Publius-Huldah's Blog

Understanding the Constitution

Article V Convention Events in Indiana and Ohio

NOTICE!  THE EVENT IN WEST CHESTER, OHIO for tonight has been cancelled due to winter storms.

We will reschedule!

I will speak on the deadly danger of an Article V convention, and of the two remedies our Framers actually told us to use when the federal government usurps power, at the following events:

Date: March 2, 2015 in Wabash, Indiana.
Host: Wabash C3 Citizens Committed to the Constitution
Location: Bachelor Creek Church of Christ, 2147 N. State Road 15, Wabash, Indiana 46992.
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m., Eastern Time.

On Face Book: Go to the “Wabash C3 Presents: Publius Huldah” page.
On internet: http://www.wabashc3.org/index.html

Date: March 3, 2015 in Columbia City, Indiana.
Host: Whitley County Patriots
Location: The Church of the Nazarene, 506 N. Main Street, Columbia City, Indiana
Time: 7:00 p.m.

Date: March 4, 2015 in West Chester, Ohio.
Host: Building Blocks for Liberty
Location: Lakota West Freshman Auditorium, 5050 Tylersville Road, West Chester, Ohio 45069
Time: 7:00-8:30 p.m.

On internet: http://www.buildingblocksforliberty.org/upcoming-events.html

February 28, 2015 Posted by | Article V, Article V Convention, constitutional convention, Convention of States project | , , , | 5 Comments

Behind The Mask of Convention Supporters – “whacking away” at our Constitution

quote

Representative Sickles may have meant this as a warning of what would be the attitude of Delegates to a convention – as opposed to what he himself would  do as a Delegate to a convention.

But the point is: We don’t want anyone “whacking away” at our Constitution – and Delegates to an Art. V convention would have the power to do just that….

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February 6, 2015 Posted by | Amendments to the Constitution, Article V, Article V Convention, constitutional convention, Convention of States project, re-writing the Constitution | , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Why was the Convention Method put into Article V?

See this – only 3.5 minutes:

But for the complete story of what happened at the Federal Convention of 1787 respecting the development of Article V, read this:  https://publiushuldah.wordpress.com/article-v/

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February 4, 2015 Posted by | Article V, Article V Convention, constitutional convention, Convention of States project | , , , , | 6 Comments

Delegates to an Article V Convention Can’t be Controlled by State Laws!

By Publius Huldah

Our Declaration of Independence (2nd para) sets forth our long forgotten Founding Principles that:

♦  All men are created equal.

♦  Rights come from God.

♦  People create governments to secure God-given rights. The first three words of our Constitution throw off the European model where political power originates with the State; and establish the new Principle that WE THE PEOPLE are the “pure, original fountain of all legitimate political authority” (Federalist No. 22, last sentence).

♦  When a government seeks to take away our God given rights, we have the right to alter, abolish, or throw off that Form of government.

These are the Principles which justified our Revolution against a King.

These are also the Principles which permit us today to throw off our Form of government by discarding our existing Constitution and replacing it with another one. This is why the language at Article V of our Constitution, which authorizes Congress to call a convention “for proposing amendments”, does not restrict Delegates to merely “proposing amendments”: Delegates are invested with that inherent pre-existing sovereign right, recognized in our Declaration, to abolish our existing Form of government (our Constitution) and propose a new Constitution.

This has happened once before in our Country. I’ll show you.

The Federal Convention of 1787: Federal and State Instructions to Delegates

Pursuant to Article XIII of The Articles of Confederation (our first Constitution), the Continental Congress resolved on February 21, 1787 (p 71-74) to call a convention to be held at Philadelphia:

for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation”.

The Continental Congress authorized each of the then 13 States to appoint Delegates to the convention. Twelve of the States 1 made laws respecting the appointment of Delegates and issuing instructions to Delegates. Ten States instructed their Delegates to propose alterations to the Articles of Confederation; and only two (North Carolina and New Hampshire) gave instructions which arguably permitted their Delegates to do more than propose alterations to the Articles of Confederation. 2

But the Delegates ignored the federal and State limitations and wrote a new Constitution (the one we have now is our second Constitution).  Because of this inherent authority of Delegates, it is impossible to stop it from happening at a convention today (which will surely result in a third Constitution).

The Delegates to the 1787 convention also instituted an easier mode of ratification. Whereas Article XIII of the Articles of Confederation required approval of all of the then 13 States before an amendment could be ratified; Article VII of the new Constitution provided that only 9 States were required for ratification of the new Constitution.

 Why is an Article V Convention Dangerous?

So! Do you see?

If we have a convention today, there is nothing to stop Delegates from proposing a third Constitution with its own new method of ratification.

New Constitutions are already prepared and waiting for a convention. Here are three:

♦  Fifty years ago, the Ford & Rockefeller Foundations produced the Constitution for the Newstates of America. It is ratified by a referendum called by the President [Art 12, Sec. 1]. If we have a convention, and Delegates propose the Newstates Constitution, it doesn’t go to the States for ratification – it goes directly to the President to call a Referendum. The States are dissolved and replaced by regional governments answerable to the new national government. Read the Newstates Constitution and tremble for your country.

♦ The Revolutionary Communist Party, USA has a Constitution for The New Socialist Republic in North America.

♦ The Constitution 2020 movement is funded by George Soros and supported by Marxist law professors and Marxist groups all over the Country, Cass Sunstein and Eric Holder. They want a Marxist Constitution and they want it in place by the year 2020. It further appears that Soros is funding much of the current push for an Article V convention.

Warnings from the Wise

Brilliant men have warned against an Article V convention. It is immoral to dismiss their warnings:

♦  Alexander Hamilton writes of “the utter improbability of assembling a new convention, under circumstances in any degree so favorable to a happy issue, as those in which the late convention met, deliberated, and concluded…”  Federalist No. 85 (9th para)

♦  James Madison writes in his Nov. 2, 1788 letter to Turberville that he “trembled” at the prospect of a second convention; and that an Article V Convention would give “the most violent partizans” and “individuals of insidious views” “a dangerous opportunity of sapping the very foundations of the fabric” of our Country. In Federalist No. 49, he shows that the convention method is NOT GOOD to correct breaches of the federal constitution because the People aren’t philosophers – they follow what influential people tell them! And the very legislators who caused the problem would get themselves seats at the convention so they could control the outcome.

♦  Former US Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg reminds us in his Sep. 14, 1986 article in The Miami Herald, that at the convention of 1787, the delegates ignored their instructions from the Continental Congress and instead of proposing amendments to the Articles of Confederation, wrote a new Constitution. He warns that “…any attempt at limiting the agenda [of the convention] would almost certainly be unenforceable.”

♦  Former US Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Berger warns in his June 1988 letter to Phyllis Schlafly that “there is no effective way to limit or muzzle the actions of a Constitutional Convention”; “After a Convention is convened, it will be too late to stop the Convention if we don’t like its agenda”; and “A new Convention could plunge our Nation into constitutional confusion and confrontation at every turn…”

Can State Laws Control Delegates?

Convention supporters say we don’t have to worry about any of the above because States can make laws controlling their Delegates.

Really? James Madison, Father of our Constitution and a consistent opponent of the convention method of proposing amendments, didn’t know that. Two US Supreme Court Justices didn’t know that. They said there is no effective way to control the Delegates.

But in case you are uncertain as to who is telling you the Truth – and who isn’t – I will show you how easily State laws which pretend to control Delegates can be circumvented.

Let’s use House Bill 148, recently filed in the New Hampshire Legislature, to illustrate this:

Section 20-C:2 I. of the New Hampshire bill says:

“No delegate from New Hampshire to the Article V convention shall have the authority to allow consideration, consider, or approve an unauthorized amendment to the Constitution for the United States of America.” [italics mine]

Section 20-C:1 V. of the bill defines “unauthorized amendment” as:

“any amendment outside the scope permitted by the Article V petition passed by the general court of New Hampshire”.

What is wrong with this?

♦  It doesn’t prohibit New Hampshire Delegates from proposing or approving a new Constitution.

♦  Article V of the US Constitution provides that Amendments will be proposed at the convention. Any state laws contrary to Article V must fall under the supremacy clause at Article VI, US Constitution.

♦  New Hampshire Delegates can’t restrict Delegates from other States.

♦  It ignores the inherent sovereign authority of Delegates to throw off both their State governments and the federal government by proposing a new constitution with whatever new mode of ratification they want. Remember! Under the proposed Newstates Constitution, the States are dissolved and replaced by regional governments answerable to the new national government.

♦  And if the States already know what amendments they want, they should tell their State congressional delegations to propose them in Congress. This is the method James Madison always advised.

Section 20-C:2 II. of the New Hampshire bill says:

“Any vote taken by a delegate from New Hampshire at the Article V convention in violation of paragraph I of this section shall be null and void. Any delegate making this vote shall be immediately disqualified from serving as a delegate to the Article V convention.”

What is wrong with this?

♦  What if the Delegates vote to keep their proceedings secret? At the federal convention on May 29, 1787, our Framers made rules restricting publications of their proceedings.

♦  What if the Delegates vote by secret ballot? As long as some vote “for” and others vote “against” every proposition, there is no way to tell who did what.

