“The tide has turned. The Convention of States did not win a single state this year,” Janine Hansen, national Constitutional Issues Chairman for Eagle Forum, told The New American Monday night after the latest defeat of the Article V Convention of States (COS) in North Carolina. “That is 18 states.”
And the person Hansen credits above all others in North Carolina for defeating the COS is Wynne Coleman, a tireless leader in the fight against the proposal in the Tarheel State. Coleman is the daughter of the late General Andrew Gatsis, who served for years on the National Council of The John Birch Society, the parent organization for The New American. This author personally heard General Gatsis speak in the 1980s on a national speaking tour for the JBS on the topic of the dangers of the feminist movement on the American military. Wynne’s mother, Alice, was also an activist, heavily involved in the fight against the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s and 1980s.
Not surprisingly, Wynne Coleman has followed in her parents’ footsteps, and is also a proud member of The John Birch Society. Coleman formed and led a grass-roots committee, No Convention of States North Carolina, dedicated to the defeat of any attempt to call a Constitutional Convention, by whatever name, that she and others fear could lead to a re-writing of the U.S. Constitution.
With the close of the “Short Session” of the North Carolina General Assembly on Friday of last week, Coleman said, “Convention of the States is officially dead. The North Carolina House never took it to the Floor for a ‘reconsideration’ vote despite the tactics employed by its Sponsors. Pro-COS Senate and House Sponsors will have to start over by filing a new application in the 2019-2020 Biennium Session.”
Coleman added that “two great cartoons” were instrumental in the battle against the Constitutional Convention (Con-Con) in North Carolina. One cartoon depicted three supporters of the Con-Con movement, George Soros, former U.S. Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, and Mark Neckler driving over a cliff with their push for the dangerous Con-Con.
Those Americans who believe the document produced by such men as George Washington, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton in 1787, and ratified by the states over the next few years, is far superior to anything that our present generation of politicians such as Nancy Pelosi and Paul Ryan could produce, should now heave a sigh of relief. After all, as the late Justice Antonin Scalia once opined, “This century is a bad century in which to write a Constitution.”
Advocates of a national convention argue that there is a need to rein in an out-of-control federal government. Article V of the Constitution provides that amendments can be proposed either by two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress, or by a Convention called by Congress upon the application of two-thirds of the states, with delegates representing the states. But can anyone seriously believe that an electorate that has sent our present bunch of politicians to Congress would suddenly wise up and send a better bunch to a Constitutional Convention? The powerful special interests that have so much influence over Congress would not sit idly by and let any such convention be dominated by patriots who favor limited government, liberty, and free enterprise.
Some well-meaning proponents of the Convention of States idea have actually proposed that we need to “clarify” the Second Amendment to make sure our modern judges and lawmakers really understand that it was intended to protect our right to keep and bear arms. These supporters of a Con-Con believe that the Supreme Court could misinterpret the Constitution and rule that the Second Amendment doesn’t do that. So now they propose that we need to write a new amendment, telling them again what is already plainly stated in the Second Amendment right now.
Con-Con advocates should understand that opponents of the Second Amendment, as it now stands, would be in attendance at any such Con-Con. Does any supporter of the Second Amendment really want a Con-Con to convene now, in this toxic anti-gun rights atmosphere?
The John Birch Society argues that the real solution is to invoke Article VI of the Constitution, rather than calling a dangerous Article V Con-Con. Article VI stipulates that the Constitution itself is the supreme law of the land, and all other laws and court decisions must follow it. In other words, it is not the Constitution that is the problem, but rather the failure to follow it.
As in the other states where this dangerous proposal has been killed, well-informed members of The John Birch Society wrote, phoned, and e-mailed their legislators, and some went directly to the Capitol to explain to legislators why a Con-Con is not the solution to a runaway federal government. Monte Button, a JBS chapter leader in Iowa (which also defeated the Con-Con this year), summed up the issues in an interview with The New American, “Getting educated is what The John Birch Society is all about — an informed electorate is what it is all about. We do not need to re-write the Constitution. We need to make Congress abide by it.”
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