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”.
By Publius Huldah
If there is an Article V convention, we will lose the Constitution we have, and another Constitution will be imposed.
You are not getting both sides of this issue. Throughout the Country, those of us who are warning of the dangers of an Article V convention are marginalized, ridiculed, smeared, shut out of meetings, and barred from speaking in public forums. THIS short essay from the Principled Policy Blog describes what we face every day.
THIS article is an account by Donny Harwood, a Citizen of Tennessee, describing how he was shut out of the public meeting which the Convention of States people held on October 19, 2015 at the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. According to The Leaf-Chronicle, a number of Tennessee Legislators were at the meeting. A prominent Tennessee radio talk show host was also present.
And everyone at the meeting was prevented from hearing the other side of this issue.
The reason convention proponents forbid dissenting voices is that we prove, by means of Facts and original source documents, that the claims and promises of the convention proponents are false. HERE are some of the original source documents Legislators would hear about if they were presented with the other side of this issue.
We are in the final stage of a takeover. Statists of every variety [this includes the phony “conservatives”] want a new Constitution to legalize our transformation from the constitutional Republic created by our existing Constitution to a dictatorship.
To get a new Constitution, they need a convention. So they are telling conservatives that our Constitution is causing our problems and we need to amend the Constitution. And they say we can only make the amendments they say we need at a convention.
Article V of our Constitution provides two methods of amending our Constitution. Congress:
1. Proposes amendments, or
2. Calls a convention to propose amendments if 34 States apply for it.
The first method was used for our existing 27 amendments: Congress proposed them and sent them to the States for ratification or rejection.
Under the second method, Congress calls a convention. We have never had a convention under Article V. Such conventions are extremely dangerous. THIS is one of many articles which illustrate the danger, sets forth warnings from two of our Framers and two former US Supreme Court Justices, and explains why Delegates to a convention can NOT be controlled by State laws.
National conventions are dangerous because the Delegates have the plenipotentiary power to impose a new Constitution with a new mode of ratification. The video by Chuck Michaelis at the bottom of THIS page explains these plenipotentiary powers. Such Delegates are the Sovereign Representatives of The People and have the power to impose a new Constitution. This has already happened 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.
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.
Statists have been pushing for a convention for 50 years – ever since the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations produced the Constitution for the Newstates of America. They need a convention to get it imposed.
Several other Constitutions are already prepared and waiting for a convention.
If there is a convention, the only issues will be (1) whose Constitution will be imposed by the Delegates; and (2) what new mode of ratification will be set forth in the new Constitution.
♦ The Constitution for the Newstates of America imposes a totalitarian dictatorship. Article XII, § 1 thereof provides for ratification by a Referendum called by the President. The States are dissolved and replaced by regional governments answerable to the new national government.
♦ George Soros, Marxist law professors all over the Country, Cass Sunstein and Eric Holder want a Marxist Constitution in place by the year 2020.
♦ The “Convention of States” project wants a “re-written” Constitution which legalizes powers the federal government has already usurped, and delegates new powers to the federal government such as total power over children. Yet they are telling conservatives that they want a convention so they can get amendments “to limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government”!
♦ The political establishment [both major parties] wants to transform the United States from a sovereign nation to a member state of the North American Union: Canada, the United States, and Mexico are to merge and surrender their sovereignty to a Parliament which is to be set up over the three countries. The United States will need a new Constitution to bring about this transformation. This is being imposed on us by stealth. Read the Task Force Report of the Council on Foreign Relations HERE. And to see how the European Union is working out for the formerly sovereign nations of Europe, watch this 7.5 minute video by Pat Condell.
In the past, conservatives defeated the periodic pushes for a convention. So the statists changed tactics: Now, they are marketing it to appeal to conservatives: they are telling conservatives that a convention is the only way to rein in the federal government. These statists, some wearing conservatives’ clothing, are using the classic techniques of statists: They are not telling the truth; they are smearing their opponents; and they have divided conservatives. Conservatives who were deceived by the marketing have been induced to attack and exclude conservatives who are warning of the dangers of a convention. And they won’t let us address their groups.
Our existing Constitution really was a 5,000 year miracle. We delegated only a handful of enumerated powers to the federal government – you can see what we delegated HERE. Our Constitution doesn’t need “fixing” – we need to restore the Constitution we already have. We begin the Restoration by reading and learning our Constitution and Declaration of Independence. And enforcing it! See, in this regard, the Tenth Amendment Center’s 2015 State of the Nullification Movement Report.
For the Love of God and Country, heed this warning.
Nov. 25, 2015; revised Dec. 23, 2015.
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 national government usurps power, at the following events:
Date: Wednesday, May 13, 2015 in Auburn, Indiana
Host: DeKalb County 9/12 Group
Location: St. Andrew Evangelical Presbyterian Church, 320 W. 4th Street, Auburn, Indiana 46706 Time: 5:30 p.m. for food; 6:30 p.m. for meeting, EDT.
See Face Book page HERE
Date: Thursday, May 14, 2015 in Elkhart, Indiana
Host: TEA-MAC with Constitutional Sheriff Brad Rogers.
Location: Trinity United Methodist Church, 2715 E. Jackson Blvd., Elkhart, Indiana 46516
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT
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: Thursday, March 19, 2015 in Union, Kentucky.
Host: John Birch Society – Kentucky
Location: Triple Crown Country Club, 1 Triple Crown Blvd, Union, KY 41091
Time: Noon to 2:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
This is a lunch event – lunch is $16.00
Date: Tuesday, March 24, 2015 in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Host: Conservatives for Guilford County (C4GC)
Location: The Oakbranch Conference Center, 23 Oak Branch Drive, Greensboro, NC 27407
Time: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., Eastern Time.