Section 20-C:2 III. of the New Hampshire bill says:

“Every delegate from New Hampshire to the Article V convention called for by the Article V petition shall be required to take the following oath:”

“I do solemnly swear or affirm that to the best of my abilities, I will, as a delegate to the Article V convention, uphold the Constitution and laws of the United States and the state of New Hampshire. I will accept and will act according to the limits of the authority as a delegate granted to me by New Hampshire law, and I will not vote to consider or approve any unauthorized amendment to the Constitution for the United States of America. I understand and accept any penalties that may be imposed on me by New Hampshire law for violating this oath.” [boldface mine]

Does one need to comment on the efficacy of Oaths of Office in our degenerate times? Article II, §1, last clause, of our Constitution requires the President to take an Oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”; and Article VI, last clause, requires everyone in the federal and State governments to take an oath to obey the Constitution.

Who today honors his Oath of Office? 

Section 20-C:2 IV. of the New Hampshire bill says:

“Any delegate who violates the oath contained in paragraph III of this section shall be subject to the maximum criminal penalty under RSA 641:2.”

Any criminal defense attorney worth her salt can figure out how to get around this one:

♦  As shown above, if the proceedings of the convention are kept secret, or Delegates vote by secret ballot, one would never know if any one Delegate violated his oath. Defense counsel would get any attempted criminal prosecution of any particular Delegate dismissed at a pretrial hearing.

♦  Congress can pass a law granting immunity from prosecution to the Delegates.

♦  The Delegates can insert a clause in the new constitution granting themselves immunity from prosecution.

♦  If the new constitution abolishes the States, as does the Newstates Constitution, there is no State left to prosecute Delegates.

♦  The local prosecutor is the one who decides whether he will prosecute any criminal offense under his jurisdiction. Politics are a deciding factor in deciding whether to prosecute. Remember Eric Holder refused to prosecute Black Panthers who intimidated white voters at a polling place?

Do you see? James Madison, Justice Arthur Goldberg, and Justice Warren Burger were right: It is impossible to restrict the Delegates.

Everything to Lose, Nothing to Gain

If there is a convention today, George Washington, James Madison, Ben Franklin, and Alexander Hamilton won’t be there to protect you. Who will the Delegates be? You don’t know. Do you trust them?

Our Framers never said that when the federal [and State] government violate the Constitution, the remedy is to amend the Constitution they violate. They never said the remedy is to file a lawsuit and let federal judges decide.

They expected us to act as they did – with “manly firmness” 3 – and resist unconstitutional acts of the federal and state governments. Our Constitution doesn’t need “fixing” – it needs to be read and enforced by our votes; and failing that, by manly opposition – resistance – nullification.

Endnotes:

1 Rhode Island boycotted the Convention. See RI’s Statement of Reasons in document at 2 below.

2 For the texts of the States’ instructions to their Delegates and a helpful commentary, go to Principled Policy Blog HERE.

3 The 7th paragraph of the Declaration of Independence says: “He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.” [boldface mine] PH

 

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February 1, 2015 Posted by | Amendments to the Constitution, Article V, Article V Convention, Convention of States project | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 49 Comments

Rob Natelson Perverts the Necessary and Proper Clause and Thinks in Circles

By Publius Huldah.

In former law professor Rob Natelson’s recent paper, “No, the Necessary and Proper Clause Does NOT Empower Congress to Control an Amendments Convention” [read it HERE or HERE], he makes several untrue statements and commits the gross fallacy of making a circular argument which begs the question.

Natelson is the intellectual guru of those pushing for an Article V convention. Among the false claims they make is that a convention will be controlled by the States, and Congress has nothing to do with it. 1

That false claim rests on Natelson’s (1) fanciful theory of “customs”, (2) his tortured interpretation of the necessary and proper clause, (3) his misrepresentations of Supreme Court cases, and (4) his crimes against the Laws of Logic.

I’ll show you.

What Does Article V Say?

Article V provides two methods of proposing amendments to our Constitution. Congress proposes amendments and submits them to the States for ratification; or Congress “calls” a convention if 2/3 of the States apply to Congress for a convention. All our existing 27 amendments were proposed using the first method. We have never had a convention under Article V – for good reason. 2

 

What does the Necessary and Proper Clause Say?

Article I, §8, last clause says:

The Congress shall have Power … “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department 3 or Officer thereof.” [boldface mine]

The Federalist Papers confirm the plain language of the Constitution: §8 delegates to Congress the power to make laws for executing the powers delegated to each branch of the federal government. 4

 

How Does the Necessary and Proper Clause Apply to Article V?

Article V delegates to Congress the power to “call” the convention. The necessary and proper clause delegates to Congress the power to make all laws necessary and proper to carry out its power to “call” the convention.

The April 11, 2014 Report of the Congressional Research Service 5 shows that Congress claims exclusive authority over both methods of amending the Constitution, and that Congress claims the power to organize & set up a convention.

But Natelson – mind, he is their “cutting edge intellectual” – insists that the necessary and proper clause does NOT delegate to Congress power to organize & set up an Article V convention.

Well, well! Let’s look at Natelson’s four arguments:

 

(1) Natelson’s Fanciful Theory of “Customs”

A convention called under Article V of our Constitution is governed by provisions in our Constitution: Article V and Article I, §8, last clause – the “necessary and proper” clause.

But Natelson has long insisted that customs followed at conventions during our “Founding Era” determine how a convention called under Article V will be organized & set up. He says in his paper:

“… An entity that calls an interstate convention always has been limited to specifying the time, place, and subject matter. It is the state legislatures who control selection of their own commissioners, thank you very much.”

“Founding Era” customs supersede our Constitution? And where does Article V say a convention called under Article V is an “interstate” convention?

 

(2) Natelson’s Tortured Interpretation of the Necessary and Proper Clause

Natelson says the necessary and proper clause:

“… is not a grant of authority, but a rule of interpretation. It tells us to construe certain enumerated powers as the ratifiers understood them rather than in an overly-narrow way. …” [emphasis mine]

A “rule of interpretation”? As authority for this claim, Natelson cites a book co-authored by his own illustrious self which you can buy for $34.99.

So! While Hamilton and Madison said in The Federalist Papers 4 that the necessary and proper clause was a “grant of power to Congress” to make the laws to execute the powers delegated;

and Madison and Thomas Jefferson said The Federalist Papers were:

“an authority to which appeal is habitually made by all, and rarely declined or denied by any as evidence of the general opinion of those who framed, and of those who accepted the Constitution of the US. on questions as to it’s genuine meaning” 6

Natelson says the clause is a “rule of interpretation” instead of a “grant of power”, and his $34.99 book is authoritative instead of The Federalist Papers.

 

(3) Natelson’s Misrepresentations of Supreme Court Cases 7

Natelson next asserts “the Necessary and Proper Clause does not extend to the amendment process” because when Congress acts on Article V, it is not a Department or Branch of the federal government. Instead, it is an “ad hoc assembly”.

Congress is sometimes not a branch of the federal government? It is sometimes an ad hoc assembly? The Constitution doesn’t say that! The Federalist Papers don’t say that! Madison’s Journal of the Federal Convention doesn’t say that!

But Natelson says he “knows” this from the “Founding Era record”, from subsequent history, and from decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, such as U.S. v. Sprague (1931).

Of course, Natelson doesn’t show where the “Founding Era record” says this; he doesn’t show why assemblies which met during our “Founding Era” are relevant to a convention called under Article V; he doesn’t show where “subsequent history” says this; and he doesn’t tell the truth about the holding in U.S. v. Sprague.

The issue in U.S. v. Sprague was whether the 18th Amendment (Prohibition) should have been ratified by conventions in each State instead of by State Legislatures. The Supreme Court held that Article V “is a grant of authority by the people to Congress” and that the people “deliberately made the grant of power to Congress in respect to the choice of the mode of ratification of amendments”. Accordingly, Congress had authority to select ratification of the proposed Amendment by State Legislatures instead of by conventions in each State.

U.S. v. Sprague has nothing to do with what Natelson claims it says!

Yet, Natelson goes on to say he “knows” that Congress can’t pass laws structuring the Convention because a “long list of 20th century cases” holds that “ordinary legislation does not bind the amendment process. See, for example, Leser v. Garnett (1922).”

Congress can’t pass laws organizing a convention under Article V? The Constitution doesn’t say that! The Federalist Papers don’t say that! Madison’s Journal of the Federal Convention doesn’t say that! And the Supreme Court case Natelson cited doesn’t say it either!

Of course, Natelson doesn’t provide this “long list of 20th century cases”; and the one case he did cite, Leser v. Garnett, has nothing to do with Congress’ law making powers.

The issue in Leser v. Garnett was whether States – whose State Constitutions restricted voting to men – could ratify an Amendment to the federal Constitution which allowed women to vote. The Supreme Court held that when State Legislatures ratify proposed amendments to the federal Constitution, they are performing a federal function derived from the federal Constitution and it transcends any limitations imposed by State Constitutions. So! Provisions in State Constitutions restricting voting to men did not prevent State Legislatures from ratifying an amendment to the federal Constitution which would have supremacy over a contrary provision in the State Constitution.

 

(4) Natelson’s Fallacious Circular Argument Begs The Question (Petitio Principii) 8

Now let’s look at Natelson’s crimes against the Laws of Logic.

The fallacy of begging the question is committed when one assumes as true the conclusion he seeks to prove. An argument is circular when one seeks to prove the premise from the conclusion.

Natelson was supposed to prove that the necessary and proper clause does not give Congress power to make laws to organize & set up a convention under Article V.

