To Article V or not to Article V


US Map- Reagan on Convention of States

John R. Houk

© February 19, 2016

 

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, 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. (Bold Text by Editor:  U.S. Constitution – Article V; National Archives, Federal Register)

 

When an Originalist talks about preserving the U.S. Constitution from the Leftist ideology of a “Living Constitution” you will rarely hear the subject of an Article V States originated Constitutional Convention. The reason for that is the interpretation of the parameters of an Article V Convention are a matter of controversial disagreement between the pros and the cons.

 

The pros from my perspective: Politics are too polarized for Congress to propose Amendments that shore up more completely the Rights of the Bill of Rights Amendments. Thus litigation and an Activist Court primarily of the Living Constitution interpretation has diluted what I believe is the Original Intent of America’s Founding Fathers’ vision for a limited Constitutional Republic. Such political gridlock thus can only be effective with a States called Constitutional Convention circumventing Leftist ideology and Special Interests money.

 

The cons as I understand them: There is a huge concern that a Constitutional Convention would rewrite a new Constitution rather than specific Amendments to the current Constitution that will eradicate America’s foundations that have made America an exceptional and great nation. Part of that concern is that Special Interest groups will vie for Left Wing change and Right Wing preservation or too far to the Right change that will still transform the American political process that will still be unrecognizable to the Founding Fathers’ original vision.

 

Now that Justice Antonin Scalia has died under what I consider to be mysterious circumstances, Obama’s seven years of Executive Order abuse that legislative processes have failed to challenge in a Constitutional manner and the Dems demonstrating a propensity to fix the election process to allow an obvious crooked politician as Hillary Clinton to win the Dem nomination via Superdelegates; it is my humble opinion that the only shot to save America as a Christian influenced nation under a limited government is by a Constitutional Convention. Otherwise, another bloody civil war is in America’s future between America’s Conservatives who wish to preserve the Founding Fathers’ vision with Christian morality as the foundation for the government standard AND Liberals-Leftists-Progressives who believe the eradication of Christian influences in favor a Living Constitution social and political transformation. The Leftist vision will lead to Big Brother top-to-bottom management of the lives of Americans.

 

The inspiration for these thoughts are based on an email I received from the Oklahoma State version of the National Council for Freedom and Enterprise (NCFE) called the Oklahoma Council for Freedom and Enterprise (OCFE). The OCFE email I received is definitely against an Article 5 Constitutional Convention fearing some of the “cons” I wrote above. I am cross posting the email below so you can take an honest look. But first let’s look at a cross post from the Convention of States website.

 

JRH 2/19/16

Please Support NCCR

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THE CASE FOR A CONVENTION OF STATES

 

  1. The Problem

 

VIDEO: The Convention of States Project is Here!

 

Posted by Convention of States Project

Published on Oct 11, 2013

 

Michael Farris, head of the Convention of States Project, explains why the federal government is broken and how a Convention of States can fix it.

 

http://www.conventionofstates.com

 

We see four major abuses perpetrated by the federal government.

 

These abuses are not mere instances of bad policy. They are driving us towards an age of “soft tyranny” in which the government does not shatter men’s wills but “softens, bends, and guides” them. If we do nothing to halt these abuses, we run the risk of becoming nothing more than “a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.” (Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 1840)

 

  1. The Spending and Debt Crisis

 

The $17 trillion national debt is staggering, but it only tells a part of the story. Under standard accounting practices, the federal government owes around $100 trillion more in vested Social Security benefits and other programs. This is why the government cannot tax its way out of debt. Even if it confiscated everything, it would not cover the debt.

 

  1. The Regulatory Crisis

 

The federal bureaucracy has placed a regulatory burden upon businesses that is complex, conflicted, and crushing. Little accountability exists when agencies—rather than Congress—enact the real substance of the law. Research from the American Enterprise Institute shows that since 1949, federal regulations have lowered the real GDP growth by 2% and made America 72% poorer.

