Publius-Huldah's Blog

Understanding the Constitution

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 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

The “Convention of States” Scam, the War over the Constitution, and how the States Sold the Reserved Powers to the Feds.

By Publius Huldah

Our Constitution is a glorious document. This one page chart depicts the Structure of the federal government we created when we ratified our Constitution; and lists the “limited & enumerated powers” we delegated to the federal government over the Country at Large.

In a nutshell, our Constitution authorizes the federal government to handle the following objects for the Country at Large:

  • Military defense, international commerce & relations;
  • Control immigration & naturalization of new citizens;
  • Domestically, to create a uniform commercial system:  weights & measures, patents & copyrights, money based on gold & silver, bankruptcy laws, mail delivery & some road building; and
  • With some of the amendments, secure certain civil rights.

Basically, that’s it.  As stated in the 10th Amendment, all others powers are reserved by the States or The People.

But for 100 years, almost everyone in our Country has ignored our Constitution.  Thus, instead of restricting spending to the enumerated objects of its powers, the people WE send to Congress spend money on what anybody wants – and so gave us a debt of $17 trillion.  Instead of restricting lawmaking to the enumerated objects of its powers, the people WE send to Congress make laws on whatever they like. The President WE elected tramples all over the Constitution; and due to the connivance, cowardice, and ignorance of Congress, the supreme Court, State governments, and the American People, is seizing totalitarian power.

WE are in terrible trouble.

And it is the phony right wing which is seducing the American People into taking the final jump off the cliff.

Michael Farris, head of the Convention of States 1 project, begins his video with this spiel:

“We all know that our government is way off track. The debt is astronomical and is going to cripple not only our own freedom and our own economy, but our children and our grandchildren are going to be effectively slaves, paying for all the things that we’re spending money on today.”

That part of his video is true.

But the purpose of their spiels is to make you believe they are on your side.  You must look behind the spiels and think carefully about what they are proposing as “solutions”.  Much is at stake:

THIS IS THE WAR over our Constitution and Country.  And here are the two sides:

Learn & Enforce our Existing Constitution!

One side proposes that we learn & enforce our existing Constitution of limited & enumerated powers.  We show that our Framers advised us to enforce our Constitution by (1) electing better representatives to annul the acts of the usurpers, 2 or by (2) nullification of unconstitutional acts.

To illustrate: What would our Country’s financial condition be if WE THE PEOPLE had enforced the enumerated powers on Congress?

It is the enumerated powers which list the objects on which Congress may appropriate funds:

  • immigration office (Art. I, §8, cl.4)
  • mint (Art. I, §8, cl. 5)
  • Attorney General (Art. I, §8, cl. 6)
  • post offices & post roads (Art. I, §8, cl. 7)
  • patent & copyright office (Art. I, §8, cl. 8)
  • federal courts (Art. I, §8, cl. 9)
  • military (Art. I, §8, cls. 11-16)
  • the civil list (Art. I, §6, cl.1)
  • [and other objects listed in various other articles, sections, &clauses]

Do you get the idea?  The Constitution itemizes what Congress is permitted to spend money on. See also the two geographical areas over which Congress was delegated “general legislative powers”: Art. I, §8, next to last clause, & Art. IV, §3, cl. 2.

The reason we have a debt of $17 trillion is because everyone ignored the Constitution; so Congress spent money on objects outside the scope of its enumerated powers.

Amend Away our Existing Constitution?

But the Randy Barnett 3/ Rob Natelson/ Michael Farris/ Mark Levin camp want a “convention” so they can gut our existing Constitution by amending out the limited & enumerated powers with new amendments which grant general powers to the federal government; or they seek to re-write the Constitution altogether. 

Here are illustrations of how the limited & enumerated powers can be amended out of our Constitution:

It has already been shown how the so-called balanced budget amendment would transform our Constitution from one of enumerated spending powers to one of general spending powers, where spending would be limited only by the amount of revenue the federal government generates or a certain percentage of the GDP. 4 But under our existing Constitution, the federal government’s expenditures are limited by the constitutional grants of authority – the enumerated powers.  The problem is everyone ignores the enumerated powers – they never even bothered to learn what they are!

Here is another illustration:  Michael Farris, the grand master of The Spiel, has managed to convince many parents that the only way to protect their parental rights is an amendment to the Constitution which delegates to the federal and State governments constitutional power over their children!

And Mark Levin’s suggested amendments would gut our Constitution.  Most increase the powers of the federal government by making constitutional what is now unconstitutional because it is not an enumerated power.  The amendments pertaining to “overrides” undermine the Constitution as the objective standard of what is lawful and what is not – and substitute majority vote therefor.  These “overrides” would erase the Constitution and replace it with majority (mob) rule.

Or is “re-writing the Constitution” their actual goal?

Farris says in the video:

“…sometimes what you need is not a change of personnel, you need a change of structure. The Founders understood the importance of structure…”

Does that give you cold chills?

