“Syncope” is defined as “the contraction of a word by omitting one or more sounds from the middle.” While the term is usually applied to spelling and grammar, it has some analogy to recent attempts to call a constitutional convention, as well.
Since the beginning of the year, this author has traveled extensively speaking out against the call being made by some for a so-called “convention of states.” There are several groups pushing for this event, some on the Right and many on the extreme Left, as I have previously documented.
When facing off against the pro-Article V con-con crowd, I’ve noticed a disturbing habit among the presenters: that of leaving out key portions of Article V, a sort of constitutional contraction. Typically this brand of syncope, as I like to call it, involves highlighting portions of the provision in order to convince those in the audience that the process is safe and that rogue amendments (such as those being promoted by George Soros and others) will never make it into the Constitution.
One of the most egregious examples of this subtle subtraction of key constitutional language pertains to the method of ratification of amendments proposed by delegates at an Article V constitutional convention.
Concerning the method of state approval of amendments sent to them by the convention, Article V mandates that they will become part of the Constitution “when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof.” (Emphasis added.)
That last phrase regarding special ratifying conventions is the part that Article V proponents like to leave out. I have an idea why.
As I mentioned above, there are myriad socialist and progressive organizations desperate to change the Constitution and make it more conformable to their dangerous ideas of “good government.”
These socialist suggestions run the gamut from changing the Second Amendment so as to prevent civilians from owning weapons and ammunition, to increasing the amount of direct democracy in the working of Congress, to protecting the rights of homosexuals to “marry.”
Now, there are admittedly not enough state lawmakers who would vote in favor of the most controversial and constitutionally offensive amendments. What also must be admitted, however, is that the billions being spent on this effort by the Left would likely buy seats for their delegates at any special ratifying convention.
No one, no matter how heavily invested in the cause of the “convention of states” (a phrase not found in Article V) can guarantee the outcome of a special ratifying convention. In fact, in light of the lists of leftist groups found in the con-con camp, the results of these conventions could be an outright scrapping of the Constitution written by the Founders in favor of one more in line with the progressive ideologies of these Article V convention advocates.
The mind boggles at the potential proposals that could come out of a convention occupied by such radical enemies of the rule of law and republican liberty.
Besides, another demonstrable fact of modern political life is that George Soros and other globalists are spending billions to fund these fringe groups and contemporary politicians — no matter how “conservative” — aren't exactly known for their ability to resist hefty campaign contributions.
All those who are at this moment involved in the battle to protect our Constitution should make particular mention of this provision of Article V when confronting those of any political stripe who conveniently leave it out of their propaganda.
At the next meeting featuring slick and comforting presentations by the corps of “convention of states” spokesmen, remember to stand up and point out their constitutional contractions — their syncope — and the fact that adding and deleting words from the Constitution is a tactic used by enemies of our Republic, not by those sailing under the colors of the Constitution.
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. Follow him on Twitter @TNAJoeWolverton and he can be reached at