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I had not intended to write on this question, partly because the issue seemed dead in Virginia and partly because I was told this might actually encourage others to embrace the Convention of States idea.

But I must say a few words.  I was led by an email I got from Del. Lingamfelter.  Now my respect and admiration for the Prince William delegate is great.  But his email is in error.  The Convention of States is a disastrous idea.  It could break up the United States.  Here’s how:

Suppose the Convention of States runs away from its call and seeks a new Constitution.  It is not a chimerical fear:  It happened before.  In 1787.  Thank the Lord of Hosts that the Founding Fathers were able to craft a beautiful document of liberty (yes it condoned slavery that is why my other hero – Garrison – the one that Maryland needs to pardon – burned a copy of the Original Constitution in Boston in the 1850s BUT that Original Constitution also had the seeds in it to abolish slavery, too through amendment.) that reflected in large part a libertarian document with separation of powers, federalism and limited government.

It is the politicians that refuse to follow the Constitution we have.  Why should they obey a new one?

But here is the rub:  the 1787 Convention did exceed its brief to strength the power of Congress to regulate interstate commerce and maybe have taxing power.  They wrote a whole new document!  And they said it becomes effective when nine states adopt it.

The Articles of Confederation required all thirteen states to make amendments to it:

Article XIII. Every State shall abide by the determinations of the united states, in congress assembled, on all questions which by this confederation are submitted to them. And the Articles of this confederation shall be inviolably observed by every state, and the union shall be perpetual; 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 con-firmed by the legislatures of every state.  (Emphasis added)

Now the Constitutional Convention NEVER obeyed the first part:  They did not ask the Articles congress (they spelled it throughout without a capital “c”) to approve their new handiwork and they said (in Article VII) that only NINE states were necessary to bring the Constitution into being (in those states that ratified it) not THIRTEEN:

The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.  (emphasis added)

So, the Constitution from the viewpoint of the Articles, NEVER came into being.  (Of course when Rhode Island joined the Union in 1791, it terminated by operation of law the Articles.)

So let’s go to 2016 and we have a new constitutional convention of states.  They would be elected by state legislatures or by direct elections.  Millions of dollars of money would be spent to procure delegates from the states.  Is there any doubt what sort of delegates would be elected in Massachusetts or NY or California?

That body could say:  When the constitution (I am spelling this hypothetical constitution with a small “c”) is ratified by ten states, it is binding on those states.  Or they could say, more likely, the ratification of the constitution binds those states that ratify it.  They could authorize conventions to ratify it or they could allow popular vote.

Suppose not all the states ratify the new constitution?  If liberals and globalists dominate the convention (think on this:  The GOP wants to pass trade power to the President to give multi-national corporations rights above US law – in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  And many Democrats agree with world government to a greater extent than it is now.  We could be sold out again – and this is the Constitution we are talking about!) they could easily enact a constitution that restricts gun rights, legitimatizes abortion, places the US under the authority of the International Criminal Court and other similar groups, give the President more powers over say immigration, bans or restricts homeschooling under “children’s rights” provisions, formally bans secession, limits free speech – the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has that odious provision in it at Article 29:

(3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

And this is the 1948 UN!  The new constitution could even ban global warming “denial” and even authorize its criminalization, and enshrine political correctness into the new constitution.  That’s just a little part of it.

Suppose some states say no?  Then what?  It is either secession or civil war or both.  After all the Lincoln precedent will be used to cow some states into joining up.  Maybe the states that are left are too small or not joined together to survive on their own.  The Constitutional Republic started in 1787 will be permanently dead.

I respect those conservatives who are tired of DC run amuck.  I am not the legal scholar that Michael Farris is (although I have ten scholarly legal articles to my credit!) and I understand the frustration.  But a Convention of States is not the answer.  The answer is first prayer to the Lord to ask Him to help this nation out of the mess it is in (if He is willing to save Sodom for TEN righteous, how can He not hear our prayers of a lot more than ten righteous in Christ here in our nation!) and then work for constitutional government – at the local, state and federal level.  It might not win out; few nations are able to turn back the clock to more liberty easily and without conflict.  But this is the best way.  All the delegates and senators need to say NO to the Convention of States.



About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

8 Responses to “A CONVENTION of STATES could lead to SECESSION”

  1. ele says:

    I am trying to post one link and keep getting refused as having too many. ???????

  2. Ann

    The conclusions in this article are ridiculous. There is no way to have a “runaway convention”. It would take 2/3’s of the state’s to ratify an amendment and then we the people vote. The goal is place control of DC in the hands of We the People, to limit terms for Congress and SCOTUS, to balance the budget, to remove the power given to departments like the EPA, DHS, FEMA, FCC, SEC, HHS, etc. What is this guy afraid of, I need to research him to determine why he is such an establishment fan.

  3. Carol W. says:

    ” It would take 2/3’s of the state’s to ratify an amendment and then we the people vote.”

    But ‘we the people’ voted for Barack Obama-twice. Throughout history, groups of people imagined ideal outcomes to slippery situations, usually with dire results.

    In the late 1880s certain Indian tribes of the American West were desperate to escape the iron hand of the Federal reservation system. A mystical Arapaho holy man had a vision that if his people lived right, shunned alcohol and other White ways, their lands would be returned to them. They made Ghost Dance shirts for a ceremony to bring about this transformation. The Ghost Dance shirts would protect them against the White man’s bullets. Their illusion ended at the Battle of Wounded Knee, near Pine Ridge in South Dakota. December 29, 1890, 150 Indians were killed, 50 injured including women and children. It’s reputed to be the last battle of the Indian Wars.

    At present we live in country that is ignoring its legal foundation. We could too easily lose our Bill of Rights, separation of powers, even our U.S.-based legal system at a Constitutional Convention. Cold comfort to know we risked all but ended up fighting the second Battle of Wounded Knee. Be careful what you wish for.


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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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