How does Farris seek to change the structure?

Please – all of you – look at this one page chart which depicts The Structure of the federal government our Framers gave us:  What needs changing?  Isn’t enforcement what we need?

Jordan Sillars, Communications Director for Farris’ Convention of States Project, let the cat out of the bag:

On September 15, 2013, a discussion on my Face Book page was started about Mark Levin’s clamoring for a “convention of states”.

On or before September 19, Jordon Sillars posted a comment wherein he 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].

On September 19 at 1:20 p.m., I responded:

“So, this really is about “re-writing the Constitution”, isn’t it?

And could you name these individuals who are “morally and intellectually capable of re-writing the Constitution”?”

Sillars thereafter deleted his comments, but not before I obtained a screen shot of his quoted comment which you can see here.

Why did he delete his comments?

Now let’s look more at what Farris says in his video:

The False Statements & Silly Arguments of the Proponents of a “convention of States”

1.  After his introduction about the $17 trillion debt, Farris goes on to say:

The States have the power under Article V to call a convention of the States for the purpose of proposing amendments to the Constitution…”

His statement is false.

The Truth is the States have no authority to call the convention.  That power is delegated to Congress.  Article V says:

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments…” [emphasis mine]

Congress calls it.  Not the States.

Furthermore, Dr. Edwin Vieira has pointed out:

 ‘The language “shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments” sets out a constitution duty in Congress. It embraces a constitutional power as well. That brings into play Article I, Section 8, Clause 18, which delegates to Congress the power “[t]o make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers [that is, in Article I, Section 8, Clauses 1 through 17], and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof”. The power to “call a Convention for proposing Amendments” is one of those “all other Powers”. Therefore, pursuant to that power, Congress may enact whatever “Law[ ] which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the * * * Power [to call a Convention]’.

So!  Since Article V vests in Congress the power to call the convention; and since Article I, §8, last clause, vests in Congress the power to make all laws necessary & proper to execute its delegated powers; 5 Congress would be  within its constitutional authority to organize the Convention anyway it wants, and to appoint whomsoever it wishes as delegates. 6

Now look at this:  The chart on Article V shows that James Madison, Father of our Constitution, remarked on the vagueness of the term, “call a Convention for the purpose”:

How was a Convention to be formed? – by what rule decide? – what the force of its acts?” (Sep. 10); and “difficulties might arise as to the form, the quorum, &c., which in constitutional regulations ought to be as much as possible avoided” (Sep. 15, 1787).

Phyllis Schlafly also raised Twenty Questions about a Constitutional Convention.

Congress, pursuant to Article V and Article I, §8, last clause, has the constitutional power to answer all these questions by means of a law.

Folks!  The Farris/Natelson/ Levin camp is not telling you the truth when they say the States decide these issues!

2. Farris then says in his video:

“…in Article V of the Constitution [the Founding Fathers] gave us the solution…”

“…they gave the power to the States to create a new set of rules when the federal government overstepped its boundaries. We can recalibrate the rules to take power away from Washington D.C. and give it back to the people and to the States.”

His statements are both false and silly.

Here is the false part of what he said:

It was not the consensus at the Federal Convention of 1787 that the purpose of Article V was so States could make amendments to the Constitution in order to take power away from a federal government which had usurped power by violating the Constitution.

This chart shows what happened at the Federal Convention of 1787 re development of Article V.

Two delegates (Randolph & Mason, who didn’t sign the Constitution) supported the notion that amendments might be used if the national government should become oppressive.  And they didn’t want Congress to have any power over amendment procedures. Their view was the minority view.

Other delegates (Gov. Morris, Hamilton & Madison) thought Congress ought to be able to propose amendments.  One delegate (Mr. Gerry) worried about States obtaining a convention and binding the Union to innovations which subverted State Constitutions.  Hamilton spoke of amendments to correct defects which would probably appear in the Constitution.

So the final version of Article V provides two methods of proposing amendments to the Constitution.  Congress either:

  • Proposes the amendments; or
  • “Calls” a convention when the Legislatures of 2/3 of the States apply for it.  [Now see Art. I, §8, last clause.]

Now for the silly parts of what Farris said (and there are two silly parts):

3.  Farris tells us the solution to a federal government which “overstep[s] its boundaries” [violates the Constitution] is to amend the Constitution.

He proposes “to take power away from Washington D.C.” [power the federal government has usurped] by “recalibrate[ing] the rules”.

In other words, the solution to a federal government which violates the Constitution is to amend the Constitution.

Do you see how silly this is?

4.  Farris and his camp also imply that the States are victims of federal tyranny, and are the virtuous & wise ones who can fix our Country if they can just get a convention to propose amendments.

But the States are the ones who sold you out to the federal government in the first place!  I’ll show you:

The 10th Amendment says:

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”.

What happened to these reserved powers?

The States sold them to the federal government.