Date: Saturday, March 28, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Host: The Rightful Remedy Conference
Location: University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 9201 University City Blvd, Fretwell Building, Room 100
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time
On internet: http://rightfulremedyconference.com/
On face Book: https://www.facebook.com/events/386914354780520/
Love to see you at any of these events! And if you can’t come, please forward to your contacts in these areas.
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/
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
“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 appointed Delegates and instructed them to propose amendments 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 the Continental Congress and 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 Foundation 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 text of their proposed constitution is HERE.
♦ 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.
Do you know about the North American Union (NAU)? During 2005, George W. Bush met on his ranch with the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of Mexico and they sketched it out. The three countries merge and a Parliament is set up over them. HERE is the Task Force Report on the NAU by the Council of Foreign Relations – Heidi Cruz was on the Task Force which wrote this up. The United States will need a new Constitution wherein we surrender our sovereignty to the North American Union. People! If there is an Art. V convention, the Delegates can impose such a new Constitution with whatever mode of ratification will guarantee approval; and before you know it, we will be a Member State of the NAU.
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); and that he “dreaded” the consequences of a new convention because he knows that there are powerful individuals in several States who are enemies to having any kind of general [federal] government. This could result in our losing the Constitution we have (No. 85, last 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, Madison 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…”
♦ Former US Supreme Court Justice Scalia said on April 17, 2014 at the beginning of this video:
“I certainly would not want a Constitutional Convention. I mean whoa. Who knows what would come out of that?”
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? Alexander Hamilton and James Madison (father of our Constitution), opponents 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?
♦ 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 used and always advised.
♦ New Hampshire Delegates can’t restrict Delegates from other States.
♦ It doesn’t prohibit New Hampshire Delegates from proposing or approving a new Constitution.
♦ 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.
♦ Delegates to an Article V convention are performing a federal function – they are not under the authority of the States.
♦ 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.
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.
1 Rhode Island boycotted the Convention.
2 Article XIII of the Articles of Confederation required approval of amendments by the Continental Congress and by every State.
HERE [from Farrand’s Records, vol. 3, Appendix B, p. 559-586] are the Credentials of the Delegates to the Federal Convention of 1787 and Instructions from their States. These Instructions encompassed:
♠ “alterations to the Federal Constitution which, when agreed to by Congress and the several States, would become effective“: Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Georgia, S. Carolina, Maryland, & New Hampshire;
♠ “for the purpose of revising the Federal Constitution”: Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Delaware, and Georgia;
♠ “for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation”: New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut;
♠ “provisions to make the Constitution of the federal Government adequate”: New Jersey.
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
Published Feb 1, 2015
Revised July 9 &10, 2015; Oct 25, 2015; Jan 8, 2017
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.
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.
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”.
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
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
By Publius Huldah
The “Convention of States” (COS) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page contains 989 words – none of them true – except for these which appear in the first paragraph:
“The federal government is spending this country into the ground … It’s time American citizens took a stand and made a legitimate effort to curb the power … of the federal government.”
In my last paper, I showed how our Constitution itemizes what Congress is authorized to spend money on; and that we have a $17 trillion debt because everyone ignores the limits the Constitution places on Congress’ spending powers.
To curb the federal government, We must do things we have neglected for over 100 years: Reclaim our role as “the natural guardians of the Constitution”; 1 learn our Founding Principles & Documents; enforce them with nullification and by rejecting candidates who don’t know them by heart; stop relying on politicians to handle things; 2 reclaim personal responsibility; and get ready for a rocky road ahead.
But the “convention of states” conspirators 3 say the only solution is a convention to “propose amendments” to the Constitution. They tell lies about nullification – the one remedy our Framers actually advised when the feds usurp powers. They say our Constitution is the problem. They say it contains “loopholes and vague phraseology” which politicians exploit. They suggest the States are victims of federal tyranny; are the ones to “fix” our Constitution; and that the States call and control the convention. They say it is impossible for the convention to force a new Constitution down our throats. But I submit that is precisely what they intend to do.
Jordan Sillars, Communications Director for COS, let the cat out of the bag when 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].
Contrary to what the conspirators say, there is no way to stop the convention from “running away”: All the delegates need do is come up with a new Constitution. It can provide for any method of ratification they want.
That is what happened in 1787 when the Continental Congress called a convention “for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation”. 4 The delegates ignored their instructions and wrote an entirely new Constitution with its own new method of ratification.
The Conspirators’ Campaign of Propaganda against The People
The conspirators’ claims spit in the Face of Facts and Reality. So how have they been able to convince people to believe their claims; and go along with their destructive scheme?
They are exploiting the ignorance and desperation of The People by manipulating them with propaganda. Their FAQ’s employ nine well known techniques of propaganda: 5
- Assume the Major Premise
- Appeal to Desperation
- Claim there is a Panacea
- Repetition for Emphasis
- The Big Lie
- Fabricated Legal Principles & Precedent [“Imaginary Evidence”]
- Exploit Wishful Thinking
- The Self-sell.
Assume the Major Premises
Throughout the FAQs, it is assumed that:
- The purpose of amendments is to control the federal government;
- Our Constitution is defective;
- That there is such a thing as a “convention of states” which States call and control;
- States will protect us from the federal government; and
- The federal government will obey amendments to the Constitution.
These are the five major assumptions upon which their scam is constructed. They don’t prove them – they know many will blindly accept them. Only thoughtful people examine assumptions.
But you can become a “thoughtful person” if you will start examining what you are told.
