Article V Convention vs Con-Con

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Arguments against a Constitutional Convention (also called a Con-Con) are plentiful and rightly so. The last Constitutional Convention resulted in a new government. Opening up the Constitution could be like opening Pandora’s box.

But.

What happens with a federal government that is out of control? Representative Ken Ivory says that the distinct line between the federal government and states’ rights is the issue of our time. I believe it’s certainly in the top 2 or 3 issues. Yet how many times have the states ceded their power to the federal government. How many times have we rolled over, thrown up our hands and said there is nothing we can do? Or even worse, how many times have states gone to the federal government and asked for handouts, willingly accepting the strings that come with it. In the last year or two, we have seen what happens when “we the people” get fed up with the government. In fact, political pundit LaVar Webb points out:

In the business world, we have often seen the forces of “disruptive innovation” at work. Harvard Business Professor Clayton Christensen has written best-selling books about the inevitable process of large, bureaucratic, top-down, slow-moving businesses or industries being “disrupted” by small, nimble, innovative competitors using the latest technologies. In business, this process, while deadly for lethargic firms, eventually produces better products, superior customer service, and an upward spiral in efficiency, productivity, wealth creation, and quality of life.

This raises an intriguing question: Could the beneficial process of disruptive innovation work in government? Government obviously isn’t subject to the same competitive forces as are private businesses. Government operates by force and coercion, imposing its will by law and regulation, not according to market needs or consumer demand.

State legislatures have the right to tell the federal government to back off. They can do it through (mostly meaningless) resolutions. They can do it through bills that slap the feds in the face. They can do it through nullification attempts. They can also call for an Article V convention.

Article V reads as follows:

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; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

On a state level, there are a couple of ways to change the state Constitution. The legislature can pass a bill by 2/3 in both the House and the Senate, then have it ratified by popular vote. Or, we can have a citizen’s initiative where a certain percentage of the population drives the movement to get an amendment put on the ballot. On the federal level, we can have an amendment passed (such as the Balanced Budget Amendment currently being talked about in DC), OR, we could have a Con-Con, OR we could have a state-called amendment convention.

If the Founding Fathers were truly concerned with the overgrowth of the federal government – and certainly all evidence points to that as a primary concern – then the inclusion of Article V is not an accident. It was meant to be one more check by the states on the federal government.

Look at DC right now and tell me that we don’t already have a runaway government that is acting outside the bounds of their Constitutional authority. We have TARP, we have Obamacare shoved down our throats, we have unelected, powerful czars and we have lame duck sessions where bills like S510 were passed on a voice vote late in the evening, in spite of significant opposition. In addition, we have secretaries – like Ken Salazar, of the Department of the Interior – who have proclaimed that he and his department can now circumvent the Constitution in declaring wild lands and departments like the EPA who regulate by rule when they can’t get the laws they want passed by Congress.

As someone who loves the Constitution, and who loves this country, I am tired of rolling over and letting the federal government trample our rights. I believe we SHOULD use the tools the Founding Fathers gave us to push back against this egregious federal over-reach and for this reason, I support the states banding together and proposing an Article V amendment convention.

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61 Responses to “Article V Convention vs Con-Con”

  1. Don Says:

    I don’t believe that there is a single part of the government, whether it be the house, senate, judicial system or any of the myriad of departments that have been created that are doing their job effectively, efficiently and economically.

    The dozens of unelected corporate driven departments need to be abolished and legislation that holds those that spend government money and hold government jobs accountable.

    I believe it is DRASTICALLY overdue that the states come together and put the federal government, it’s corrupt departments, and out of control spending in it’s place and take the hard step of eliminating career politicians by eliminating most of the benefits that they have come to enjoy which have helped corrupts them. I also believe that corporate handouts in the form of appropriations, which saddle every american with Tax burdens to pay for special interest projects, the lame duck session and the 100’s of billions of dollars loaned out by the FED in OUR names should be at the top of the list for priorities that the states need to work out.
    Don

  2. Tweets that mention Article V Convention vs Constitutional Convention « Holly On The Hill -- Topsy.com Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Holly Richardson, utahpolitics. utahpolitics said: RT @HollyontheHill: Article V convention vs full-blown con-con. My thoughts. http://bit.ly/goDiez #utpol […]

  3. Daniel B. Says:

    An interesting proposition. While I believe the Founders set the bar high in order to make it difficult to change the Constitution too much and too easily, I wonder if they anticipated that it would be a tool so rarely used.

  4. David Kyle Says:

    Lets look at some of the previous attempts to quote “Fix the Constitution”

    14th Amendment. Most Constitutional Scholars believe it was written Poorly and thus led to many abuses, and what is now called “Birthright Citizenship”

    16 Amendment. Gave us an Unconstitutional (direct) Income Tax

    17 Amendment. Gave us “Democracy” or mob rule, and took away the states right to representation. The Senate was setup/designed to be the States representation in D.C. and the House was the peoples.

    I’m totally and very strongly against calling any type of Con-Con. What a mistake it would be to think that the very people that don’t obey our current Constitution would be entrusted to set the new rules, write a new one or make amendments in a vein attempt to fix it?!

  5. Becky Pirente Says:

    Holly, I agree with much of what you say, but for me it comes down to one simple question: who gets to control the convention? Whether it be an Article V or a Con-Con, who sets the rules?

    Unfortunately, Congress does. The states apply to Congress to call the convention (then the states must ratify any amendments produced). But Congress, as in out-of-control, TARP-producing, Obamacare championing, lame-duck session Congress, gets to set the whole thing up for us. “We’re from the government and we’re here to help.” Yeah, right!

    One more question, can you think of any scenario where the feds strong-arm states into accepting federal mandates and money? That never happens, does it?

    Imagine the feds explaining how much more efficient and cost-effective the government would be if it were run more like a business, without all those pesky constitutional restrictions hindering the executive from making important and timely decisions for all branches and agencies?

    Surely they would never threaten to withhold state funding if a state hesitated to ratify a new amendment, like maybe watering down the 10th, for example. At least now it’s against the constitution when they infringe on state sovereignty.
    That could change. Just think how much simpler to change the structure of our government so states could be simply administrative offices of the federal government. Do you think they’ll let us keep our state gun?

  6. JBT Says:

    When Federal Government programs are eliminated each of the 50 states are required to pick up the slack. Then the conservatives whine about having their state taxes go up or public services cut to the bone.

    My advice to my conservative friends is be careful what you pray for. There are a vast number of services your federal government provides that directly or indirectly benefit you and your families that you are both ignorant and unappreciative of.

    So long as the depth of the conservative’s understanding never goes beyond the slogan that fits neatly on a Tea Party protest sign, they will continue to be ignorant of the fact that the true relationship between the US government and its citizens is WE and not US and THEM.

  7. Becky Pirente Says:

    @JBT, of course all those federal dollars come from our taxes, right? And then the money comes back to fund State programs with all sorts of strings attached. A better model would be for the states to retain more of their own revenues and take care of their citizen’s needs with less regulation, restrictions and mandates from Washington.

  8. Anne Marie Oborn Says:

    If we have the power to band together to propose an article V amendment then I think we already have the power to change what we need? Right?

  9. Guest Post: Holly Richardson’s “Article V Convention vs Con-Con” | What they didn't teach in law school Says:

    […] As someone who loves the Constitution, and who loves this country, I am tired of rolling over and letting the federal government trample our rights. I believe we SHOULD use the tools the Founding Fathers gave us to push back against this egregious federal over-reach and for this reason, I support the states banding together and proposing an Article V amendment convention. –Reprinted with permission from Utah State Representative Holly Richardson. Find the original post here. […]

  10. Rod Mann Says:

    Holly … a few of questions for you.