 

  1. Congressional Attacks on State Sovereignty

 

For years, Congress has been using federal grants to keep the states under its control. Combining these grants with federal mandates (which are rarely fully funded), Congress has turned state legislatures into their regional agencies rather than respecting them as truly independent republican governments.

 

A radical social agenda and an invasion of the rights of the people accompany all of this. While significant efforts have been made to combat this social erosion, these trends defy some of the most important principles.

 

  1. Federal Takeover of the Decision-Making Process

 

The Founders believed that the structures of a limited government would provide the greatest protection of liberty. Not only were there to be checks and balances between the branches of the federal government, power was to be shared between the states and federal government, with the latter only exercising those powers specifically granted in the Constitution.

 

Collusion among decision-makers in Washington, D.C., has replaced these checks and balances. The federal judiciary supports Congress and the White House in their ever-escalating attack upon the jurisdiction of the fifty states.

 

We need to realize that the structure of decision-making matters. Who decides what the law shall be is as important as what is decided. The protection of liberty requires a strict adherence to the principle that power is limited and delegated.

 

Washington, D.C., does not believe this principle, as evidenced by an unbroken practice of expanding the boundaries of federal power. In a remarkably frank admission, the Supreme Court rebuffed a challenge to the federal spending power despite acknowledging that power had grown far beyond the bounds envisioned by the Founders:

 

This framework has been sufficiently flexible over the past two centuries to allow for enormous changes in the nature of government. The Federal Government undertakes activities today that would have been unimaginable to the Framers in two senses; first, because the Framers would not have conceived that any government would conduct such activities; and second, because the Framers would not have believed that the Federal Government, rather than the States, would assume such responsibilities. Yet the powers conferred upon the Federal Government by the Constitution were phrased in language broad enough to allow for the expansion of the Federal Government’s role.  –New York v. United States, 505 U.S. 144, 157 (1992).

What Does this Mean?

 

This is not a partisan issue. Washington, D.C., will never voluntarily relinquish meaningful power—no matter who is elected. The only rational conclusion is this: unless some political force outside of Washington, D.C., intervenes, the federal government will continue to bankrupt this nation, embezzle the legitimate authority of the states, and destroy the liberty of the people. Rather than securing the blessings of liberty for future generations, Washington, D.C., is on a path that will enslave our children and grandchildren to the debts of the past.

 

The problem is big, but we have a solution.  Article V gives us a tool to fix the mess in D.C.

 

II. The Solution

We are approaching a crossroads.

 

One path leads to the escalating power of an irresponsible centralized government, ultimately resulting in the financial ruin of generations of Americans. The other path leads to the restoration of liberty and an American renaissance.

 

The correct path can be found within Article V of the United States Constitution.

 

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; 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. –– Article V, U.S. Constitution

 

Watch the video below, created by our Convention of States team in Alabama, for an excellent overview of the Article V process.

 

VIDEO: Convention of States – Alabama

 

Posted by Convention of States Project

Published on Dec 31, 2013

 

Check out this awesome video from our COS team in Alabama! If you live in Alabama, check out their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/COSProjectAL

 

Written by Amanda Read (www.amandaread.com)

Produced by Matthew Perdie (www.perdie.com)

 

Like Article V says, there are two methods to propose amendments to the Constitution.

 

  1. Congress can propose amendments to the Constitution at any time if 2/3 of both houses of Congress agree.

 

  1. A Convention of States can propose amendments if 2/3 of states submit applications for such a convention. These applications must all deal with the same issue (i.e., limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government).

The Founders knew the federal government might one day become drunk with the abuses of power. The most important check to this power is Article V. Article V gives states the power to call a convention for the purpose of proposing amendments to the Constitution.

 

By calling a convention of the states, we can stop the federal spending and debt spree, the power grabs of the federal courts, and other misuses of federal power. The current situation is precisely what the Founders feared, and they gave us a solution we have a duty to use.

 

After the states propose, debate, and vote upon the proposed amendments, they will be sent to the 50 states for ratification. Three-quarters of the states must agree for any of the proposed amendments to be ratified.

