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Categorized | Opinion, Tea Party

Article V Splits Conservative Grassroots

Over the last month, we’ve seen Mark Levin and the Constitutionalist Movement slam full steam ahead into an inconspicuous iceberg called the John Birch Society. Almost instantaneously, conservatives and constitutionalists picked sides, armed themselves with their talking points, and BOOM, you get what we had here last week. They say that when passions rise, logic dies. (If they don’t say that, they should. I do.) So let’s take a step or two backward and rekindle the broader debate with the knowledge that we are not each other’s enemies. OK?

We can all agree, I suspect, that Congress, the White House, and the Supreme Court are far beyond the reach of the American Citizen, that Federalism is dead, and that our government is stubbornly stumbling toward economic, moral, and intellectual bankruptcy in its’ pursuit of myriad, often contradictory, utopias. We can also agree, I hope, that time is running out, and that an irrational government doesn’t have an eternity to avoid the consequences of its actions. Cause and effect still thrives as the fundamental law in this universe, so I cannot imagine that any of us are feeling as though time is on our side (despite what the Rolling Stones might tell you).

So here comes the Article V crowd, myself included, with a plan to reconstitute Federalism in our nation, through a Convention of the States. The plan (which I am still astonished is controversial, but I will accept the fact that it has become so) is to begin passing amendments to the Constitution, placing new checks and balances on our Federal Government, on each of the three branches of our government, including the bureaucracy, to fill the void left in the wake of a Congress that has essentially (if not literally) given each of its checks and balances powers over to President Obama and the Executive Branch.

If you would like to look at the foundational and procedural Article V information that your legislators are no doubt reading today, here is the handbook, published by the American Legislative Exchange Council. This is not an all encompassing summation of the Article V movement, but it is concise. You can also read Mark Levin’s Liberty Amendments, for a general idea of what most people are considering in our pursuit of a convention.

Before I get into the alternatives to Article V (because I do not want to give anyone the impression that we are giving up already) I would like to address and hopefully assuage some of the fears I’ve heard articulated over the last three days.

Follow The Money. Now, it is never foolish to follow the money, nor to be concerned when big time money infiltrates any process or event. That said, there is no process, no movement, no national strategy that is, or will ever be free of large amounts of money. Why? Because Wall Street and K Street and Warren Buffet and George Soros (I’ll get to him again later) have a great deal of their own capital invested in our current system of government. They will never stop trying to influence elections and politics in general. As individual citizens, there is no option open to us that does not require us to come face to face with their money and their corruption. So, we can’t just scream, “Follow The Money!”, and leave it at that; or else we’ll be screaming that little mantra all the way back to the dark ages of tyranny.

The Supreme Court Decides The Outcome. This is flat out bunk. Yes, if the States are sued by the Federal Government over amendments ratified and sent to the Capital, the Supreme Court would eventually have to rule on the Constitutionality of the process employed. So what does Article V actually say?

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.

So long as neither the amendments nor the process contradict this Article, there is really nothing the Supreme Court can do within its authority. Is it possible that our Supreme Court would act outside of its authority? Yes, we’ve seen this over and over again. However, if the Supreme Court struck down Amendments sent to the Congress by the States, the only tragedy would be that we wasted a great deal of our time and our faith in the future of a sane, rational republic will for once and all be destroyed. Those people saying the Supreme Court could somehow hijack the process and issue amendments on their own are flat out wrong, if not hysterical.

Article V is a threat to the Second Amendment. To believe this claim, you would have to believe that two thirds of all State Legislatures would ratify an amendment reversing the Second Amendment. If this could happen, it would have already happened; and if anyone is going to make this argument, I would like them to list the 37 States most likely to sign away our gun rights. Please explain which leaders in those State Congresses are currently supporting such a proposal, and list the support data from their constituents which make you think this is likely, or even remotely possible.

George Soros. How should I retort? Yes, he exists, he’s out there, he’s dangerous, and he’s not involved in the movement toward an Article V Convention of the States. Will he throw money at the process and try to disrupt it? Yes. Will Wall Street? Yes. Will K Street? Yes. So what? Whatever alternatives you can think of, that you believe are safer than Article V, will also be opposed by Soros, Wall Street, K Street, the Romney’s, the Bush’s, the Clinton’s, and the Gate’s. This is a reality, but it isn’t an objection, unless you object to the American People trying to do anything to stop our current course.

If not Article V, however, then what? There are two rational alternatives that have come across my email. The first comes from Catherine Crabill: which is to pursue legislation in all fifty states, and eventually in Congress, that would hold our elected representatives and bureaucrats criminally liable for any and all acts contrary or detrimental to the United States Constitution. There are two obstacle here: the first is that we require these very elected officials to pass such legislation. This obstacle doesn’t bother me too much, because we can make it a campaign issue and simply vote out anyone who opposes it, if we get enough constituent support. The second obstacle will come from the lawyers: who seem certain that such legislation is impossible and not entirely legal. I’m not a lawyer, so I don’t know the veracity of this, but I know it will be a legitimate obstacle.That said, why can’t we hold our elected officials criminally liable for their crimes? That seems utterly absurd to me.

