Two articles popped up this week, one favoring an Article V Convention and the other opposing. These are only excerpts, but we linked them to the original articles, which delve deeper into the issues. I think a Convention is a terrible idea. I read Mark Levin’s book calling for it and was not moved. It seems like a good way to burn the Constitution, not improve it. Tell us what you think at the end. We need more opinions.
IN FAVOR OF AN ARTCLE V CONVENTION
An article at Zero Hedge addresses the possibility of an Article V Convention now that we are halfway towards that goal.
“Article V of the Constitution provides two avenues for amendments. Under the first one, Congress proposes amendments that are enacted if three-fourths of the state legislatures approve them. That’s the way all amendments have been advanced so far.”
Conservative activists want to “call a convention for proposing amendments.”
“To trigger a convention that way, two-thirds of the state legislatures must call for one, and governors have no say. States would then send delegates to a convention where proposals would be put forth and debated. The convention is a vehicle for proposing amendments.
“So far, 19 state legislatures have called for an amendments convention, which means advocates are more than halfway toward the 34 they need.”
“Convention of States Action’s model language for state legislatures seeks to limit the scope of the convention to “proposing amendments…that impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of office for its officials and for members of Congress.”
Advocates want to allow the states to rein in a federal government.
“The states have sort of lost their voice, and all we can do now is beg from the cheap seats and say, ‘Hey, don’t do that’,” South Carolina state rep. Bill Taylor, who led a successful constitution-calling effort, told Insider.
“Though the largest convention drive is led by conservatives, some liberals are itching for a state-led constitution-editing session of their own. Prompted by the Citizens United decision, progressive commentator Cenk Uygur launched Wolf PAC to push for a convention geared toward campaign finance reform. Four legislatures have advanced the Wolf PAC convention application.”
“Liberals and conservatives are thus compelled to clash with increasing intensity over who gets to control levers the Constitution never even authorized. The more we rightly restore authority to state and local governments, the lower the national political stakes for all of us, and the lower our collective temperature.”
“However, the federal government won’t surrender that power on its own — which is exactly why the founders gave us this other avenue of amending the Constitution.”
The article concludes with a quote from George Mason, who supported the idea.
Read the story at Zero Hedge.
THE OPPOSING OPINION
On the other hand, there is reason to fear it. Dr. Robert Malone published an article considering the John Birch Society’s opinion. The society opposes a convention.
Dr. Malone gives background on the organization because they have frequently been maligned as conspiracy theorists. He wants people to keep an open mind.
The John Birch Society was formed to combat communism, period.
Dr. Malone writes:
In my opinion, it is time to recognize that JBS members have been American thought leaders for many decades now. Like all of us out on the bleeding edge, they have not been right about everything. That is a risk that comes with leading rather than following. But at a minimum, I believe that their opinion and insights on US Constitutional matters deserve to be considered with an open mind. With his historic speech of September 01, 2022, even Joe Biden now claims to be a constitutionalist and a nationalist. Whether his comments were sincere or not, it is clear that constitutionalism and nationalism have become accepted mainstream US political positions.
For more information about the society, go to Dr. Malone’s substack. Here are some excerpts from the JBS opposing opinion.
Article V Convention Threatens Liberty
By Christian Gomez for the John Birch Society [Excerpts only]
What was America’s saving grace from the kind of outright tyrannical response to SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 that we witnessed in communist China and Canada, where the Trudeau government froze the bank accounts of the non-violent truckers peacefully protesting for their medical liberty? The answer is the U.S. Constitution and our system of federalism, which prevents the national or (in our case) federal government from seizing total control with little-to-no checks and balances on its power.
If it were not for the Constitution standing in the way, the Biden administration’s tyrannical COVID mandates would still be in place and fully enforced, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandate — requiring companies with a hundred or more employees to receive the genetic COVID vaccines — and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s public-transportation mask mandate. Without our founding document, the ability of states and individuals to resist these onerous violations would be greatly hampered. Upholding the Constitution and Bill of Rights, as written by the Founding Fathers, is paramount to preserve liberty and keep our Republic.
Yet, some conservatives are clamoring for a convention to amend the Constitution (a Constitutional Convention) that also possesses the power to entirely rewrite the Constitution.
Despite various convention applications over the centuries, there has not been a Constitutional Convention since the 1787 Federal Convention in Philadelphia that produced our current Constitution.
