Thursday, 13 February 2014 09:16

Article V Convention: Dangerous Precedent, Dangerous Loyalties

Written by 

The various purportedly unrelated efforts by self-professed conservatives, socialists, and progressives to call for a new constitutional convention are moving forward. Many otherwise well-meaning state legislators are falling for their common line that such a convention is the only way to save the Republic. 

The self-professed conservatives, on one hand, insist that if a new convention isn’t held, the growth of the federal government will go on forever until all power is consolidated in Washington, D.C.

Their socialist and progressive collaborators, however, are pushing for an Article V convention as a means of finally changing all the things they believe are wrong about our form of government.

Rhetoric and political leanings aside, the result of either scenario is a new Constitution. Of course, the Convention of States (COS), the Compact for America, and other Article V proponents on the right, argue up and down that they are not calling for a new constitutional convention. Then, as if that weren’t enough, they criticize those of us who oppose their movement for being “false constitutionalists,” and for believing that the Constitutional Convention of 1787 was a “runaway” convention.

I’ve written so much about that last accusation that I believe there is little more that could be said. There is one point, however, that remains to be made.

Whither the Articles of Confederation?

If the Constitutional Convention of 1787 was not a runaway convention — that is to say, a convention whose result did not exceed its authorized mandate — then the Article V supporters would be pushing for amendments to the Articles of Confederation, because that document would still exist, albeit in amended form!

Follow me, here. If the convention held in Philadelphia in 1787 had confined itself to the narrow purpose for which it was called by Congress — to propose and vote on amendments to the Articles of Confederation — then we would still be living under that first constitution, not the one that came out of the Philadelphia convention.

We got lucky in 1787. Throughout that summer, the future of our country was in the care of men such as James Madison, James Wilson, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, etc. Before you sign on to the current call for a constitutional convention, ask yourself this question: Will the men and women who would be in attendance there be of the calibre of our Founders? Would you trust them to rewrite or “tweak” the Constitution with the same care, erudition, and commitment to timeless principles of liberty demonstrated by our illustrious Founding Fathers?

On that subject, there is one important point that needs to be made that will perhaps illuminate one of the most frightening aspects of an Article V convention.

Plan vs. Product

James Madison is called the Father of the Constitution, but is he really? There is no doubt that were it not for his able arguments and his shepherding in the House of Representatives there would be no Bill of Rights. But look at the plan — the Virginia Plan — that he wrote and his colleague Edmund Pendleton proposed at the Constitutional Convention of 1787. That blueprint and the Constitution that was eventually approved at that convention have very little in common.

There isn’t space in this article to lay out all the differences between the two plans, but readers are encouraged to compare them and realize that very little of what Madison intended ended up in the final product of the Philadelphia convention.

What difference does that make, you may ask. It makes a big difference. Imagine that you agree with the amendments that have been drafted by the COS or Compact for America. Imagine, furthermore, that you believe that once the doors close on this new convention there will be delegates who propose these amendments. At that point, remember the Virginia Plan. There will be other delegates at that convention, delegates committed to less-than-conservative causes who will bend and shape any proposal into something that likely will bear as little resemblance to the COS/Compact for America draft amendment as the current Constitution does to Madison’s Virginia Plan.

The men behind these balanced budget, term limits, and other proposals overestimate their ability to have their way at a convention. All the ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) money in the world won’t buy the cooperation of the socialists who are slavering at the thought of getting their hands on our Constitution.

Perhaps those who identify as conservatives pushing for the constitutional convention genuinely believe they can not only compose amendments that will survive the innumerable legal challenges that will undoubtedly plague them, but that they are possessed of the skill and sway necessary to get the Soros-funded progressive bloc of the convention to go along with them. It will never happen.

Article V Promoters: Where do Their Allegiances Lie?

Speaking of ALEC, there is much to be feared in this organization’s influence over the Article V convention movement. As this reporter has chronicled in other articles, ALEC was the engine that drove last year’s Mount Vernon conference. While there may be some good points in the ALEC agenda, there is also much that would prevent members from devoting themselves 100 percent to the cause of the Constitution.

For example, in the program for the ALEC board meeting held in August 2013, state chairs are asked to “put the interests of the organization first.” Is that the pledge of allegiance that you would expect delegates to a convention that could change the Constitution to be loyal to?

When the doors close at the convention and the gavel falls, can you be certain which pledge of allegiance the ALEC-associated delegates will be loyal to: that to ALEC and its lengthy roster of corporate sponsors or the one they swore to the Constitution? At that critical moment in our history, will they care more about the Constitution or more about the millions in campaign contributions?

No one can say with certainty, and that is too big a chance to take when we’re talking about the future of our Constitution and the liberties it protects.