 

Congress has no authority to stop such a process. The Founders made sure of that.

 

We are approaching a crossroads.

 

Which path will we choose?

 

III. The Strategy

Two goals separate our plan from all other Article V organizations:

 

  1. We want to call a convention for a particular subject rather than a particular amendment. Instead of calling a convention for a balanced budget amendment (though we are entirely supportive of such an amendment), we want to call a convention for the purpose of limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government.

 

  1. We believe the grassroots is the key to calling a successful convention. The goal is to build a political operation in a minimum of 40 states, getting 100 people to volunteer in at least 75% of the state’s legislative districts. We believe this is very doable. But only through the support of the American people will this project have a chance to succeed.
Our Solution is Big Enough to Solve the Problem

 

Rather than calling a convention for a specific amendment, Citizens for Self-Governance (CSG) has launched the Convention of the States Project to urge state legislatures to properly use Article V to call a convention for a particular subject—reducing the power of Washington, D.C. It is important to note that a convention for an individual amendment (e.g. a Balanced Budget Amendment) would be limited to that single idea. Requiring a balanced budget is a great idea that CSG fully supports. Congress, however, could comply with a Balanced Budget Amendment by simply raising taxes. We need spending restraints as well. We need restraints on taxation. We need prohibitions against improper federal regulation. We need to stop unfunded mandates.

 

A convention of states needs to be called to ensure that we are able to debate and impose a complete package of restraints on the misuse of power by all branches of the federal government.

What Sorts of Amendments Could be Passed?

 

The following are examples of amendment topics that could be discussed at a convention of states:

 

  • A balanced budget amendment

 

  • A redefinition of the General Welfare Clause (the original view was the federal government could not spend money on any topic within the jurisdiction of the states)

 

  • A redefinition of the Commerce Clause (the original view was that Congress was granted a narrow and exclusive power to regulate shipments across state lines–not all the economic activity of the nation)

 

  • A prohibition of using international treaties and law to govern the domestic law of the United States

 

  • A limitation on using Executive Orders and federal regulations to enact laws (since Congress is supposed to be the exclusive agency to enact laws)

 

  • Imposing term limits on Congress and the Supreme Court

 

  • Placing an upper limit on federal taxation

 

  • Requiring the sunset of all existing federal taxes and a super-majority vote to replace them with new, fairer taxes

 

Of course, these are merely examples of what would be up for discussion. The convention of states itself would determine which ideas deserve serious consideration, and it will take a majority of votes from the states to formally propose any amendments.

 

The Founders gave us a legitimate path to save our liberty by using our state governments to impose binding restraints on the federal government. We must use the power granted to the states in the Constitution.

The Grassroots

 

The leadership of the COS Project believes the success of a convention of states depends to a large extent on the American citizens. Our plan is as follows:

 

  1. We seek to have a viable political operation that is active in a minimum of 40 states.

 

  1. Our goal is to have local leaders–District Captains–in at least 75% of the districts in these states.

 

  1. District captains will organize at least 100 people in each of these districts to contact their legislator to support a convention of the states, and turn out at least 25 people per district at legislative hearings.

 

Legislators must know that our grassroots team will have their backs if they support a convention of the states. A widespread grassroots organization has been missing from the Article V movement. CSG’s President, Mark Meckler, was the co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots—one of the largest tea party groups in the country. Michael Farris is the founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association. As such, he brings with him over 30 years of grassroots leadership and activism in all 50 states. We are rapidly building both a staff and a network of like-minded coalition members who will support this project once they see it up and running.

 

We believe that our unique application strategy combined with strong grassroots support will guarantee the success of this Project.

 

Only one question remains. Will you help us?

 

+++

Stop the MADNESS in Oklahoma

02/16/2016 04:09:51 GMT

Email Sent by: Oklahoma Council for Freedom and Enterprise

 

Dear Concerned American,

 

Several bills calling for a dangerous Article V Convention could soon come up for debate in the Oklahoma Legislature.

