Saturday, 21 November 2015

Assembly of State Legislatures Changes Article V Text in Call for "Convention of States"

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From November 11-13, an estimated 100 state legislators from 30 states met in Salt Lake City to draft a blueprint for a constitutional convention to be called (they claim) according to the process set forth in Article V of the Constitution.

The gathering hopes to establish rules to keep such a convention from departing from its designated purpose.

"We're not focused on a specific amendment, so we're not advocating for a balanced budget or any other amendment that is being proposed out there in the world of the Internet, and there are many of them," said Utah state senator Wayne Niederhauser in a statement published in the Salt Lake Tribune. "What we're focused on is establishing the rules and procedures under which a convention to propose amendments to the Constitution could be held.”

The Assembly of State Legislatures is the group sponsoring this conference, and it has held three similar meetings since 2013. The first of these “rules and procedures” conferences was held at George Washington’s beloved Mt. Vernon estate. When the legislators met at Mt. Vernon, they went by the name of the Mt. Vernon Assembly. 

At a confab held the following year in Indiana, the group officially changed its name to the Assembly of State Legislatures.

The organization’s purpose is set out on its official website:

The Assembly exists for the primary purpose of defining the rules and procedures under which a Convention of the States to propose amendments would operate. Article V of the Constitution provides the states the authority to call a convention for the specific purpose of drafting a proposed amendment, but the rules of such a meeting are not outlined in the Constitution.

Constitutionalists will instantly recognize the slick bit of syncope perpetrated in that paragraph.

“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 this claque’s repeated attempts to call a constitutional convention, as well.

Here is the actual text of the relevant clause of Article V of 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, 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...

See the difference?

The Assembly of State Legislatures does something that those of us who cherish our founding charter loathe: when this or that party leaves out key words of the Constitution to suit their interests.

Article V does not “provide the states the authority to call a convention for the specific purpose of drafting a proposed amendment.”

No, Article V provides for a process that is much more powerful and thus much more potentially dangerous than the revision printed on the Assembly of State Legislatures’ website.

Typically this brand of constitutional contraction 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.

Take note also of the deception attempted by this group in its assurance that Article V gives power to the states to call a convention. There are a few significant misrepresentations in that short statement.

First, the Constitution does not give the states anything. The states created the federal government and retain the authority to resist the exercise by Congress of any powers not specifically granted to it by the states in the Constitution.

The documents sent by the states to Congress announcing their ratification of the Constitution provide additional evidence of the founding generation’s appreciation of the states’ and federal government’s respective roles as creator and creation. In nearly every one of these letters, the state legislature or ratifying convention delegation explicitly reminds Congress that the consent of the states formed the federal government.

The ratifying conventions called throughout the 13 states understood that the delegates sent to Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 created a general government of limited power, retaining for themselves nearly the full panoply of powers they had exercised successfully for over a century. 

In other words, the states are the creator, the federal government is the creation, and the latter cannot control the former, regardless of the revisionist history promoted by the Assembly of State Legislatures.

The second problem is the assertion in their mission statement that Article V provides for the drafting of “a proposed amendment.”

Again, the plain language of Article V is subtly, yet significantly different from the version published by the Assembly of State Legislatures.

Anyone can read the actual text of Article V, and nowhere does that provision contemplate confining a convention to the consideration of one amendment.

In fact, in light of the roster of leftist groups present in the con-con camp, there is no limit to the lengths these delegates would go to change our charter.

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 the liberty of a Republic.

Furthermore, 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 many of these Article V convention advocates.

Another irrefutable fact of political reality 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, when confronting those of any political stripe should make particular mention of the fact that there is no limiting clause in Article V, no matter what their propaganda says.

The website of the Assembly of State Legislatures doesn’t disclose when the next meeting featuring slick and comforting presentations by the corps of “convention of states” spokesmen will be held. 

But whenever and where ever these lawmakers gather to write the agenda for an Article V convention, 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, by those pretending to sail under the colors of the Constitution.

This is particularly true of state legislators, who each swore an oath as mandated by Article VI of the Constitution “to support this Constitution.” 

It’s unlikely that deleting key words from the Constitution and misleading constituents is the sort of "support" the Founders had in mind.

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Related articles:

Gay Rights Activist Would Use Article V Convention for "Whacking Away" at Constitution

Mt. Vernon Assembly Plans to Adopt Rules for Future Con-Con

Nullification vs. Constitutional Convention: How to Save Our Republic

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

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