But – as you have seen – he didn’t prove it. So he assumed it to be true. He asserts as true:

“The framers inserted the ‘Convention for proposing Amendments’ in the Constitution to provide the states with a way of obtaining constitutional amendments without federal interference.” [emphasis mine]

Since he assumes this to be true – he concludes that the necessary and proper clause can’t give Congress power to make laws to organize & set up a convention under Article V. He says:

“Why would the framers place in the Constitution a method by which Congress could largely control a convention created to bypass Congress?”

Do you see? He concludes that the necessary and proper clause doesn’t give Congress the power to make laws to organize & set up a convention because he has already assumed as true that the convention method was put in so States could get amendments without Congress’ control.

 

Conclusion

Yet, Natelson’s work is the “authority” on which those who seek to force an Article V convention on us rely – a slender reed, to be sure. Take heed, America!

Endnotes:

1 Above all else, REMEMBER THIS: Whether Congress or the States organize & set up a convention is NOT the critical issue. In either case, the delegates – whoever selects them – are vested with that inherent sovereign right to throw off our Constitution and propose a new one (Declaration of Independence, 2nd para). The new one will have its own new mode of ratification.

2 Brilliant men have warned against an Article V convention. It is immoral to dismiss their warnings:

Alexander Hamilton writes of “the utter improbability of assembling a new convention, under circumstances in any degree so favorable to a happy issue, as those in which the late convention met, deliberated, and concluded…”  Federalist No. 85 (9th para)

James Madison writes in his Nov. 2, 1788 letter to Turberville that an Art. V convention would give “the most violent partizans” and “individuals of insidious views” “a dangerous opportunity of sapping the very foundations of the fabric” of our Country. In Federalist No. 49, he shows that the convention method is NOT GOOD to correct breaches of the federal constitution because the People aren’t philosophers – they follow what influential people tell them! And the very legislators who caused the problem would get themselves seats at the convention so they could control the outcome.

Former US Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg reminds us in his Sep. 14, 1986 article in The Miami Herald, that at the convention of 1787, the delegates ignored their instructions from the Continental Congress and instead of proposing amendments to the Articles of Confederation, wrote a new Constitution. He warns that “…any attempt at limiting the agenda [of the convention] would almost certainly be unenforceable.”

Former US Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Berger warns in his June 1988 letter to Phyllis Schlafly that “there is no effective way to limit or muzzle the actions of a Constitutional Convention”; “After a Convention is convened, it will be too late to stop the Convention if we don’t like its agenda”; and “A new Convention could plunge our Nation into constitutional confusion and confrontation at every turn…”

3 In Federalist No. 48, Madison refers to the 3 branches of the fed gov’t as “departments”.

4 Federalist No. 33 is devoted to the necessary and proper clause. Hamilton writes:

“What is a power, but the ability or faculty of doing a thing? What is the ability to do a thing, but the power of employing the MEANS necessary to its execution? What is a LEGISLATIVE power, but a power of making LAWS? What are the MEANS to execute a LEGISLATIVE power but LAWS? …. But the same process will lead to the same result, in relation to all other powers declared in the Constitution. And it is EXPRESSLY to execute these powers that the sweeping clause, as it has been affectedly called, authorizes the national legislature to pass all NECESSARY and PROPER laws…” (3rd para) [caps Hamilton’s; boldface mine]

In Federalist No. 44, under “The SIXTH and last class” of powers, Madison refers to the necessary and proper clause as a grant of power to Congress by which efficacy is given to all the rest of the powers and that “…Without the SUBSTANCE of this power, the whole Constitution would be a dead letter….” [caps Madison’s; boldface mine].

5 HERE is the CRS Report. The Report exposes as false the assurances that the States would be in control of a convention. The Report says:

“First, Article V delegates important and exclusive authority over the amendment process to Congress…” (page 4)

“Second . . . Congress has traditionally laid claim to broad responsibilities in connection with a convention, including . . . (4) determining the number and selection process for its delegates; (5) setting internal convention procedures, including formulae for allocation of votes among the states; . . .” (page 4)

“. . . [In previous bills filed in Congress] [a]pportionment of convention delegates among the states was generally set at the formula provided for the electoral college, with each state assigned a number equal to its combined Senate and House delegations. Some bills included the District of Columbia, assigning it three delegates, but others did not include the federal district. . .” (page 37)

“…A related question concerns vote allocation in an Article V Convention. Would delegates vote per capita, or would each state cast a single vote, during the convention’s deliberations, and on the final question of proposing amendments?. . .” [then follows a discussion of different views on this undecided issue] (page 41)

“Article V itself is silent on membership in an Article V Convention, so it is arguable that Congress, in summoning a convention to consider amendments, might choose to include the District of Columbia and U.S. territories as either full members at a convention, or possibly as observers. As noted previously, some versions of the Article V Convention procedures bills introduced in the late 20th century did provide for delegates representing the District of Columbia, although not for U.S. territories . . .” (page 42)

Page 40 of the Report shows there doesn’t seem to be any:

“. . . constitutional prohibition against [U.S.] Senators and Representatives serving as delegates to an Article V Convention. . . “

So! As the CRS Report states on page 27:

“In the final analysis, the question what sort of convention?” is not likely to be resolved unless or until the 34-state threshold has been crossed and a convention assembles.”

Do you see? But by then, it will be too late to stop it.

Furthermore, as all lawyers should know, since the power to call the Convention is delegated to Congress, the supreme Court is unlikely to interfere with Congress’ decisions in this regard because it is a “political question” for Congress alone to decide. See short discussion of “political questions” HERE.

6 See the Minutes of March 4, 1825 of the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia (Thomas Jefferson & James Madison were present) where they acknowledged the authoritative status of The Federalist Papers and made them one of the texts books for the Law School.

7 See Robert Brown’s astute discussion of this issue in Mr. Brown’s Face Book Note HERE.

8 Give your Family and Country a wonderful gift: Everybody LEARN LOGIC – it’s fun to play the “spot the fallacy” game! These delightful books are marked 12 years and up, but much younger children can learn the fallacies. My Papa started teaching me before first grade. Look at The Fallacy Detective and The Thinking Toolbox. PH

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January 13, 2015 Posted by | Article V, Article V Convention, Convention of States project, Necessary and Proper clause, Rob Natelson | , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

How our Federal Constitution “Secures” our God Given Rights

By Publius Huldah

Our Declaration of Independence says the Creator God endowed us with Rights, and that the purpose of government is to “secure” the Rights God gave us.

What does this mean? How does a government go about “securing” God given rights?

I will show you.

The miracle of our federal Constitution was that it created a federal government which, by means of exercising the enumerated powers listed in the Constitution, was enabled to “secure” our God given Rights in specific ways.

It isn’t the federal government’s job to secure our God given Rights in all ways, just in the ways appropriate for the national government of a Federation.  Our Rights are to be secured in other ways by State governments. 1

The federal government is supposed to secure our right to life by:

  • Military defense (Art. I, § 8, cl. 11-16);
  • Laws against piracy and other felonies on the high seas (Art. I, § 8, cl. 10);
  • Prosecuting traitors (Art III, § 3);
  • Protecting us from invasion (Art IV, § 4); &
  • Restricting immigration (Art. I, § 9, cl. 1).

It is supposed to secure our property rights by:

  • Establishing a money system based on gold & silver and by establishing uniform weights & measures (Art I, § 8, cl 5);
  • Punishing counterfeiters (Art I, § 8, cl 6);
  • Establishing bankruptcy courts (Art I, § 8, cl 4);
  • Issuing patents & copyrights (Art I, § 8, cl 8); and by
  • Regulating trade & commerce so we can produce, sell, & prosper (Art. I, § 8, cl.3). The original intent of the interstate commerce clause was to prohibit the States from imposing taxes & tariffs on articles of commerce as they were transported thru the States for purposes of buying & selling. Go HERE for the Proof.

And it is supposed to secure our right to liberty by:

  • Laws against slavery (13th Amendment); 2
  • Providing fair trials in federal courts (4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Amendments); and by
  • Obeying the Constitution! The reason our Constitution so strictly limits and enumerates the powers of the federal government is to secure our basic right to be left alone to live our lives free from meddlesome and interfering do-gooders, tyrants, bullies & thieves.

So!  THIS is how our federal Constitution implements that glorious Founding Principle that the purpose of government is to secure Rights God gave us – and I just listed for you most of the enumerated powers!

By exercising these enumerated powers, the federal government protects us from those who seek to take our Rights from us.

The federal government is never supposed to “secure” our Right to Life by giving us what we need to live. That could not be for it would require the federal government to take other peoples’ God given Property Rights away from them.

When a government secures God given Rights by protecting us from those who seek to take our rights away, we are never put in conflict with each other, because no one has his hand in anyone else’s pocket.

THIS is why our Declaration of Independence and Constitution were a Miracle.

But we abandoned this Miracle long ago when we let the federal government pervert our Constitution and abuse its power in order to benefit some at the expense of others. This is what turned us against each other.

So, what should we do?

Reclaim and Restore the Constitution our Framers gave us!

This is how we do it:

Learn the above; spread the word; and stop electing candidates who don’t know the lists of enumerated powers and who don’t sign an oath that they will obey. Hold candidate exams and test the candidates! Grill them!  Make them sweat.

Look for candidates who are willing to employ beneficial methods of financing 3 such grossly unconstitutional (and fiscally & morally destructive) programs as social security and Medicare as they are gradually phased out of existence.

Learn HERE about the remedy our Framers actually advised when the federal government usurps powers: Don’t comply – resist – nullify!

Beware of those Pushing for a Convention.