 

These bills put the Constitution at extreme risk and I need your help to stop them.

 

Some well-meaning Article V supporters think calling a constitutional convention will help create new “limits” on the federal government.

 

And many believe a constitutional convention can be limited to certain types or categories of changes.

 

But that simply is not true. Article V itself does not back up any assertions that a convention can be limited — and noted constitutional scholars agree.

 

It’s critically important you call your state representative and state senator and tell them to oppose ALL Article V Convention bills.

 

Did you know the various special interest groups pushing different Article V Convention measures have formed a coalition?

 

All of these special interest groups claim to be working toward a convention limited to their own issue, yet they are working together behind the scenes.

 

Groups like Convention of States — who claim to want a convention to limit the federal government — are working with groups like Wolf PAC — who want to limit YOU.

 

Lawrence Lessig — a friend to Wolf PAC and former advisor to the Obama campaign — is also on the list of people pushing hard for an Article V Convention.

 

Lawrence Lessig advocates for legislation forcing you to fund the campaigns of candidates you don’t support by making campaign financing a mandatory, taxpayer obligation.

 

Like Wolf PAC, he wants a constitutional convention to pass an amendment that would limit your political speech rights protected by the First Amendment.

 

The Congressional Research Service quoted Lawrence Lessig in a recent report on Article V:

 

“The beauty of a convention is that it would provide a forum of possibility for conservative Tea Party types… as well as progressives.

 

The only requirement is that two-thirds of the states apply, and then begins the drama of an unscripted national convention to debate questions of fundamental law. It would be a grand circus of democracy at its best.”

 

A “grand circus” indeed!

 

Concerned American, it’s critically important you take action to stop this train wreck before it’s too late.

 

Call your state representative and state senator and tell them to oppose ALL Article V Convention bills; then be sure to forward this email to your contacts in Oklahoma.

 

Elected governments at all levels are trampling on your rights every day and it’s up to you and me to stop them.

 

But an Article V Convention would only add fuel to the fire.

 

As pointed out above — a convention CANNOT be limited, so proposals from the likes of Lawrence Lessig would be fair game.

 

And once everything is said and done, every existing amendment could be utterly dismantled.

 

Even if “conservatives” managed to propose an idea or two, it would be open season on the Constitution — nothing would be off-limits.

 

And what “conservative” victory could possibly justify new restrictions on your First or Second Amendment rights?

 

You’d think with views like Lessig’s, conservatives wouldn’t even be caught in the same room with him.

 

But he’s spoken at multiple conferences alongside conservative “leaders” in the movement — all promoting an Article V Convention.

 

These “conservatives” are working with liberals like Lessig, who want to use an Article V Convention to restrict your rights, yet they claim there is no reason for you to oppose a convention!

 

Literally hundreds of progressive organizations, such as Sierra Club, Code Pink, Alliance for Progressive Values, MoveOn, and “Occupy,” have been pushing for a convention since 2009.

 

Do you trust THEM to fall in line and rein in the government?

 

It’s critically important you call your state representative and state senator and tell them to oppose ALL Article V Convention bills; then forward this email to your contacts in Oklahoma.

 

Some argue if a convention results in proposals to gut our Constitution, it would still take 3/4 of the state legislatures to ratify.

 

We can’t even get 1/4 of the states to stand against Common Core.

 

Politicians involved in the convention process will be working double time behind the scenes to ensure their pet amendments get ratified.

 

And there’s no predetermined time limit for the states to ratify amendments unless the U.S. Congress proposes one, so politicians could have an untold number of legislative sessions to work toward their goal.

 

Don’t fall for it. Those holding power will stop at nothing to get what they want.

 

These bills simply MUST be stopped; please take action right away!

 

For Freedom,

 

Theodore A. Patterson

Executive Director

Oklahoma Council for Freedom and Enterprise

 

P.S. Several bills calling for a dangerous Article V Convention could soon come up for debate in the Oklahoma Legislature. These bills put the Constitution at extreme risk.