    – At a Constitutional Convention is there any limit to the number of amendments that can be proposed? Answer No
    – Is there a limit to the scope of these amendments? Answer No
    – Do we think that the attendees representing the states will be anywhere near as qualified to discuss constitutional issues, theories of government, … as the attendees of the original convention. My answer not likely
    – Who will end up attending the convention? The most qualified or the best connected? My answer in general the least qualified and best connected
    – Will they be able to craft amendments to solve problems that don’t have unintended consequences. Vis-a-vi the 14th amendment which among other things wanted to ensure that slaves were citizen being interpreted to mean that anyone born in the US no matter the circumstances are citizens. Or the 17th which allegedly sought to circumvent corruption w/i state legislatures and ended up diminishing the power of the states and raised the level of corruption to a higher level, where the impact is greater and the number of people that needed to be corrupted to game the system was fewer (100 Senators vs. a majority of the legislators in 50 states). My answer No
    – Who will bear the cost of such a convention? I can only imagine the expense. My answer we will and the cost will be significant
    – Will expectations be raised in the public’s mind to the point that they are impossible to meet? My answer Yes
    – When they are not met will more people then feel like there are no alternatives to drastic measures? My answer Yes
    – What amendments would your propose? Personally I would rewrite the 14th so that it could not be interpreted that children of non-citizen born in the US are citizens. I would also repeal the 16th and 17th. And perhaps add balanced budget amendment.

    I don’t think the core problem lies with the Constitution. It lies with the acceptance on everyone’s part (the public, the congress, the judiciary) with existing statutes and practices that are in reality extra-constitutional. I don’t think that gets fixed with a con-con. Really how much clearer does it need to be than what the 10th amendment states.

    “All 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.”

    We are not abiding by that now. Why do we think that we would abide by any amendment no matter how succinct and well crafted (not a likely outcome)? Better to figure out how the states can band together to assert their existing rights now. A con-con from my perspective has as good a (and in my view much better) chance of making things worse than improving things.

  11. Gregory Says:

    Are we so fearful of what “might” happen that we tolerate what “is” happening? Are we so paralysed by fear that we insist that state legislatures abdicate their constitutional mandate to be a check and balance on the power of the federal government because if the exercise that right the federal government might retaliate? If so then we may as well concede all power to the federal government now – the outcome is inevitable.

  12. Morning Buzz : Vox Populi Says:

    […] * Rep. Holly Richardson blogged on the bill […]

  13. hollyonthehill Says:

    @David, Becky and Ron – I agree with your concerns about an open con-con. I spoke clearly against a con-con but I don’t believe the process of the states pushing for an amendment under Article V rises to that level.

  14. Rod Mann Says:

    Greg,

    Not sure what you mean by fearful. Those who oppose a con-con think it would not be an effective means to remedy a federal government that it out of control and from my perspective already operating in an extra-constitutional fashion. If it is the case that the federal govt is operating outside the bounds clearly defined by the Constitution why in the world does anyone think that the govt will be bound by any changes to it. What the states need to do is figure out how to push back now. Ken Ivory’s bill outlines a number of ways. The book Nullification, How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century is a good source of info. Is it cowardice to advocate for not doing something that will most likely exacerbate the current problem? There are no easy fixes. It will take a sustained effort from multiple states in the face of much criticism from the media, the elites, and others to fight this battle. Not a one-time con-con. This is what Ken is advocating and what I support.

  15. hollyonthehill Says:

    Rod, you do know that Rep Ivory enthusiastically supported Brad Daw’s bill, right? He gave very passionate testimony on its behalf at the committee meeting.

  16. Rod Mann Says:

    JBT … the relationship with the citizens and the federal government is us versus them when many leaders consider the voice of the citizens astro-turf and laugh and say are you kidding when someone questions whether a bill is constitutional. Did you notice the respect the administration and media gives the Egyptian protesters when it says Egypt much respect the voice of the people and follow their wishes. Funny how that same tone was not give to the Tea Party protests or the very peaceful and respectful demonstrations in DC by the 9/12 and Tea Party groups. When a clear majority of the American did not want health care what happened. Our government said we know better and we’re going to do it anyways and yet with the citizens of another country rise up and disagree with their government what does our federal government say? Makes you say hmmm and wonder why the different attitudes.

  17. Daniel B. Says:

    A note to all: nullification is not a legal principle that is legitimately available to the states.

  18. Utah Legislature Watch: Some Conservatives don’t like Con-cons | What they didn't teach in law school Says:

    […] Kyle said I’m totally and very strongly against calling any type of Con-Con. What a mistake it would be to […]

  19. Utah Legislature Watch: Some Conservatives don’t like Con-cons | What they didn't teach in law school Says:

    […] blogger and Utah state Rep.Holly Richardson (R, Pleasant Grove) wrote on her blog, and in a guest post here, asking whether it isn’t time for Article V amendments to the […]

  20. JBT Says:

    Yo Becky. Give me a break. If the Federal government were tp give that money back to the state of Utah, rather than provide needed services, the conservative Legislature would give it back to the people in the form of tax cuts. Those most in need of the human services provided by the Federal government would then go without.

  21. JBT Says:

    Rod. When a majority of the American public told pollsters that they were not in favor of the health care reform, it was because of the lies spread about the program by the GOP and right wing media pundits.

    Now that the public is beginning to understand the truth about the health care reform legislation, the vast majority are in favor of those elements they understand that will benefit them directly.

    What many people still fail to understand is that those parts of the health care law that they approve of such as persons no longer being rejected because of prior conditions would not be economically possible were it not for part of the program which increases the pool of insureds—the individual mandate.

    For any health care reform there has to be give and take. It is too bad there are people in this country who are too selfish to see that when everyone gives a bit, then we all benefit. The conservatives attitude of “I’ve got mine, so screw everyone else” is repugnant to those of us who are willing to step up and make sacrifices to help our fellow citizens.

  22. Rod Mann Says:

    JBT … ascribing motives to people who value liberty and have a different view of the role of government such as selfishness et. al. is beneath you. You probably didn’t know then that on average conservatives give considerably more to charity than liberals (here are links to two articles: ABC News – http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=2682730&page=1 – and George Will column- http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/03/conservatives_more_liberal_giv.html). Al Gore in 2000 (I would certainly put him in the uber liberal camp) gave 0.2 percent of his income to charity. That was 1/7 of the national average for donating households.

    A great read on the proper role of government is The Law by Frederic Bastiat. This I believe is the view the founders of our government held when they wrote the Constitution. If you want to live in a country where the government shares the wealth then you’ll end up living in a country with a lower overall standard of living because in those countries businesses don’t thrive they shrivel up and die over the long term.

  23. Gordie Hayduk Says:

    FOOD FOR THOUGHT . . .

    WHO OWNS THIS COUNTRY ANYWAY?

    We Do! It’s the right of We The People to join together in an assembly on the authority of the U.S. Constitution to discuss concerns politicians and media are failing to mention. Are you aware we’re currently being denied that constitutional right? Despite 750 Article V applications from all 50 states, Congress is ignoring its obligation to issue the call for the Article V Amendments Convention. Since history began, all political reformations the world over have always come down to one thing: a tipping-point majority joined in common cause. If you want to help return our nation to the Constitution, the rule of law, and its founding principles, then you’ve come to the right place: http://www.article-v-convention.com/.

    ARTICLE V CONVENTION FACTS!