I have already shown – most recently HERE – that what these demagogues are saying is not true; and that the real purpose of a convention is the imposition of a new constitution.

Endnotes:

1 State governments are to secure our God given Rights in other ways: E.g., they secure our right to life by prosecuting murderers, drunk drivers, and outlawing abortion & euthanasia; they secure our rights to our own persons by prosecuting rapists & kidnappers; and they secure our property rights by prosecuting robbers, thieves & defrauders. They provide courts for peaceful resolution of private civil disputes.

2 Our Declaration of Independence states, as one of our Founding Principles, that “all men are created equal”. We were faithful to this Principle when we outlawed titles of nobility (Article I, §§ 9 & 10). But we violated this Principle when we permitted hereditary black slavery to continue.

3 E.g., vast holdings of unconstitutionally held federal lands could be sold to fund social security & Medicare as they are phased out of existence. PH

 

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December 1, 2014 Posted by | Declaration of Independence, Rights, secure these rights | , , | 16 Comments

Straight Talk About An Article V Convention

By Publius Huldah

This speech was presented to Campaign For Liberty – Memphis on March 24, 2014. It exposes some of the false claims made by those pushing for the so-called “convention of states”. 1

Below are hyperlinks to the exhibits referred to in the speech. Additional resources are also included.

The one page Chart which illustrates our Declaration, Constitution, and federal system is HERE.

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report 2 cited in the speech was dated March 7, 2014. CRS’s revised Report, dated April 11, 2014, is HERE.   The Report exposes as false the assurances that the States would be in control of a convention. The Report says:

“First, Article V delegates important and exclusive authority over the amendment process to Congress…” (page 4)

“Second . . . Congress has traditionally laid claim to broad responsibilities in connection with a convention, including . . . (4) determining the number and selection process for its delegates; (5) setting internal convention procedures, including formulae for allocation of votes among the states; . . .” (page 4) 3

“. . . [In previous bills filed in Congress] [a]pportionment of convention delegates among the states was generally set at the formula provided for the electoral college, with each state assigned a number equal to its combined Senate and House delegations. Some bills included the District of Columbia, assigning it three delegates, but others did not include the federal district. . .” (page 37; see also page 41)

“. . . A related question concerns vote allocation in an Article V Convention. Would delegates vote per capita, or would each state cast a single vote, during the convention’s deliberations, and on the final question of proposing amendments?. . .” [then follows a discussion of different views on this undecided issue] (page 41)

“Article V itself is silent on membership in an Article V Convention, so it is arguable that Congress, in summoning a convention to consider amendments, might choose to include the District of Columbia and U.S. territories as either full members at a convention, or possibly as observers. As noted previously, some versions of the Article V Convention procedures bills introduced in the late 20th century did provide for delegates representing the District of Columbia, although not for U.S. territories . . .” (page 42)

Page 40 of the Report shows there doesn’t seem to be any:

“. . . constitutional prohibition against [U.S.] Senators and Representatives serving as delegates to an Article V Convention. . . “

So! As the CRS Report states on page 27:

“In the final analysis, the question what sort of convention?” is not likely to be resolved unless or until the 34-state threshold has been crossed and a convention assembles.”

Do you see? But by then, it will be too late to stop it. HERE is former US Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger’s letter confirming this. 4

The text of the “parental rights” amendment is HERE. For two papers showing how Michael Farris’ proposed amendment delegates power over children to the federal and State governments, go HERE  and, for the follow up paper, HERE.

To see how six of Mark Levin’s so-called “liberty amendments” do the opposite of what he claims, go HERE.

To see – on one page – proof of the original intents of the “interstate commerce”, “general welfare”, and “necessary and proper” clauses, go HERE.

The proponents of a convention portray the States as victims of federal tyranny. But the Truth is that the States voluntarily surrendered their retained powers, and the natural rights of The People, TO the federal government. And they did it for federal funds. Today, States get from 20% (Alaska) to 45.3% (Mississippi) of their State budgets from the federal government. State governments don’t want to rein in the feds! The people who run your State will do anything to keep their federal funds. HERE is the Pew Report.

Our Framers – those who actually signed the Constitution – NEVER said the purpose of amendments is to rein in the feds if they usurp powers. What they actually said is:

  • amendments remedy defects in the Constitution (Hamilton at the federal convention on Sep. 10, 1787);
  • useful amendments would address the “organization of the government, not … the mass of its powers” (Federalist No. 85, 13th para); and
  • “amendment of errors” & “useful alterations” would be suggested by experience (Federalist No. 43 at 8.)

HERE are the Articles of Confederation. Note that Art. XIII required approval of amendments by every State.

HERE is the Resolution, made by the Continental Congress on February 21, 1787 (p 71-74), to call a convention to be held at Philadelphia:

“…for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation”.

HERE is James Madison’s letter of Nov. 2, 1788 to Turberville. Copy it to word processing, make paragraph breaks, & highlight it. Madison NEVER supported the convention method of amending our Constitution.

HERE is Joe Wolverton’s article about the Socialists’ involvement in the push for a convention.

HERE is the Constitution for the Newstates of America. Article XII addresses ratification by a referendum called by the President. Read HERE about the proposed Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. Read them and see what is being planned for you by people you think are on your side.

HERE is the screen shot of Jordan Sillars’ comment re re-writing the Constitution.

For Q’s & A’s on this issue, go HERE.

Endnotes:

1 There is no such thing as a “convention of states” to propose amendments. The term is a marketing gimmick used by proponents of an Article V convention to manipulate people into believing that the States would control an Article V convention – from start to finish.

Article V, US Constitution, provides two methods for proposing amendments to the Constitution:

1. Congress proposes amendments and submits them to the States for ratification [the method we used for our existing 27 Amendments]; or

2. Congress calls a convention for the purpose of proposing amendments [for good reason, we have never used this method].

2 Even though we have never had an Article V convention; Congress has examined procedures for “calling” a convention so as to be ready if the need arises. The CRS Report proves that Congress has historically viewed its powers respecting “calling” a convention as exclusive and extensive. I thank Robert Brown for bringing the CRS Report to my attention.

3 The position Congress has historically taken in this regard is totally consistent with Article I, Sec. 8, last clause, which delegates to Congress power to make all laws “necessary and proper” to carry out the power vested in Congress at Art. V to “call” the convention.

4 Folks! For the sake of your Posterity, you must understand this: After a convention is convened, the delegates can do whatever they want – including coming up with an entirely new Constitution with its own new method of ratification. Chief Justice Burger wrote in his June 22, 1988 letter to Mrs. Phyllis Schlafly:

“… there 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. The meeting in 1787 ignored the limit placed by the Confederation Congress “for the sole and express purpose. . .”

The federal convention of 1787, which was called by the Continental Congress “for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation”, should serve as a warning: The delegates to the 1787 convention ignored their instructions from the Continental Congress [and from their States]; ignored Art. XIII of the Articles of Confederation which required the States to obey Congress on matters covered by the Articles, and wrote an entirely NEW Constitution with a NEW method of ratification which required only 9 of the 13 States for ratification.

Credits:  Many thanks to Devvy Kidd, Blue Tail Gadfly, and M. Craig Elachie, from whom I lifted the very best lines in the speech. PH

Posted October 11, 2014.

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October 11, 2014 Posted by | Amendments to the Constitution, Article V, Article V Convention, constitutional convention, Convention of States project, Federal Convention of 1787, James Madison, Jordan Sillars, Liberty Amendments, Mark Levin, Michael Farris, Necessary and Proper clause, Phony right wing, re-writing the Constitution, Retained Powers, The Liberty Amendments | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

We Don’t Need an Article V Convention to “Clarify” Our Constitution!

By Publius Huldah

Those pushing for the so-called “convention of states” 1 say we must amend the Constitution because the people in Washington “don’t understand it”.

Rubbish!

Our Constitution is so simple that Alexander Hamilton expected us to be “enlightened enough to distinguish between a legal exercise and an illegal usurpation of authority”; and he said the people are “the natural guardians of the Constitution” (Federalist No. 16, next to last para).

Well then, if our Constitution is something The People are expected to know and enforce; is it plausible to assert that the Representatives we send to Washington – and even supreme Court Justices – are incapable of understanding it?

Justices on the supreme Court have been perverting our Constitution for a long time. Do they do this because they are so stupid they don’t understand our Constitution? Of course not! They violate our Constitution because they claim the right to impose their own personal views on the rest of us.

As every American over the age of 10 should know, the powers our federal Constitution delegates to Congress and the President are limited & defined – they are “enumerated”.

So! Progressives on the supreme Court had to find a way to get around the limitations imposed by the enumerated powers. And they did it by perverting three clauses: the “interstate commerce”, “general welfare”, and “necessary and proper” clauses.

However, a quick look in The Federalist Papers shows the original intents of these clauses. We don’t need a convention to draft amendments showing what these clauses mean – just look it up in The Federalist! But! You don’t have to – I’ve already done it – and here it is: 2

The “interstate commerce” clause (Art. I, §8, cl. 3)

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary says “commerce” is the buying and selling of goods.

In Federalist No. 22 (4th para) and Federalist No. 42 (9th & 10th paras), Hamilton and Madison explain the primary purpose of the clause: To prohibit the States from imposing taxes & tolls on merchandize as it is transported through the States for purposes of buying and selling.

