Politics

The Convention of States Movement

fighting-terror-constitution convention states movementThe movement to organize a Convention of States is gathering much steam of late and has become quite a hotly-debated topic.  Why?

Both supporters and opponents of such a convention (CoS) want to take action to bring power back to the states and to the American people – where the Constitution states it belongs – rather than in Washington DC. Both groups believe our federal government has abused and stretched the powers enumerated to it by the U.S. Constitution. They assert that both elected and unelected Washington bureaucrats should not be allowed to make sweeping unfettered decisions which can have major impact on millions of citizens.

Article V of the U.S. Constitution gives states the power to call a Convention of States to propose amendments. It requires 34 states to call the convention and 38 states to ratify any proposed amendments. The objective is to discuss amendments that would limit the power and jurisdiction of the Federal government, impose fiscal restraint and pass term limits on Federal officials.

A CoS, however, is NOT the only way the U.S. Constitution might be altered. The alternative method, and likely the least risky, is that Congress might propose amendments, which could be passed with a two-thirds vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. This method has strong precedent. Of the 33 amendments approved by Congress and sent along to the states for ratification, only 27 were in fact ratified, and went on to become addenda to the U.S. Constitution.

Convention proponents claim they can limit a convention to just one subject (or a few pre-ordained subjects), but most legal scholars disagree. Because the Constitution is vague on how such a convention would actually work, many believe the gathering could leave Americans a wholesale rewrite of the Constitution – endangering fundamental rights like freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the right to trial by jury. The convention could even elect to abolish our original Constitution altogether.

What are the arguments put forth in favor of, and opposed to, calling a new Convention of States?

PRO

Those who support a Convention of States argue that numerous safeguards inherent in Article V would protect the gathering from deteriorating into a runaway convention. They view the strongest safeguard as the ratification process for Convention-proposed amendments – which is the same one that amendments proposed by Congress would go through. If ratification by 38 states would be required for a new amendment to pass – that means only 13 states voting ‘NO’ could block it.

Article V CoS supporters have petitions in all fifty state house districts across America – and are actively working to move their project forward. Here is what some supporters say:

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott: “The Founders of the United States of America inserted Article V into the Constitution because they knew the entrenched powers in Washington would thumb their noses at the states and try to hijack the system for themselves. That’s why we need a Convention of States, authorized in the Constitution, to propose amendments to fix America.”

President of the conservative Leadership Institute, Morton Blackwell: “Some constitutional changes must be made. Nothing less will remove the danger that a future, solidly leftist, Supreme Court would ‘interpret’ the Constitution to eliminate the separation of powers and checks and balances in government. The great American experiment with limited government would be over.”

When asked if he supported the idea of a CoS, U.S. Secretary of Housing & Urban Development, Hon. Ben Carson, MD, replied: “Very much so… our Founding Fathers knew there would probably come a time when you would need to make some adjustments to the Constitution.”

Florida Rep. Ron De Santis: “I’ve spent years fighting the DC Swamp, and as a candidate for Governor of Florida, I know the states need Article V to take the power away from DC. The permanent bureaucracy will never voluntarily give up an ounce of its power.”

Constitutional lawyer and CEO of Alliance Defending Freedom, Michael Farris: “Only a Convention of States will give us effective solutions to the abuse of power in Washington DC. It is our moral obligation to protect liberty for ourselves and our posterity.”

U.S. Army Major and FOX News contributor, Pete Hegseth: “The leviathan that is today’s federal government continues to grow unabated, pushing the people farther away from our Founder’s vision of self-governance. The Convention of States Project is the only constitutional pathway for citizens to save our Republic by restoring it to its citizens.”

Former Arkansas Governor, Rev. Mike Huckabee: “My longtime friend, Michael Farris — who is an excellent litigator and professor – has joined with Mark Meckler and Citizens for Self-Governance, to actually bring [a Convention of States] into reality. I have reviewed their plan, and it is both innovative and realistic. I urge you to join me in Supporting the Convention of States Project with Citizens for Self-Governance.”