The second alternative reminds me of a Q&A I had before Bob Shannon and the King William TEA Party. I was making the argument that the Democrats have been at this for over 100 years and that any real, lasting success would require us to invest the same amount of time, but I assured them that progress was possible. Bob asked me just how confident I was that it was possible, considering that the vast majority of these “masterminds” are unelected employees within the Federal Bureaucracy. How do we dig them out? I don’t remember my answer to that, but it was probably something brilliant like, “Gee, Bob, I don’t know. It’s going to be hard”. I’m full of great ideas like that.

The second alternative is that we take over the Republican Party from the bottom up, forming a legitimate conservative and constitutional party. There is a rational virtue in this alternative, because there are no silver bullets in politics and if any of us think we’re going to see real change without having to do real, hard work, then we’re woefully naive (if not outright lazy).  I think this is what advocates for this alternative see in the Article V movement. They see something that looks too good to be true, too easy, too quick – and if we can do it, then they can do it. I think they think we’re being lazy and naive. What they are ignoring is that we are using the very process laid out in the Constitution itself to address the current Constitutional Crisis, and that, short of a hundred years of clawing our way back to sanity, there are no other legal alternatives available.

Also, I don’t think we have 100 years. What the Republicans and Democrats in Congress, and what Obama has done in the White House, and what the bureaucracy has done in the sewers of our Republic, have expedited the damage exponentially, either up to the tipping point, or beyond it. We don’t have a hundred years. So, in the short run, to advocates of this alternative (remember, I’ve argued the same!), what do you want us to do? We’re all willing to go out there and work, lobby, knock on doors, discover quality candidates, give our money to them, and show up on election day. That just isn’t going to be enough – our Welfare State will collapse in twenty years or less, and our Housing Market is, once again, on the verge of catastrophe. So before you dismiss Article V, please consider offering us an alternative which can counter what has happened over the last 14 years. We need a response to the last 14 years that we can accomplish over the next 14 years.

There, that is the best I can do, to reset and re-stimulate the debate, without all the passionate fog that has lit fires under our rear ends over the last two weeks. I hope it helps.

About Steven Brodie Tucker

Graduated with a degree in Philosophy from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Also studied economics and political science at George Mason.

52 Responses to “Article V Splits Conservative Grassroots”

  1. David Farrar
    Twitter:
    says:

    AS far as I can see, the Article V provision, essentially replaces Congress and its authority to propose amendments, on any subject, to the US Const. Further: Congress is bound by an Oath or Affirmation to support the US Constitution. Every delegate to an Article V convention would be required to also take the same oath of office.

    • Paula says:

      Why does the current congress need “replacing”? ANSWER: They haven’t honored their oath to uphold the Constitution.

      QUESTION: What makes you think the delegates to the article V Convention would honor their oath?

      POINT: The Constitution is NOT broken, the politicians are broken. Maybe we should work on fixing the politicians instead of an unbroken Constitution?

      • Rivahmitch says:

        Exactly!

        • Gary Porter
          Twitter:
          says:

          Paula,

          It is frustrating to see those opposed to a convention view this as an “either or” situation. It certainly is not. A convention is but one tool in the arsenal, and shoud be used to only treat certain symptoms. Absolutely “better” representatives (how ever you define that) should be found and elected. Absolutley the people need to understand their organic law better. Absolutely the people need to more aggressively hold their representatives accountale. Absolutley unconstitutional federal laws should be nullified wholesale by the states. There are many problems and many tools that can be brought to bear. But each tool has its limits. You can’t cut much wood with a hammer. And you will never repeal the 17th and restore true federalism without a convention. Never.

      • davidfarrar
        Twitter:
        says:

        To be clear, I said replacing Congress’s ‘amendment authority, in order to address Congresses and the Executive branch’s unconstitutional concentration of power over that of the individual states.

      • Gary Porter
        Twitter:
        says:

        Paula,
        I’m not disputing your contention that “They haven’t honored their oath to uphold the Constitution,” but I wonder if you would provide me with an example of how you feel they have not upheld their oath?

        Gary

    • Gary Porter
      Twitter:
      says:

      Dave,
      You need to look further, because a Convention of the States does not replace Congress, if supplements Congress. Can we agree that Congress is at least part of the problem? Well that is precisely the situation that George Mason addressed, quite specifically, in the 1787 Convention, and why we now have that second mechanism in Article V. Would you say that EVERY representative in Congress violates their oath? Obviously not. As much care must be taken in selecting delegates to a Convention as we do in selecting anyone for elective office. We are sometimes disappointed, but we continue to elect people don’t we? As Steven’s article concludes: What’s your plan for restoring true federalism and states powers? Who will lead this plan? What resources are devoted to it? What are the timeline and measures of success? All these questions are answerable by the COS Project leadership. I’ve yet to encounter any cogent answer to these questions from those opposed to a COS.

    • Richard Ellis says:

      The Sovereign Citizens movement already had a Constitutional Convention, delegates were elected from every state. I know because I had to get a notary to do so back in 2010. All the states were sent demanding them to follow their oaths to the Constitution or step down. It was Ignored but they did take notice and the Southern Perverted Law Center pushed on with their program to train federal and state agencies that returning veterans and constitutionalists were considered potential terrorists. I don’t think that one can be sovereign and a citizen in the same title. (Oxymoron)???? The deception kicked in with the Reconstruction Act (1871) The British Banking Cartel in London won the war between the states.