The “general welfare” clause (Preamble & Art. I, §8, cl. 1)

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines “welfare” as:

“2. Exemption from any unusual evil or calamity; the enjoyment of peace and prosperity, or the ordinary blessings of society and civil government; applied to states.”

It has nothing to do with handouts, public relief, or the feds doing whatever they think is a good idea.

In Federalist No. 41 (last 4 paras), Madison points out that Art. I, § 8, employs “general terms” which are “immediately” followed by the “enumeration of particular powers” which “explain and qualify”, by a “recital of particulars”, the “general phrase”. It is “error” to focus on “general expressions” and disregard “the specifications which ascertain and limit their import”; thus, to argue that the general expression provides an unlimited power is “an absurdity”.

So yes! The powers of Congress over the Country at Large really are limited primarily to those few listed at Art. I, §8, clauses 3-16.

Our Framers understood that “general Welfare”, i.e., the enjoyment of peace and prosperity, and the enjoyment of the ordinary blessings of society and civil government, was possible only with a federal government of strictly limited powers. [Let that sink in.]

The “necessary and proper” clause (Art. I, §8, last clause)

This clause delegates to Congress power to pass all laws necessary and proper to execute its declared powers (Federalist No. 29, 4th para); “the constitutional operation of the intended government would be precisely the same if [this clause] were entirely obliterated as if [it] were repeated in every article”; a power to do something must be a power to pass all laws necessary and proper for the execution of that power, and thus the clause is “perfectly harmless”, a  “tautology or redundancy” (Federalist No. 33, 2nd & 3rd paras). Madison writes to the same effect in (Federalist No. 44, under his discussion of the SIXTH class of powers).

So the clause permits the execution of powers already delegated and enumerated in the Constitution.  No additional substantive powers are granted by the clause.

Learn the enumerated powers delegated to Congress & to the President. With our Votes & Nullification of unconstitutional acts, let’s enforce the Constitution we already have. Don’t let others change or replace it! PH

Endnotes:

1 The term, “convention of states”, is deliberately deceptive. The only convention for proposing amendments is the one at Article V of our Constitution – and Congress has the power to “call” it. And since Article I, Sec. 8, last clause, vests in Congress all powers “necessary and proper” to carry out its power to “call” the convention, Congress decides all organizational issues, such as, the number and selection process for delegates.

But once the delegates (whoever they turn out to be) are seated, neither Congress nor the States have any control over them. The delegates can do whatever they want. They can propose a new Constitution with a new method of ratification. Here are two Constitutions already waiting in the wings: The “Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America”, which you can read about from their own website HERE and from JBS HERE; or the “Constitution for the Newstates of America”, which you can read HERE. Do you think that any of the delegates (remember, you have no idea who they will be), can be bribed to introduce and vote for one of these proposed constitutions?

Disabuse yourself of the false notion that “the States have to ratify anything the convention does”. That is the second biggest lie ever told: The proposed “Constitution for the Newstates of America” is ratified by a Referendum called by the President. The States, as political bodies, never get the opportunity to reject it – they are dissolved and replaced by regions answerable directly to the new national government.

The ONLY precedent we have for an “amendments convention” is the federal convention of 1787 which drafted & proposed our existing Constitution.

HERE is the Resolution, made by the Continental Congress on February 21, 1787 (p 71-74), to call a convention to be held at Philadelphia:

“…for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation”.

The delegates ignored their instructions from the Continental Congress (and from their respective States) and wrote an entirely new Constitution – the one we now have. Furthermore, whereas Article XIII of the Articles of Confederation (LINK) required all of the then 13 States to ratify Amendments to the Articles; Article VII of the new Constitution required only 9 of the 13 States to ratify the new Constitution.

Do you see?

2 Our People don’t have a clue about what these 3 clauses mean. So YOU learn the original intent. On social media, start teaching that original intent to The People. Help turn on the lights in their minds. PH

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September 21, 2014 Posted by | Article V, Article V Convention, Convention of States project, Federal Convention of 1787, General Welfare Clause, Guardians of the Constitution, Interstate Commerce Clause, Necessary and Proper clause | , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Mark Levin’s “Liberty” Amendments: Legalizing Tyranny

By Publius Huldah

For 100 years, the federal government has usurped powers not delegated to it in our Constitution.

What should we do about it? Should we reclaim our existing Constitution and put an end to the usurpations?

Or should we “modernize” the Constitution by changing it so as to delegate to the federal government the powers it has usurped – so as to legalize what is now unconstitutional?

Mark Levin begins “The Liberty Amendments” by saying he doesn’t believe the Constitution requires “modernization through amendments”. But he then proposes a series of amendments, six of which modernize our Constitution to delegate to the federal government most of the powers it has usurped during the last 100 years.

And each of his six amendments does the opposite of what its title promises. I’ll show you. 1

Levin’s amendment to “limit the federal bureaucracy” [p 99-100 of his book]

George Washington’s cabinet had four members: Secretary of State, Secretary of War, Secretary of the Treasury, and Attorney General. Those functions are authorized by our Constitution. 2

But today there are numerous agencies in the Executive Branch of the federal government. Where is the constitutional authority? What Article, Section, and Clause authorizes the Departments of Agriculture, Education, Energy, Labor, Transportation, HHS, HUD, DHS, EPA, SBA, etc., etc., etc.?

There is no constitutional authority! Accordingly, all these agencies are unconstitutional as outside the scope of the powers delegated in our Constitution.

Well then, a person who wanted to “limit the federal bureaucracy” would demand that these agencies be closed, and their functions returned to the States and The People, right?

But Mark Levin doesn’t do this. Section 1 of his amendment legalizes all these agencies. It says:

“All federal departments and agencies shall expire if said departments and agencies are not individually reauthorized in stand-alone reauthorization bills every three years by a majority vote of the House of Representatives and the Senate.”

As long as Congress periodically “reauthorizes” the agencies – they remain.

Levin’s amendment thus changes the constitutional standard for whether an executive agency lawfully exists from whether it carries out an enumerated power [as in Washington’s Cabinet] to whatever the President wants and Congress agrees to. Do you see?

Now look at Section 2 of Levin’s amendment to “limit the federal bureaucracy”. It says:

“All Executive Branch regulations exceeding an economic burden of $100 million, as determined jointly by the Government Accountability Office and the Congressional Budget Office, shall be submitted to a permanent Joint Committee of Congress, hereafter the Congressional Delegation Oversight Committee, for review and approval prior to their implementation.”

Article I, §1, of our Constitution says only Congress may make laws. 3 But since Woodrow Wilson, executive agencies in the federal government have been churning out regulations which govern all aspects of our lives. These comprise the now gigantic Code of Federal Regulations.

All these regulations are unconstitutional as in violation of Art. I, §1! 4

Well then, one would expect that a person who wanted to “limit the federal bureaucracy” would demand the repeal of existing regulations and an end to all future rulemaking, right?

Not Levin! Section 2 of his amendment legalizes all existing regulations and the rule making process. Levin’s “fix” is merely to form a congressional committee to review certain regulations before they are imposed on the American People.

And so, federal executive agencies will continue to churn out millions of pages of regulations – but now, they will be constitutional because Levin’s amendment makes it all lawful.

Do you see? Levin’s amendment legalizes the status quo and does the opposite of what he claims.

Levin’s amendment “to limit federal spending” (p 73 -74)

Our Constitution limits federal spending to the enumerated powers. If you go through the Constitution and highlight the powers delegated to Congress or the President, you will have a complete list of the objects on which Congress may lawfully spend money. That is how our Framers controlled federal spending. It is the enumerated powers which limit spending – not the amount of revenue the federal government generates or the size of the GDP. Do you see?

The reason we have a crushing debt is because for 100 years, the federal government has ignored the limits – already set forth in the Constitution – on its spending.

Well then, a person who wanted to “limit federal spending” would demand that Congress begin to downsize the federal government and restrict spending to the enumerated powers, right?

But Levin doesn’t do this. Section 1 of his amendment legalizes all the spending which is now unconstitutional as outside the enumerated powers. It says:

“Congress shall adopt a preliminary fiscal year budget no later than the first Monday in May for the following fiscal year, and submit said budget to the President for consideration.”

Levin’s amendment thus legalizes the unconstitutional status quo where the President and Congress adopt a “budget” and spend money on whatever they put in the budget! Levin would permit Congress and the President to lawfully spend money on whatever they want – spending which is now unlawful because our Constitution doesn’t authorize it.

Furthermore, Levin’s amendment does nothing to control federal spending. While Sections 3 & 4 of his amendment pretend to limit spending to revenues or to a percentage of the GDP; Sections 6 & 7 permit Congress to suspend the spending limit and continue to raise the national debt. 5

Levin’s amendment “to limit federal taxing” (p 75)

Our Constitution doesn’t permit the federal government to levy taxes so that Congress and the President will have the funds to spend on whatever they want.

Congress may lawfully levy taxes only to raise the funds to carry out the enumerated powers. Article I, §8, clauses 1 & 2 say:

“The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common defense and general Welfare of the United States …” [and] “To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;”

Immediately after clauses 1 & 2 follows the list of enumerated powers we delegated to Congress for the Country at Large. 6

Add to this short list of enumerated powers, the “housekeeping powers” itemized elsewhere in the Constitution (e.g., the census); the salaries authorized by Art. I, §6, cl. 1; Art. II, §1, next to last clause; Art. III, §1, cl. 1, and others on the civil list; and you see the purposes for which Congress is authorized to levy and collect taxes, borrow money, and spend money, for the Country at Large. 7

So! Congress should not be levying taxes except to generate revenue for its constitutional functions. If Congress restricted its spending to those few powers delegated in the Constitution, the federal government would need very little money from us.

