ANSWERS TO ARGUMENTS AGAINST A CONVENTION TO PROPOSE AMENDMENTS TO THE U.S. CONSTITUTION

COS RESERVATIONS ANSWERS TO RESERVATIONS
BETTER and “SAFER” ALTERNATIVES TO COS

To restore Constitutionalism it’s more effective to focus on education about Liberty/Civic Duties/Heritage, Citizen Mobilization, Nullification by states, support/recruit/endorse Constitutionalists in local and national elections, publish and explain both our Constitutional emergency and Constitutional literacy through every outlet and forum possible.

Are there any other remedies to restoring the Constitution on the scale of Article V?

The only convention needed is “one which will correct the mindset of millions who believe that a member of their favored political party who votes unconstitutionally is better for our country than a member of the other political party who votes the same way.”

Why not an “all the above”, including COS (which Shane Krauser encourages so often)?

Isn’t Article V the Constitution’s own emergency self-repair tool?

Is our society so deformed that the remedy which the Founders’ prescribed through 1 of only 7 Articles, devoted just to the two option amendment process, which was so critical in their prophetic foresight (about the states option), and without which ratification would have been impossible?

A video demonstrating the mathematical impossibility of ever achieving a majority of Constitutionalists in Congress.

There’s no potential remedies to restoring adherence to the Constitution on the scale of Article V; though it should certainly not be the only strategy and possibly could not succeed without multiple other movements of liberty underway.  But its magnitude, I believe, is contributes to the evocation of Conservative opposition to it.

“We can continue to do only what we have been doing, with continuously worse results—-or we can use the tool the Founders gave us to address the situation. Unlike some Americans, I’ve not been beaten so badly into submission to limit myself to the former or to fear the latter.”

“The amendment proposed by the 1861 Washington Conference Convention, which consisted of commissioners from the state legislatures. The timing was one of extreme division and extreme crisis. It made today’s situation look like a picnic. The convention’s charge was to devise an amendment that could stave off civil war. Despite enormous disadvantages—including the fact that there were no James Madisons in the room—the convention succeeded. Because the states hadn’t applied quickly enough under Article V, however, the Washington gathering had to rely on Congress to do the formal proposing, so it didn’t happen. But if the states had acted quickly enough, and given the Washington convention Article V powers, the resulting amendment might well have staved off the Civil War and (incidentally) put slavery on the route to extinction. Not to act quickly this time is to commit once again the mistake of 1861.”

SHOULDN’T A POTENTIAL CONVENTION PRIORITIZE REPEALING EXISTING AMENDMENTS?

Amendment 14 “validity of the public debt by the United States, authorized by law”

Repealing the 14th, 16th and 17th

What precedents indicate this clause applied to any time period beyond post-civil war?

I’m not knowledgeable enough, yet, to comment on what appears to be these three unlawfully added amendments, but at least the 16th and 17th certainly deserve repeal by new amendments.

The COS organization is recommending that state applications include 3 major subjects for which the convention could propose amendments to provide structural changes that would greatly limit 1) spending, 2) terms of office, and 3) jurisdiction of the central government.

WHY ALTER THE CONSTITUTION? 

“Strict adherence to our current Bill of Rights would accomplish far more than creating new rules to be ignored when inconvenient”

“Using the “tools our founders gave us” on 15 December of 1789, constitutes just as good a plan as a new convention with new tools but with no guarantees of a good outcome”

“Vote out those who ignore the law.”

An Article V Convention draws its authority – and its constraints – from the existing Constitution.

COS is strictly for the purpose of restoring the original meaning of the Constitution through drastically needed structural changes to diminish the extreme extra-constitutional overreach government has been “sanctioned” to gain by over 120 years of faulty Supreme Court interpretation.  Would that the government could otherwise be forced to strictly adhere to the Constitution and we could replace all the lawless legislators!

Among the reasons our Constitution is the longest standing in the world is that it provides the mechanism for its own orderly and lawful revision.

Our Constitution has been Amended 27 times. Each time, the process invoked Article V (part of the 238 year old  “body” of the Constitution, not an amendment).  Article V was written to allow Congress and the States – acting in a Convention of the States – equal standing to PROPOSE amendments.  The States need a way to propose amendments that constrain the Central government – which Congress will not propose.

Perhaps some think that only our esteemed experts in Congress should exercise the Article V right to propose.  The framers recognized that only Congress-friendly proposals would result from Congressional proposals.