  2. Gary Porter
    Twitter:
    says:

    Paula,You\’re thinking of the wrong Constitution. The Constitution in force today can be found at http://www.congress.gov/constitution-annotated. It is 3000+ pages of Supreme Court interpretation of the Constitution that gives Congress the legal right to do most anything they want. The Founder\’s Constitution is dead and was buried long ago under these thousands of decisions. You and I will never convince Congress to not do what they are legally entitled by the Court to do. Only by replacing the ambiguous language that Patrick Henry and other AntiFederalist warned us about with lauguage that clearly conveys the Framers intent will we be able to roll back some of these SCOTUS decisions. You will never repeal the 17th Amendment outside a COS. You will never install term limits on federal judges outside a COS. While there are certain corrective actions that can be accomplished without an COS, there are also certain things that can ONLY be accomplished in a COS.

    • Rivahmitch says:

      Had I my druthers, we’d eliminate the 14th (as it has fulfilled it’s intended purpose and is now used primarily for mischief), 16th and 17th Amendments and, IMHO, those changes would go a long way toward restoring the intended Constitutional balance. That said, however, I’d like to suggest three reasons why, in my opinion, an Article V convention should not be considered favorably: 

      1. As with many of our laws, the current “problems” with the Constitution result not from any major flaws in that document (though the 17th Amendment, which removed from states their rightful representation and ability to protect the interests of their citizens in the Federal legislative process, could certainly be considered one) but from the refusal of those in Washington to adhere to it’s requirements and support and defend it’s principles. 

      Jefferson warned “”Our peculiar security is in possession of a WRITTEN Constitution…let us NOT make it a BLANK PAPER by construction!” This is, in fact what has happened. There is no reason to believe that the continued pursuit of increased power by the lawyers, courts, bureaucrats and politicians empowered by and involved in the federal establishment would be curtailed by new restrictions which might be attempted when they refuse to adhere to those in the current document. Further, the current document is understandable to and supportable by the proverbial “common man” It is unlikely that any new monstrosity created by shysters, politicians and special interests would be.

      2. At a time when distrust of government at all levels is at it’s greatest point since the 1860s, assembling groups of lawyers politicians and government officials, already distrusted by most people and always seeking more power, to establish the rules under which they will meet to change the fundamental laws under which they operate to control our lives is hardly conducive to reducing that distrust.  

      3. Finally, while the state may “specify the duties of delegates to such a convention” it is questionable whether it may limit the delegates once the convention is assembled. Given the precedent of the first Constitutional Convention, which was intended to “fix the problems” with the Articles of Confederation, certainly exceeded what was expected of it. We should take note that it lost the support of such freedom lovers and patriots as Patrick Henry in doing so. One might also mention that many of the unanticipated negative possibilities that Patrick Henry identified as possible results of the new Constitution are even now transpiring and are driving the current call for “an Article V Convention”. Unintended consequences are, indeed, unintended and largely unanticipated.

      For the above reasons I reject the current push for an “Article V Convention”. While I’m sympathetic to, in fact enthusiastic about, many of the professed purposes of those advocating this path, I remain concerned about the potential result and those unintended consequences. Personally, I swore an oath a long time ago and remain willing to kill and die to defend the Constitution we have. As a student of history, I consider it to be the most perfect tapestry for government ever sewn. Should the proposed Convention take place, the integrity of that tapestry is endangered and the oath becomes null and void and many of us who have sworn that oath will need to consider carefully before affirming any new loyalties.

      • Steven Brodie Tucker
        Twitter:
        says:

        Constitutional Amendments are still one of the few things respected by the courts. I believe that we’re being cautious and careful as we move forward. I understand people’s fears and concerns but, frankly, there is no alternative.

        • MM says:

          Well yes, there is an alternative and it is, IMO, realistically the only viable one.

          I think it’s wonderful that you believe our OverLords will simply give up the immense power they’ve amassed over the past 100+ years when a COS passes amendments such as proposed by Levin in his book. All 3 branches of our government are broken beyond fixing with more laws-they simply will either ignore them or instruct their minions on various courts to find some way to have them overturned.

          Back to the one realistic method we have to take back this country-it’s going to be bloody, very bloody and many 1,000s will die. You’re kidding your selves otherwise.

          • Steven Tucker
            Twitter:
            says:

            I’m praying it doesn’t come to that.

          • Rivahmitch says:

            You’re right… except that the casualties will be millions rather than thousands. However, as the cliche says “It’s better to die on your feet than to live on your knees” especially when the latter leaves your posterity witheither serfdom or dhimmitude as options.

      • Gary Porter
        Twitter:
        says:

        Rivahmitch,

        We really need to get beyond the “talking point” that the 1787 Convention exceeded it authority in proposing an entirely new Constitution. First, please examine the instructions which set the boundaries of what the delegates to the convention were authorized to do. All these instructions are readily available. In all but one case (New York) they provided the delegates broad power to “render the Foederal Constitution…adequate to the exigencies of the Union” (or similar language). To their credit, the New York delegation left the convention when they decided that to remain would cause them to exceed their more narrow instructions.
        Second, The Confederation Congress was given very precise and sparse powerss, “specifically enumerated” in th Articles. These sparse powers of course led to the unraveling of the Confederation. But no where do I find in the Articles Congress being provided authority to limit the scope of a convention of the states. The states clearly “called” that convention, Congress did not get around to endorsing it until 7 states had already appointed delegates. I believe Congress recognized thier limitation by choosing the word “recommend” in their resolution that the states support the convention.
        So, while I graqnt you it is always possible that a future delegate may exceed his authority in a new Convention of the States, I believe there can be safeguards enplaced to prevent that or respond appropriately to it should it occur. But please don’t point to 1787 as some sort of “runaway convention.”