The article explains that there are no limitations on the delegates’ authority, not by the state legislatures or the Congress assembled.
As the sovereign representatives of the people, delegates to an Article V Constitutional Convention possess the full legal authority to entirely scrap the Constitution and the republican system of government it established and to replace it with a new constitution and form of government. And this is precisely what happened at the Philadelphia Convention.
A modern Convention today, under Article V, would not be a “Convention of the States.” Rather, it would be a convention of the people. And as such, the delegates would be within their purview — as the sovereign representative of “We the People” — to reject any state or federal limitations that may be imposed on their actions and to instead proceed upon original principles again to frame an entirely new, modern and likely very socialist-leaning constitution. As the late Supreme Court Justice and constitutional originalist Antonin Scalia warned in 2014, shortly prior to his death, “I certainly would not want a Constitutional Convention. Whoa! Who knows what would come out of it?”
Similarly, in a letter written to Phyllis Schlafly, dated June 22, 1988, Chief Justice Warren Burger warned:
[T]here is no effective way to limit or muzzle the actions of a Constitutional Convention. The Convention could make its own rules and set its own agenda. Congress might try to limit the Convention to one amendment or to one issue, but there is no way to assure that the Convention would obey. After a Convention is convened, it will be too late to stop the Convention if we don’t like its agenda.
Likewise, a decade earlier, on February 26, 1979, U.S. Senator from Arizona Barry Goldwater, a.k.a. “Mr. Conservative,” warned against an Article V convention ostensibly limited to proposing a federal balanced budget amendment; Goldwater said:
I think it would be very foolhardy, it would be a tragic mistake, to hold a Constitutional Convention for this one purpose. I say it would be foolhardy and dangerous because if we hold a constitutional convention, every group in the country — majority, minority, middle-of-the-road, left, right, up, down — is going to get its two bits in and we are going to wind up with a Constitution that will be so far different from the one we have lived under for 200 years that I doubt that the Republic could continue.
Senator Goldwater doubled down, adding, “even though my State has approved a constitutional convention, I wanted my voice as a Senator from that State and as a Member of this body to be registered as totally opposed to any constitutional convention.”
The bottom line is that nobody knows what would emerge from a modern Article V Constitutional Convention. Why risk the known individual liberties and limitations on the federal government that the Constitution already guarantees for the unknown outcome of a convention, based on promises of additional hypothetical limitations? Moreover, with all 50 states (both Blue and Red) participating, what kind of delegates would likely be sent to such a convention?
In an article published on TheFederalist.com, Elaine Donnelly, the president of the Center for Military Readiness, an independent public policy organization that reports on and analyzes military and social issues, provides the following realistic answer:
Conservative Con-Con promoters will not control who attends, what issues are discussed, or what constitutional amendments ultimately are approved. The convention will make all decisions, and conservatives will not be able to guarantee the outcome.
Imagine both political parties attending the same national convention, at the same time, with progressive insiders controlling credentials, rules, issues committees, and voting procedures.
Participants would include not just conservative Republicans, but Democrats, RINOs, socialists, Green New Dealers, Supreme Court packers, gun controllers, police de-funders, big spenders, Roe v. Wade codifiers, teacher unions, Anthony Fauci fans, Electoral College critics, race-obsessed wokesters, social justice warriors, and peaceniks who would balance the federal budget by disbanding the Department of Defense.
What sort of constitution would emerge from delegates who are Anthony Fauci fans, COVID-19 vaxxers, mask mandaters, wokesters, and other progressives and swampy RINOs from the Administrative State? An Article V convention is not the mechanism to take back and rein in our federal government, it’s the principal vehicle to hijack and irrevocably destroy our Republic. Liberty would doubtlessly survive an Article V Constitutional Convention; it would be the first target of the Administrative State seeking to permanently consolidate its current unconstitutional powers.
Simply put, as Justice Scalia warned before a gathering of the Federalist Society, in Morristown, New Jersey, on May 8, 2015, “A constitutional convention is a horrible idea,” adding, “This is not a good century to write a constitution.” Scalia is correct: this is not a good century to write a constitution, nor is it a good century to amend it, especially via a mechanism as risky as an Article V Constitutional Convention. [Emphasis added]
What are your thoughts concerning the points raised?