By: Sue M Long
Federal overreach is of great concern—rightly so. What to do about it is of equal concern.
With the best of intentions, some citizens are calling for a constitutional convention to pass amendments to our U.S. Constitution for the purpose of reigning in federal power. The premise is that the states would control the convention—who the delegates would be, how they are chosen and how many per state; what amendments would be proposed and voted on, what the processes would be and any other matters the convention would take up.
But Article V of our Constitution states clearly the two ways to amend the Constitution:
1. Congress proposes amendments and presents them to the States for ratification; or
2. When 2/3 of the States apply for it, Congress calls a convention to propose amendments.
Our Constitution is clear: States are authorized to apply to Congress to call a convention. Beyond that they have no say.
This is confirmed by an April, 2014 report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the authoritative source Congress uses for accurate information. CRS states without exception that only Congress makes all the rules. It points to the ’70s and ’80s when there was considerable interest in an amendment convention. (And states then began rescinding applications.) Congress introduced 41 bills that included specific conditions as to the procedures for a convention including selection of delegates which would be, as opposed to “one state, one vote”, instead, a formula based on the Electoral College, whereby Virginia would have 13 votes to California’s 55, etc. The report shows not only what Congress could do; it verifies what it has already done in preparation for a convention. Mark Meckler of Convent ion of States project (COS) has said that their “rules were not meant to bind the future convention. Rather, they provide starting points to facilitate”, admitting that they cannot control the process.
Control is in the hands of the Congress guilty of overreach in the first place!
• Who is financing what? George Soros is pouring millions into organizations promoting a convention. The seed money to start the Convention of States in 2012 was $1,207,183 collected in donations, though COS had no paid solicitors. Most opposing a convention are paying out of pocket with their own non-tax deductible dollars.
• Promoters claim there is no concern about a runaway convention. History tells us otherwise. The 1787 convention was called for the purpose of adding amendments to the Articles of Confederation. Yet, it was scrapped altogether and a whole new constitution was produced. There is no ruling authority to prevent that from happening again. Present at the 1787 convention were statesmen like George Washington and James Madison. How many such do we have today?
• There is also a claim that 3/4 of the states would have to ratify any proposed amendment. Once again, the 1787 convention set a precedent by changing the rules. They changed who ratifies from legislators to conventions and the required number for ratification from all the states to 3/4. What could happen today? Ratification by a simple majority of the states? Or by Congress? Or by no one?
• The claim that “The states would never ratify a bad amendment.” does nothing to quell concerns. The 16th and 17th amendments come to mind.
Why take the risks? If convention supporters somehow accomplished state selection of delegates, who would they be?
Speaker William Howell appointed Virginia’s representatives to the “Assembly of State Legislatures” (Dec 7, 2013 and June 12, 2014):
Sen. Frank Ruff, who voted for the tax increase/ transportation bill (HB 2313) in 2013 and fought against the Boneta Farm bill; He did not show Dec. 7 nor
Del. Scott Lingamfelter, who voted in the 2004 Virginia Assembly to rescind any application for a convention (that had been passed when Democrats controlled the Assembly) on this basis:“WHEREAS, the operations of a convention are unknown and the apportionment and selection of delegates, method of voting in convention, and other essential procedural details are not specified in Article V…the prudent course requires the General Assembly to rescind and withdraw all past applications for a convention to amend the Constitution of the United States …”
Then, Lingamfelter prefiled a motion to call FOR a constitutional convention in 2014.
Del. Jim LeMunyon, who voted for the tax increase/transportation bill (HB 2313) in 2013 and sponsored Homeowners’ Association bills opposed by Association dwellers
Del. David Albo, who voted for HB 2313 in the 2013 Assembly and voted against a convention in 2004, but for it in 2013.
Do these sound like people we trust to vote on making good changes to our Constitution?
• Changing the name to “Convention of States” or “Balanced Budget Amendment” (BBA) does not change what it is. It is still an Article V convention called by Congress for the purpose of proposing amendments to the Constitution. States may convene all they wish; states meeting together is traditional. But for the states to make the call for a convention and/or decide its conditions would be completely unconstitutional.
• Are the amendments being proposed advisable? For example, a BBA would result in raising taxes to balance the budget if there was no agreement on cutting the spending. Also, the BBA would increase the power of the federal government. As it is, the government can only spend money on the enumerated powers listed in the body of the Constitution. The BBA would result in no constraints on spending other than the cost, bypassing the limitations of the enumerated powers.
• Who besides well-meaning patriots support a convention? Globalist George Soros, liberal California Governor Jerry Brown, Richard Parker, a former member of the ’60s radicals known as Students for a Democratic Society and Harvard Professor Lawrence Lessig, a current Obama supporter and guest of the 2013 Bilderberger meeting who said, “Perhaps it is time to rewrite our Constitution.”
• Could we depend on the states to reign in federal overreach when it is the states that take federal grants, making them an accomplice to the overreach?
• Since Congress disobeys the Constitution, is the solution to change it? If people don’t obey the 10 Commandments, should they be rewritten? When government officials don’t abide by the Constitution now, why trust they would obey an amended one?
The solution? Obey the Constitution, not change it. For more information, contact the address below.
Groups/Individuals on record opposing a call for an Article V convention
Sheriff Richard Mack, Phyllis Schlafly, Larry Pratt, Devvy Kidd,
Tom DeWeese, Martha Boneta, American Policy Center, Del. Bob Marshall, Sen. Dick Black, Larry Nordvig,
Chris Stearns, Shaun Kenney, Patriot Coalition, Kelleigh Nelson, Publius Huldah, Gun Owners of America,
Mid-Peninsula Tea Party (Gloucester/Mathews /Middlesex), Mathews County GOP Committee, VirginiaRight.com,
American Policy Center, Concerned Citizens of the Middle Peninsula, Virginia GOP Third Congressional District,
Danville Tea Party, Newport News GOP City Committee, Eagle Forum, Daughters of the American Revolution,
Sons of the American Revolution, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, AFL-CIO,
National Rifle Association, United Republicans of California, California Democratic Party, The American Independent Party,
National Association to Keep and Bear Arms, The Constitution Party, American Pistol and Rifle Association, Pro-America,
John Birch Society, The Second Amendment Committee of Hanford, CA, Constitutionalists United Against a Constitutional Convention,
United Organizations of Taxpayers, Voters Against Conspiracy and Treason, and the Conservative Caucus...to name a few.
The Committee for Constitutional Government
PO Box 972 • Gloucester VA 23061 •