Their first major premise: The Truth is two (2) delegates at the Federal Convention of 1787 (Mason & Randolph) wanted States to be able to amend the Constitution without involvement of Congress. The conspirators’ crazy and dishonest claim that the purpose of amendments is to control the federal government is based on Mason’s & Randolph’s comments you can find here. Theirs was the minority view; Art. V provides for Congress’ involvement in both methods of amendment; and Mason & Randolph objected so much to our Constitution they refused to sign it.
Our Framers at the Federal Convention of 1787 understood that the purpose of amendments is to remedy defects in the Constitution [slavery]; and that the novelty and difficulty of what they were doing would require periodic revision [the 11th, 12th, & 27th amendments]. Hamilton said in Federalist No. 85 (13th para) that useful amendments would address the “organization of the government, not … the mass of its powers”. Madison said in Federalist No. 43 (at 8.) that “useful alterations will be suggested by experience.”
People are deceived by the conspirators’ first premise because they don’t understand that our Constitution created a federal government of strictly limited and defined – enumerated – powers. Everything the feds have authority to do is itemized in our Constitution. Does our Constitution delegate to the feds power to ban incandescent light bulbs, determine portion sizes of school lunches, and force us into obamacare? No! So what do you do when the feds usurp powers over such objects? Amend the Constitution? Really? How would you amend the Constitution to fix such usurpations? Make an Amendment saying the feds can’t regulate light bulbs? And so on for every power they usurp?
It is crazy to say the purpose of amendments is to control the federal government. When the feds usurp powers not delegated, no amendment saying they can’t do what they did will restrain them. They violated the Constitution when they usurped the power in the first place!
Furthermore, the amendments they write don’t restrict the feds: Michael Farris’ “parental rights amendment” delegates power over children to the federal and state governments, and empowers judges to determine the extent of that power! One of Randy Barnett’s amendments gives the feds lawful power over “harmful emissions” [EPA now exercises usurped powers], and power “to define and provide for punishment of offenses constituting acts of war or violent insurrection against the United States” [read that again!]. Mark Levin’s amendments also increase the powers of the feds by legalizing powers they have usurped. His “override” amendments remove the Constitution as the standard of what is lawful and what is not, and substitute majority vote. Yet the conspirators say such amendments would curb the federal government!
But we must not be distracted by proposed amendments. Their amendments are most likely a pretext to get a “convention” so they can carry out their plot to replace our Constitution.
Their second major premise: Our Constitution is the cause of our problems.
Except for some of the existing Amendments Americans already got manipulated into supporting, what is wrong with our Constitution? For the most part, it is easy to understand. For phrases federal judges have perverted – such as the “interstate commerce”, “general welfare”, & “necessary and proper” clauses, a quick look into The Federalist Papers usually reveals the original intent. I illustrate that here.
This one page chart illustrates the structure of our federal system and the enumerated powers delegated to the federal government. What needs “fixing”? We are in our present mess because for 100 years, we elected & re-elected politicians to federal and state office who ignore it.
All our Constitution wants is (1) to be learned & obeyed; and (2) to have repealed some of the existing Amendments. Repeal those the same way we repealed the 18th Amendment. We don’t need a “convention” for that. Instead of sending ignorant phonies to Congress; send people who know the Constitution [make them pass tests before you support them] and commit to repealing the 17th Amendment and other ill-considered Amendments.
Their third major premise: That there is such a thing as a “convention of states”: The FAQs say “Article V, Section 2 of the Constitution” gives state legislatures the power to call a convention; that Federalist No. 85 says Congress has “no control over the delegates”; that “Virginia called the Philadelphia Convention of 1787”; and that “Basic common sense” and “Agency law 101” says “Each state chooses its own delegates”.
Those claims are truly bizarre.
Read Art. V: There is no “Section 2”. Article V says Congress calls the convention – not state legislatures. All state legislatures can do is apply to Congress for Congress to call it.
Federalist No. 85 says Congress must call a convention when two-thirds of the States apply for it. Hamilton does not say Congress has “no control over the delegates”! 6
Virginia did not “call” the Philadelphia Convention of 1787! The Continental Congress did. Their Resolution calling the 1787 convention, pursuant to Art. 13 of The Articles of Confederation, is quoted at endnote 4. And when the Continental Congress called the 1787 convention, they specifically provided that delegates would be appointed by the States. 4
But Art. I, Sec. 8, last clause, of our Constitution delegates to Congress power to make all laws necessary and proper to carry out the powers vested in it by Art. V. So Congress has the power to organize the convention, appoint the chairman and delegates, etc. The Mason & Randolph view was rejected. And the clear words of our Constitution cannot be changed by some ignorant person’s subjective conceptions of “common sense” and “Agency law 101”!
Their fourth major premise: That States are victims of federal tyranny and will rein in the federal government given the opportunity at a convention.
But look at what States have done. They have acquiesced in federal usurpations in exchange for federal funds. The States adopted unconstitutional federal education schemes such as “race to the top” and common core for the federal grant money.
DHS is becoming America’s equivalent of the East German STASI and Soviet KGB. With the connivance of State governments, DHS is taking over local & State law enforcement. And read about the fusion centers in every State – the States acquiesced!
John Barnes shows that State governments no longer focus on managing “a relatively self-contained polis”, but on “siphoning as much money as possible from the federal government”; and that “state government is becoming a mere pass-through for federal funds and an apparatus of federal policy.” Barnes shows us how State governments all over the Country are bloated with bureaucrats whose job is to “maximize federal funding”.
Google “maximize federal funding” – you will see. No rational person can believe that the politicians in the States – who are the ones who sold us to the feds in the first place – are the ones to rescue us from the feds. If the States wanted to, they could rein in the feds right now by using the remedy our Framers really did advise: Nullification.