      • Gary Porter
        Twitter:
        says:

        Were the Constitution the “perfect” document you claim it to be, how in the world do you explain the broad powers that have been granted under the Commerce Clause? There is only one explanation: the ambiguous language used by the Framers has allowed the Congress to probe, little by little, with the Court’s sanction of course, until there are no longer any practical limits to what can be regulated under that clause. This was certainly not the intent of the Framers, but is now the reality of the Clause. And stare decisis ensures it will remain that way until Matha Boneta’s proverbial cows come home. Unless the Court takes the initiative to dismantle, piece by piece, that enormous tapestry they created, the only other way to restore the Framers intent is to modify the wording in such a way as to remove all doubt as to its limits.

        • Rivahmitch says:

          Recall this from my earlier post:

          Jefferson warned ”Our peculiar security is in possession of a WRITTEN Constitution…let us NOT make it a BLANK PAPER by construction!” This is, in fact what has happened.

          • Gary Porter
            Twitter:
            says:

            If you concede it has been rendered “blank,” it seems to me that the proper remedy is to roll back those artifices which served to “erase” it, namely, the Supreme Court decisions. Tthe Court is not going to undertake that task themselves, so the people, the owners of the document, must do so by redering the language “unerasable.”

      • David Dietrich says:

        Rivamitch,

        I agree with you that there has never been a more brilliant government document written. However, I question two of your statements. First, if the “tapestry” is so perfect, how do you account for the 27 amendments to date? And second, is your oath to the original Constitution, the amended Constitution, or the annotated Constitution?

        • Rivahmitch says:

          My oath is to the Constitution as amended. It’s certainly not to the annotations made by those with their own agendas. The normal amendment process seems to work (as much as I may disagree with some of the Amendments. A convention, which offers the potential of scrapping the entire document (contributing even further to our current societal confusion), however, is a danger (as even Madison recognized.

          • Gary Porter
            Twitter:
            says:

            At what point do these words become operative?: “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

            If you think you can stop the federal juggernaut by electing a handful of conservatives, by holding a few Constitution courses when the public schools are pumping out little socialsts at the rate of 3 million a year, by declaring a couple of federal laws null and void, by refusing to take federal funds, you are wishing upon a star. At some point some people will take out Mr. Jefferson’s document and take matters into their own hands, at great cost and perhaps even bloodshed.

            If we cannot soon show we are capable of making reasonable and long overdue amendments of the document, through a perfectly constitutional mechanism provided for precisely the situation we face today, less reasonable minds will do what they think they must.

          • Rivahmitch says:

            I’d submit, Gary, that they are currently operative and that the solution now is probably going to be the same as the solution when those words were written. God help us!

  3. Rivahmitch says:

    Such “unerasable language” like the “tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time like the tree of liberty” and with the same fertilizer.. Expecting the same shysters who have caused the problem to establish a remedy is naive in the extreme.

    • Gary Porter
      Twitter:
      says:

      Why do you insist that “the same shysters who have caused the problem” will be involved in a COS? What proof do you have that any sitting Congressman will be appointed a delegate? As to those “same shysters,” two points: most are long dead, and of the ones still in office, I assume you voted for one or more in the last election. Does that not make you complicit in their “shystery?”

  4. LIBERTY!
    Twitter:
    says:

    I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have an easy answer to the massive problems our corrupt government has created but I am VERY concerned about trying to “fix” to much government with MORE government…..AND you should be too!

  5. jay says:

    If you reject Article 5 than you reject the Founders. It is that simple. They put it in their for us to use as a last resort. We will never retake the Republican party because the system has been gamed. Congress as a whole is in the single digit approval ratings. Nobody deserves reelection, nobody. Yet they overcome this with gobs of money. They go to DC and get richer. Figure how that happens and you’ll understand their power to influence election outcomes. Article 5 can reverse course. Term limits can work in the favor of the voters. Special interests don’t get a lock on a candidate for life. Balanced budget amendment can force DC to cut waste and spending instead of being fiscal pedophiles, wasting our children and grandkids future.

    Sound the alarm because it may already be too late. How many years does it take to count to a Trillion? Replace Twenty Trillion will might take 100 years if we don’t collapse. Unfunded liabilities? It’s not worth discussing, it is in fact too late.

    Stop the Democrats whores and the Republican whores. It is do or die.

    • Gary Porter
      Twitter:
      says:

      Yes, if Congress is populated with nothing but crooks, how do you explain a 90% reelection rate and how do you intend to put a stop to that in order to elect “better representatives?”

