Before I present my thinking against an Article V convention, which contrary to the popular cries today is a con-con (and I will demonstrate that), I want to say that I believe there are both good and bad people involved. I believe there are people who I consider patriots, who see Article V as a possible solution to many of the problems we have. I have no intention of judging their motives. There are others, many who I do not consider patriots (due to ideologies and things they have professed), who see Article V as a means to completely rewrite the Constitution. This is not an attack on anyone’s motives, but simply my perspective. I am open to correction should I be in error.
I realize that Article V allows for states to petition Congress for a convention in which amendments can be proposed. It is legal to do so, but the question I have is, “Is it wise to do so, especially at this time in history?”
I received a video from a Freedom Outpost Facebook follower.
While I’m not going to go over every little thing brought up in the video, one thing really stood out to me, and that is the idea that an Article V convention is not a con con (Constitutional Convention) and that there is no precedent for this to be a “runaway” convention.
These are the things I would like to address, because I believe that those who oppose an Article V convention, do so primarily understanding two things.
- If the current laws, contained in the current Constitution are not being followed, new ones will not be followed either.
- The first constitutional convention was a runaway convention.
First, I think the first one speaks for itself. Nick Dranias submitted a piece to Freedom Outpost in response to an article by Publius Huldah on an Article V convention, and in the interest of letting both sides be heard on the issue, we published it. I don’t purport to know Mr. Dranias’ motives, but I can tell you that even his Balanced Budget Amendment continues to allow for an increase in debt, as long as Congress has money to cover it. That simply means since Congress won’t rein in their spending, and since they will not simply spend money on what the Constitution specifically specifies that they can, they will continue to do so under the proposed BBA.
I know, the BBA requires when debt gets to a certain amount a number of states must approve additional debt. Since states get tons of federal dollars, is there anyone out that that don’t think half the states in the Union will agree for more debt, despite the rhetoric we are given? I believe they will. In addition, the BBA simply is more words thrown into the mix that will not stop the machinery of the Federal Reserve or the taxing mechanism that Congress does have over the people. We’ve seen how Congress, on both sides of the aisle, are more than ready to screw the American people for political expediency, than to do the right thing and only spend money on what is constitutional. Debt ceiling, anyone? Fiscal Cliff, anyone? Government Shutdown, anyone?
Dranias is correct about one thing, and that is that, at times, the Constitution is ignored more so than at others. However, is that really the issue? I think not. If we are a Republic that has laws, why are they not being consistently applied across the board? That is the real issue.
This is just one example, but if I could briefly point out a few others where the Constitution is violated, it would be in the Bill of Rights. Consider the following:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. (emphasis mine)
- The establishment of religion clause has been completely done away with in the Department of Education. It funds and establishes government indoctrination centers, commonly referred to as public schools, where the religion of secular humanism is taught.
- Over and over again, Christians are told they cannot engage in a practice of their faith on government property. It seems that is a clear violation of “prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
- Freedom of Speech is under attack by Congress as well. Attempts to silence those who call sodomy what it is, a crime and a sin against God, are now falling under “hate speech laws.” Yes, these same bureaucrats would have vented their vitriol at our founding fathers like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington for their intolerance of sodomites.
- Congress is also attacking free speech via HR347, which seeks to silence peaceful protestors who might be within earshot of those in government they are protesting.
- While Congress was not involved, the Obama administration certainly was in closing down the press during Vice President Joe Biden’s speech, and they have even demanded to approve White House journalists’ articles before they go to print. Since the Executive Branch is only to enforce laws written, why are they engaging in this activity? But it goes further, as the Obama administration is now seeking to monitor news rooms. However, we do have Senator Dianne Feinstein at the forefront wanting to tamper with the press by having Congress declare who is and is not a journalist.
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. (emphasis mine)
- What can I say here? We have never given the federal government any authority to restrict or regulate arms, and I’m not just talking about guns. There are just way too many examples of this. Perhaps you can start by taking a look at these articles.
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law. (emphasis mine)
- While some may think this far-fetched, many have argued that Congress funding and allowing the National Security Agency to operate as it has been shown to operate, using devices inside our own homes, could technically be a violation of the Third Amendment.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. (emphasis mine)
- How about alleged “Constitution Free Zones” that are 100 miles inland and 100 miles inside the country from our borders, where your electronic gadgets can be seized and searched, without a warrant, by federal agents? In case you were wondering, yes, this has been upheld by a judge, but is clearly in violation of the plain reading of the Fourth Amendment.
- Should we even get into the matter of feds and police who bust down doors on citizens without warrants and seize their property? Yes, actually we should!
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
- Four words: National Defense Authorization Act. The NDAA has gotten little attention in the mainstream, including Fox News. But we’ve covered both the legislation and the opposition to it. You can read up on it here if you are unfamiliar.
This is only the first half of the Bill of Rights and not even all of the violations. These have only occurred in the last two years! We didn’t even begin to talk about clear violations of Congress’ spending powers that fund things like shrimp on treadmills and monkeys throwing poop. This should tell us that our problem is not a necessity for more laws, but rather the lack of enforcement of existing ones.
Now, let me tackle the second issue, which I believe is the easiest to demonstrate why an Article V convention, a con con, would no doubt be a runaway convention and there would be no way to control it from the outside.
