safeguards would be moot if the convention were to contemplate amendments that were not part of the states call.
There were powerfully moral and honorable men back in 1787. Today, many (most)? of the attendees would be corrupt, on the verge of corruption, left-leaning and frothing at the opportunity for “good government reform” amendments. This is not a solid conservative effort. Our own state would most-likely not send delegates who fit into that category. On the other hand, liberals want to change the Constitution far more than constitutional conservatives do and will be bringing their ‘wish-list’. They will be sending their best and brightest, their A-Team, motivated and armed with their intention to rally, divide and exploit, and will act in a unified effort to block ALL reasonable conservative proposals in addition to picking off the weak-minded rhinos to join them, just like they have been consistently doing for the past 100 years. What could possibly go wrong? How can anyone be confident that the Republican contingent of governors or delegates will be equal to and surpass the liberal efforts? Are we willing to gamble and risk our Constitution for a 50/50 or less chance that everything will work out?
If we do not adhere to the Constitution now, what will make a Constitutional amendment any different? Since 1789, there have been over 5,000 bills proposing to amend the Constitution along with hundreds from virtually every state. The 27th Amendment was proposed in 1789 and was the last to be adopted in 1992. All 27 Amendments were extensively debated and are the settled opinion of the American people. There is no historical precedent regarding how the process of a COS even works and no agreement that a convention could be limited to a single subject. Some maintain that a convention that is limited to considering a single, specific amendment, is a direct violation of Article V that states Congress “shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments”. It does not call for the confirmation of a particular amendment that has already been proposed, written and approved by state legislatures, which would turn the convention into a ratifying convention.
We have forgotten the Founding Principles that “All men are Created Equal, Rights Come from God and People Create Governments to Secure God-given rights.” “WE THE PEOPLE are the “pure, original fountain of all legitimate political authority.” “When a government seeks to take away our God given rights, we have the right to alter, abolish, or throw off that Form of government. These are the Principles which justified our Revolution against a King.” “These are also the Principles which permit us today to throw off our Form of government by discarding our existing Constitution and replacing it with another one. This is why the language at Article V of our Constitution, which authorizes Congress to call a convention “for proposing amendments,” does not restrict delegates to merely “proposing amendments”. Delegates are invested with that inherent per-existing sovereign right, recognized in our Declaration, to abolish our existing form of government (our Constitution) and propose a new Constitution.” William Skokos
As stated before, this has already happened in 1797. At the Continental Congress, twelve of the states issued instructions to their delegates and made laws concerning delegate appointments. Ten of those states authorized their delegates to propose specific alterations and two allowed them to do more. But the federal and state limitations were ignored and the delegates wrote a new Constitution that included making ratification easier. It has been established that the delegates have express authority to do what they want. It will be impossible to prevent this from happening again. There will be nothing to prevent a new Constitution from being proposed along with a new method of ratifying it. Here are three of the new Constitutions already prepared for a COS:
1. The Constitution for the Newstates of America was developed fifty years ago by the Ford & Rockefeller Foundations. If this is proposed, it goes directly as a referendum to the President. The states do not ratify it and they will be dissolved and replaced by regional governments that answer to a new national government.
2. A Constitution for The New Socialist Republic in North America will be proposed by the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA
3. George Soros, along with Eric Holder, Cass Sunstein and U.S. Marxist groups, are supporting the Constitution 2020 movement. This is a Marxist Constitution with the goal of having it in effect by 2020. Much of the current push for an Article V convention is being funded by George Soros.
Brilliant men have warned against an Article V convention. Here are a few:
“• Alexander Hamilton writes of “the utter improbability of assembling a new convention, under circumstances in any degree so favorable to a happy issue, as those in which the late convention met, deliberated, and concluded…” Federalist No. 85 (9th para)
• James Madison writes in his Nov. 2, 1788 letter to Turberville that he “trembled” at the prospect of a second convention; and that an Article V Convention would give “the most violent partizans” and “individuals of insidious views” “a dangerous opportunity of sapping the very foundations of the fabric” of our Country. In Federalist No. 49, he shows that the convention method is NOT GOOD to correct breaches of the federal constitution because the People aren’t philosophers – they follow what influential people tell them! And the very legislators who caused the problem would get themselves seats at the convention so they could control the outcome.