    • Rivahmitch says:

      Sorry, Jay, but if you think the current crop of politicians, shysters, lobbyists and special interests pushing this convention are more trustworthy than the founders, I find you incredible naive. In case you fail to recall, the original “red millenium” meeting at Mount Vernon was restricted to those very players who are largely the problem. You’re right that it’s too late and the collapse is coming. You need to understand that allowing a group of insiders largely hostile to the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th (and any other restrictions on the federal bohemoth) Amendments is a group that wants totalitarian control to deal with the citizens when the crunch comes. We’ve a Virginia delegate who admits he wants to “whack” at the constitution and a Kenyan muslim/marxist in the White House who wants to create “positive rights” which further empower the government to control the people in order to “provide those rights. It’s near crunch time, Jay, and that’s NOT the time to surrender the legal underpinnings of our unalienable rights which are contained in that “18th century document created for an agrarian society by dead white men”. I trust them far more than anyone I see on the current scene. Semper Fi!

    • Brian Evans says:

      Jay,
      We oppose the convention, not proposed amendments. How does term limits stop Obamacare? The presidency is a term limit position.

      All term limits do is make us have to work to get elected officials in office, then have to do it over again. Meanwhile, the special interest (NGOs) will be waiting to indoctrinate the new elected official. The electorate will be working for elections and not policy.

    • David Dietrich says:

      Jay,

      Well said about the Founders. You either accept and support the entire Constitution, hence making you a Conservative, or you don’t. In the latter case, you are by definition a progressive.

  6. cathy says:

    Bad amendments might not be stopped by three-fourths of the state legislatures because Article V (read it) allows Congress to choose how amendments will be ratified, and they could pick “conventions” in the states, and not state legislatures, as they did with the 21st amendment. Congress could rig the conventions (political conventions are often rigged) to get what they want. George Soros is involved. He funds Young Turks and Wolf PAC which have already passed state applications for an Article V Convention in California, Illinois and Vermont. Google “Young Turks, Article V, Illinois” for a good education on what we would be up against at a bi-partisan convention. And the Assembly of State Legislatures, the group of state legislators planning the Article V Convention tabled a motion to restrict the scope of the convention and rejected a motion to prevent Congressman, Senators, Governors and Judges from serving as delegates to the Convention. This will be an elitists convention intent on usurping our inalienable rights.

    • Gary Porter
      Twitter:
      says:

      Excuse me, but I have to call a halt to the Soros name-dropping. George Soros is not involved with the COS Project nor with any idea of a convention with a limited goal of rolling back government power. But it is indeed an effective strategy with people who tremble at the sound of names.

      As to the “dead fish” anology, a charming bit of poetry, but not one lick of cogent argument.

      • Brian Evans says:

        The COS Project will not be the only one’s at the convention. Are you saying convention delegates will not be able to address their First Amendment Rights?

        Is it not a concern that should be addressed? Like the “COS Project” which touts state legislature control when it’s not the case.

        It’s a federal convention, why would George Soros not be an influence (or concern) at the Convention?

        • David Dietrich says:

          Brian,

          Let’s advance your theory about what might happen at a Convention of States. So COS Project won’t be the only group participating. So what? Why do you bring up the First Amendment? What does that have to do with anything, when you contend that George Soros will control everything anyway? Does George Soros even support free speech? And as for your assertion (aka opinion) that state control will not be the case, once again, so what? Let’s say Congress controls it. How will 38 states agree with the amendments they will propose to increase Congress’ power? Finally, as for it being a “federal convention, that is once again your incorrect opinion, rather than fact. The act of “calling” does not mean ownership.

          • Brian Evans says:

            Unlike our blog post exchange, the stakes of a federal convention are extremely high. Most likely statist would populate the convention while using it as a platform to push their own amendments/agenda.

            The protection of 38 states seems to be blunted with the argument that repealing the 17th Amendment cannot be done without a convention. Seems like an easy way to push through amendments that would not normally get through.

            What type of convention would it be? It would be a federal convention before it is a convention of states?

  7. cary nunnally says:

    What most tea party people, regardless of side they choose (in the divisive issue of the constitutional convention that is called by any name but) fail to recognize is that the last time this push happened in VA, democrats passed an application for an Article V convention. Could there be an agenda behind the ever-returning Article V trend?

    Every 15-20 years, this dead fish is pulled out of the freezer, repackaged and remarketed as a miracle cure. People at first love it, sign on to help sell it, and poo-poo those who “nay say” it, those naysayers having seen this happen many times before. In VA it happened in my political lifetime in 1975 and 1995. In the General Assembly in 2004, HJR 194 rescinded all prior applications for a constitutional convention under any of its rebrandings. By then, the dead fish had begn to smell so badly that almost everyone who participated in their state government was holding their nose. Once exposed to sunlight or fresh air, the dead fish begins to stink. It has begin to stink again now in 2015, and those who can’t smell it are simply holding their noses to try to accept it, hoping it is indeed that miracle cure it is sold as being. Once the smell is so foul that even they can no longer stand it, they stop trying to peddle it to others. The smell is fol, the time is now, the action is to reject it and all offers that coe with it, since dead fish peddlers, especially those who voumterd to peddle it, can now smell it and realize which side they will be on should a constitutional convention ever come to pass. It is time for this dead fish to go back in the freezer; Phyliis Schlafly did not die as they hoped she would have this time, new voters did not even know of this, old voters like me did not buy the dead fish, and like me, those who understand even partially the US Constitution will again happily SEE IT GO BACK TO THE FREEZER to be rid of its foul odor. But it WILL come back again with the next peddlers’ claims. With good people recognizing future rebrandings and recognizing that they fell for the marketing in 2010-2015, next time it comes back, AND IT WILL, we won’t have to wait for it to smell to reveal its true nature. We will simply say, “Keep walking”, as I should have said to one of the foremost peddlers who told me to “keep talking” after his highly funded dead fish promotion temporarily sold to our legislature.