UNQUALIFIED DELEGATES

There’s too much risk in allowing a convention that would be administered by commissioners lacking adequate wisdom, knowledge and character with an electorate mostly oblivious to the drastic restoration to Constitutionalism that is needed.

How Do States Choose Their Delegates?

For such a gigantic accomplishment to be attained through a successful application process by at least 68 state houses which would not occur without a huge grassroots movement (granted; not by just Conservatives) making urgent supplication for a COS to their representatives and many Christians like myself praying earnestly as they have done with so many major victories in the homeschooling movement (we homeschooled 5 children); and in light of the many convention precedents (“the debate has proceeded almost entirely without knowledge of the many multi-colony and multi-state conventions held during the eighteenth century [11 between 1776 and 1786]….universally accepted convention practices and protocols….which shaped the meaning of Article V” Robert Natelson, Founding Era Conventions and the Meaning of the Constitution’s Convention for Proposing Amendments, Florida Law Review, May 2013.) and after numerous application attempts by states over the years and all the rulemaking that will accompany the COS; I think it stretches credulity to fear there will not be an adequate percentage of well qualified and prepared delegates and state legislators with numerous safeguards in the entire process and well defined commissions from their state legislatures.  (Read “Reopening the Constitutional Road to Reform: Toward a Safeguarded Article  V Convention” by Michael Stern (previous Senior Counsel in the Office of General Counsel of the U.S. House of Representatives), published in the Tennessee Law Review and Rob Natelson’s “Convention of States: A Compendium for Lawyers and Legislative Drafters”.

“As the instrument came from them, it was nothing more than the draught of a plan, nothing but a dead letter, until life and validity were breathed into it, by the voice of the people, speaking through the several state conventions.” James Madison in Congress, April 6.

Mark Meckler’s reasons to switch from helping lead the national Tea Party to founding Citizens for Self Governance which is sponsoring COS , is applicable here.

CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE ON COS

How correlated is the moral dimension of liberty to Biblical integrity, in the restoration of a Constitutional Republic?

How committed to Convention of States should a Christian be?

Biblical integrity includes obedience to the mandate to be salt and light, to pursue justice, to counteract evil tyranny, and to uphold/defend our inalienable endowments.  Of all people, Christians should possess the most pragmatically compelling and spiritually/emotionally/intellectually inspiring definition of liberty.  I believe this particular COS movement led by Michael Farris, Mark Meckler and Rob Natelson (there’s at least 8 other major COS efforts underway; mostly Conservative) is bringing a revival of an understanding and accompanying mobilization for liberty; providing a tremendous (if not unparalleled) opportunity to understand liberty in its extremely palpable, practical and dynamic nature. My definition of liberty is the inspiration and power to wield individual moral responsibility.  Unfortunately most people, even most Conservatives, have no definition of liberty, or at least a definition worth defending with our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.
LENGTH OF TIME REQUIRED TO SEE THE NEW AMENDMENTS RATIFIED

The potential of consequential amendments being added to the Constitution through a COS within a few years is impossible.

Reaching the 34 states threshold for applications to Congress could be completed by the end of 2015.  I don’t believe it is possible that Congress could either delay the ensuing convention in early 2016 or the subsequent ratification process which could occur as early as 2017.  As soon as 34 states have delivered their applications, I believe there will be tremendous momentum to expedite the process because of such widespread commitment on the part of citizens and legislators, even to the point of Congressional re-elections being jeopardized should they resist  this movement.
GOVERNMENT WON’T CEDE POWER AND WON’T ADHERE TO NEW AMENDMENTS DRAFTED BY THE STATES

John Adams:  “Human passions unbridled by morality and religion with avarice, ambition, revenge, and gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net.”

Congress wouldn’t suddenly obey the Constitution.

COS advocates “believe there is a “magic bean” out there which will suddenly reverse 150+ years of usurpation and criminality.”

“The ignorance, apathy or political party partisanship of the electorate that would place criminals such as we have today right back into positions of power regardless of the results of said convention.”

“Congress currently conducts illegal votes and passes unlawful and unconstitutional legislation.”

“National Debt Relief Amendment…any increase in the debt limit approved by a majority of the state legislatures…that would rely, not on human nature, but on checks and balances. Had we adopted it in the 1990s, we would not have the financial problems we have today.”

“49 state constitutional rules requiring a balanced budget. They began to be adopted after several states went bankrupt from overspending in the, presumably more virtuous, 1840s. They have worked well enough to preserve the states from further bankruptcies—even states run by “criminals”—for over 150 years.”