One would expect that a person who wants to “limit federal taxation” would demand that the federal government stop taxing to raise money to spend on unconstitutional purposes, right?

Not Levin! While his amendment limits the federal income tax to 15% of income – it institutionalizes the present practice where Congress lays & collects taxes for any purposes whatsoever. 8

Levin’s amendment “to protect private property” (p 137)

The federal government has no lawful authority to own land for any purpose other than those enumerated in the Constitution: Article I, §8, next to last clause, permits the federal government to own the District of Columbia [which was not to exceed “ten Miles square”], and Places purchased with the Consent of the State legislatures for the erection of forts, dock-Yards, and other needful buildings (e.g., federal courthouses, post offices) to carry out the enumerated powers.

The federal government has no lawful authority to own national parks, grazing areas, forests, and such. 9

And the federal government has no lawful authority to restrict peoples’ use of their own land. Nowhere in our Constitution did we delegate that power to the federal government! Accordingly, all federal laws and regulations (EPA, etc.) which pretend to restrict an owner’s use of his land are unconstitutional as outside the scope of powers delegated.

Furthermore, the States’ and local governments’ powers of eminent domain and other “takings” of private land are addressed in their own State Constitutions and laws. This is NOT a federal issue!

But Levin’s amendment “to protect private property” changes all of the above. It says:

“When any governmental entity acts not to secure a private property right against actions that injure property owners, but to take property for a public use from a property owner by actual seizure or through regulation, which taking results in a market value reduction of the property, interference with the use of the property, or a financial loss to the property owner exceeding $10,000, the government shall compensate fully said property owner for such losses.”

Levin’s amendment:

Changes the constitutional standard for federal ownership of lands from carrying out an enumerated power to whatever someone in the federal government deems a “public use” [which can be anything];

Legalizes what are now unconstitutional holdings of lands by the federal government – such as grazing lands;

Legalizes “takings” by regulation – restrictions via regulations on the use of private lands – by all levels of government;

Takes from the States and The People their retained powers over eminent domain and regulatory takings, and makes it a federal issue under the control of the federal government; 10 and

Provides that as long as a taking does not reduce the value of the property by more than $10,000, the governments don’t have to pay the property owner one red cent. So! If your local or State or federal government takes some of your land, or restrict its use by regulation, Levin’s amendment requires compensation to be paid if the “taking” exceeds $10,000. If the government decides that your loss is less than $10,000, you eat the loss. The amendment legalizes government theft of private property.

Levin’s amendment “to protect the vote” (p 183-184)

Before our Constitution was ratified, the States qualified & registered voters. Qualifications were set forth in their State Constitutions, and requirements differed from State to State.  This power was expressly retained by the States with Art. I, §2, cl. 1, U.S. Constitution. 11

The four voting amendments reduced this retained power of the States, and delegated to the federal government power to stop States from denying suffrage to citizens on account of race (15th Amendment), sex (19th Amendment), failure to pay a tax (24th Amendment), or age for citizens eighteen years of age or older (26th Amendment).

Except as restricted by these four amendments, the States retain their pre-existing power to set qualifications for registering citizens to vote, as long as they do not deny it on account of race, sex, failure to pay a tax, or age for those 18 years or more. States remain free to deny registration on other grounds – such as conviction of a felony or illiteracy. And of course, States retained power to restrict voting to citizens!

But the retained powers of the States to set voter qualifications for registration were diminished far beyond the scope of the amendments, due to usurpations by the federal government, and because the States forgot that they retained at Art. I, §2, cl. 1 most of their original power to qualify & register voters.

In Arizona’s Proposition 200: What The Constitution Really Says About Voter Qualifications & Exposing The “Elections Clause” Argument, I show how the federal government infringed upon the States’ retained powers over voter qualifications & registration; and how the two judges in that case wrongly ruled that Arizona could not require applicants for registration to provide proof of citizenship!

So! What should we do about non-citizens voting? Here is a novel idea: The States should man up and reclaim their powers retained by Art. I, §2, cl. 1; tell Eric Holder to take a hike; require all currently registered voters to provide proof of citizenship; and refuse to register new voters unless they provide proof of citizenship. Enforce the Constitution we have!

   But Section 1 of Levin’s amendment “to protect the vote” says:

“Citizens in every state, territory, and the District of Columbia shall produce valid photographic identification documents demonstrating evidence of their citizenship, issued by the state government for the state in which the voter resides, as a requirement for registering to vote and voting in any primary or general election for President, Vice President, and members of Congress.”

Levin’s amendment (it has 5 Sections) rewards the federal government for unlawfully forbidding States from requiring applicants to prove they are citizens, by transferring more power over voter qualifications & registration to the federal government. 10

But Levin’s amendment does even more harm than vesting in the federal government a power it already usurped – it ushers in a national ID card. Who thinks the feds won’t dictate the contents of the card and keep copies? [Do you really think a national ID card is a great idea?]

To add insult to injury, Levin’s amendment doesn’t even prohibit non-citizens from voting – it merely requires citizens to get an ID card before they can register to vote. Non-citizens are not required to get ID cards. The supreme Court (which will now lawfully have judicial power over this issue) will decide whether aliens can vote.

Levin’s amendment “to promote free enterprise” (p 117)

In Federalist No. 22 (4th para) and Federalist No. 42 (11th &12th paras), Hamilton & Madison explain the original intent of the “interstate commerce” clause:  It is to prohibit States from imposing tolls & tariffs on articles of merchandize as they are transported through the States for purposes of buying and selling. Until the mid-1930’s, this was widely understood. Here is a full proof of the original intent of that clause and the story of how the supreme Court usurped power over interstate commerce.

The original intent of that clause is still the supreme Law of the Land! 12 So the States must man up and enforce that original intent. They must ignore – nullify – all pretended federal laws, regulations, and judicial opinions which are contrary to that original intent.

Levin’s amendment “to promote free enterprise” says:

“SECTION 1: Congress’ power to regulate Commerce is not a plenary grant of power to the federal government to regulate and control economic activity but a specific grant of power limited to preventing states from impeding commerce and trade between and among the several states.”

“SECTION 2: Congress’s power to regulate Commerce does not extend to activity within a state, whether or not it affects interstate commerce; nor does it extend to compelling an individual or entity to participate in commerce or trade.”

Section 1 broadens the powers of the federal government from prohibiting States from imposing tolls & tariffs on articles of merchandize as they are transported through the States for purposes of buying and selling, to prohibiting the States from doing anything which “impedes” commerce and trade between and among the States.

Many things can be said to “impede” commerce and trade. And who will decide what “impedes” and what doesn’t “impede”? Five judges on the supreme Court.

Section 2 mentions two instances where Congress’ power to regulate Commerce does not extend. This is dangerous because of the legal maxim, Expressio Unius Est Exclusio Alterius (the expression of one thing is the exclusion of the other).

Accordingly, Congress’ power to regulate commerce would extend to other instances. Which ones? We don’t know – the supreme Court will decide – on a case by case basis.

Conclusion

Levin’s amendments legalize – make constitutional – the very abuses they purport to correct, nullify the natural rights of the people, and fundamentally change the constitutional design.

Even though our Constitution is not being enforced, it still declares this federal government lawless! The true rule of law is still on our side, 13 but not for much longer if we foolishly allow our Constitution to be re-written.

Endnotes:

1 Telling the Truth about a person’s proposals isn’t “demonizing” him. People angrily reject valid criticism of Levin’s proposals because they have made an idol of him. If their loyalty were to Truth – instead of to their idol – they would want to be set straight.

2 Article II, §2, and:

Secretary of State: Art. I, §8, cl. 3

Secretary of Treasury: Art. I, §2, cl. 3; Art. I, §8, cl. 1; Art. I, §9, cl. 4-7; Art. VI, cl. 1

Secretary of War: Art. I, §8, clauses 11-14

Attorney General: Art. I, §8, cl. 6, 10 & 17; Art. III, §§2 & 3; Art. IV, §2, cl.2

3 Article I, §1, says: “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States…” [emphasis mine]

4 They are also unconstitutional as outside the scope of powers delegated to the federal government.

5 I explain the problems with “balanced budget” amendments here.

6 These are the enumerated powers over the Country at Large listed at Art. I, §8:

    • Clause 3: regulate “commerce” [For the Truth about the “commerce clause”, go here];

    • Clause 4: uniform laws on naturalization and bankruptcies;

    • Clause 5: coin money & regulate its value, and fix standard of weights & measures;

    • Clause 6: punish counterfeiting;

    • Clause 7: establish post offices & post roads;

    • Clause 8: issue patents & copyrights;

    • Clause 9: set up federal courts inferior to the supreme court;

    • Clause 10: punish piracies & felonies on the high seas and offenses against the Law of Nations;

    • Clauses 11-14: war, letters of marque & reprisal, Army & Navy, and rules for the military

    • Clause 15-16: the Militia.

 

7 The anti-federalists objected to Art. I, §8, cl. 1 & 2. They claimed:

“…the power ‘to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States,’ amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defense or general welfare.”