Their fifth major premise: That the federal government will obey amendments.
But think! The feds continually violate the Constitution we have. They exercise thousands of usurped powers.
The conspirators insist the feds would obey future amendments because the feds haven’t violated recent amendments, such as women’s suffrage. Well, of course not! 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); 7 and 4 were “housekeeping” amendments (20th, 22nd, 25th, 27th).
Do you see?
Appeal to Desperation
The gist of this propaganda technique is to argue that we must do something – we can’t do nothing – so let’s do what I propose. And we better do it “before it is too late”.
Many Americans are in a panic over the rapidity with which Obama – with the connivance of the Republican and Democrat parties and the State governments – is setting up a national totalitarian police state.
But we mustn’t allow the conspirators to exploit our desperation so as to induce us into surrendering our Constitution. All Americans who have fallen for the conspirators’ scam have been manipulated by THIS technique.
We have effective options. We have failed to gain the knowledge which would enable us to be the Sovereigns we are supposed to be. We have contented ourselves with blind faith in talk show hosts, politicians, and other charlatans. We are what needs fixing.
Claim there is a Panacea
With this, you claim that what you are offering is a magical cure for all the problems.
The conspirators say all we have to do to fix our problems is have a “convention of states”. They say they will propose amendments to the Constitution, and the federal government will be “fixed”. They ignore the facts that everyone has ignored the Constitution we have; that it was the States who sold us out in the first place; and that We The People kept reelecting ignorant & glib politicians who violate the Constitution to state & federal office.
There is no such thing as a panacea. We have a long road ahead of us to fix the problems We caused by our own folly, ignorance, and laziness.
Repetition for Emphasis
With this, you drive home a few simple and unproven points by repeating them over and over until the public believes them.
The five major premises listed above are repeated over & over & over & over & over. People believe them because they have been programed to believe them.
Orange quotes Adolf Hitler:
“It [propaganda] must repeat those points over and over again until the public believes it. The principles behind propaganda are the same principles of mind control, hypnotic suggestion, and mental programming: distraction and repetition. With propaganda, distraction draws attention away from information that is true and directs attention to information that is false. Repetition of the false information imbeds it in your subconscious mind so that your acceptance of its truth becomes a conditioned response. You accept this information as true without thinking whenever it is presented to you again.”
This is why most of mankind has lived under tyranny. People will believe anything if they hear it enough. Folks! You better start facing Reality and taking charge of what you believe.
The Big Lie
The gist of this is to:
“…keep repeating the same lie[s] over and over, in spite of all arguments and evidence to the contrary, until people believe it. Massive repetition is essential.”
It has already been proved by this and other writers that everything the conspirators say about nullification and a “convention” is false. But they keep repeating it. Why? Because massive repetition of lies will induce people to believe them.
Fabricated Legal Principles & Precedent [“Imaginary Evidence”]
The FAQs make various assertions about how this “convention of states” would operate, such as:
- “The applications must request a convention of states for the same subject matter” or “same issue”;
- “States are free to develop their own selection process for choosing their delegates… each state has one vote at the convention.”
The FAQs say this reflects “widely accepted” “procedures and rules” Rob Natelson found during his “extensive research”, which were followed in the “interstate conventions” which “were common” during “the Founding Era”.
Folks! If these customs existed and established binding precedent on the Congress we created when we ratified our Constitution, why did James Madison not know about them? During the Federal Convention of 1787, Madison said, respecting Article V:
September 10, 1787: Mr. Madison remarked on the vagueness of the terms, “call a Convention for the purpose”, as sufficient reason for reconsidering the article. “How was a Convention to be formed? – by what rule decide? – what the force of its acts?”
September 15, 1787: Mr. Madison did not see why Congress would not be as much bound to propose amendments applied for by two-thirds of the States, as to call a Convention on the like application. He saw no objection, however, against providing for a Convention for the purpose of amendments, except only that difficulties might arise as to the form, the quorum, &c., which in constitutional regulations ought to be as much as possible avoided.
Do you see? And don’t forget: Article V says Congress calls the convention; and Art. I, Sec. 8, last clause, delegates to Congress power to make laws needed to execute the powers vested in it by Article V. This constitutional provision supersedes any “customs” to the contrary.
The gist of this technique is to:
“Reduce the issue to a few simple sentences that any blithering idiot can understand. Leave out all the complicated facts and confounding factors. Reduce the debate to just a few simple-minded sentences and slogans. Reduce complex multi-faceted issues to simplistic statements that can be expressed in a short sound bite.”
Aren’t the FAQs a few simple concepts any blithering idiot can understand?
It is this and other writers who point out the “complicated facts”. Are we too stupid to be free?
Exploit Wishful Thinking
With this technique, you tell people what they want to hear, rather than the unpleasant truths.
The conspirators are offering an easy way out which satisfies a deep yearning: to feel good. We don’t have to accept responsibility for our own failures to become a “natural guardian of the Constitution”; we are encouraged to blame shift and see the Constitution as the cause of our problems; and we don’t have to trouble ourselves to actually learn our Founding Principles & Documents. All we have to do is join the conspirators. And then, everything will be wonderful.
This technique gets people to convince themselves of your ideas by asking for their help in promoting your ideas. “They will sell themselves on the idea as they try to sell it to others.”
Orange gives this example of the Self-sell: In “Cold Turkey”, Dick Van Dyke plays a preacher who wants everyone in his town to quit smoking. He got the local Neo-Nazis to quit by enlisting them as “smoking-ban enforcers”.