    • The Article V Convention is not a “constitutional convention” or Con-Con, and does not and cannot re-write the U.S. Constitution.

    • Whatever is discussed at the Article V Convention, 38 states must then agree to adopt any proposals before an amendment is ratified.

    • The Article V Convention is simply a deliberative assembly of state delegates discussing what might garner the approval from an overwhelming amount of citizens from across the political spectrum.

    • The Article V Convention is, by law, currently mandated by Article V and the U.S. Constitution.

    • The Article V Convention returns us to the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law, reviving both in the face of current institutionalized corruption.

    MORE INFORMATION . . .

    Talkshoe, Episode 7 – John De Herrera & Professor Rob Natelson
    http://www.talkshoe.com/talkshoe/web/talkCast.jsp?masterId=92949&cmd=tc

    http://www.foavc.org

    http://www.conventionusa.org

    http://www.fixcongressfirst.org

  24. John De Herrera Says:

    Here is an interview with professor Rob Natelson with lots of information on the Article V Convention. It’s in Episode 7: http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/92949

  25. Bill Walker Says:

    The states have already applied in sufficient numbers to cause an Article V Convention call. The over 700 applications from 49 states can be read at http://www.foavc.org. Congress has refused to call the convention. Congress, by the way, has nothing to say regarding a convention except to call it and then determine the mode of ratification from the convention for any proposed amendments.

  26. Rod Mann Says:

    Daniel B. Can you elaborate on the remark that nullification is not a legal principle. There are many that wouldn’t agree with your statement or would frame the argument differently.

  27. mark Says:

    The entire Civil War was fought to prove that states could not nullify federal legislation on their own. The South believed in had a right to leave the union after joining it. This is nullification at its greatest. We all know how the Civil War came out and that secession by states was not something we would tolerate.

    In addition, there are several US Supreme Court cases which state that federal law is superior to state law. Thus, nullification isn’t a valid principle. You might want to do something I almost never see “constitutional conservatives” do. That “something” is read a few supreme court cases. I’d encourage you to start with two very famous ones. Marbury v. Madison establishes the right of the Supreme to review legislation to determine its constitutionality. McCulloch v. Maryland is another case with establishes that federal legislation prevails over state legislation when there is some conflict.

    So, you, Holly believe we need a constitutional convention? Having a constitutional convention is not a bright idea. What if they come up with a document that you completely disapprove of and change the ratification process, so that it only requires a majority vote of states instead of 3/4’s? What if the document they come up with allows for firearms restrictions and gun control? Yes, things could be far worse than they are. Especially, with the Supreme Court now tilting more conservative than it has in decades.

    Anyway, my advice for you is to carefully consider what you really know about life. You’re a nurse and a mother. I will give you credit for knowledge in these areas. When you start getting into constitutional law, you better ask yourself what you really know about it. Have you ever taken a college level course in constitutional law? Have you ever taken any kind of a course at all? Tell me how judicial review works? Describe the difference for me between an Article III court and other courts? Name three Supreme Court cases other than two I’ve listed above. If you can do these things, you can talk rationally about the Constitutional Law. If not, well, I won’t go telling you how to deliver babies, ok?

  28. Rod Mann Says:

    Holly, congratulations for writing an article that stimulated a lot of conversation. Mark, I am in agreement with you on that a constitutional convention is not a good idea. However, let me share my thoughts on a couple of other matters you mentioned.

    1) Do you need to be Constitutional Law Attorney to have a valid opinion on the Constitution.

    Out of 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence 25 were lawyers out of the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention. The non-attorney delegates included James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and George Mason. These were not insignificant contributors to the document. Perhaps the reason that the document can be readily understood by non-attorneys and the reason for its relative brevity is that it wasn’t crafted entirely by attorneys 🙂

    2) Nullification

    In my mind there is something wrong with the view that the States, who delegated a limited number of well-defined rights to the Federal Government would have as an exclusive remedy to the Federal Government “crossing the line” a decision by the Supreme Court, a component of the Federal Government.

    Madison, Washington, Jefferson, and even Alexander all thought that the States had an obligation to fight the natural tendency of the Federal Government to expand its power.

    Madison said this “State Legislatures will jealously and closely watch the operations of this Government, and be able to resist with more effect every assumption of power, than any other power on earth can do; and the greatest opponents to a Federal Government admit the State Legislatures to be sure guardians of the people’s liberty.” – James Madison, Introduction of the Bill of Rights, The Annals of Congress, House of Representatives, First Congress, 1st Session, pp 448-460

    Madison also said this:

    “On the other hand, should an unwarrantable measure of the federal government be unpopular in particular states, which would seldom fail to be the case, or even a warrantable measure be so, which may sometimes be the case, the means of opposition to it are powerful and at hand. The disquietude of the people, their repugnance and perhaps refusal to co-operate with the officers of the union, the frowns of the executive magistracy [officials] of the state, the embarrassments [i.e., in modern English, the “obstacles”] created by legislative devices, which would often be added on such occasions, would [p]ose in any state difficulties not to be despised; would form in a large state very serious impediments, and where the sentiments of several adjoining states happened to be in union, would present obstructions which the federal government would hardly be willing to encounter.” – Federalist, No. 46

    Jefferson said this

    “It is important to strengthen the State governments; and as this cannot be done by any change in the Federal Constitution (for the preservation of that is all we need contend for), it must be done by the States themselves, erecting such barriers at the constitutional line as cannot be surmounted either by themselves or by the General Government. The only barrier in their power is a wise government. A weak one will lose ground in every contest.” – Thomas Jefferson to Archibald Stuart, 1791

    And Hamilton this:

    “We may safely rely on the disposition of the state legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority.” – Federalist 85
    I can’t imagine that they were thinking only in terms of the state taking all differences with the Federal Government to the Supreme Court.

    State Representative Ken Ivory (heaven forbid an attorney) has published a booklet entitled “Where’s the Line?” that is an interesting read.

    3) Current Judicial Philosophy

    I find that the emphasis on case law / stare decisis is worrisome to me because it has allowed as to stray from the original intent of the founders to a nation where the Federal Government can regulate behavior as it relates to commerce rather than to make regular the commerce between the states. How scary is that. Many of those who claim to be Constitutional Law scholars (President Obama for one) have little understanding of the founding fathers or the documents they drew from to formulate the Constitution. They can list any number of cases but have no real understanding of the principles upon which the decisions should have been based. I would much rather have representatives in government and constitutional attorneys who have a grounding in Blackstone, the Federalist Papers, Adam Smith, the writings of Jefferson, Hamilton, Franklin, Washington … than ones who can recite from memory cases that support their point of view.

  29. Gordie Hayduk Says:

    BOOK WORTH READING…

    The Original Constitution by Professor Rob Natelson

    Listen to this Constitutional Scholar’s knowledge: Episode 7: http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/92949

  30. Did I hear that right? Says:

    Looks like the first amendment @mark would make is to change “We the people” to “We the appropriately educated and credentialed”. Apparently being elected by the voice of the people does NOT qualify one to represent them.

  31. markg91359 Says:

    You miss my point. Anyone is entitled to have an opinion in America about anything.

    This is not to be confused with the idea that all opinions are equal. Opinions that the “world is flat” or that “there is no law of gravity” are not the equal of those opinions which hold counter.

    Nullification is the antithesis of a federal system. We wouldn’t need constitutional amendments to change the constitution if nullification was a valid doctrine. The day that every state can choose to nullify which federal laws they can ignore is the day that the United States of America ceases to exist as a real country. Anyway, as I said earlier the Civil War and Supreme Court decisions have repeatedly said its not a valid legal concept.

