I am enormously concerned with the bills in both the House and Senate that are calling for a ‘Convention of States’ (any Article V Convention by whatever name). I know how busy you are but I hope you will review my concerns about this critical issue. I am astounded that many so-called “constitutional” conservatives are supporting this dangerously flawed legislation. Here are some reasons why I am so alarmed.
As you know, the Constitution can be amended in two ways. The only method that has been used since 1787 requires an amendment to be proposed in Congress; then a ‘YES’ vote from two thirds of both the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate must be obtained, followed by ratification (approval) by three quarters of the States before an amendment to our Constitution becomes part of our Supreme Law of the Land. While ratification originally required approval of ALL States of the Union, this procedure is still considered reasonably safe and usually addresses only one proposed amendment at a time. (This is the way it has been done for the amendments we have added thus far.)
The other way to amend our Constitution is through a Constitutional Convention (also called an ‘Article V Convention’, ‘Convention of States’ or for short a blanket term–Con-Con). In this case, when two thirds (34) of the state legislatures apply to Congress to hold a Convention “for the purpose of proposing amendments” to the Constitution, the Congress convenes the convention for proposing amendments to our Constitution.
Please consider why a ‘Convention of the States’ can be more dangerous than the legislators who are offering this legislation believe it to be. While Article V of our Constitution authorizes state legislatures to apply for a Convention, that is the extent of power the States are recognized as having in the process. Although State Legislatures may ask for a Convention, they have no control over it. Imagine a convention with delegates from 50 states today designing a new government or giving us dozens of amendments that could even change our Bill of Rights and you can see the unpredictable nature of such.
Article V of the Constitution gives state legislatures NO power or guarantees to:
- decide the topics that will be considered,
- limit the convention to one topic or Amendment,
- decide who the delegates will be to the convention,
- how many delegates a state will have,
- how they will be chosen,
- no power to write the amendments that will be proposed as delegates may write their own once at the convention,
- no power to prosecute delegates for non-compliance, eliciting litigation,
- no power to object to the internal proceedings,
- no power to withdraw from the convention if it doesn’t do what they hoped it would do unless other states agree.
These are the things that Congress is delegated by the power of the Constitution to do:
- decide where the convention will be held,
- decide how many delegates each state will get, (will States have as many votes as they have delegates? No one knows),
- decide how proposed amendments will be ratified, by either state legislatures or by special state conventions assembled for that purpose, (a very unpredictable situation).
Even IF (and that is a HUGE “if”) the convention is limited to a single subject, all of the proposed amendments are bad ideas. All of them misdiagnose the problem, blaming the Constitution for our problems. The sad thing is, the legislators that are blaming the Constitution, claim to be the some of the strongest defenders of the Constitution.
The Constitution is NOT the problem; the fact that ‘We the People’ ignore it IS the problem. Our demand for bigger and bigger government is the problem. (Are you SURE you are not receiving some kind of Federal benefit of some kind?) Our lack of holding elected officials accountable and prosecuting those who violate their oath of office is the problem. It is the failure of many of our legislators to enforce the Constitution that is the problem. These amendments address the symptoms and NOT the disease.
HCR2022 called for an amendment requiring that Congress pass a Balanced Budget Amendment or BBA. Every State in the country, except one, already has a balanced budget requirement in their state constitution, but only 4 states in the entire country have balanced budgets. Has a balanced budget requirement helped our fiscal solvency?
It is hard for me to understand why these legislators are blaming the Constitution, when, if the Constitution was followed, the budget would automatically be balanced. This is already required of Congress in federal law. Since the U.S. Constitution is ignored now, is adding a couple of more words to it really going to make Congress suddenly start obeying it? Their selective enforcement reveals not only the absence of the People, but also of the transfer of power from the People to their servant, the federal governing bureaucracy.
Try selective compliance with your city’s traffic laws!
SCR1005 calls for an amendment to make it so if congress wanted to increase the debt, they would have to get approval from a majority of the legislators of the separate states. This takes us further away from being a republic and closer to being a democracy, saying that as long as the majority agrees with spending like drunken sailors, it is OK. This is one of the most dangerous ideas supporters of the Convention of States have yet devised.
Please try and convince your fellow legislators that calling for a Convention of States is not the answer to the myriads of problems we face as a country; “nullification” is one of the proven corrective routes to follow.
Thank you so much for your time and consideration.