    • David Dietrich says:

      Cary,

      You must really hate fish! I’ve never seen so much effort to make something stink! As for Democrats initiating the Convention of States process, good for them! Since you appear to be on their side this time around, what is your “stinky” solution to our Federal Government problem? Do you even see a problem? Do you agree there is a Constitution? Do you recognize the entire Constitution? What do you think it means to be a Conservative? Please shed some sunlight on your progressive solution, if you cannot accept the conservative one.

  8. Jose Brock
    Twitter:
    says:

    One thing totally overlooked in this debate is that our framers/founders were some of the most Godly & God-fearing people to ever grace this planet and they proceeded to produce some of the most divinely inspired documents in the history of the World.

    After all, 29 of the 56 signers of the Dec of Independence were ordained ministers.

    Can any of you name one single modern day rep that can even come close to replicating that type of Godliness?

    Are any of you naive enough to think that any of the modern day reps would be able to produce anything as divinely inspired as our Constitution, or even anything anywhere close?

    Plzzzzzzz!

  9. Jeff Lewis
    Twitter:
    says:

    Gary, Virginia legislators didn\’t have the backbone to do anything about the indefinite detention provisions of the 2012 NDAA which violates over half the Bill of Rights except pass a warm-fuzzy act saying they wouldn\’t help the feds violate the people\’s rights. AG Cuccinelli made excuses for filing his Obamacare lawsuit in a court that had no constitutional authority to hear the case. (See Article III, Section 2, Clause 2 )There is little evidence that the Virginia legislators are competent to select delegates to an Article V \”Convention for proposing Amendments\” and even less evidence they would uphold a newly-amended Constitution. They don\’t uphold now any more than Congress or the President.What Mark Meckler, Nick Dranias, and Mark Levin are selling is snake oil, and they are all being paid very well to sell it. As far as cogent answers,I\’d suggest you go back and watch the debate YOU MODERATED between Convention of States staff counsel Robert Kelly and myself on March 15, 2014 in Yorktown, Va. (See YouTube Yorktown Article V Debate)If amending the Constitution would make people uphold it, why don’t we amend the Ten Commandments? People don\’t follow those either.Jeff Lewis, National Director, Patriot Coalition

    • Gary Porter
      Twitter:
      says:

      Jeff,

      Thanks for jumping into the fray; I was wondering how long it would take you.
      “Virginia legislators didn’t have the backbone” I agree that most VA legislators I’ve met don’t show much backbone or willingness to “buck the system” (there are exceptions). I’m sure you forwarded to them your proposed legislation that would have put some “real meat” into their nullification of the NDAA, didn’t you?

      “AG Cuccinelli …fil[ed] his Obamacare lawsuit in a court that had no constitutional authority to hear the case.” Yes, the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction in such a case, as Cuccineli certainly knew, but the Court only takes 70 or so cases out of the hundreds and hundreds of petitions. I don’t know enough about the procedures of the Court to know whether Cuccinelli would have even been allowed to originate his case at SCOTUS or not, you apparently do. Part of the equation, as Eric Holder certainly understood when he filed suit against Arizona in a lower court, is to get a favorable ruling under your belt early on. Perhaps that was Cuccinelli’s reasoning. Have you asked him to explain his strategy?

      “There is little evidence that the Virginia legislators are competent to select delegates to an Article V “Convention …” Please explain what “little evidence” you do see. Selecting a convention delegate is no different than selecting a state legislator or any other position of great responsibility. I think the qualifications would be the same: honorable men and women willing to abide by an oath. If the Virginia legislators aren’t competent enough, I’m sure you would be able to select such delegates, what with your superior understanding of the Constitution and all. Please enlighten us with a list of the qualifications you think pertinent for such a delegate, or even a State Legislator for that matter. We can then forward these to all the Virginia legislators for their consideration.

      I’m not sure what “qualifications” the Virginia Assembly used in 1786 to select delegates for the Grand Convention, but it seemed to work out OK. “Oh, but we no longer have such men of integrity today, I’ve heard you and others say (or something similar).” Really? Your proof?

      “and even less evidence they would uphold a newly-amended Constitution.” They (both federal and state govenments) would uphold a newly-amended Constitution the same way they uphold the current one – within the limits of the meaning of the words, as interpreted by the Supreme Court. That’s the major flaw with the claim that “Congress does not obey the Constitution.” They do indeed obey the Constitution; religiously. They will never again be forced to obey what we affectionately call the “Founder’s Constitution.” That document is dead and buried under thousands of Supreme Court decisions. The words chosen in 1787 were just too ambiguous. That is beyond question, and we were warned of that fact in the ratification debates by Patrick Henry and many others. Instead we took Madison’s advice and didn’t hold a second convention to clarify those words at the time and now we pay the price with a Constitution that has been rendered by the Supreme Court to be nearly limitless. I’m sure you’ve checked out the U.S. Constitution, Analysis and Interpretation, I’ve mentioned it often enough. That is the operable Constitution in force today and the one Congress obeys, and is legally entitled to.