Before signing off on any call for a convention, readers would be wise to investigate the matter and see if the state legislators sponsoring the Article V proposal have ties to ALEC. If they do, perhaps those lawmakers should be asked to declare their allegiance before they are entrusted with “fixing” our Constitution.

On that point, if these state legislators were as committed to federalism, states’ rights, and forcing the federal beast back inside its constitutional cage as they say, wouldn’t they be on record opposing the acceptance of even a single cent of federal grant-in-aid money? Wouldn’t they be on record offering and voting in favor of bills to declare state economic independence from the federal government? 

Check the data. Most states receive at least one-third of their budget funds from the federal government. It hardly seems consistent with a commitment to state sovereignty to shake one’s fist at Washington with one hand while cashing its checks with the other. The facts don’t lie.

Responsibility to Research

Finally, dear readers, the pro-Article V coalition is banging the convention drum so loudly that it is sometimes difficult to hear the arguments against it. That is understandable as there is much that is attractive about the various Article V proposals. The problem, as has been laid out in this and the other articles in the series, is that once you scratch off the enticing conservative coating, you find a very bitter progressive, corporate-funded, and self-serving pill — one that if swallowed, would be fatal to our Republic.

The undeniable fact is that there is nothing other than proponents’ promises that can guarantee the rose-colored, conservative outcome promised by the COS, Compact for America, and other groups calling for this convention. Before jumping on that bandwagon, though, every one of us is under an obligation to do the research. To that end, several enlightening links are provided in this article and the others that were published previously. 

Balanced budget amendments, term limit amendments, and the various other “power to the people” amendments backed by the socialist wing of the Article V movement are all, in one way or another, contrary to the intent of the Founders and to the principles of liberty they enshrined in the Constitution.

Remember, no matter how “conservative” or “constitutional” a group or individual claims to be, if their proposed amendments change the basic structure of the Constitution or alter even in the slightest the delicate balance of power provided by the Constitution, then you should realize that although their lips draw near to the Founders, their hearts are far from them.

Joe A. Wolverton, II, J.D. is a correspondent for The New American and travels nationwide speaking on nullification, the Second Amendment, the surveillance state, and other constitutional issues. He is the co-founder of Liberty Rising, an educational endeavor aimed at promoting and preserving the Constitution. Follow him on Twitter @TNAJoeWolverton and he can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Related articles:

Article V: Con-Con or Nothing Is the Cry of This Cause Célèbre

Article V Group Ignores States' Complicity in Federal Power Grab

Convention of States and Article V: Tearing Up the Talking Points

Compact for America Proposal Could Increase Federal Power

Convention of the States: Wrong on History, Nullification

Convention of the States: Scholars Ignore History

Repair vs. Restore: Why Constitution Doesn’t Need Article V Fix

In Defense of Con-Con, Meckler Chooses Ridicule Over Rebuttal

Socialists and Soros Fight for Article V Convention

8 comments

  • Comment Link Teri Wednesday, 26 February 2014 21:52 posted by Teri

    Something folks are not understanding: The State Legislatures are NOT the ones to ratify the final amendment that might come from any Convention of States, and neither is Congress. THE PEOPLE are the ones that will ratify it/them. THE PEOPLE. THE PEOPLE. THE PEOPLE. NOT Congress. NOT State Legislatures. THE PEOPLE.

    That means YOU AND ME.

    THAT is what Article V safeguards. THE PEOPLE.

    And in agreement with other comments posted on other articles here regarding the COS, the 16th and 17th amendments (and a couple other amendments) destroyed some Constitutional safeguards. Those can be undone one day people wake up and learn what the Constitution is really about, as opposed to what public school and universities have taught it's supposedly about for the past 120 years.

    Learn the TRUTH about the Convention of States here:
    http://conventionofstates.com/

    Learn the TRUTH about the Constitution in a FREE online class here:
    http://www.nccs.net/

  • Comment Link Heidi Preston Saturday, 15 February 2014 02:45 posted by Heidi Preston

    You ask if James Madison is the Father of the Constitution and question it and rightly so.
    One person never mentioned which I haven't read about was an economist called Pierre du Pont who had a lot of influence over what was written through Thomas Jefferson.
    "Correspondence Between
    THOMAS JEFFERSON AND PIERRE SAMUEL DU PONT DE NEMOURS 1798-1817
    Edited by

    DUMAS MALONE

    Sometime Richmond Alumni Professor of History in the University of Virginia

    Translations by
    LINWOOD LEHMAN

    Associate Professor of Romanic Languages in the University of Virginia BOSTON AND NEW YORK
    HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY 1930