The conspirators want to build a “grassroots operation” of volunteers to sell their scheme to State legislators [the ones who already sold us to the feds for federal funds.] And we have seen these volunteers’ mindless comments on the internet as they regurgitate the talking points in the FAQs – they sell themselves as they try to sell to others. 8
You better wise up now. Study this chart. Flesh it out with your readings of our Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Have study groups. What Hamilton asked you to be is not difficult.
1 Our Framers never saw courts as the final authority. See James Madison Rebukes Nullification Deniers. Hamilton expected us to be “a people enlightened enough to distinguish between a legal exercise and an illegal usurpation of authority” (Federalist No. 16, next to last para).
2 Politicians are as ignorant as those who elect them. But we want a savior who will rescue us without any effort on our part. So we look to politicians to save us. They always betray us; and we are presented with still another phony who says what we want to hear, whom we support, and who betrays us. This happens because we don’t know our Constitution, and thus can’t evaluate the politicians. If WE knew our Constitution, those smooth-talking ignoramuses wouldn’t have a chance of getting elected. You would see right through them.
3 Progressives & phony “conservatives” have worked hand in hand for many years to replace our Constitution. See Richard D. Fry, “Convention of States”: The Wrong Solution to the Wrong Problem.
4 The conspirators tell the brazen lie that the convention “cannot throw out the Constitution because it derives its authority from the Constitution.” Rubbish! Pursuant to Article XIII of The Articles of Confederation, the Continental Congress resolved on February 21, 1787 (p 71-74):
“Resolved that in the opinion of Congress it is expedient that on the second Monday in May next a Convention of delegates who shall have been appointed by the several states be held at Philadelphia for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation and reporting to Congress and the several legislatures such alterations and provisions therein as shall when agreed to in Congress and confirmed by the states render the federal constitution adequate to the exigencies of Government & the preservation of the Union.” [emphasis mine]
The delegates ignored these limitations and wrote a new Constitution with a new method of ratification. It is impossible to stop this from happening at another convention. And George Washington, James Madison, Ben Franklin, and Alexander Hamilton won’t be there.
The conspirators also say a “Constitutional Convention” is safe because no amendment will be passed which is not ratified by ¾ of the States. This is deceptive because the concern is about a runaway convention & a new Constitution – not amendments. Since a new Constitution can have any method of ratification the delegates want, it can be forced on us.
5 See Propaganda and Debating Techniques by A. Orange. Orange is a “librul”, and on a vendetta against AA. But he understands how scoundrels use propaganda to deceive the unthinking. See how Adolf Hitler used these same techniques to manipulate the German People.
6 I addressed this same lie in “Mark Levin Refuted: Keep the Feds in Check with Nullification, not Amendments!” under the subheading, “What Levin Claims Article V Says”. Congress’ lack of discretion is limited to the issue of “to call or not to call” a convention once the requisite number of States has applied for it. After Congress “calls” the convention, Art. I, Sec. 8, last clause kicks in to empower Congress to make all laws necessary to carry out the call.
7 The result of the voting amendments (15th, 19th, 24th, 26th)was to transfer the power of determining voter qualifications from the States (Art. I, Sec. 2, cl.1) to the federal government.
It was necessary to amend the Constitution to remedy the defects which permitted slavery; but the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments delegated powers over the States to the federal government. It would have been better to merely repeal the provisions at Art. I, Sec. 2, cl.3 which provided for a partial counting of slaves; and Art. IV, Sec. 2, cl. 3 which permitted Congress to make laws against fugitive slaves. And if the States had been wise instead of foolish, they would have banned slavery and extended citizenship & civil rights to freed slaves on their own, and provided the education to help them make the transition from slave to citizen. Stupidity and wickedness are not cheap, Folks. And Amendments are a very tricky business.
8 There is nothing wrong with asking others to help promote ideas – when the ideas are True and Good. But when the ideas are destructive and false, the self-sell is immoral manipulation. PH
January 28, 2014
By Publius Huldah
What Mark Levin says in “The Liberty Amendments” in support of an Article V convention is not true.1
On one side of this controversy are those who want to restore our Constitution by requiring federal and State officials to obey the Constitution we have; or by electing ones who will. We show that the Oath of Office at Art. VI, last clause, requires federal 2 and state officials to support the Constitution. This requires them to refuse to submit to – to nullify – acts of the federal government which violate the Constitution. This is how they “support” the Constitution!
We note that the Oath of Office requires obedience to the Constitution alone. The Oath does not require obedience to persons, to any agency of the federal government, or to any federal court.
We understand that resistance to tyranny is a natural right – and it is a duty.
We have read original writings of our Framers and know what our Framers actually told the States to do when the federal government violates the Constitution: Nullification of the unlawful act is among the first of the recommended remedies – not one of which is “amendment of the Constitution”. 3
It is already proved in James Madison Rebukes Nullification Deniers, that our Framers endorsed nullification by States of unconstitutional acts of the federal government. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison summed it up as follows:
“…when powers are assumed which have not been delegated, a nullification of the act”4 is “the natural right, which all admit to be a remedy against insupportable oppression…” 5
The claims of the nullification deniers have been proven to be false. To persist in those claims – or to do as Levin seems to do and ignore the remedy of nullification – is intellectually and morally indefensible. So why don’t they apologize to the public and recant their errors?
Instead, they continue to tell us that what we need is a “convention of the States” (which Levin and his mentors insist is provided by Article V of the Constitution) to propose amendments to the Constitution, and that this is the only way out.
Yes, they tell us, the only way to deal with a federal government which consistently ignores and tramples over the Constitution is …. to amend the Constitution!
Do you see how silly that is?
Levin starts his book by saying how bad things are and how the federal government has trampled and mangled the Constitution. Those pages are true. And they serve the purpose of making readers believe that Levin is “on our side”. And because of that, many are induced to lay aside their critical thinking skills and accept on trust what Levin tells them. That is a deadly mistake.