• Former US Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg reminds us in his Sept. 14, 1986 article in The Miami Herald, that at the convention of 1787, the delegates ignored their instructions from the Continental Congress and instead of proposing amendments to the Articles of Confederation, wrote a new Constitution. He warns that “…any attempt at limiting the agenda [of the convention] would almost certainly be unenforceable.”
• Former US Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Berger warns in his June 1988 letter to Phyllis Schlafly that “there is no effective way to limit or muzzle the actions of a Constitutional Convention”; “After a Convention is convened, it will be too late to stop the Convention if we don’t like its agenda”; and “A new Convention could plunge our Nation into constitutional confusion and confrontation at every turn…”
There is no effective way to control the Delegates or what is proposed. A delegate from Utah would not be able to restrict a proposal from the delegate from Massachusetts. A new Constitution could be proposed along with whatever new mode of ratification they want. The delegates can propose to keep their meetings and their ballots secret. There will be no way to tell who did or proposed what. Some states may require their delegates to take an oath. Our Constitution requires the President to take an Oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”, and Article VI requires everyone in the federal and State governments to take an oath to obey the Constitution. Who today honors his Oath of Office? Congress could pass a law that grants immunity to the delegates from prosecution. The delegates themselves could insert a clause into a new Constitution that grants them immunity. If the states are abolished by a new Constitution like the Newstates Constitution, there will be no state left to prosecute the delegates. If the states are not abolished, local politics will be the deciding factor whether to prosecute or not. One of the most blaring examples of this scenario was when Eric Holder neglected to prosecute the Black Panthers when they intimidated white voters in 2008.
“Our Framers never said that when the federal [and State] government violate the Constitution, the remedy is to amend the Constitution they violated. They never said the remedy is to file a lawsuit and let federal judges decide. They expected us to act as they did – with “manly firmness” and resist unconstitutional acts of the federal and state governments. Our Constitution doesn’t need “fixing” – it needs to be read and enforced by our votes; and failing that, by manly opposition – resistance – nullification.” – William Skokos
If a convention were to be held today, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, Ben Franklin, George Washington, or anyone remotely resembling them, will not be there. We no longer have a majority of “elected officials that are honorable and that can be trusted to do the right thing. The system has been corrupted. Votes are bought. Utah is no different from Washington DC in that regard.” The solution is to reclaim and strengthen the original intent of the Constitution.
Thomas Jefferson provided the rationale for the states to rein in an errant federal government by enforcing the Constitution through nullification. In 1798, both Jefferson and James Madison were greatly alarmed and personally threatened by the unconstitutional Alien and Sedition Acts that had been passed by the Federalists. It is very significant that they didn’t recommend the convening of a new constitutional convention as provided for by Article V of the Constitution.
Not only did Jefferson completely ignore an Article V constitutional convention as a remedy for what he considered an out-of-control federal government, he went on to provide us with both the conceptual framework and specific word for reining in such an out-of-control federal government — nullification. He did this with his Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 and 1799:
“If those who administer the general government be permitted to transgress the limits fixed by that compact, by a total disregard to the special delegations of power therein contained, an annihilation of the state governments, and the creation, upon their ruins, of a general consolidated government, will be the inevitable consequence.” Jefferson warned that allowing the central government to be the sole judge of the extent of its own powers would result in “nothing short of despotism.” He held further that “the several states who formed that instrument, being sovereign and independent, have the unquestionable right to judge of its infraction; and, that a nullification, by those sovereignties, of all unauthorized acts done under color of that instrument, is the rightful remedy.” “I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves ; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”
Most of us are for constraining the federal government and reviving federalism. Those who actually respect and love our Constitution” would want to abide and live by the laws“contained therein” and not want to change it! The ‘sky has fallen’ “mentality, expressed by many of our great patriots who swear to be upholding the Constitution by their desire to change it, should have all Americans frightened and opposed to all attempts to call for a COS. One thing our currant crop of politicians has taught us is that the political ‘con’ has been elevated to an art form. We rarely get the standards and ideology that we vote for and the majority of the establishment politicians that control the narrative, candidates, etc., have managed to somehow, on both sides, govern against the will of the people. This usurpation of state rights, or the power of Congress, was not forced upon us. It was allowed to happen and vicariously agreed too. An amendment is not going to change this. Congress can not even stand up to the usurpation of its own power by the Executive Branch.