James Madison answered in Federalist No. 41 (last 4 paras) that clauses 1 & 2 permit Congress to levy taxes & borrow money only to carry out the enumerated powers! Madison said:

“Had no other enumeration or definition of the powers of the Congress been found in the Constitution, than the general expressions just cited, the authors of the objection might have had some color for it… But what color can the objection have, when a specification of the objects alluded to by these general terms immediately follows, and is not even separated by a longer pause than a semicolon?Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars. But the idea of an enumeration of particulars which neither explain nor qualify the general meaning … is an absurdity…” [boldface mine]

So! Article I, §8, cl.1 is merely a “general expression”, the meaning of which is “ascertain[ed] and limit[ed]” by the clauses which “immediately follow” it. In other words, clauses 1 & 2 grant to Congress the power to raise money; and clauses 3-16 enumerate the objects on which Congress may appropriate the money so raised, thus limiting clauses 1 & 2. Do you see?

8 Levin’s amendment also corrects – on behalf of the feds – the following: When the 16th Amendment was ratified, “income” apparently didn’t include “wages”. Accordingly, it would be unconstitutional to force people to pay “income” taxes on “wages” – and such would thus be a proper object of nullification by States. But Levin’s amendment legalizes the status quo and rips this remedy from the States.

9 When our Constitution was ratified, the new federal government acquired (from its predecessor) the Western Territory (Federalist No. 7, 2nd & 3rd paras, and Federalist No. 43 at 5.) over which the new federal government was delegated, by Art. IV, §3, general legislative powers. As the Territory was broken up into new States, the general legislative powers would expire and sovereignty [except as to the few powers delegated exclusively to the new federal government] would be transferred to the new State.

10 Amendments to the Constitution generally increase the powers of the federal government: They usher in implementing federal statutes & executive agency regulations, and judicial power over the issue is transferred to the federal courts. Art. III, §2, cl.1, says, “The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases … arising under this Constitution …” Do you really not see?

11 Article I, §2, cl. 1, says:

“The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature. [boldface mine]

So! Whoever votes in elections for their State House, is eligible to vote for members of the federal House of Representatives. See also Federalist No. 57 (5th para) & Federalist No. 52 (2nd para).

12 Article VI, cl. 2, the “supremacy clause”, states that only our Constitution, federal laws made “in Pursuance” of the Constitution, and Treaties made “under the Authority of the United States”, shall be the supreme Law of the Land. Supreme Court opinions are NEVER part of the supreme Law of the Land! But we have wrongly made them the only Law of our Land.

13 What is “the Rule of Law”? What is the Rule of Man?

Our Constitution is based on God’s model for civil government as set forth in the Bible. The foundational Principle of God’s model is that the civil authorities are under the law. God is The Lawmaker – the kings are to apply God’s Law:

    • Deut. 17:18-20: The king is to write out a copy of God’s Law. He is to have it by him and read from it all his life so that he may keep, observe, and apply it.

    • 1 Kings 2:1-4: King David on his deathbed tells Solomon he must conform to God’s ways, and observe his statutes, commandments and judgments, as written in the Law of Moses.

The parallel in our Constitution is that the Constitution is the Supreme Law which the civil authorities are to obey. Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary defines “constitution”:

“…In free states, the constitution is paramount to the statutes or laws enacted by the legislature, limiting and controlling its power; and in the United States, the legislature is created, and its powers designated, by the constitution.”

So our Constitution is the Standard by which the validity of all Acts of Congress, all acts of the Executive Branch, all judicial opinions, and all Treaties is measured and judged (Art. VI, cl. 2).

So law comes from a higher source than the civil authorities. The “Rule of Law” prevails when the civil authorities obey that higher Law – be it God’s Law or our Constitution.

Tyrants, on the other hand, claim that they are the source of law. The Roman Caesars, Stalin, Hitler, the dictator of N. Korea and Obama all claim that their will is “law”. Consider Obama’s usurpatious executive orders and rules made by his executive agencies. This is the “Rule of Man” – when the civil authorities deny they are subject to a higher law (be it God’s Law or the Constitution), and hold that their will is “law”. Do you see? PH

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April 25, 2014 Posted by | Amendments to the Constitution, Mark Levin, The Liberty Amendments, Voter eligibility, Voter Qualifications | , , , | 18 Comments

Article V Convention: How “Individuals of Insidious Views” Are Stealing Our Constitution

By Publius Huldah

Q: How are amendments to the federal Constitution made?
A: Article V of our Constitution provides two method of amending the Constitution:

  1. Congress proposes amendments and presents them to the States for ratification; or
  2. When 2/3 of the States apply for it, Congress “calls” a convention to propose amendments.

Q: Which method was used for our existing 27 amendments?
A:  The first method was used for all 27 amendments including the Bill of Rights which were introduced into Congress by James Madison. 3

Q:  Is there a difference between a constitutional convention, con con, or Article V Convention?
A:  These names have been used interchangeably during the last 50 years.

Q:  What is a “convention of states”?
A:  That is what the people now pushing for an Article V convention call it. 

Q: Who is behind this push for an Art. V convention?
A:  The push to impose a new Constitution by means of an Article V convention (and using a “balanced budget” amendment as justification) started in 1963 with the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations.  1    Today, it is pushed by:

Q:  Why do they want an Article V Convention?
A:  The only way to get rid of our existing Constitution and Bill of Rights is to have an Article V convention where they can re-write our Constitution.  Jordan Sillars, Communications Director for Michael Farris’ “Convention of States”, said:

“… 3. I think the majority of Americans are too lazy to elect honest politicians. But I think some men and women could be found who are morally and intellectually capable of re-writing the Constitution” [boldface mine].

Q: How can they impose a new constitution if ¾ of the States don’t agree to it?
A: Only amendments require ratification by ¾ of the States (see Art. V). But a new constitution would have its own new method of ratification – it can be whatever the drafters want.  For example, the proposed Constitution for the Newstates of America is ratified by a referendum called by the President (See Art. XII, section 1).

Q: Can a convention be stopped from proposing a new Constitution?
A:  No.  Once the delegates are duly appointed & assembled, they are acting under the inherent authority of A People to alter or abolish their form of government [Declaration of Independence, 2nd para]; and have the sovereign power to do whatever they want at the convention.

Q: Is this what happened at the Federal Convention of 1787?
A:  Yes.  Pursuant to Article XIII of The Articles of Confederation, the Continental Congress resolved on February 21, 1787 (p 71-74) to call a convention to be held at Philadelphia “for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation”.  But the delegates ignored this limitation and wrote a new Constitution.  Because of this inherent authority of delegatesit is impossible to stop it from happening at another convention.  And George Washington, James Madison, Ben Franklin, and Alexander Hamilton won’t be there to protect you.

Q: Did the delegates at the Convention of 1787 introduce a new mode of ratification for the new Constitution?
A:  Yes. The Articles of Confederation required the approval of all 13 States for amendments to the Articles to be ratified.  But the new Constitution provided it would become effective if only 9 of the 13 States ratified it (Art. VII, cl. 1, U.S. Constitution).

Q:  Who would be delegates at a Convention?
A:  Either Congress appoints whomever they want; or State governments appoint whomever they want.

Q: Who would be chairman at a convention?
A: We don’t know.  But chairmen have lots of power – and George Washington won’t be chairman.

Q: But if the States appoint the delegates, won’t a convention be safe?
A: Who controls your State?  They will be the ones who choose the delegates if Congress permits the States to appoint delegates.  Are the people who control your State virtuous, wise, honest, and true?

Q: But aren’t the States the ones to rein in the federal government?
A: They should have been, but the States have become major consumers of federal funding.  Federal funds make up almost 35% of the States’ annual budgets. The States don’t want to rein in the feds – they don’t want to lose their federal funding.

Q: Did Thomas Jefferson say the federal Constitution should be amended every 20 years?
A: No! In his letter to Samuel Kercheval of July 12, 1816, Jefferson wrote about the Constitution for the State of Virginia, which he said needed major revision.  And remember James Madison’s words in Federalist No. 45 (3rd para from the end):

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce … The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which … concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.” [boldface mine]

The powers delegated to the feds are “few and defined” – what’s to amend?  All else is reserved to the States or the People – so State Constitutions would need more frequent amendments.  Do you see?

Q:  Did Alexander Hamilton say in Federalist No 85 (next to last para) that a convention is safe?
A:  No!  He said, respecting the ratification of amendments, that we “may safely rely on the disposition of the State legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority”.  But today, our State legislatures don’t protect us from federal encroachments because:

  • We have been so dumbed down by progressive education that we know nothing & can’t think;
  • State legislatures have been bought off with federal funds; and
  • Our public and personal morality is in the sewer.

Q: Did Our Framers – the ones who signed The Constitution – think conventions a fine idea?
A:  No!

“Conventions are serious things, and ought not to be repeated.”

  • Alexander Hamilton wrote of:

“…the utter improbability of assembling a new convention, under circumstances in any degree so favorable to a happy issue, as those in which the late convention met, deliberated, and concluded…”  Federalist No. 85 (9th para)

“3… an election into it would be courted by the most violent partizans on both sides; it … would be the very focus of that flame which has already too much heated men of all parties; would no doubt contain individuals of insidious views, who under the mask of seeking alterations popular in some parts but inadmissible in other parts of the Union might have a dangerous opportunity of sapping the very foundations of the fabric. … it seems scarcely to be presumable that the deliberations of the body could be conducted in harmony, or terminate in the general good. Having witnessed the difficulties and dangers experienced by the first Convention, which assembled under every propitious circumstance, I should tremble for the result of a Second, meeting in the present temper of America…” [boldface mine]

Q:  Do we have “violent partizans” or “individuals of insidious views” who seek a “dangerous opportunity to sap the very foundations of the fabric” of our country?
A: Yes, and they have been pushing for an Article V convention since 1963.