Levin’s amendments actually gut our Constitution. Most increase the powers of the federal government by making lawful what is now unconstitutional because it is not an “enumerated power”. Others put a band-aid on a problem without solving the problem. 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. 6
A Defective Constitution? Or a Disobedient Federal Government?
We must distinguish between defects within a Constitution, and a government’s refusal to obey the Constitution to which it is subject. These are different problems calling for different remedies.
There were defects in the Constitution produced by the Federal Convention of 1787, such as provisions permitting slavery. Provision for amendment must be made to repair such defects. 7
But our problem now is a disobedient federal government. That calls for different remedies – and our Framers spelled them out. 3
It is idiotic to assert that you can rein in a federal government which ignores the Constitution by amending the Constitution! Yet, that is “The Levin Plan”.
Now let us read Article V:
What Article V Really 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, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress…” [boldface mine]
Note that Congress “calls” the Convention. The States don’t “call” it – all they can do is apply to Congress for Congress to call it.
There are many questions about Article V conventions; and James Madison raised them on two occasions at the Federal Convention of 1787: 8
- On September 10, Madison 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?
- On September 15, Madison commented on this again, and said that difficulties might arise as to the form, the quorum, etc., which in constitutional regulations ought to be avoided when possible.
Mr. Madison saw that these questions are not addressed by Article V. Eagle Forum has also raised this issue in Twenty Questions about a constitutional convention.
But since Congress “calls” it, Congress has the power to appoint whomsoever they will as delegates;9 and nothing in the Constitution says they can’t do this.
Now note that Art. V provides for two conventions:
- The first is the one called by Congress to propose amendments.
- After amendments are proposed, Art. V empowers Congress to select the mode of ratification: Shall the State Legislatures be the body to ratify or reject? Or shall each State convene a convention for the purposes or ratifying or rejecting the proposed amendments?
The only convention Art. V authorizes States to convene is one within their respective borders to ratify or reject an amendment proposed by Congress or by the convention Congress called.
What Levin Claims Article V Says
As you see, Art. V makes no provision for a “state convention process” where the States control the convention.
Yet Levin makes the bizarre claims (p 16-17) that Art. V authorizes this “state convention process”; and that the convention called by Congress pursuant to Art. V is really:
- A “creature …of the state legislatures”;
- That during ratification of our Constitution, the Founders always talked about conventions for proposing amendments as representing the States; and
- That the state legislatures determine the method for selection of their delegates; and the subject matter of the convention.
Does Levin cite any authority for these claims? Words of our Framers, perhaps?
No! He cites an article written by former law professor, Robert G. Natelson, who Levin says is an “expert” on this “state convention process” (p16, notes 28 & 29).
Here is the article by Natelson Levin cites as “authority” for his claims. Note that:
- Natelson announces that he will no longer call what he wants a “constitutional convention”. Henceforth, he will call it a “convention for proposing amendments”, an “Article V Convention”, an “amendments convention” or a “convention of the states”. 10
- Natelson doesn’t cite any authority from our Framers for the claims Levin regurgitates in his book. Instead, Natelson cites other law review articles; and
- Natelson claims it was “custom” at the time of our Founding for States to have all these powers in conventions.
Natelson’s article is no authority at all. And even if he had proven that the “custom” at the time of our Framing was for States to have all these powers in conventions [someone really should have told James Madison about this “custom”]; what is there to make the Congress of today follow this 18th century “custom” when Congress “calls” the convention under Art. V?
Levin also says he knows Congress’ role in the “state application process” is minimal and ministerial because:
- The Framers and ratifiers adopted this “state convention process” for the purpose of establishing an alternative to the congressionally initiated amendment process; and
- Alexander Hamilton said so in Federalist Paper No. 85.
Here, Levin commits the logical fallacy of “circular reasoning”: We know, Levin argues, that Congress’ role in the state application process is “minimal and ministerial” because the Framers adopted this as an alternative to the method where Congress proposes the amendments directly. Do you see?
Levin next claims that in Federalist No. 85, Hamilton said, respecting an Art. V convention, that Congress has “no option”, “will be obliged”, and that “nothing in this particular is left to the discretion of that body” (p 16-17).
Levin misrepresents what Hamilton says. In Federalist No. 85, Hamilton merely says that Congress must call a convention when two-thirds of the States apply for it:
“… By the fifth article of the plan, the Congress will be obliged … on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the States … to call a convention for proposing amendments … The words of this article are peremptory. The Congress “shall call a convention.” Nothing in this particular is left to the discretion of that body. …”
Levin wrongly extends Congress’ lack of discretion on the issue of “to call or not to call” to what follows the “call”: How the convention is to be formed, the appointment of delegates, the other questions raised by Madison on September 10 & 15, 1787, and Eagle Forum’s Twenty Questions.
I have never seen any of the Framers say that Congress has no power over what follows Congress’ “call”; and Levin doesn’t produce evidence that any of them ever did.
Levin misrepresents what happened at the Federal Convention of 1787.
This 4 page chart lays out what really happened at that Convention respecting Article V.
To introduce his discussion of that Convention, Levin makes the following fanciful claims:
“The Constitution itself provides the means for restoring self-government and averting societal catastrophe (or, in the case of societal collapse, resurrecting the civil society) in Article V.” (p 12)
“The fact is that Article V expressly grants state legislatures significant authority to rebalance the constitutional structure for the purpose of restoring our founding principles should the federal government shed its limitations, abandon its original purpose, and grow too powerful…” (p12-13)
Article V says no such thing! Read it and see.