Former Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal: “Luckily the Founders gave us a mechanism to reform a runaway federal government in Article V of the Constitution. We can – and we must – scale back the monstrosity our federal government has become.”

Attorney and broadcast patriot, Mark Levin: “I have whole-heartedly endorsed the Convention of States Project. I serve on its Legal Board of Reference because they propose a solution as big as the problem. They are promoting state applications for a convention for the purpose of limiting the scope, power and jurisdiction of the federal government – and that’s what needs to be done.”

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida: “I put my trust in the people, not Washington, in the critical effort to restore constitutional limited government. The Convention of States Project is a genuine grassroots movement to achieve that goal, and one I am proud to be a part of.”

Former Florida Congressman, Lt. Col. Allen West: “Thank goodness the Founders had the wisdom to provide us with Article V of the Constitution, which gives us the right and power to hold an Amending Convention, for the purpose of proposing amendments to restrain scope and power of the federal government. Under the system of federalism, I support the efforts to gather a Constitutional Convention of States – consistent with Article V and honoring the Tenth Amendment.”

Among other respected CoS supporters are: former Florida governor Jeb Bush, former Senator from Oklahoma Tom Coburn, historian David Barton, former Senator from South Carolina Jim DeMint, Sheriff David Clarke, Lt.Col. Bill Cowan (USMC Ret.), Attorney Andrew McCarthy, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, former Missouri Senator Jim Talent, Hon. Ken Cuccinelli, former Alaska Governor, Sarah Palin, Rep. Jeff Duncan and economist Thomas Sowell.

CON

Perceived dangers inherent in an Article V convention have generated vocal bipartisan opposition and fear of a runaway convention. In fact, historical precedent exists from the very beginning of our country for a CoS to exceed its stated boundaries.

Delegates to the original 1787 Philadelphia Convention exceeded their mandates to revise the then-governing Articles of Confederation. While this fortunately led to our present U.S. Constitution, it could have led anywhere.

The case against the CoS movement was bolstered by warnings from, among others, the late, ultra-conservative Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia, who declared: “Whoa! Who knows what would come out of it!”

How could a Convention of States go wrong? The Convention could propose bad amendments or a completely new, socialist or progressive U.S. Constitution, and then force its passage by introducing and utilizing a new ratification process, rather than the 38 states currently required.

As an alternative, Article VI could be invoked. In Article VI, America’s Founders provided the power to counter constitutional violations with law enforcement and punishment. Therefore, if an Article V CoS were convened and went awry, local, state and federal officials who swore an oath to the U.S. Constitution could exercise their duty to protect citizens’ rights by opposing and enforcing any flagrant Constitutional violations or unauthorized changes. The downside could, of course, result in a full-scale revolution with violence and bloodshed.

Under Article VI, many powers assumed today by the federal government, which are not specifically enumerated by the U.S. Constitution, could be changed. For example, taxes could be dramatically reduced and much of the corruption and abuses of power in Washington DC could be curbed.

Conservative political journalist Kelleigh Nelson wrote in March 2018: “Countless authorities have stated that a CoS cannot be controlled. Once opened, the entire [Constitutional] document can be taken down and changed. There are no statesmen today like our founders, and the risk of opening a convention for any reason would result in the destruction of the last threads binding us to a representative Republic.”

Constitutional attorney and activist, Publius Huldah, demands every U.S. citizen read the U.S. Constitution, understand its list of enumerated powers reserved for the federal government, and vote only for those who vow to stay true to their Constitutional oath — to govern according to our supreme document.

Another important caveat: It may seem counterintuitive, but many liberal and progressive Democrats strongly seek an Article V Convention as an opportunity to make their own changes.

Among the major changes they seek are to have publicly funded elections, abolition of the Electoral College, revamping of the Senate to more strongly represent urban populations, and repeal of the Second Amendment. They would also create term limits for Supreme Court Justices and create for all a basic right to free healthcare, education, housing and the vote, as well as a basic annual income for all (workers and non-workers alike).