Let’s use education as an illustration of how the States sold to the federal government your reserved power to educate your own children in the way you see fit.

The Creator God who, as recognized by our Declaration of Independence, endowed us with unalienable rights; assigned to parents the responsibility to provide for the education & moral instruction of their children:  Proverbs 1:8-9, 6:20-21, 13:1, 22:6 & 23:19-22; Genesis 18:19; Deuteronomy 4:9-10 & 6:1-7; Ephesians 6:1-4; 2 Timothy 1:5  & 3:15-17.

Is “education” one of the enumerated powers delegated to the federal government for the Country at large?  No.  So the federal government has no constitutional authority to get involved.  Accordingly, all acts of Congress pertaining to education for the Country at Large, the federal Department of Education, and all their rules & programs are unconstitutional as outside the scope of powers delegated to the federal government.

So why does the federal government dictate all things respecting education?

Because your States sold your God-given responsibility to educate your own children – and your reserved power to do so to the federal government.  This has been going on for a long time; but most recently your State sold you out for federal grants with the federal government’s “race to the top” and “common core” schemes. 7

You have to be ignorant, unthinking, & gullible – a greenhorn – to believe that The States are the men in the white hats who can fix all this with a convention to propose amendments.

Conclusion

The federal government is not the problem – it is the result of our own ignorance, pride and folly.

WE THE PEOPLE, who are “the natural guardians of the Constitution” (Federalist No. 16, next to last para) didn’t trouble ourselves to learn the enumerated powers of Congress and the President.  Do you know them?

I ask my Readers who have been supporting the “convention of States” scheme:  Have you studied our Founding Principles set forth in The Declaration of Independence? Have you studied the text of the Constitution so that you know what it says?

If not, how are you qualified to know how to “fix” a Constitution you never learned?

Are you willing to stake your lives & liberties, and those of your progeny, on whether those in the Barnett/Natelson/Farris/ Levin camp (1) know what they are talking about, and (2) are telling the truth?

Why? Because you like them?  Because they provide a scapegoat which permits you to blame-shift?  And you think you can “get even”?

Wise voices in this Country are warning you about the scam.  Foremost among them is Phyllis Schlafly, who has been warning of this danger for decades. Yet, such is the ignorant conceit of the greenhorns that they sneer at those who are warning them.

I trust you now see the connection between the moral corruption of a People and tyranny.

Endnotes:

1 Use your own head!  Do not be manipulated by other peoples’ choice of words. Rob Natelson formerly referred to what he wants as a “constitutional convention”.  Now, he calls it a “Convention of the States” – that is the term his cohorts & minions now use.  Why did they change what they called it?

2 But our elections are no longer honest. The States took federal grant money to buy voting machines which can be rigged.

3 Randy Barnett’s “Bill of Federalism” is ten proposed amendments which would transform our Constitution from one of enumerated powers to one of general & unlimited powers.  Mark Levin’s proposed amendments are similar to Barnett’s.

4 The GDP is computed by an agency in the Executive Branch. So under the BBA, spending would be limited by numbers under the control of the federal government:  By how much they tax you; or by a number (GDP) the Executive Branch computes. You think that is a fine idea?

5 The Federalist Papers tell us what the “necessary & proper” clause (Art. I, §8, last clause) means:  The clause delegates to Congress power to pass all laws necessary & proper to execute its declared powers (Federalist No. 29, 4th para); a power to do something must be a power to pass all laws necessary & proper for the execution of that power (Federalist No. 33, 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” (Federalist No. 33, 2nd para); and thus the clause is “perfectly harmless”, a tautology or redundancy. (Federalist No. 33, 4th para).  See also Federalist No. 44, 10th -17th paras.  In other words, the clause permits the execution of powers already declared and granted.

Do not be misled by Rob Natelson’s post on the “necessary & proper” clause!  Why did Natelson ignore what The Federalist Papers say about this clause?  Why did he fabricate the song & dance set forth in his post?

6 Think this through also: Even if Congress, as a matter of grace, permitted the States to appoint delegates, how would delegates from your State be chosen? Who controls your State? Would the powers in your State choose you?  Or do you believe Michael Farris would choose the leaders?

7 This happened in your State because The People in your State elected to State government people who sold you out.  See this website on federal grants:  http://www.ffis.org/database   You think your State Legislators, who have been gobbling up all the federal grant money they can get, will fix our Country at a “convention” to propose amendments? PH.

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December 18, 2013 Posted by | 10th Amendment, Amendments to the Constitution, Amendments: Parental Rights Amendment, Article V, Article V Convention, constitutional convention, Convention of States project, Edwin Vieira, Federal Convention of 1787, Jordan Sillars, Mark Levin, Michael Farris, Necessary and Proper clause, Phony right wing, Phyllis Schlafly, re-writing the Constitution, Retained Powers, States Retained Powers, Tenth Amendment, The Liberty Amendments | , , , , , , , , | 54 Comments

   

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