    CORRESPONDENCE

    I. THE COMING OF DU PONT TO AMERICA, 1 798-1800 I

    H. NATIONAL EDUCATION IN THE UNITED STATES, l8oO 8

    in. AFFAIRS OF STATE, l8oO-l8O2 QJ

    IV. THE LOUISIANA PURCHASE, 1802-1803 46

    V. PHILOSOPHER AND PRESIDENT, 1804-1809 80

    VI. PARIS AND MONTICELLO, 1809-1815 124

    vn. DU PONT'S LAST VISIT TO AMERICA, 1815-1817 154
    1.there were no less than sixty letters of correspondent between Jefferson and Du Pont (the majority are from Du Pont to Jefferson)

    2.Thomas Jefferson met Pierre S. du Pont while on the Eve of the French Revolution while he was Minister to the Court of Louis XVI

    3.The following year he was elected to the Council of the
    Elders. Strongly opposed to the Directory, he estab-
    lished a paper, L'Historien, as the medium of his
    opinions. After the coup d'tiat of i8th Fructidor (Sep-
    tember 4, 1797), his printery was pillaged and he him-
    self narrowly escaped deportation. Such were the circumstances which caused Du Pont to turn his eyes hopefully to America. Though the
    government of the young republic across the Atlantic
    was then in the hands of a group bitterly hostile to
    subversive French influences, with which even so moderate a reformer as Du Pont may have been Iden-
    tified by the extremists, he thought that here liberty
    was fixed in the habits of the nation."

    4. "After the death of Maurepas,
    however, Du Pont was recalled by Vergennes and en-
    trusted with two important missions. He negotiated,
    with the secret envoy of Great Britain, the bases of
    the treaty which recognized the independence of the
    United States in 1782; and he drew up the conditions
    of the treaty of commerce signed by Great Britain and
    France four years later. He served also under Calonne,
    and became at length a Councillor of State. As director
    of commerce, he greatly aided Jefferson in the latter' s
    efforts to gain commercial privileges for the struggling
    young American republic, and impressed that minister
    as the ablest man in France. "...."Du Pont, endangered by political developments in his
    native land near the end of the century, turned toward
    the United States, where Jefferson was then in office as
    Vice-President, though not in political power. "


    ***"he thought that here liberty
    was fixed in the habits of the nation."

    Definition of habit -an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary.

    Me- the habit of letting alien (as in foreign) influences prevail against our sovereignty.

  • Comment Link Teri Friday, 14 February 2014 04:20 posted by Teri

    Oh, and one last thing: I am fearful that YOU, Mr. Wolverton, is the one that is "corporate funded". This article, when read carefully, is nothing more than full of "what if's" and "mights", and other such guesses that do nothing more than serve to plant doubt and fear into the reader's mind. Shame on you! Give us real meat. Not air.

    34 state legislatures must pass a bill called an “application” calling for a convention of states. They submit these applications to Congress. The applications must request a convention of states for the same subject matter.

    Congress CANNOT block a convention of states. As long as each state applies for a convention that deals with the same issue (i.e., limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government), Congress must call the convention. Congress can name the place and the time for the convention. If it fails to exercise this peer reasonably, either the courts or the states themselves can override Congressional inaction.

    Congress does NOT control the convention and does NOT choose the delegates. The Founders made this very clear. Once 34 states apply, Congress has no discretion whether to call a convention and no control over the delegates. (Federalist No. 85, see paragraph beginning “In opposition to the probability…”). George Mason proposed to add the Convention of States provision to Article V because he thought Congress had too much control over the amendment process. The Framers unanimously agreed with him. It makes no sense to interpret Article V to give more power to Congress, when the whole point was to take power away.

    This claim that Congress gets to choose the delegates also goes against common sense. Just because one party “calls” a convention, doesn’t mean it gets to choose the delegates for the other parties. Think about it. Virginia called the Philadelphia Convention in 1787. Did it get to choose the delegates for Massachusetts? Of course not. Massachusetts did. Each state chooses is own delegates; it doesn’t matter who calls the convention. This is Agency Law 101 and basic common sense.

    States are free to develop their own selection process for choosing their delegates - properly called “commissioners”. Historically, the most common method used was an election by a joint session of both houses of the state legislature.

    In the Convention of States commissioners from each state propose, discuss, and vote on amendments to the Constitution. Amendments the convention passes by a simple majority will be sent back to the states for ratification. Each state has one vote at the convention.

    38 states must ratify any proposed amendments. Once states ratify, the amendments become part of the Constitution.
    (And NO, they are not asking that you pledge allegiance to THEM! more Falsehoods!)

    To see why a COS is safe read here:
    http://conventionofstates.com/learn-why-convention-safe

    And how is this COS proposal different? Read up:
    http://www.conventionofstates.com/learn-convention-states-0

    And here's an overview of the project:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-HTct46viw

    Reader, please understand that what the above article tries to make us fear, is nothing but air. I teach the Constitution to high school kids and I have studied it and continue to study it. And not only the Constitution, but I study the Founders and the underlying principles that serve as the foundation of the Constitution. Please do your own homework.