Let’s start with the text of the Constitution, Article V:
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, also 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; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.
Whenever the issue of a runaway Article V convention comes up, the response is, “Look, it’s right there in Article V, you have to have ¾ of the states ratify any amendments.” I agree, it is there, and those of us who honor the law would eagerly uphold that, but let’s look at precedent. Let’s look at the first Constitutional Convention.
There was our first constitution, the Articles of Confederation. The States wanted to amend the Articles of Confederation and so proceeded to call a Constitutional Convention. Delegates from the 13 states were sent, but Virginia’s Patrick Henry was wise, in a similar vein to those warning of a con-con today, and said, “I smell a rat.”
Well, if you lived at that time, you would have probably said that there was no need to worry; “C’mon man, no way this will get out of hand. It can’t be a runaway convention. I mean look, we’ve got a ratification process in the Articles of Confederation that requires all the states to ratify any changes.” If you thought that way, you would have been seriously wrong. Yes, there were stipulations in the Articles of Confederation concerning ratification, but those were changed by the convention.
Joe Wolverton rightly points out:
In 1787, the document known as the Articles of Confederation was the constitution of the United States. Its Article XIII mandated that regarding any changes to the Articles: “Nor shall any alteration at any time hereafter be made in any of them; unless such alteration be agreed to in a Congress of the United States, and be afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of every State.”
When the constitutional convention met in Philadelphia in May 1787, that legally binding and constitutional provision was ignored. From the moment Edmund Randolph stood and proposed what was known as the “Virginia Plan,” the Constitutional Convention of 1787 became a “runaway convention.”
This is not a debatable issue. It is a fact. “There was a provision of the constitution prohibiting any changes to the Articles without unanimity,” Wolverton adds. “That provision was not only disregarded, but was replaced, eventually, by Article VII of the Constitution created at the convention.”
Dr. Gary North demonstrates this in his book Conspiracy in Philadelphia, which I highly recommend (also available for download here). One of the major things lost in the US Constitution was the idea of Christian men in office. The religious test oath, which was in virtually every state constitution at the time, was disregarded.
Wolverton goes on to write that there are “two questions will reveal the fundamental errors with this statement and will explain why the COS promoters try to avoid at all costs mention of the Articles of Confederation, specifically Article XIII.”
- First, was the authority of the constitutional convention of 1787 derived from the constitution in effect when that convention was held in Philadelphia? Yes. The Continental Congress’ report calling for the Philadelphia convention specifically references the “provision in the Articles of Confederation & perpetual Union for making alterations therein.” Article XIII.
- Second question: Did the convention in Philadelphia in 1787 “throw out the Constitution” in effect at that time and replace it with a new one, radically different from the one already in legal effect? Yes. The differences between the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution of 1787 are significant. Not the least of which was the method established for adopting those changes and endowing them with the force of law. What once required a unanimous vote, now required the approval of only 3/4 of the states.
Progressives, communists, Marxists, and socialists of all stripes have been salivating over an Article V convention for decades. It’s not a fad for them. Conservatives have only spoken of it over the past couple of years with any seriousness. The concern I have, not a fear, is that those pushing this thing have not thought through and planned their strategy, but have merely viewed this as a reaction to those who have violated the law.
Let’s face it folks, most of us that consider ourselves conservative and lovers of liberty, who simply want government small and dealing with only limited things so that we can live our lives are not very good politicians. We just aren’t. We can point out the problems better than anyone, but honestly, if you are like me, the solutions are really simple: obey the law, don’t write new ones that won’t be obeyed, and when someone is in violation of said laws, administer justice.
I’m for repealing the 16th and 17th amendments. I’m for some form of ability of the people at the state level to hold elected officials in Washington accountable, and by that, I mean bring them to justice for violating the law by advancing illegal and unconstitutional legislation, such as what AmericaAgain is engaging in, or at the very least remove them from office.
Finally, consider my article on the Hawaii legislature calling for an Article V convention and notice all those in favor and what they are in favor of. Notice it’s both Republican and Democrats that are advancing the same thing in Hawaii. Yes, Hawaii is not a conservative state, but the point I’m simply making is, do you really trust this Congress or anyone who would be a delegate to such a convention to have your best interests at heart, and not compromise their principles?
But let’s be real here; if you are advancing an Article V con con, then demonstrate to us your plan to ensure it won’t be a runaway convention. I haven’t seen that plan yet, and don’t expect to. I’ve been told 3 states have measures in their constitutions to prevent such a runaway and that is referred to as precedent. No, it’s not. That is called words in a state constitution. It has not been tested, nor gone through the legal process.
The precedent was 1787, and anyone willing to go back and read the documentation will see that our current Constitution came from a runaway convention, not one that adhered to the words of the original Articles of Confederation. In seeing that, there can be no doubt that an Article V Convention of States is nothing more than the modern day equivalent of the 1787 Constitutional Convention.
The reality is that we are attempting a silver bullet method to deal with a problem that has long festered in the United States; that problem is a plethora of apathy and a declining morality. A convention and more laws will not fix the problem.Don't forget to Like Freedom Outpost on Facebook and Twitter, and follow our friends at RepublicanLegion.com.