  32. Rod Mann Says:

    Mark, that is absolutely not true. State has already “nullified” the REAL ID act of 2005. My view would be the day the federal government can overstep its bounds and the states have no ability to counter is the day our compound Republic has vanished and we have a national government with the states acting as district administrators rather than partners in a compound republic. If your comment that the day states can “nullify” unconstitutional laws (which one could argue by their vary nature are null and void) then the Republic died in 1798 with the passage of the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions which were written in protest of the Alien and Sedition Acts. These were written or heavily contributed to by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

    I agree with your point that not all opinions are “equal” but I value the opinion of someone who has trained themselves by reading about the founders and associated document over an attorney who has been schooled in the prevailing constitutional law philosophy that relies almost exclusively on precedence and knows little about the founders and documents that informed their opinions.

  33. Rod Mann Says:

    Let me restate my previous post as there were too many grammatical errors:

    The states have already essentially “nullified” the REAL ID act of 2005 so the Republic must be dead.

    My view would be the day the federal government can overstep its bounds and the states have no ability to counter is the day our compound Republic has vanished. We would then have a national government with the states acting as district administrators rather than partners in a compound republic. If your comment that the day states can “nullify” unconstitutional laws (which one could argue by their vary nature are null and void) is the day the US ceases to exist as a real country then the Republic really died in 1798 with the passage of the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions which were written in protest of the Alien and Sedition Acts. Note, these were written or heavily contributed to by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

    I agree with your point that not all opinions are “equal” but I value the opinion of someone who has trained themselves by reading about the founders and associated documents over an attorney who has been schooled in the prevailing constitutional law philosophy. that relies almost exclusively on precedence, and knows little about the founders and documents that informed their opinions.

  34. Rod Mann Says:

    Nullification and the civil war. While one could perhaps argue that nullification played a small role in the civil war and I don’t think you could say it was fought over that principle and that its outcome negated its validity. The principle that was fought over was the rights of states to secede from the union. Lincoln felt that the States had entered into a binding contract when the signed the Constitution (Thomas Jefferson did not share this view) and obviously the southern states did not as they had already seceded, formed the Confederate States of America and elected there own president. After seceding the southern states seized all federal forts and installations within their boundaries except Fort Sumter and Fort Pickens. Even this did not start the war. Actually were was only started when the South shelled Fort Sumter in order to prevent its resupply by the North.

  35. Did I hear that right? Says:

    @mark,

    I don’t think I missed your point, at all. You were quite blunt, even indelicate for one self-described as being so highly educated.

    Holly, not possessing even a “college level course in constitutional law” is not qualified to debate the constitution on any level. She being a “nurse and mother” should restrict her activities to those areas, leaving such weighty matters to those, such as yourself, who are so much more imminently qualified to debate the fine points of constitutional history and the founders true intent.

    The founders intent was that the American government was meant to be comprised “of the people”, not of the educated elite who believe no one else is qualified to participate in the debate. A law degree is not a requirement to serve as an elected official. All walks of life, including nurses and mothers, are meant to be represented, and to be capable of representing others.

    The only argument I’ve heard from you so far is that since you know so much more than Holly (an arrogant supposition, at best) she should meekly acquiesce to your obviously superior intellect and knowledge. If you are as much the constitutional expert as you portray, perhaps you can find the supreme court case, or founding father’s quote that supports your elitist position.

    Failing that, it seems likely your attempt at debate with Holly will continue to be weak appeals to your own authority (which you haven’t backed up, only implied as if all should accept it) and ineffective attacks attempting to discredit her.

    PS – I’m curious how it is you know what Holly has read or what her educational background is – have you been peeking in her windows?

  36. hollyonthehill Says:

    Thanks, Rod and “Did I” for pointing out so clearly that our government is meant to be representative of “we the people.” The great news is, we can all read. And, we can also turn to people who have more experience than we do in any given area. There are a number of “Constitutional attorneys” who have the same point of view I expressed above. There are also moms, architects, farmers, software programmers, electrical engineers and accountants who feel the same way.
    And while I disagree with Rod on the dangers of this amendment process, I most certainly appreciate the respectful tone he uses to talk about his point of view. It goes a lot further than misogynistic comments telling me to go home and leave government to important people like you.

  37. Rod Mann Says:

    Lest any of us think that even the top-most jurists are infallible here’s some interesting information. Between 1960 and 2005 the US Supreme has reversed itself at least 74 times according to a study done by Dr. Ronald B. Standler a PhD Physicist and Attorney.

  38. mark Says:

    What I would encourage Holly or anyone who wants to comment on constitutional issues to do first is to study the subject a bit. If you’re idea of understanding the Constitution is simply to read it once or twice that hardly qualifies you as an expert.

    I think most people would agree that calling for a Constitutional Convention is a pretty radical idea. Therefore, before asking for one, one should thoroughly understand not only what the Constitution says, but should know something of the most important Supreme Court cases that interpret it.

    I would not try and deliver babies without reading up about obstetrics. Nor can one obtain a nursing license without passing an examination. Therefore, I’ve often wondered why so many people without any qualifications fancy themselves “experts” on the Constitution.

    One may become a legislator through election. However, the principal qualification for that job–in Utah County at least–appears to be nothing more than membership in the most conservative branch of the Republican Party.

    Holding a Constitutional Convention could be opening a Pandora’s Box. You have no idea what may come out of it. What are you going to do if the liberals come out on top? Our present Constitution was designed to protect minority rights. If you want to change it, the framers set forth a process to amend it.

  39. Greg Says:

    Article V of the US constitution provides two ways to amend the constitution.

    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,

    I hear a lot concern expressed about the Article V convention being used. Both have the same ratification process:

    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.

    I’m interested in hearing an explanation why constitutional amendments proposed by states are more dangerous than those proposed by congress.

  40. Patti B Says:

    In theory, an Article V convention sounds like a good idea, but will keep it from turning into an all out attack on the constitution? That’s what happened with the first Constitutional Convention! Would there be limits placed on an Article V convention that would keep that from happening? I found a quote by Daniel Webster that should be seriously considered. “Our form of government is sperior to all others, inasmuch as it provides, in a fair and honorable manner for its own amendment. But it requires no gift or prophecy to foresee that this privilege may be seized on by demagogues, to introduce wild and destructive innovations. Under the gentle name of amendments, changes may be proposed which, if unresisted, will undermine the national compact, mar its fairest features, and reduce it finally to a dead letter. It abates nothing of the danger to say that alterations may be trifling and incsiderable. If the Constitution be picked away by piecemeal, it is gone–and gone as effectually as if some military despot had grasped it at once, trampled it beneath his feet, and scattered its loose leaves in the wild winds.” Are we in danger of turning our very freedom over to “demagogues” and tyrants, who parade as concerned citizens or patriots, but who have a hidden agenda that will destroy this nation? We are not a nation of god-fearing men and women, as we once were. It would be naive to think that those appointed to a Constitutional Convention would all be men and women of such caliber as were our founding fathers!

  41. Rod Mann Says:

    Patti B. Excellent quote and I agree with your conclusion. Well said.

  42. Gordie Hayduk Says:

    IN THEORY, CONGRESS sounds like a good idea, but it hasn’t kept them from being bought by American corporations and multi-national corporations to the near demise of our Republic. Whosoever can pay enough in campaign donations – NOT “We The People” that’s for certain – can literally have their way with how the law is or isn’t written. Shame on Congress for they have brought this once great nation to its virtual knees. The two political parties make sure only the worst people end up in our government – Liars, Cheats and Thieves. Each and every member is in criminal violation of their oath of office according to the U.S. Solicitor General. Shame on you Congress – shame, Shame, SHAME.