  • Comment Link Teri Friday, 14 February 2014 03:43 posted by Teri

    NO! NO! NO! This is NOT a CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION they are calling!! Please stop spreading these falsehoods! This is a CONVENTION OF STATES. And we need it! If you want to read up on it start by entering these into your browser after the three w's, and without the spaces:
    conventionofstates. com/ sites/ default/files/ Frequently% 20Asked% 20Questions_ 0.pdf

    This is a CONVENTION OF STATES that is being called. The State and its people will fully decide on delegates, as well as proposed amendments. They are NOT voted on by Congress. They are NOT passed without the majority of the citizenry in each of the 38 states needed being in agreement to it. Article V was wisely the last-ditch effort, the last "safety valve" if you will, that the Founders gave us to reign in a rogue and out of control government. PLEASE go to that sight and read up on it. There is tons of info at conventionofstates dot com. DO IT! Our nation need our help. Do not believe the article above!

  • Comment Link Liberty_Clinger Thursday, 13 February 2014 21:01 posted by Liberty_Clinger

    An amendment convention under Article V is not a "con con," so the ratification procedure used in our original constitutional convention is irrelevant. Article V requires 3/4 of the state legislatures to ratify any amendment, so it only requires 1/4 of the state legislatures (13) to prevent a so-called "runaway" convention. That simple fact is our security.

    I'm all for State nullification of un-Constitutional Federal laws, regulations and Supreme Court decisions, but Article V was written into our Constitution for a reason - our Founding Fathers wanted it there - to prevent Federal tyrant, or fight against established Federal tyranny. Ask yourself: Why did our Founding Fathers add the Article V provision for states to initiate Constitutional amendments?

  • Comment Link Joyce Thursday, 13 February 2014 20:37 posted by Joyce

    The one world global government, aka the new world order already has their new Constitution written and ready to foist upon us and will likely succeed if those making the decisions are foolish enough to fall for it and not notice that some very important words have been left out - like the word "just" which is in front of "compensation" in the present one that keeps the government from taking your property away from you for the common good for a nickel or a dime. The new world order also has puppets into some state governments.

    The new world order also already has a plan whereby only 7 governors of states will rule all 50 in the event of martial law being called. I wouldn't place any money on the odds those governors are already new world order puppets.

    All 50 states already have the authority to nullify any and all unconstitutional laws inside their states, and this is the route that all 50 states should take.

    It would seem to be far simpler and safer and would defang the federal government, which is probably the only way we are going to hold them at bay, and they had better get busy on nullifying any further gun restrictions altogether. In fact, that all states follow that little town in the state of Georgia that mandated that every home must have a gun and found that they don't even have enough crime to report a rate.

    The future of this nation also depends on getting the common core killed in every state to prevent our children from being brainwashed by the new world order.

    I also wonder why we have no lawyers who can find a way to file a class action lawsuit against Obama and wife along with all his appointees and czars, charging them with fraud, high crimes and treason, along with all congressional members who fight against those charges being filed. These charges should also demand that they all be arrested and detained in those FEMA camps built to detain US citizens, without charges, without lawyers, and without a phone call as outlined in their unconstitutional NDAA that Obama wanted so badly. I believe in one video, Obama himself, said to be detained up to 10 years just on suspicion of being connected to terrorists. Surely 10 years would give a good firm of lawyers enough time to sort out what charges to file against each individual. Obama and the one world global government, aka the new world order, long since passed the stage of suspicion, and have been using our tax money to fund The Muslim Brotherhood and also supplying military weapons to known Hamas terrorists.

  • Comment Link Bob Donohoo Thursday, 13 February 2014 12:51 posted by Bob Donohoo

    During the last Con Con the delegates on the committee that gave us Article VII (only 9 states need ratify) first voted on whether or not to follow what the states were ALREADY bound to, the Articles. They voted 7 to 3 to ignore them. They even voted to go around the state legislatures.

    I wonder how they will get around the "13 conservative state legislatures." Considering they did this in like fashion before my guess is it will not be too difficult.

  • Comment Link Liberty_Clinger Thursday, 13 February 2014 11:00 posted by Liberty_Clinger

    An amendment requiring term limits for Congress and the Supreme Court (just as we now have for the President), and a balanced budget are anti-Socialist, not Socialist as is asserted here, so those requirements do in fact represent power to the people and therefore draw near to the Founders in both mind and heart.

    The probability of a runaway (Socialist) amendment is zero because it only takes 13 conservative state legislatures to stand in their way. In my view there is a significant chance that the Socialists will not be able to muster 13 state legislatures to stand in our way.

Please Log In To Comment
Log in