The far-left policy group Common Causefunded by socialist billionaire George Soros – and its affiliates, declared war against a CoS movement, calling it the largest radical alliance in U.S. history. These groups are dedicated to Marxism, fascism, radical environmentalism and abortion-on-demand. A few affiliates include the AFL-CIO, the Center for American Progress, Democracy 21, Greenpeace USA, Mi Familia Vota, MoveOn.org, the NAACP, the National Council of La Raza, the Action Fund, Planned Parenthood, People of the American Way, the Sierra Club and the SEIU (Service Employees International Union). Add to this list former president Barack Hussein Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Attorney general, Eric Holder.

 

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Fixer48

The problem is that the constitution we now have isn’t being followed to the extent it should and as it is written. The solution is to elect people who will follow it and presidents who will appoint judges who will follow it. The left would love to make changes so that their socialist / communist agenda of being more like Europe, Russia , China and Central America can move forward.

Bill Moore

I somehow have the feeling, that in the present day situation, this could be very dangerous and could “backfire” from expected results. I hate to be wishy-washy but I would need to know the restraints that prevent drastic changes toward socialism, etc.

Rik

This is an extremely bad idea!!! … The Left is pushing for this Convention of States for one reason and one reason only, and that is to ABOLISH THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE!!! … And if that happens, the Left will NEVER LOSE ANOTHER PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION EVER AGAIN. … We the People must fight this from ever happening. Don’t believe the lies about all the good that can be accomplished, they have one goal in mind … TOTAL DOMINATION WITH A ONE PARTY RULE … THEM!!!

johnw1120

Has anyone considered that the very politicians who are pushing and supporting the “convention of states” AKA “con con” are the very people who are failing to follow the constitution that they have pledged to uphold. There is not a problem with the constitution, the problem is with those who refuse to follow it, why would we want the same people to rewrite it? Leave it alone and force the federal government and activist judges to follow it.

rabbit2

Stop trying to water down/dilute our Constitution. It has served our country well! Start playing around with it, making “adjustments” and we’ll continue to go further and further away from what our founding fathers planned for the success of this great nation. All it would do would be to divide the USA.

Linda

My first reaction was yes but the risk is that it becomes just another costly, out-of-control leviathan so my vote is no. Let’s fix Washington instead.

TomB

In my opinion, CoS dangers far outweigh it’s assumed benefits. I keep hearing the voices of those who say our Constitution is a “living document”, suggesting that it should change along with time (e.g., Justice R.B. Ginsburg) … for them a CoS would be just what the doctor ordered. Just try to imagine Republicans at a convention trying to argue their points against Democrats and their loyal media. We’re currently living in an era of unprofessional journalistic bias and “double standard” abuses to our laws, no need to waste ink addressing them again. We all know that our Constitution already provides for change through the Amendment process. Yes, its slow and grueling, but that’s intentional and allows for a cool-off period to contemplate that which is to be changed. It also allows participation by ALL … down to the forgotten voter. But, for today’s “flash” government, the amendment process is… Read more »

ConcernedConservative

Another danger of a COS is that in states in which the wrong elements run the state – such as my state – this could open the door to even more runaway control. The idea would be good if it could be controlled, but my fear is that it can’t be. As for states running their own affairs, once again, poor states are incapable, which is a factor in federal control getting out of hand. The only solution I can see is if each individual state would rise up in its state-specific way against the PC-ness, liberal & immoral behaviors, & the power-brokers who are every bit as bad. Maybe a convention to train the right elements in each state to do this might work, but then comes the question of keeping the power-brokers out of the process. Clearly there is no one-size-fits-all solution to this, but if we as… Read more »

M. Warren

The foundations of our government are sound the people that were supposed to carry it out are broken. Our present regime are being exposed and will be brought to justice. I have a gut feeling that to support COs would end up another civil war. We are practically there now.

However I am respectful of the many who are qualified to voice their thoughts and feelings such as B. Carson & .M. Huckabee, etc.