    I’d gladly trust “We The People” to PROPOSE amendments for presentation to all 50 states for ratification by 75% (38 states) so Balanced Budget, Term Limits, Standard U.S. Voting Unit, Auditing the Federal Reserve, Mandatory Investigation of White Collar Crimes, and many, many more, so “We The People” can begin reclaiming our sovereign right to run this Republic as our Founders had planned.

    Stop already with the improper use of “Constitutional Convention” and “Con-Con” and use the accurate term “Article V Amendments Convention”.

  43. Rod Mann Says:

    Gordie … who would represent the States at a convention and who would be drafting amendments, debating them and revising them. Why would we think they would be of a higher quality than our congressional delegations or why would we think they would be less subject to “bribery” or “undo influence” from parties whose goal would not be to restore our republic.

  44. Greg Says:

    Patti and Rod,

    I appreciate your view points but I don’t feel like you actually answered my question.

    Since the ratification process is identical, why are amendments proposed by 2/3 of the states more dangerous than amendments proposed by 2/3 of congress?

  45. Rod Mann Says:

    The amendments are not proposed by 2/3s of the states. A convention is convened at the request of of 2/3s of the states for the purpose of amending the Constitution. You will have amendments proposed, debated and voted on by the convention delegates. There will be a single event, duration unspecified, with the single focus of making changes to the Constitution. There is no limit to the number or scope of the amendments to be proposed. The Constitution in my view does not need to be radically changed but at a convention dedicated to changing it the outcome could very well be a list of amendments which would do exactly that. Now these still need to be ratified by 3/4s of the states but I would hate to have this hanging over my for untold years (there is no time limit to the ratification process).

    What great changes would conservatives want to make to the Constitution? The only groups that I know that want great changes to be made are those who do not support the original intent of the framers. These groups (socialists and worse) thus have the most to gain from a convention.

    Those who are conservative tend to want the following:

    1) Revise the 14th to clarify citizenship rights
    2) Repeal the 16th
    3) Repeal the 17th
    4) Some want a balanced budget amendment (I’m not sure I agree)

    With the stakes so high at a convention whose sole purpose is to revise the Constitution I would think it foolish to believe that no one would try to coopt it using whatever means possible: money, power … .

    Then there is the other issue. Does anyone think the attendees at a convention would be anywhere near as qualified to discuss the Constitution as those who attended the original convention?

    In the end as per my original comment I think it would be:

    1) A colossal waste of money and time
    2) I think there is a great chance that people from all political persuasions would more frustrated after a convention than before leading to potential civil unrest
    3) Lead to a number of proposed amendments which would damage the Constitution and thus be floating around for a number of years.

    Note, most of the people I know who are Constitutional scholars with an originalist mindset are opposed to calling and Aritcle V convention.

  46. Rod Mann Says:

    One more thought regarding a convention that ought to be scary to any conservative. In a general election our country elected Clinton twice and Obama once, is it possible that at convention with representatives from all of the states a majority of the delegates would reflect the views of those leaders?

  47. Gordie Hayduk Says:

    @Ron Mann…

    WHO YOU ASK? Rather, you should say who will represent the STATE (singular) since an Article V Amendments Convention is a LOCAL issue, not a huge convention like those we see in Republican or Democratic conventions. So that’s 50 LOCAL conventions, not two massive NATIONAL conventions.

    There’s two potential methods to become a delegate: 1) Most Popular — Elected by Special Election, as we’ve seen most recently in California for governor [50+ candidates]; or 2) Most Suspect — Elected or appointed by each state legislature. Each state determines the best method for their state.

    These delegates are elected by their ability to convince the electorate that their knowledge of the Constitution and disconnection from political chicanery is best for the sovereign citizens of each particular state. This LOCAL issue will create INTENSE SCRUTINY from We The People, utilizing every possible means of communication to ensure a sincere focus as never before seen — Websites, Blogs, Social Media, and, yes, even “bought and paid for corporate media” — so any shill will become the immediate laughing stock within their state if they even appear to be “…subject to bribery or undo influence…”. The state legislature would immediate pluck the delegate from the lineup, or suffer a reaction like seen in Egypt. There is an Enough is Enough feeling smoldering just below the surface in America, and the JBS will not be able to continue their FEAR tactics.

    The Article V Convention is simply a deliberative assembly of state delegates discussing what might garner the approval from an overwhelming amount (38 states or 75%) of citizens from across the political spectrum. Good citizens will be trusted to PROPOSE amendments — that will be adjusted and fine tuned — to become comprehensive amendments for potential ratification.

    Be aware that there are over 700 proposed amendments currently before Congress to mandate the call for a convention (…only 34 are required). Congress does NOT have the right to veto the Constitution and not call an Article V Amendments Convention, but that’s exactly what they are doing — disobeying their oath of office, plus three other federal laws — making each and every one of them a criminal (…as stated by the U.S. Solicitor General).

    Simply put, I TRUST THE PEOPLE — who do you trust? A run-away Congress? A mouth-piece president (Republican or Democrat)? A Supreme Court that says corporations are people? Who do you trust? I’ll take “We The People” any day of the week.

    BTW — Why are YOU qualified to Discuss an Article V Amendments Convention?

    ME? I’m a potential Florida Delegate AND a Mayflower Descendant, state Citizen, federal Citizen, and a Veteran that has served my country honorably. I study the Constitution daily.

  48. Rod Mann Says:

    Relative to qualifications; are heritage and aspirations really a qualification? Having served your country honorably is something that is certainly to be commended and admired. Thanks for your service. WRT to mine. I’ll let my words speak for themselves relative to mine (and please don’t hold the numerous spelling and grammatical errors against me — at least not too much:)

    An Article V Convention will be a gathering of state representatives whose sole purpose would be to propose amendments to the Constitution. The states may very well in advance have discussed what amendments they wish to propose through whatever process they deem. The original convention did not have one rep per state and there is no reason to believe that one called today would be any different.

    The Federal government has already exceeded the powers granted it by the Constitution are amendments to a document it already ignores at its pleasure really the answer. Much better that the States push back as they are doing with Obamacare and that we the people elect better people to office at all levels of government.

    Clearly you are passionate about this issue. I just don’t see it the same way. I would be curious to know what amendments you would propose and what in the Constitution needs to be changed.

    As mentioned earlier I believe that those who want to make the most dramatic changes to the Constitution are those who really want a different form a government than that laid out by the Founders.

  49. Gordie Hayduk Says:

    @Rod Mann

    Qualifications and aspirations I serve up may not be to you what they are to me, but no mater — they only represent facets of who I am. My ancestors pulled in and parked at Plymouth in 1620 before there ever was a constitution; moreover, they signed a document of cooperation called the Mayflower Compact just to survive in America. Were they then the first delegates? Maybe. Essentially it is cause celebration for paying it forward — to make America better than it is now; more like the way it was when the Founders began the great experiment in democracy.

    I like your challenges and comebacks, but much of what you say is saturated with conjecture and opinion, without citing any valid resource. And to lace fear into your presentation has all the earmarks of the worst of Republican Party negative campaigning techniques. I’m a life-long card-carrying Republican and have voted the party line whenever it seemed appropriate, so one could say I am a compassionate conservative — but NOT the George Bush/Dick Cheney type of compassionate conservative.