Q:  What did our Framers say about the purpose of amendments to the Constitution?
A:

  • the novelty and difficulty of what they were doing would require periodic revision (Mr. Gerry on June 5, 1787);
  • remedy defects in the Constitution (Hamilton on Sep. 10, 1787);
  • useful amendments would address the “organization of the government, not … the mass of its powers” (Federalist No. 85, 13th para); and
  • “amendment of errors” & “useful alterations” suggested by experience (Federalist No. 43 at 8.) 3

Q: But those pushing for a convention say the remedy for politicians who violate the Constitution is to amend the Constitution.
A:  Yes, that is their crazy claim:  that even though for over a century, the feds have been usurping hundreds of powers not delegated in the Constitution, all we have to do is amend the Constitution, and everyone will start obeying it. 4

Q: But they say the feds would obey future amendments because the feds haven’t violated recent amendments, such as women’s suffrage.
A: Of the 15 amendments ratified since the 12th in 1804; 10 increased the powers of the feds (13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 23rd, 24th, 26th); and 4 were “housekeeping” amendments (20th, 22nd, 25th, 27th) – so of course the feds “obeyed” those. 5

Q: What about their claim that the feds violate the Constitution because they don’t understand it?
A:  Rubbish! Our Constitution is so simple that Hamilton said The People were “the natural guardians of the Constitution”. The Oath of office at Art. VI, clause 3, implicitly requires the feds to learn it.  For phrases the feds have perverted – such as the “interstate commerce”, “general welfare” & “necessary and proper” clauses, a quick look into The Federalist Papers reveals the original intent.  I illustrate that here and elsewhere.

Q: How do we get rid of the bad amendments such as the 16th &17th?
A: Repeal them the same way we repealed the 18th amendment.  Instead of sending to Congress people who don’t know the Constitution; send people who know the Constitution and commit to repealing the bad amendments.  And if they don’t act to repeal them, fire them!

Q:  Why was the “convention method” put in Article V?
A:  We don’t really know why it was put in because Madison’s Journal of the Convention does not tell us.  This chart compiles the references in Madison’s Journal of the Federal Convention of 1787 to what became Article V.

  • Law professor John A. Eidsmoe  suggests the convention method of Article V was added rather hastily, at the time when the delegates were closing their deliberations, and this provision did not receive the careful attention given to most other provisions of the Constitution.
  • It may also have been a compromise designed to induce  George Mason & Randolph to sign the Constitution.  6

Q: Why can’t what happens at the convention be controlled by federal or State laws?
A: We are naïve and tell ourselves that people will “play by the rules”.  So we assume all we have to do is make some laws saying delegates can’t exceed the scope of the call, and everyone will obey it.

But if they don’t, who is going to enforce these laws you have so much faith in? The feds? Obama would love the constitution for the Newstates of America – it makes him dictator!  He won’t prosecute delegates who violate the call. Your State government?  They sold you out to the feds long ago. Errant delegates will be protected by the feds.   It doesn’t matter what a law says if it isn’t enforced.

Ever since 1963, globalists have intended to use an Article V convention as the means for imposing a new Constitution on us.  Today, George Soros – the destroyer of countries – is financing the push for a convention.  Don’t let him and his minions destroy America.

Conclusion

This little chart illustrates our Constitution & Declaration and the enumerated powers delegated to the federal government.  For 100 years, we elected politicians who ignore them. We don’t understand that the amendments proposed by Michael Farris, Mark Levin, Randy Barnett, & Nick Dranias increase the powers of the federal government because we don’t know the list of enumerated powers in the Constitution. You could remedy that:  Print out the chart and read the Constitution & Declaration!

As The Blue Tail Gadfly said, even though “the Constitution is not being enforced, it still declares this federal government LAWLESS! The true rule of law is still on our side, but not for much longer if the Constitution is allowed to be foolishly altered.”

Endnotes:

1   http://patriotcoalition.com/docs/Ford-Pursuit-of-Globalism.pdf

2 Those pushing for a convention are not telling the truth about what Madison said in his letter to Turberville.  The only way you can know who is telling the truth is to study the letter.

3 Madison did not endorse the “convention method” of proposing amendments.  He always said that when States want amendments, they should instruct their congressional delegation to pursue it:

  •  In his letter of 1788 to Turberville, he speaks of the two methods of proposing amendments:

“2. A Convention cannot be called … without the previous application of ⅔ of the State legislatures…The difficulties … must …be much greater than will attend the origination of amendments in Congress, which may be done at the … [instruction] of a single State Legislature… ”

  • How was the Bill of Rights handled?  On May 5, 1789, Rep. Bland (p. 258-261) introduced into Congress a petition from Virginia for an Art. V Convention to propose amendments.  On June 8, 1789, Madison (p. 448-460) circumvented Bland and introduced the amendments for Congress to propose to the States.  On September 24, 1789, Congress sent them to the States for ratification.

4 If your spouse violates the marriage vows, amend the vows and your marriage will be saved!
If motorists violate the speed limit, amend the speed limit and safety will be restored!
When people violate the Ten Commandments, amend the Ten Commandments!
When politicians violate the Constitution, amend the Constitution, and all will obey it!

 5 It is important to understand that the proposed amendments drafted by Randy Barnett, Mark Levin, Nick Dranias, and Michael Farris all increase the powers of the federal government by legalizing powers they have already usurped – or they delegate new powers to the federal government.

6 The Constitution was a product of compromise:  Alexander Hamilton was an abolitionist – but the Constitution permitted slavery.  James Madison wanted to stop the importation of slaves immediately (Federalist No. 42, 6th para); but Art. I, Sec. 9, clause 1 permitted it to continue 20 more years. Hamilton said the Constitution wasn’t perfect, but “is the best that the present views and circumstances of the country will permit” (Federalist No. 85, 6th – 8th paras).  The “convention” provision of Art. V seems to have been added – on the last day of deliberations (Sep. 15, 1787) – to induce Mason & Randolph to sign the Constitution.  But they still refused to sign. PH

Note: This last series of Questions and Answers was suggested by an esteemed colleague:

Q: Are there unanswered questions about an Article V Convention?
A: Yes!  Article V is utterly silent about the following and more:

  • How would delegates be selected?  And who would select them: Congress? The States? A national Referendum?
  • Would the States even be represented at the convention? If so, how many delegates and/or how many votes would each State have at a convention?
  • Would a convention be open or closed to the public and the media?  (The Convention of 1787 was closed.)
  • Could a convention be limited to consideration of a single amendment, or several amendments?  [The plural language of Article V, “a convention for proposing amendments,” suggests the convention could not be limited to a single amendment.]
  • Could a convention consider an entirely new constitution?
  • How would state calls for a convention be tabulated? For example:   If 20 states call for a convention to consider a balanced budget amendment; 10 states call for a convention to consider a term limits amendment; and 4 states call for a convention to consider a right-to-life amendment, will these all be counted together to constitute 34 state calls for a convention?  And will the convention be authorized to consider all three amendments even though none of them individually have been called for by 34 states?  May it consider other amendments?   Must all of the state calls for a convention agree on the precise wording of the amendment to be considered?  And could a convention alter the wording of the proposed amendment, or must it be passed or rejected in exactly the form the states called for?   Will state calls for a convention many years ago be counted in determining whether 34 states have called for a convention?  For example, in the 1970s and 1980s about 32 states called for a convention to consider a balanced budget amendment.  If two more states called for a convention today, would that constitute 34 states?  Article V says nothing about any time limit on such calls.
  •  If a state calls for a convention, may the state later rescind its call?  Article V is silent about this question.  Several of the states that called for a convention in the 1970s and 1980s later rescinded their calls, but no court has ever determined whether those rescissions are valid.
  • What rules would a convention follow, and who would make those rules?  Article V says if two-thirds of the states apply for a convention, “Congress … shall call a convention.”  Since Congress and Congress alone calls a convention, presumably Congress and Congress alone has authority to make rules for a convention — rules for delegate selection, voting, election of officers, agenda, scope of business, and other matters.  What if the Senate and the House cannot agree on rules for a convention?  Nothing in Article V gives the states any authority whatsoever to demand that a convention follow certain rules, or to condition their calls for a convention with the requirement that certain rules or limitations be followed.
  • If Congress can make rules for a convention and does so, what guarantee exists that the convention will abide by those rules?

The plain fact is, the Constitution is utterly silent about all of these questions.  As convention proponents confidently and dogmatically proclaim their answers to these questions, please ask yourself:  Do they have any authority for their claims?  Are you willing to just take their word for it?

Q:  Why are convention proponents so certain that a convention will be run by constitutional conservatives?
A:  This is a complete mystery.  There is no such guarantee.  Considering liberal dominance of the media, law schools, well-funded legal foundations, and state and federal governments, liberal dominance of a convention is not only possible but probable.

Q:  Is the drive for a convention led by conservatives?
A:  Some conservatives support a convention, along with numerous liberals and liberal organizations who are waiting in the wings to jump in and dominate a convention once it has been called.  But many conservatives strongly oppose a convention.  So please do not be misled into thinking support for a convention is the “default” conservative position.

Revised June 23, 2014

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February 27, 2014 Posted by | Article V, Article V Convention, constitutional convention, Convention of States project, Jordan Sillars, re-writing the Constitution | , , , , , | 31 Comments

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