“Experience shows that the very same people (even “criminals”) can act very differently under different rules and in different contexts. Historically, state legislators, for example, have acted differently in the convention context than in other contexts. Experience also shows that changing the rules both (1) alters who gets elected and (2) alters how people act after being elected. Constitutional amendments have proven particularly effective in changing the rules of the game”

“The amendment rests largely on mutual checks and balances rather than any positive view of human nature.”

“Congress probably would never have been proposed the Bill of Rights had not Virginia and New York made the immediate threat of an Article V convention.”

THERE ISN’T A STRICT PROTOCOL AND JURISPRUDENTIAL MODEL FOR AN ARTICLE V CONVENTION, INCLUDING WHETHER IT IS A FEDERAL OR A NATIONAL CONVENTION AND THE PROCESS FOR SELECTED DELEGATES

Article V Conventions have evolved through numerous rebrandings.

Ratification is no guarantee; it, too, can be changed in convention.

The convention could “runaway” or otherwise not conform to historical legal precedent and pre-determined rules.

The 1787 Constitutional Convention was initiated without complete conformity to the requirements of the Articles of Confederation. The delegates exceeded their state and federal requirements.

A Convention to propose amendments could produce a completely new Constitution.

US Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger wrote in 1983:  “‘There is no effective way to limit or muzzle the actions of a Constitutional  Convention…it will be too late to stop the convention if we don’t like its agenda’ “

The extensive historical record (though largely documented by Federalists) reveals much consistency in convention methods, procedures and rules with none of the efforts under national control.

Fortunately, as the book “Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution” says, “the historical record is massive”

The convention is strictly for the purpose of proposing amendments, not for determining the ratification process.

“Those who continue to promote the “runaway scenario” have not chosen, or have not been successful, in overcoming the obstacles for reviewed scholarly publication. Given that the obstacles are not all that high, I attribute that failure mostly to the weakness of their case.”  Amendments outside of the assigned subjects could be proposed for consideration but could not be ratified.

The Constitutional Convention was a result of the five states at the Annapolis Convention asking their state legislatures to appeal to the other 8 states to hold a convention of “the several” states to render the federal constitution “adequate to the exigencies of Government and the preservation of the Union”.  The delegates did not exceed their home state-designated authority.  Two states restricted their delegates to only propose revisions to the Articles of Confederation.  Some states chose to require approval by Congress in order to participate.  Congress immediately approved the convention but without legal authority to control it.

“The mode preferred by the convention, seems to be stamped with every mark of propriety.  It guards against that extreme facility, which would render the constitution too mutable; and the extreme difficulty, which might perpetuate its discovered faults.”  James Madison, Federalist 43.

Renaming the Convention is part of the fear campaign.  Those who oppose the Framers’ would have you believe that an Article V Convention makes law.  An Article V Convention drafts PROPOSALS – which must then be Ratified by the States’ legislatures.

Each State will have its own method for commissioning delegates.  This is appropriate:  They are sovereign entities and they have complete jurisdiction over this process.  (We are the United States of America, not the Uniform States of America.)

Conventions of the states were common in the Founding era.  As a result, there exists an entire body of law governed by precedent.  Among the most important:

1.      Each Sovereign Entity (State) gets One Vote without regard to population size or # of delegates sent to the Convention.  Were it a popular vote, the most populous states would have the greater say.  The framers intended that this Convention empower the combined State Legislatures in counterweight to the Federal Government.

2.      Mason’s Rules Of Order

3.      Assembly of State Legislatures is convening regularly to study the historic record

Misnaming the Convention infers that a Convention called under Article V is unmoored from Constitutional constraint. Warren Burger does not take the provisions of Article V into account in this opinion.

The scope of Convention is fixed by the application language of 34 state applications which Congress recognizes to be in simultaneous agreement. No other proposals qualify for subsequent ratification.

CONGRESS HAS TOO MUCH CONTROL OVER THE ARTICLE V “CALL” FOR A CONVENTION. 

Congress makes the rules for the convention.

Article V says Congress “calls” the convention. Does this mean they control the Convention and choose the delegates?

This is a gross, a-historical, misinterpretation of the “call” which Congress never exercised with control over the proceedings.  It consists only of naming the time and place for the Convention.
THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION COULD BE SCRAPPED OR WEAKENED BY A COS COS is not a Constitutional Convention at all.  It can only draft reform proposals that don’t exceed the scope defined by the essentially identical convention applications of at least 34 states.
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