Levin then quotes Edmund Randolph & George Mason, delegates to the Convention, as support for his claims respecting the purpose of Art. V.
But Randolph & Mason wanted a method of amendment Congress had nothing to do with. This was an issue at the Convention; Randolph & Mason held the minority view.
The majority view – the one reflected in the ratified version of Article V – involves Congress in both methods of amendment. Congress either:
- Proposes the amendments; or
- “Calls” a convention when the Legislatures of 2/3 of the States apply for it.
Our Framers’ Concerns about “Conventions”
Now let us examine the “convention for proposing amendments” which Congress calls pursuant to Art. V; the “runaway” the Federal Convention of 1787 turned into, and “general conventions”.
We saw that James Madison raised concerns on September 10 & 15, 1787, about Art. V conventions called by Congress, because of questions respecting how was a Convention to be formed, by what rule, & the procedures of such conventions.
Yet Levin claims that in Federalist No. 43, Madison shows he considered an Art. V convention as prudent a method of amendment as having Congress propose the amendments (p 15).
Madison does not say that in Federalist No. 43! 11
Second, Levin’s claim is contradicted by Madison’s words in his letter of November 2, 1788 to G. L. Turberville on the same subject.
In his letter to Turberville, Madison speaks, with reference to modes of originating amendments, of both a “general convention” and an “Article V Convention”, on the one hand; and, on the other hand, “the origination of amendments in Congress”.
Madison advises that amendments be originated in Congress – not in an Art. V Convention, for the various reasons set forth in his letter; and that:
“2. A [“general”] Convention cannot be called without the unanimous consent of the parties who are to be bound by it, if first principles are to be recurred to; or without the previous application of ⅔ of the State legislatures, if the forms of the Constitution [Art. V] are to be pursued. The difficulties in either of these cases must evidently be much greater than will attend the origination of amendments in Congress, which may be done at the instance of a single State Legislature, or even without a single instruction on the subject…” [boldface mine]
Do you see? Madison advises that when States want amendments, they instruct their Congressional delegation to pursue it. This is the best way for the States to “originate amendments”!
That is the mode Madison strongly recommended; that is the mode we have followed. On May 5, 1789, Rep. Bland (pages 258-261) introduced into Congress the petition from the State of Virginia for an Art. V Convention to propose amendments. But on June 8, 1789, Madison (pages 448-460) introduced 12 proposed amendments for Congress to propose to the State Legislatures. And on September 24, 1789, the House & Senate having agreed on the wording of the proposed 12 amendments; the House requested the President to transmit them to the States for ratification.
If we cannot elect to Congress people who will follow the instructions of their State Legislatures & constituents and propose those amendments which actually need to be made; how can we trust Congress to “call” a convention?
And as to another “general” or “runaway” convention, perish the thought!:
On September 15,1787, in response to Randolph’s & Mason’s demands for another “general convention”, Mr. Pinckney pointed out that nothing but confusion and contrariety will spring from calling forth the deliberations and amendments of the different States, on the subject of government at large. States will never agree in their plans; and the deputies to a second convention, coming together under the discordant impressions of their constituents, will never agree. “Conventions are serious things, and ought not to be repeated.”
In Federalist No. 85 (9th para), Hamilton spoke 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…”
James Madison warned against another general convention in his letter to Turberville :
“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]
Do we have “violent partizans”, “individuals of insidious views”, and any who would exploit an opportunity to sap “the very foundations of the fabric” today? Yes, we do. They are in Congress, the executive branch, the federal Courts, “conservative” circles – and they are invading our Country at a furious rate. And what now is the “present temper of America”?
Why a “Runaway” Article V Convention is a Real Possibility and a Grave Danger.
“Resolved that in the opinion of Congress it is expedient that on the second Monday in May next a Convention of delegates who shall have been appointed by the several states be held at Philadelphia for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation and reporting to Congress and the several legislatures such alterations and provisions therein as shall when agreed to in Congress and confirmed by the states render the federal constitution adequate to the exigencies of Government & the preservation of the Union.” [boldface mine]
So! The Convention of 1787 was called by the Continental Congress for the “sole and express purpose” of proposing revisions to the Articles of Confederation.
But the delegates ignored these limitations and wrote a new Constitution. 12
As to delegates, the Continental Congress expressly directed the States to appoint the delegates.
But there is no requirement in Art. V of our Constitution that States be permitted to appoint delegates; and no “custom” from the era of the Continental Congress can bind the Congress of today.
So if Congress of today were to call an Art. V convention, Congress would most likely get delegates who would do what Congress wants.
And will Congress appoint Islamists as delegates? La Raza Mexicans? Other special interest groups? How can Congress be prevented from appointing whomsoever they will?
And if the delegates duly appointed by Congress, and acting under the Authority of Congress, come up with a new Constitution, will the new Constitution outlaw Christianity? (Obama is outlawing it in the military, and Congress isn’t doing a thing about it). Will it institute Sharia? Will it disarm the American People? Will it follow the UN Model where “rights” are privileges granted and withdrawn by the State? Will it outlaw private property?
And this new Constitution will have its own mode of ratification. This new mode of ratification can be whatever the delegates want – a majority vote in Congress, perhaps?
There is no way to stop them from “running away” and writing a new Constitution with its own mode of ratification. They can cram a new Constitution down your throat and you won’t be able to do a thing about it.
On page 15, Levin commits a formal fallacy (an argument defective as to form) when he attempts to prove that an Art. V convention can’t possibly turn into a “runaway”. Here is the form of his argument:
- He was originally skeptical of “the state convention process” because it could turn into a “runaway”.
- Art. V says a proposed amendment has no effect unless ratified by ¾ of the States.
