Convention Supporters’ Myths about State Control of Delegates
By Publius Huldah
Convention supporters assure us that the States will have control over Delegates to an Article V convention.
That is not true.
The Truth is States have no power over the convention at Art. V. All they can do is “apply” to Congress for Congress to “call” a convention. THIS CHART by Judi Caler shows who has the power to do what respecting an Article V convention.
Delegates to an Article V convention are performing a federal function – they are not under the authority of the States.
Furthermore, Delegates are the sovereign representatives of The People and thus are vested with plenipotentiary powers to alter or abolish our form of government – our Constitution (Declaration of Independence, 2nd para).
This has already happened once in our history:
At the Federal Convention of 1787, this plenipotentiary power was exercised to replace our first Constitution, the Articles of Confederation, with the Constitution we now have. On February 21, 1787, the Continental Congress called a convention “for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation”. But instead of proposing amendments to our first Constitution, the Delegates wrote a new Constitution – the one we now have.
Furthermore, the new Constitution had a new and easier mode of ratification: Article XIII of The Articles of Confederation (p 8-9) provided that Amendments to the Articles had to be approved by the Continental Congress and all of the then 13 States. But the new Constitution, drafted at the “amendments” convention of 1787, provided at Art. VII thereof that it would be ratified upon approval by only nine of the then existing 13 States.
And the Delegates to that convention disregarded the instructions of their States as well as the instructions of the Continental Congress.
So! Not only do Delegates to a national convention have this plenipotentiary power to impose a new Constitution; the precedent to do so has already been established.
It is child’s play to figure out how to get around State’s “faithful delegate” laws. This is how to do it:
- If the proceedings are secret, the States won’t know what is going on – and can’t stop it.
- And if Delegates vote by secret ballot – the States would never know who did what.
So! Do you see? It would be impossible for States to prosecute Delegates who ignore State instructions.
When James Madison and two former US Supreme Court Justices have warned that delegates to an Article V convention can’t be controlled, it is wicked to dismiss their warnings as “fear mongering”.