 

It’s critically important you call your state representative and state senator and tell them to oppose ALL Article V Convention bills; then forward this email to your contacts in Oklahoma.

 

And after you call your state legislators, please help us mobilize a rapid defense against these bills by chipping in an emergency donation of $10 or $25 right away.

 

__________________

To Article V or not to Article V

John R. Houk

© February 19, 2016

________________

THE CASE FOR A CONVENTION OF STATES

 

National Leadership

 

Michael P. Farris

 

Citizens for Self-GovernanceSenior Fellow for Constitutional Studies, head of Convention of the States Project

 

Michael Farris is the Chancellor of Patrick Henry College and Chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association. He was the founding president of each organization. During his career as a constitutional appellate litigator, he has served as lead counsel in the United States Supreme Court, eight federal circuit courts, and the appellate courts of thirteen states.

 

Farris has been a leader on Capitol Hill for over thirty years and is widely respected for his leadership in the defense of homeschooling, religious freedom, and the preservation of American sovereignty. A prolific author, Farris has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Salvatori Prize for American Citizenship by the Heritage Foundation and as one of the “Top 100 Faces in Education for the 20th Century” by Education Week magazine.

 

Farris received his B.A. in Political Science from Western Washington University. He later went on to earn his J.D. from Gonzaga University School of Law, and his LL.M. in Public International Law, from the University of London.

 

Mike and his wife Vickie, have ten children and 17 grandchildren.

 

Mark Meckler

 

Citizens for Self-GovernancePresident

 

Mark is one of the nation’s most effective grassroots activists. After he co-founded and was the national coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots, he founded Citizens for Self-Governance to revolutionize American government. Founded in February 2012, this grassroots initiative expands and directs the ever-growing, bipartisan self-governance movement. Mark appears regularly on wide variety of television outlets, including MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He is the co-author of “Tea Party Patriots: The Second American Revolution,” and writes regularly on Breitbart, the American Spectator, and SelfGovern.com. He also is an attorney who specializes in internet privacy law.

 

Mark and his wife live in Northern California with their two teenage children where they share their love of the outdoors, mountain-biking, soccer and horses.

______________________

Stop the MADNESS in Oklahoma

 

Please note: Oklahoma Council for Freedom and Enterprise (OkCFE), paid for this communication and is solely responsible for its content. OkCFE is a project of the National Council for Freedom and Enterprise (NCFE), an IRS 501(c)4 non-profit organization. Donations are not tax deductible as charitable contributions or as business deductions.

 

101 Washington Street Falmouth, VA 22405 | (540)693-0737

www.NationalCouncilforFreedom.org

 

Not produced or e-mailed at taxpayer expense.

 

About NCFE

 

The National Council for Freedom and Enterprise is a 501c(4) dedicated to preserving the American way of life through defending the Constitution and free market system.

 

Americans are frustrated with an out-of-control federal government that treats the Constitution as a suggestion, and acts as though our liberties and freedoms are privileges granted by government that can be revoked at any time for any reason.

 

The American public understands that a government that governs least, governs best. And a government that is restrained and limited in scope allows for the free market system to flourish, creating liberty and prosperity for all.

 

We are tired of a government that taxes too much, spends even more and threatens our liberty at every turn.

 

Through educating every day Americans about the political process and the virtue of liberty and constitutional government, NCFE will affect real change.

 

Author: oneway2day

I am a Neoconservative Christian Right blogger. I also spend a significant amount of time of exposing theopolitical Islam.

1 thought on “To Article V or not to Article V”

  1. The people routinely elect AssWholes & LibTards to high office: witness Obamination’s two terms, Shrub’s two terms and the long history of the Senate. By what means then shall convention delegates be selected who will not be subversive of the first and second amendments?

    Mark Levin argues that the convention’s output must be ratified by the states. But, in the term of a convention, partisan control of the various state legislatures could shift in a disastrous direction. There is no firewall against tyranny.

    Like

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