- Therefore, the “state convention process” can’t result in a “hijack of the Constitution” [“runaway”].
His conclusion (3) is a form of non sequitur – it doesn’t follow from the premises (1 & 2). And our concern is not with amendments – those are subject to approval by three-fourths of the States. Our concern is that the convention will “runaway” and write a new Constitution with a new mode of ratification which does not require approval by three-fourths of the States. Do you see?
Few of us can name even 5 of the enumerated powers of Congress and 4 of the enumerated powers of the President. Why? Because we never bothered to learn our Constitution. Alexander Hamilton expected THE PEOPLE to be “the natural guardians of the Constitution”. But you can’t “guard” the Constitution if you don’t trouble yourself to learn it.
Since we never bothered to learn the Constitution, we elected politicians who also hadn’t bothered to learn it. So they ignored the Constitution when they assumed office.
This is why, after more than 100 years of electing politicians who ignore the Constitution, we are now under tyranny and headed for disaster.
Do we now want a way out which allows us to avoid confronting our own personal failures as Guardians of the Constitution? When charlatans who “sound good” offer us a scapegoat, do we jump on it? Do we chant, “The Constitution is broken! Fix the Constitution!” And shall we pretend that we too know all about how to amend a Constitution most of us never bothered to read?
Our Constitution depended on our knowing our Constitution and in electing representatives who would obey it – and getting rid of them when they didn’t.
James Madison said on June 20, 1788 at the Virginia Ratifying Convention:
“…. But I go on this great republican principle, that the people will have virtue and intelligence to select men of virtue and wisdom. Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks—no form of government can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea. If there be sufficient virtue and intelligence in the community, it will be exercised in the selection of these men. So that we do not depend on their virtue, or put confidence in our rulers, but in the people who are to choose them.”
We are in a “wretched situation” because we lost our virtue. Renounce handouts and pride in pretended “knowingness”. Learn the enumerated powers of Congress and the President. This chart will get you started. Learn about nullification. Form delegations and go to your State Legislators, educate them and demand they start nullifying unconstitutional acts of the federal government. States should nullify obamacare! If Legislators aren’t willing to renounce federal funding, recall or defeat them! PH
1 We must stop believing whatever we are told. We must demand proof by original source documents, and think for ourselves.
2 The President’s Oath is set forth at Art. II, §1, last clause.
3 These are among the remedies our Framers advised when the federal government usurps power:
►In Federalist No. 44 (12th para from end), Madison says elect more faithful representatives!:
“… In the first instance, the success of the usurpation will depend on the executive and judiciary departments, which are to expound and give effect to the legislative acts; and in the last resort a remedy must be obtained from the people who can, by the election of more faithful representatives, annul the acts of the usurpers…”
But we keep reelecting the same sorry people because we know their names and they are in our party.
►States should nullify unconstitutional acts of the federal government! This is proven with links to original sources in James Madison Rebukes Nullification Deniers.
►In Federalist No. 46 (last half), Madison shows how individual States or several States carry out various degrees of resistance to the federal government’s unconstitutional encroachments. See also: What Should States Do When The Federal Government Usurps Power?
►In Federalist No. 28 (last 5 paras), Hamilton says:
“If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers, may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success …” [italics mine]
“…The obstacles to usurpation and the facilities of resistance increase with the increased extent of the state, provided the citizens understand their rights and are disposed to defend them…”
“It may safely be received as an axiom …that the State governments will … afford complete security against invasions of the public liberty by the national authority…. The legislatures … can at once adopt a regular plan of opposition…”
“…When will the time arrive that the federal government can raise and maintain an army capable of erecting a despotism over the great body of the people … who are in a situation, through the medium of their State governments, to take measures for their own defense…”
4 Thomas Jefferson, The Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, 8th Resolution.
5 James Madison, Notes on Nullification (1834). The quote is near the end. Use “find” function.
6 Later, I will show why Levin’s proposed amendments gut our Constitution. Meanwhile, you read the Constitution, learn the enumerated powers of Congress, and see if you can figure out what is wrong with the proposed amendments. Use your own head and trust no one.
7 Alexander Hamilton said on Sep. 10, 1787 that an easy mode should be established for fixing defects which will probably appear in the new system ... the National Legislature will be the first to perceive, and will be most sensible to, the necessity of amendments…
8 What happened at the Federal Convention of 1787 respecting Art. V is laid out in this 4 page chart.
thereby making the gullible believe that they can be a “player” in this “Convention of the States”.
10 Phyllis Schlafly, Kelleigh Nelson, Henry Lamb and others have done such a magnificent job of warning The People of the dangers of a constitutional convention, that many now understand that such is likely to result in a new Constitution – with its own method of ratification – being forced on us.
So! Proponents now call it by another name: “Convention of the States” or “state convention process”. Is the purpose of the name change to deceive you? To make you think it is something “different” from the Art. V convention Congress calls?
11 In Federalist No. 43, Madison comments on Art. V:
“8…That useful alterations will be suggested by experience, could not but be foreseen. It was requisite, therefore, that a mode for introducing them should be provided. The mode preferred by the convention seems to be stamped with every mark of propriety. It guards equally against that extreme facility, which would render the Constitution too mutable; and that extreme difficulty, which might perpetuate its discovered faults. It, moreover, equally enables the general and the State governments to originate the amendment of errors, as they may be pointed out by the experience on one side, or on the other…”
12 We were fortunate (except for slavery) with the Constitution of 1787, even though the Federal Convention was a “runaway”. Look who was there!: George Washington, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and Benjamin Franklin; and they weren’t drowned out by subversives. They would be today. PH
September 15, 2013; revised Dec. 5, 2013; Dec. 31, 2013.