      “snake oil, and they are all being paid very well to sell it” You offer this as an argument against a COS? Really? Apparently one cannot be well-paid and still retain integrity. A non-serious argument.

      “why don’t we amend the Ten Commandments” What does “honor thy mother and father” mean to you? Ask a hundred people and you’ll get a hundred different answers. That’s the problem with ambiguous language. There are, of course, many ways to honor your parents, just as there are (now) thousands of ways the federal government is allowed to regulate every aspect of business in America. I suspect you’re not a businessman. If you were I doubt you’d be content with the myriad ways the federal government tells you how to run your business and the pile of paperwork you must complete to keep them happy, even if you do not conduct business across a state line. Watch for my next essay on the Commerce Clause, by the way. Of course, we are stuck with the Court’s expansive interpretation of the Commerce Clause, for all time. The Court will never take the initiative to roll back its previous errant rulings; a refinement of the wording, however, will force re-interpretation. If you intend a return to a truer use of the Commerce Clause by electing “better representatives,” please explain how 268 of these “better representatives” are to be identified, vetted, and elected to Congress. When you’re done with that, please explain your plan to repeal the 17th Amendment without a COS.

      That’s probably enough for now.

    • David Dietrich says:

      Mr Lewis,

      It’s a wonder Patriot Coalition uses you as its spokesman! The notion that you would even suggest amending the Ten Commandments, Natural Law as revealed by God, shows that you cannot be taken seriously. At least we’re not yet under Sharia Law, where you would be immediately beheaded by the world’s most tolerant religion.

      In any case, let me make an important distinction to you. While revealed Law is timeless and unchanging, the Constitution is based on revealed Law, not revealed Law itself. As a result, the Constitution can be and has been amended. There is a process for that written into the document itself. It’s called Article V.

      Whether you like our state legislators or not, we either use the people and system we have or we don’t. Since you don’t trust them, our Federal officials, or presumably the people themselves, what’s left? What is your solution? What’s your time frame? Why is your solution better than the one bequeathed by our Founding Fathers?

      • Jeff Lewis
        Twitter:
        says:

        My question regarding amending the 10 Commandments was rhetorical. A common sense reading of what I wrote above would make that obvious, and I quote: “If amending the Constitution would make people uphold it, why don’t we amend the Ten Commandments?”

        You and Gary would rather accuse me of wanting to amend the 10 commandments than answer the question, apparently. I don’t blame you. Answering my question would reveal the fatal flaw in using amendments to the Constitution to make public servants honor their oath.

        The same Congress that doesn’t follow it now would receive your “new” amendments, and exercising their “necessary and proper” authority will bastardize and ignore its meaning the same way they do now unless We the People hold them accountable by throwing the bums out when they violate their oath.

        Folks drinking the Article V koolaid are in denial about what the real problem is: We the People refuse to do our moral and civic duty as citizens.

        • Gary Porter
          Twitter:
          says:

          Jeff,
          If you actually read my reply to your rhetorical reference to the 10 Commandments you would see the problem is not with whether people obey them or not, the problem is with ambiguous language that allows there to be a hundred different ways to ‘honor your parents.” Such ambiguity has allowed the Supreme Court to obliterate the original intent of the Commerce Clause and all those errant rulings are now the law of the land, which Congress is legally entitled to follow. How do you intend to reverse that?
          Gary

  10. Robert Shannon says:

    Little is mentioned in this otherwise excellent discussion of the States already having the 10th Amendment that they can , but rarely fall back on. Why is that, why is that tool already available so rarely used ?

    Because in my opinion the members of the state legislative bodies are following orders from party establishment chieftains who dictate the agenda, and insure their top campaign donors interests are well protected.

    Look at any session in recent memory of the Virginia G.A, and ask yourselves why none of the major issues needing immediate resolution ever get serious attention. Prevailing interests make sure these issues are pushed aside so we focus on the silly : food freedom–additional layers of regulation for daycare providers, perhaps important to some, but on a grander scale minor, relative to Education Reform–Reform of the Virginia Tax Code–Medicaid Reform ( long overdue and a relatively easy fix ) –Illegal Immigration ( costing Virginia 1 Billion a year) The interests who benefit by the status quo want none of these issues touched because their current status/structure allows them to profit handsomely by allowing them to fester.

    An aggressive State legislative body could assert the 10th Amendment and take the Feds to court on dozens of issues where the Federal government has clearly overstepped their bounds—so why don’t they ? Cuccinelli’s rare court case on the Affordable care Act was just such an example–but why stop there ? Because that is where the party bosses want them to stop . Medicaid Expansion was pushed by both parties leadership—WHY— because several of our top legislators ( family members/pals etc sit on hospital boards that wanted the expansion, contrary to any public disclaimers these scoundrels may have uttered in public.