    I would expect that any and all potential delegates would discuss amendments — absolutely! This would be verbalized passionately to the electorate and legislatures, and they would know where the individual stands. It would be very educational for the citizens of all states, and even better when compared to any of the other 49 state delegate candidates. The world would look on in envy … once again foreign individuals would say “AMERICA” with a bursting desire to live here, in freedom. I look forward to this!

    Only amendments that have wide support across the political spectrum will be proposed and ratified. Here’s a few of my favorites: Standard U.S. Voting Unit (80% now controlled by private ownership; e.g., ES&S/Diebold), Balanced Budget (or show reason, not excuse), Auditing of the Federal Reserve and Fair Taxation, Return to Constitutional Law, and Promote Voting by Citizens. A review of the over 700 proposed amendments at Friends Of Article V Convention website will provide an overview of the many that came before the amendments that should now become high law.

    Article V is the ONLY lawful way for We The People to make changes to government by and for the people. Perhaps Article X (10) or nullification needs to be modified so the states have an amendment with real teeth.

    The Constitution itself is absolutely off limits; Article V ONLY provides for amendments, not manipulation of the Constitution itself. It should be clearly written into high law that not adhering to it has fast track dismissal consequences (regardless of office held) — similar to you fragrantly disobeying your boss at work; e.g. he will fire you on the spot. We The People are sovereign and our governance must be bottom up NOT top down — no exceptions!

    Rod, I believe you err when you try to lump everyone wanting change into a desire to obtain a different form of government. We are a Republic and we should remain a Republic. Right now we’re slipping rapidly into an oligarchy for the wealthy and governance by corporate influence or buy-out. America is just about broken in half by allowing this to go on until it almost cannot be corrected.

    I chuckle when I hear apparent opponents try to argue that there’s a real difference between Republicans and Democrats — they’re one and the same inside the DC Beltway. It’s all about money and power! We The People have been thrown under the bus.

    Repeat — Why are YOU qualified to Discuss an Article V Amendments Convention? It would seem if you’re against it you could be categorized as an anti-Constitutionalist — it’s either ALL or none, no cherry-picking allowed.

  50. Rod Mann Says:

    As I said earlier I’m going to ignore the question about qualifications. I will point out that with respect to a convention I was originally (several years ago) in favor of one but after discussions with a number of close acquaintances who are Constitutional scholars/experts I changed my opinion.

    Let’s look at your key points of your last comment:

    1) “Article V is the ONLY lawful way for We The People to make changes to government by and for the people.” This is misleading. There are two processes; one involves our congressional representatives in Washington, the other, delegates to a convention. Both involve representatives of the people. Since the US Congress determines the number of delegates and the means for their selection no one can actually say how many delegates will attend nor if they will be elected or appointed or the process by which this will occur. So actually the delegates could be farther removed from the people than Congress itself.

    2) “Article V ONLY provides for amendments, not manipulation of the Constitution itself.” An amendment by definition is a change to the supreme law of the land. There is nothing that prevents an amendment from directly changing the language or intent of the Constitution. The 16th gave congress the power to tax income without regard to apportionment between the state. The 17th changed the mode of elections for Senators. Both directly changed the Constitution. The convention itself is the only entity authorized by the Constitution to propose amendments. Not state legislatures who may request specific items in the application for a convention, not Governors, not we the people. Who knows what will be proposed at a convention. There is no restriction and see we don’t know who would be attending it is impossible to predict. Except we might be able to say that if we are unhappy with Congress then why would we expect to be happy with the delegates to a convention when Congress gets to decide how they are selected.

    The current Federal government has in my view and others already exceeded its Constitutionally defined limits. The problem at hand is a Federal government including the Supreme Court (refer to its overly broad interpretation of the “Commerce Clause”) that no longer “protect and defends” the Constitution, not the Constitution itself. The States have the power to restore Constitutional limits, at least that is which Madison, Jefferson, and Alexander thought (see early comment on nullification).

    Regarding your last statement, “It would seem if you’re against it you could be categorized as an anti-Constitutionalist — it’s either ALL or none, no cherry-picking allowed.” This strikes me as strange from someone who is advocating a convention and uses a list of over 700 potential amendments (aka changes) to the Constitution.

    The following YouTube link is an excellent discussion on the dangers of a convention. Robert Bork (former Solicitor General, US Court of Appeals Judge and professor of Constitutional law), Warren Burger (Chief Justice of the Supreme Court), Rex Lee (former Solicitor General, law professor, and President of BYU), and other scholars and judges are cited. http://embedr.com/playlist/beware-article-v-judge-robert-bork. Those who are supportive of a convention would be well served by listening to this presentation.

  51. John De Herrera Says:

    How is it people forget that we’re currently beset with insitutionalized corruption? How is it people fail to recognize there’s an inevitable consequence to our current state of affairs? Corporate interests have already privatized the voting process (ES&S/Diebold), and have already opened the floodgates of corporate funding and influence (Citizen United). In other words folks, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain by trusting in the Constitution and the people. Multinational corporations have nothing to gain and everything to lose at a convention.

    Standard parliamentary procedure is not some sort of chaos. Someone proposes an idea, it suffers debate, the question is called, and it’s voted up or down. The Article V Convention does not and cannot rewrite the Constitution–whatever is proposed must be agreed to by a majority of the delegates, and then agreed to by 38 states.

    The constitutional process of convoking/convening a federal convention would elevate political discourse above corporate sound bites because discussion will be about first principles, amending the Constitution–a profound task. Any insincerity will be seen and exposed. The convention itself creates a dynamic that corporate interests can’t control, its procedures contrast sharply with the modus operandi within Congress: a convention is a unicameral assembly with no conference committees required to reconcile divergent House/Senate bills. There are no labyrinths of autonomous standing committees with autocratic chairpersons to pass through, and no filibuster to overcome. A convention will initiate reforms Congress never will. Indeed it’s the great fear of corporate interests: a runaway convention of the people, by the people, for the people.

    Delegates to the convention are not there to reinvent the wheel, but simply to propose amendments. Delegates will have a fresh point of view, the election they come from will have been specifically targeted to deal with what should be done. They’re there to propose amendments and then return to civilian life, so they won’t be studying polls nor looking for future campaign contributions. More importantly, whether or not delegates reach consensus on amendments today, it’s the constitutional process which will save us. It will create a dynamic the same as telling a corrupt accountant an outside audit is to begin, which is really all a convention is, a second opinion. At the same time it will re-educate the nation about the Constitution itself, and why it was written the way it was. It will awaken a sense of confidence and participation in the people, which will flow back into and reinvigorate the regular political process, while at the same time calling the bluff on those who only talk about the Constitution.

    For those who don’t understand it, it’s clear now to many that America is in the hands of a corporate syndicate which controls everything and even writes laws or deregulates law through the legislatures they put in place. This makes what they do “legal” and makes it impossible for the people to hold them responsible. They own everything, including the media, the nation’s only source of information, so it’s easy for them to brainwash the public. They tell people that any attempt for the government to assist its citizens, in any form, is socialism but they give themselves tax breaks, atop the billions they siphon, and when their businesses run aground, they get billions of government dollars to help them out. They’re so brazen that it’s clear they’ve realized we can’t do anything about it. The question is, are they right?

    We’re all taught that the Declaration Independence and Constitution are our two most important founding documents, what we’re not taught is that the former was written into the latter. The genius of the Constitution is that it provides for a peaceable break from the inevitable consequence of institutionalized corruption. Whether or not 38 states can agree to any one idea for a 28th Amendment, it’s the constitutional process of convoking and convening a convention which will deliver us out of the clutches of evil.