This constitutional controversy is a good thing in that a public argument is invigorating and it has been proven historically that it is possible to achieve good constitutional change without calling for and passing formal amendments. There are things that we have not tried as an alternative to this. We have not lived and enforced the rest of the Constitution that does not include an Art V. We have not tried what Texas is doing to nullify. We don’t know what would happen if our government actually stayed within the boundaries of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. This push reminds us of Nancy Palomino’s statement “We needed to pass the bill to find out what’s in it”. It is unlikely that 38 states would ratify any rouge amendments like changing the Senate composition or electoral-college. Common sense and the states interests would most likely block a wholesale destruction of our Constitution. There is no doubt that a convention of the states would be ferocious and without comparison if it leads to a runaway convention, which it most likely will. A firestorm indeed. A devil’s playground. For the time being, it would be better to deal with the devil we know rather than the one we don’t. The stakes for our country are too high to risk exposing our Constitution and freedoms to the will and manipulations of special interests groups with unlimited, billion-dollar budgets. The problems we have could be easily solved by simply adhering to the Constitution we already have. We don’t need to “fix” the Constitution. What we need are leaders who will stand up against the powerful lobbyists who want to see it “fixed” and to protect and defend our God-given rights. The very thing that is failing America are cowards who will not defend what the Founders handed us.
Here is a simple 5-step plan instead:
1. The states must enforce, not revise the Constitution!
2. We need to find and support candidates who understand the Constitution, obey it, and agree to work to dismantle the unconstitutional federal apparatus.
3. The states must rein in our out-of-control federal government by enforcing the Constitution through nullification of unconstitutional federal laws, rather than by revising the Constitution through an inherently risky constitutional convention process.
4. States must enforce the 10th Amendment State Nullification.
5. We must be forceful and vigilant in demanding our legislators obey their oath of office to the Constitution. The legislators cannot be allowed to rewrite the very document that is our last protection against total destruction of our God-given unalienable rights.
An Article V COC is dangerous to our freedoms and liberties. There may be a time when a COS becomes our only option and our last resort to preserve the Constitution. But, there now seems to be a national desire to reestablish Constitutional principles and the rule of law. Politics, locally and nationally, seem to be moving in the right direction and we have the 2016 election coming. We are not in the darkest of times yet. There is everything to lose and nothing to gain or enough votes to improve it.
This whole discussion can be distilled down to a few simple questions:
– Do any of the three branches of government follow the Constitution now?
– If changes for the better were made, would they follow that? Especially when it takes much less to get a vote to balance a budget than it would take to get a Constitutional amendment?
– Do you believe that those governors or elected/appointed delegates in control of a “convention” would rise to the level of men such as Washington and Madison?
– Ask yourself this… if we are not electing constitutionalists now to office from our area, why would anyone think that we will send constitutionalists to a “convention” or any other meeting???
– Do you believe that the Constitution is flawed?
In the end, there will never be a balanced budget unless the downsizing of government, spending and social services are part of the equation. This proposed amendment is worthless and does nothing to rein in spending or limit raising our taxes to cover the expenses of whatever budget is proposed, no matter how large. We should be in support of a balanced budget that cuts spending, not one that just raises taxes to pay for present and future spending.
1) The Hegelian Principle is being used against the people to push for a Constitutional Convention. The technique is as old as politics itself. The Hegelian principle brings about change in a three-step process: Thesis, Antithesis, and Synthesis.
2) The first step (Thesis) is to create a problem (Old Constitution is outdated, needs grammar changes and is hard to follow because of its many amendments)
3) The second step (Antithesis) is to generate opposition to the problem. (Government cannot operate if Constitution is not changed and it is hard to follow because of the many amendments)
4) The third step (synthesis) is to offer the solution to the problem created in step one. (New Constitution that corrects only GRAMMAR and makes for easy to follow constitution)
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