    Referendum Reform, something that if organized could be achieved in one session of the G.A. 15 States that have access to Citizen Referendum have already passed term limits. Not 1 State, not even 1 that requires term limits be passed by their respective legislative bodies have done so—what should that tell you ? Referendum access in Virginia is according to my research ” one of the most restrictive in the nation”—and that isn’t by accident. Referendum reform would allow citizens in localities to get on the ballot for example, measures placing caps on real estate tax increases, putting the brakes on runaway spending at the local level, caps could be placed on real estate and property tax increases, hamstringing local elected officials who from 2000–2007 when real estate values were being bloated spent like drunken sailors, and are now having to raise taxes once again.

    Use of the 10th Amendment by an aggressive State government administration , and an aggressive Attorney General would help, but only be achieved by ridding the G.A first of the career windbags that dominate it today. Referendum Reform is the most important legislative priority , or should be. The question must be asked and answered honestly —why isn’t it ?

    Bob Shannon

    • Steven Tucker
      Twitter:
      says:

      Great point! This should also be happening. Ends of the day, we need to be trying everything, because, frankly, the odds of succeeding with any single tactic is small. CoS is important, but right now the only two things we’re likely to get in the next 5 years is a balanced budget amendment and term limits. That’s not merely enough. Exercising the 10th Ammendment should be mandatory for any AG candidates selling our votes

  11. Gary Porter
    Twitter:
    says:

    Brian,Do you believe the First Amendment gives you the right to say anything, anytime? Of course it does not, there are other, overriding constraints on free speech just as there would be overriding constraints on activity at a convention where 34 of the perhaps 50 delegations have agreed to conduct themselves by certain rules, rules which only allow amendments to be considered if they meet the criteria specified in their 34 identical applications.I\’ve explained in other essays why Soros is not a concern (fairfaxfreecitizen.com/2015/02/04/george-soros/). To claim it is a \”federal convention\” is to place words in Article V that are just not there. There you go, amending the Constitution all by yourself!

  12. Jeff Lewis
    Twitter:
    says:

    Gary, Patriot Coalition’s solution regarding the NDAA has nothing to do with nullification and everything to do with interposition. An unconstitutional law is no law at all, something the Founders and the Supreme Court acknowledged. The duty of state legislators is to interpose itself between a rogue federal government and the rights of the people. That is what the U.S. and Virginia Constitutions require, and what their oath affirmed they understood was their duty. To take the oath without having a working knowledge of the Constitution is perjury. You obviously have either not read, or do not understand Article III, Section 2, Clause 2, or you would not have made the comments regarding either the Supreme Court or AG Cuccinelli’s reasoning regarding his lawsuit against the ACA, and Holder’s suit against Arizona. Go read Federalist 81, and this article:

    Shall means must. May means there is discretion. The phrase ‘shall have original jurisdiction’ only appears once in the Constitution, and relates to the most fundamental sovereign authority the states retained regarding resolving differences within the federal court system, which was that the states would never have to go the highest court on bended knee, begging it to hear their cases. Sovereign authority does not beg, yet that is what Ken did to Virginia when he filed his suit in the lowest federal court he could find.

    I don’t have anything personal against him or the Virginia legislators, but I refuse to pretend they are upholding the Constitution when they are clearly not.

    • Gary Porter
      Twitter:
      says:

      So what is Patriot Coalition’s plan to get Terry McAuliffe and Mark Herring to interpose on behalf of Virginia’s citizens? What model legislation did Patriot Coalition introduce this session? What is Patriot Coalition’s plan to education the people? What is Patriot Coalition’s plan to “elect better representatives” What is Patriot Coalition’s criteria for an acceptable candidate? How many of these acceptable candidates does Patriot Coalition believe exist today? How does Patriot Colaition intend to restore federalism without a repeal of the 17th, or how does Patriot Coalition intend to repeal the 17th?

      What your plan? Be specific if you please.

    • David Dietrich says:

      Mr Lewis,

      I appreciate your introduction of the interposition argument into your discussion with Mr Porter. It could be a very powerful model if state governments were willing to employ it. But alas, it appears that most of them are either willfully ignorant or have been bought and paid for.

      As for the perjury argument, I agree that this could be used against just about any public official. However, your contention that it is the result of ignorance does not meet the bar of criminality. If you can find such a definition in Black’s, please enlighten me.

      Finally, regarding the difference between “shall” and “may,” I’m glad you brought that up! Notice how Article V merely states that Congress “may” propose the “Mode of Ratification,” thus leaving room for the states to decline that mode and use the other. This is another case where words do matter!

  13. David Dietrich says:

    Rivahmitch,It\’s nice to take that personal position, but most governments at all levels of our Republic actual swear allegiance to a different Constitution: http://www.congress.gov/constitution-annotated. This is the one used against us by those in power. But in any case you have contradicted yourself. On the one hand, you state the importance of your oath to one of the three documents, all of which include Article V. But, then on the other, you consider one form of amendment to be \”normal,\” while opposing the other, closer-to-the-people option. So, you seem to be happy to give explicit control of the amendment process to the very Federal agents that are exploiting us, but you are unwilling to give implicit control to state agents that may be able to regain the power clearly vested in them by the Founders. This is the crux of the argument made by all those who oppose a Convention of States. They contend they are Conservative, but actually don\’t support the entire Constitution. You cannot be conservative if you don\’t want to conserve. Willfully denying or opposing a part of the document makes you Progressive.

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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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