  52. Gordie Hayduk Says:

    @Everyone

    Google: 10 Facts to Rebut the Mythology of a Runaway Convention

    @Rod Mann

    “As I said earlier I’m going to ignore the question about qualifications. I will point out that with respect to a convention I was originally (several years ago) in favor of one but after discussions with a number of close acquaintances who are Constitutional scholars/experts I changed my opinion.”

    Gordie: Cherry-picking, huh? The John Birch Society are experts at using this weasel technique — are you a member of the John Birch Society? Oops, I forgot for a moment, you’re picking and choosing so you can avoid revealing who you are in an honest and sincere way. Maybe you can, at the very least, cite your close acquaintances who are Constitutional scholars/experts — that’s only fair in a debate or discussion.

    Let’s look at your key points of your last comment:

    “1) “Article V is the ONLY lawful way for We The People to make changes to government by and for the people.” This is misleading. There are two processes; one involves our congressional representatives in Washington, the other, delegates to a convention. Both involve representatives of the people. Since the US Congress determines the number of delegates and the means for their selection no one can actually say how many delegates will attend nor if they will be elected or appointed or the process by which this will occur. So actually the delegates could be farther removed from the people than Congress itself.”

    Gordie: 99.9% of the electorate know Congress can propose amendments — so it goes without saying, and is not misleading unless you’re grabbing at straws. By the way, it is ONE process because it is Article V alone that authorizes amendments to the Constitution; which must be ratified by We The People. States, individually, not Congress determine the number of delegates — manner selected by the state legislatures. That could be 100 in California and 22 in Tennessee, so the delegates are LOCAL and very involved in the subject at hand.

    BTW, Congress couldn’t be further removed from We The People if they lived on the dark side of the moon — a Rasmussen poll indicates their popularity at 9%. Sad!

    “2) “Article V ONLY provides for amendments, not manipulation of the Constitution itself.” An amendment by definition is a change to the supreme law of the land. There is nothing that prevents an amendment from directly changing the language or intent of the Constitution. The 16th gave congress the power to tax income without regard to apportionment between the state. The 17th changed the mode of elections for Senators. Both directly changed the Constitution. The convention itself is the only entity authorized by the Constitution to propose amendments. Not state legislatures who may request specific items in the application for a convention, not Governors, not we the people. Who knows what will be proposed at a convention. There is no restriction and see we don’t know who would be attending it is impossible to predict. Except we might be able to say that if we are unhappy with Congress then why would we expect to be happy with the delegates to a convention when Congress gets to decide how they are selected.”

    Gordie: Those who spew FEAR are disingenuous, trying to scare the electorate into believing the Constitution in its entirety can be thrown out and a new form of government can be instituted without approval of the sovereign citizens. YOU are mincing words when you try to make the argument that amendments are a method of making global changes to the Republic by apparently rewriting the Constitution. I believe they call this the red-herring technique; no mater, it is misinformation. It seems like a John Birch Society ploy. Once Congress makes the call for a convention, they’re out of the picture — so too with the President and the Supreme Court. We The People are in charge, always have been — they just didn’t realize it: They are Sovereign Citizens; they OWN THIS COUNTRY. Good-Bye corporate take-over and their effort to make everyone a corporation-owned financial slave. Think about that next time you cash your paycheck getting a ride home from work.

    “The current Federal government has in my view and others already exceeded its Constitutionally defined limits. The problem at hand is a Federal government including the Supreme Court (refer to its overly broad interpretation of the “Commerce Clause”) that no longer “protect and defends” the Constitution, not the Constitution itself. The States have the power to restore Constitutional limits, at least that is which Madison, Jefferson, and Alexander thought (see early comment on nullification).”

    Gordie: I agree that all branches of the federal government have over-reached their authority; especially most recently when the Supreme Court decided “Citizen’s United” v Federal Election Commission. Additionally, in Walker v United States (http://www.article5.org/), an over-length brief citing over two hundred Supreme Court rulings favoring the position of the plaintiff, Bill Walker of Seattle, Washington, was presented in district court. The court refused to read the document and ultimately, citing Coleman v. Miller, 307 U.S. 433 (1939) established that under the court’s political question doctrine, Congress was empowered to ignore or veto the direct text of the Constitution. These decisions especially offer the most compelling reasons to convoke an Article V Amendments Convention by bringing Sovereign Citizens directly back into the loop by proposing amendments. If We The People have anything to FEAR it is a run-way Congress or a federal government whose reason for existence is acquiring personal wealth and political power.

    “Regarding your last statement, “It would seem if you’re against it you could be categorized as an anti-Constitutionalist — it’s either ALL or none, no cherry-picking allowed.” This strikes me as strange from someone who is advocating a convention and uses a list of over 700 potential amendments (aka changes) to the Constitution.”

    Gordie: All those applications on behalf of the states are forwarded under the lawful authority of the Constitution; e.g., Article V (the LAWFUL means of changing the Constitution). So, how can YOU not support Article V when you say you believe in or support the Constitution? You can’t pick and choose — it’s ALL or none, OR change by lawful means: an Article V Amendments Convention. The only thing you have to fear is fear itself.

    “The following YouTube link is an excellent discussion on the dangers of a convention. Robert Bork (former Solicitor General, US Court of Appeals Judge and professor of Constitutional law), Warren Burger (Chief Justice of the Supreme Court), Rex Lee (former Solicitor General, law professor, and President of BYU), and other scholars and judges are cited. http://embedr.com/playlist/beware-article-v-judge-robert-bork. Those who are supportive of a convention would be well served by listening to this presentation.”

    Gordie: Ahhh… Mr. JBS himself, Mark Stubbs, who makes an appearance! This series of four YouTube videos are chock-full of misinformation, disinformation, red-herring statements, and lies that I have to laugh out loud. As soon as you recognize the first piece of fraudulent information, your suspicions are heightened to look out for more — and there are plenty. Right in the beginning he effectively states that as soon as the proper number of states have called for a convention that Congress will obediently obey and call a convention — NOT true — with over 700 applications pending Congress is willfully refusing to call a convention.

    The William Burger letter is another piece of misinformation or an outright lie — the date of his letter and his departure from the Supreme Court are in glaring conflict. I might also point out that Burger would NEVER issue any statement while in service to his country on the bench. A document examiner needs to forensically review and evaluate the purported Burger Letter to determine authenticity. So far that has NOT been allowed even though it has been requested numerous times. Very suspect.

    Review: http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/92949 — great, accurate information.

  53. Rod Mann Says:

    Special interests have absolutely everything to gain from a convention and have the opportunity to significantly influence who will attend the convention just as they do now in the election process. I’m puzzled why people feel that a convention will be more representative of the people’s will than our current Congress is.

    I’m equally puzzled by the claim that a convention convention cannot revise, rewrite, or alter the Constitution. The whole point of a convention is to do that. By definition an amendment is a change to the Constitution. Yes the amendments must be ratified but the first Constitutional convention’s original charter was to improve the Articles of Confederation not write a new Constitution. Not only did the original Convention write a new Constitution but they revised the ratification process as well. Could this happen again. I don’t know. No one does. We’ve never held one.

    What I do know is that no one is certain who the delegates, what process will be used to select them, nor how many will be in attendance. So to claim that a convention will not be influenced by corporations or special interest groups is a false one. To claim that the discussion at a convention will be elevated above partisan politics or immune to corruption is naive. Good grief you hardly have a meeting with more than two people where ambition and self-interest doesn’t rear its head.

    I still can’t figure out what drastic changes need to be made to the Constitution that will cause people who are already not following it to follow it. Seems to me that many of the issues we have now are derived from amendments that had unintended (or perhaps intended by some) consequences. And we want to risk adding a number of new amendments that will as likely make things worse than better.