Charles Steen

When I first heard of the CoS I thought,, “What a great idea!” But as time has gone on I have come to agree with the general threads already expressed by the respondents so far. If our “elected” officials would indeed take seriously their pledges, re. supporting the Constitution it would be one thing. But since it is for so many a mere formality with no sense of honor, I am also now afraid it would end in destroying the Constitution in fearful ways.

Roger Hackenberry

If this does happen, can we please get term limits for all congressmen.

Fingersflying

“A CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION IS A HORRIBLE IDEA. THIS IS NOT A GOOD CENTURY TO WRITE A CONSTITUTION.” ~ SUPREME COURT JUSTICE SCALIA
BTW do you get to choose who will be attending this CoS? Then who chooses for you? BTW again, there are no “rules” for a CoS so they will make them up as they go along. Is that Okay with you? Will you have a say in it? Then who will?

Alex

The true solution is to enforce the Constitution’s existing restrictions on the federal government. Most of the Leviathan’s overreach has been enabled by ignoring the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. Instead fake constitutionalist Mark Levin pushes his CoS. Levin is a semi-reformed Never Trump radio talker who forbade discussion of Obama’s ineligibility to be POTUS and who claimed that Canadian-born, Canadian citizen Ted Cruz (whose father was never a US citizen) and anchor babies Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindal are constitutionally eligible. Until 2008 the whole political establishment recognized that by “natural-born” US citizen the Framers meant born in the US to a father who is already a US citizen. If these fake constitutionalists had succeeded in preventing Donald Trump from being our nominee, today Hillary Clinton would be ruling over us. So when Levin, Rubio, Jindal and Jeb! are cited as endorsing the CoS, that should raise a red flag;… Read more »

Diana Garmon

It seems to me that you are taking power from one corrupt organization and giving it to another.

gene freshour

the provision is there for our use, let us use it with discretion and Gods direction, He is in control any way!

Maria Rose

I stand in the middle about this because I strongly believe that most of the officials who would be at this “convention “ would not be representing everyone but only the popular opinion which may not be the best solution. They already have the power to achieve change through the legislation of amendments or do they (our elected officials) need to be “feel”in control. One thing I am sure would occur from having a convention like this is an uncontrolled civil revolting response similar to what is depicted in the Purge movies. Something the ultra- left is encouraging to quote Maxine who now “fears”for her life after making that request for people to attack those who don’t agree with the ultra liberal view. The ones encouraging violence will be safe behind their walled enclosures, while us little guys get to deal with all the idiots roam around rioting. Do you… Read more »

Albert and Sarah Brunn

After reading the pro’s my husband and I were enthusiastic .Sounds good!
Then we read ALL the CON’S. We changed our minds really fast. We now are both totally against such a convention because of what it could lead to……and
who might be involved in it. Too many lefties for us!! The last paragraph is really what caused us to say “NEVER”. We can’t take a chance on turning our great country over completely to the left. Thanks for laying it all out for us to read and understand.

Steve

I’m for the CoS mainly due to the left-wingers who oppose it.

rattler

Problem with a convention of states is that as soon as one is called, nothing in the Constitution can be assured for survival, including the 2nd Amendment. There are too many democrat and Rino controlled states (it takes 75% of the States to ratify) to assure that oDumbo’s complaint that there are not enough provisions in the Constitution stating what the government can do. The Present Constitution is just fine, all we need are judges who do not legislate and a Congress willing to impeach the offending judges. While I realize impeaching judges will never occur, there is no doubt that there would be provisions identifying government rights added and there would be a loss of individual rights. I think a Convention of States is a bad idea.

Dale Stremcha

The cons listed herein are nothing more than scare tactics to discourage the COS and put forth by ignorant people. Art 5 gives no one authority to completely tear down the current Constitution – only to “propose” amendments – same as Congress !! You also cannot enforce any new proposal to change the adoption mechanism until it is first approved under clauses previously approved. Not likely to survive muster to get approved by 3/4 of states.