    The best way for us to honor the Constitution is to elect good men with sound judgment to represent us at all levels of government. We need to reinvigorate religion as part of our culture. Without a moral people, no Constitution will be effective. Washington among others espoused this view with these words:

    “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice ? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

    It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric? “

  54. Gordie Hayduk Says:

    @Rob Mann

    “Special interests have absolutely everything to gain from a convention and have the opportunity to significantly influence who will attend the convention just as they do now in the election process.”

    You keep stating and restating that “special interests” will do this and that, but you fail to define who are these special interests. Don’t look now, but the special interests already have resounding control of our Republic — perhaps you didn’t notice the millions of foreclosures that are being allowed to continue unabated, the Banksters and their usurious interest rates, Wall Street and their various gambling enterprises, lobbyists writing the laws while Congress vacations or seeks campaign contributions, the war profiteers stealing our treasury blind, the private national bank known as the Federal Reserve, the no-bid contracts, the corporate-owned media — have I missed any special interests? No more special interests are needed — all the positions have been filled. Well maybe not, special interests like organized religion to promote a national faith.

  55. Rod Mann Says:

    Gordie, John et. al.

    Virtually all your claims with respect to how a convention would play out are ignorant or willfully misleading.

    As stated previously, we have no idea who would be named delegates but what we do know is the same people who you claim are corrupt and pawns of corporations and special interest groups will be the ones deciding on the process for selecting delegates. To think that special interest groups will not try and sway this process to stack the convention with people who share their views is ignore the entire history of the human race. Additionally, the media will try to sway delegates and help set the agenda at every turn. I’m not sure that the mainstream media will be pushing in the direction that you or I would be in agreement.

    With respect to Burger not stating his opposition to a Con-Con I would point you to page on the Eagle Forum’s web site that is dedicated to the topic of a con-con. You will find lots of data to bolster this claim. You will also find a letter from Cleon Skousen (author of The 5,000 Year Leap) the acknowledges that it was/is not a good idea.

    As a point of interest, my father (Ron Mann), who while in the White House, was the hidden hand who forced Congress to draft legislation creating the Commission on the Bicentennial of the Constitution and then was asked to be its Deputy Director, is staunchly opposed to a Convention. No person he knows who is grounded in the Constitution supports this idea. If you want credentials here is someone with plenty of them. You can find his words in a forward in The 5,000 Year Leap entitled the Challenge, he is the person who put together the pocket version of the Constitution that you likely have in your possession, the one with the picture of Washington with a quill on the cover. He was very close friends with Cleon Skousen and is involved with the NCCS (National Center for Constitutional Studies). The NCCS is the publisher of a number of great texts on the founding fathers on the Constitution; including The Real George Washington, The Real Thomas Jefferson, The Real Benjamin Franklin, The 5,000 Year Leap and The Founder’s Constitution. My father regularly gets asked to review books on the Constitution. A recent example which comes to mind is “Betrayed by the Bench” by John Stormer. He was well known to most of Reagan’s cabinet members and senior staff (Bill Bennet, Ed Meese, Rex Lee, William Casey …), most of the senator’s in the 80’s and many of the congressmen. To those that know him he is a recognized expert on the Constitution, the Founding Fathers in general and George Washington in particular.

    With respect to a convention I’m happy to be on the side of Madison who said this.

    “If a General Convention were to take place for the avowed and sole purpose of revising the Constitution, it would naturally consider itself as having a greater latitude than the Congress appointed to administer and support as well as to amend the system; it would consequently give greater agitation to the public mind; an election into it would be courted by the most violent partizans on both sides; it wd. probably consist of the most heterogeneous characters; 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. Under all these circumstances it seems scarcely to be presumeable 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, and under all the disadvantages I have mentioned. . . .”

    http://www.familytales.org/dbDisplay.php?id=ltr_mad1627

    Surely you won’t claim that Madison didn’t support the Constitution nor would you question his credentials.

    As stated earlier Madison, Jefferson, Alexander … all felt that the States were the strongest defense against an ever expanding federal government. Let’s encourage them to band together to fight an expansionist federal government. I love the words of William George Jordan when he wrote this in 1907:

    “We need in our country today less politics and more statesmanship, less party and more patriotism. We need an awakening to higher ideals. We need a higher conception of America’s place and destiny in the evolution of the world. We need something nobler as a purpose than our self-satisfied complacency at the material prosperity of the nation, for there is a moral and ethical success that is never rung up on a cash-register. We need the scourging of the money changers out of the temple of legislation—State and national. We need a purifying and ennobling of the body politic. We need the clear clarion voice a great inspiration to rouse the States to their duty—not the gilded phrases of mere rhetoric, but the honest eloquence of a high and exalted purpose like that ringing speech of Patrick Henry’s, a century and a quarter ago, which breathes the very spirit of the present hour of need when it is said that the States are too weak to do their duty and must surrender to government centralization:

    ‘They tell us that we are weak, unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when will we be stronger? Will it be the next week or the next year? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature has put into our power.’

    Whatever tends to lessen the right of the American people to be absolutely self-governing, whatever tends to take from eighty million people their privileges and to hypothecate them in the hands of a few, is a menace in principle, hazardous in what it portends and in what it makes possible.”

    This counsel is as valid today as it was 100 years ago.

  56. Rod Mann Says:

    Gordie, you make my point exactly. If the special interests are “in charge” today how can they possibly not influence a convention tomorrow.

    Not sure I understand your comments on foreclosures and interest rates. Interest rates today are at historical lows. If you are talking about credit card interest rates … then maybe I understand. Except that no one is forced to use cards and why should those who don’t abuse them or even use them be expected to pay for those who do via any kind of a bail-out program. Yes there are a lot problems in the country but in many ways those problems are a reflection of the “got to have it now”, selfish and amoral attitude of many. We need simply ask ourselves how did a majority of the country vote in office someone who by virtue of experience was not qualified to be President and whose state objective was fundamental change to our system. Hmm we need to work on ourselves and our neighbors and then maybe just maybe we’ll again be worthy to live under an inspired document. If we don’t change then no amount of regulation or laws can prevent abuse and corruption.

  57. Gordie Hayduk Says:

    @Rob Mann

    Thank you for being forthcoming and identifying who you are.

    I appreciate your information and will take that into serious consideration. I like to believe I’m open-minded enough to take your contributions under advisement; however, my lineage beckons for me to take on those at the pinnacle of power. Time will tell.

  58. Rod Mann Says:

    I absolutely agree with you there that a course change is needed and that we need to fight for our liberty. As you’ve read, however I believe a convention the wrong field to fight this on. I appreciate your passion though.

  59. Gordie Hayduk Says:

    And your proposed solution is…

  60. Rod Mann Says:

    Solution to what specifically?

  61. Gordie Hayduk Says:

    @Rob Mann

    It’s easy to talk the talk, but what’s needed are concrete solutions — how do we get the changes needed? Congress refuses to address these issues adequately — we have an out of control congress. Voting within a 2-party system obviously doesn’t work.

    How do we resolve these issues?

    • Balanced federal budgets

    • Elimination of the national debt

    • Elimination of federal borrowing and control of spending

    • Regain and protect individual and States rights

    • Fix or eliminate our progressive income tax

    • Rein-in congress including congressional pay, perks, term limits and ethical abuses

    • Reform the legislative process

    • Acquire lawful, ethical, honest, transparent behavior from the federal government, and fast-track prosecute all violators

    FOR EVERYBODY

    What other situations need a solution?

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