Saturday, 10 November 2018

Why Would “Conservatives” Want a Constitutional Convention?

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If conservatism includes a love for the Constituton, why would any “conservative” want to subject it to a convention where delegates from all parts of the political spectrum could turn it on its head?


The “Right” wants to “cement change” to the Constitution by trying to “bypass the usual process” by calling for a “Constitutional convention of the states,” according to a recent article published by the Associated Press (AP).

Standing between pro-convention “Republicans” and the permanent changes they want to make to the Constitution is, according to the AP story, “the mounting alarm of others on all parts of the spectrum.”

I can’t speak for the entire political spectrum, but there are many on the so-called right end of that spectrum that recognize the push to hold a convention of the states for what it is: an attempt by numerous extremely radical, progressive, and socialist organizations in an unlikely and unseemly coalition with self-described conservatives to affect wholesale changes to the Constitution and the freedoms it was written to protect.

“‘They literally see this as the survival of the nation,’” said Karla Jones, director of the federalism task force at the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, which represents state lawmakers and offers guidance and model legislation for states to call a convention under the Constitution’s Article V,” the AP reports.

There is so much wrong with this planned oligarchical coup d’état, but perhaps we can open the eyes of many otherwise well-intentioned friends of the Constitution who support the Article V convention movement by pointing to the blatant and purposeful misrepresentation of Article V made in the description of Jones’s statement.

In that sentence, the author claims that “states” “call a convention under the Constitution’s Article V.”

That is not true.

Here’s the text of Article V directly from 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; 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.

Read the language carefully and you’ll discover that it is Congress that “shall call a convention for the purpose of proposing amendments,” not the states, as claimed by so many advocates of the so-called Article V convention of the states.

The attempt by the proponents of “fixing” the federal government’s overreach by re-writing the Constitution to slip that significant change past people who can be conned into supporting them is what we call syncope. 

Syncope is defined as “the contraction of a word by omitting one or more sounds from the middle.”

Why do those calling for a constitutional convention (yes, that’s what it would be, no matter how strongly the supporters deny it) claim that the states call for a convention when the Constitution clearly grants that authority to Congress?

Because that’s what they do. They change the Constitution. They change it when it comes to the method of calling the convention and they would do exactly the same thing if such a convention were ever to be called. 

Think about that. 

If these people are so faithful to the Founding Fathers and the Constitution, why do they change the language of that document when they try to convince others to support their cause?

How about another witness to the purposeful fraud on the part of convention of the states hucksters?

Here’s a quote from Mark Meckler taken from the AP story:

“That second clause of Article V was specifically intended for a time like this, when the federal government gets out of control and when the Congress won’t deliver to the people what they want,” said Mark Meckler, a tea party leader who now heads Citizens for Self-Governance, which runs the Convention of States Project calling for an Article V convention.

Do you see that? Meckler, one of the high priests of the church of convention seekers, claims that the second clause of Article V was “specifically intended” for times when “Congress won’t deliver to the people what they want.”

Read the clause, Mark! 

Again, Article V very clearly places the onus of calling a convention on Congress, not the states!

Why such serious and serial deception?

Later in the AP story, Meckler is quoted as telling another lie about the group of people calling for an Article V convention.

“You look at our website, it’s all right-wingers,” he says, as quoted by the AP.

I’m not going to write another 1,000 words about the strange and socialist claque with whom Meckler is working to wrest our Constitution. Here’s a link to one of the articles I’ve written on that subject, and it will suffice to put potential supporters of Meckler’s plan on notice regarding their allies in the “convention of states” movement.

Finally, the author of the AP piece quotes Arizona State Representative Kelly Townsend in support of the convention.

“This isn’t red vs. blue,” Townsend said, “this is about states’ rights and an overspending, overbearing federal government that is out of control.”

Overspending? States’ rights?

If Townsend and the other convention supporters were truly committed to restoring federalism and the balance of power back in favor of the states (they are the political entities that created the Constitution, after all), then she and all of them would insist on enforcement of the Constitution, including using the power of nullification.

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The New American, The John Birch Society, Eagle Forum, and many other liberty-minded organizations promote nullification as the “rightful remedy” for curing the constant federal overreaching. We believe that as the agent of the states, the federal government has exceeded its contractual authority and the states as principals have the right to refuse to ratify any such usurpation.

The constitutional convention approach surveyed above is based on changing the Constitution. It is risky because the changes could end up being as radical as altering the fundamental structure of our government — and could even entail an entirely new Constitution. It is not as risky as seceding from the union and starting anew, but it is risky nonetheless.

Nullification, on the other hand, is based not on altering the Constitution but on enforcing it. States that nullify congressional acts or presidential decrees that violate the Constitution would not only be stopping the federal juggernaut at their state borders, they would also be signaling that the Constitution is so vitally important that it must be enforced.

In the Kentucky Resolution of 1799, Thomas Jefferson called nullification the “rightful remedy” for any and all unconstitutional acts of the federal government.

The federal government may exercise only those powers that were delegated to it. This is made clear by the 10th Amendment: “The 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.” Simply stated, nullification recognizes each state’s reserved power to nullify, or invalidate, any federal measure that a state deems unconstitutional.

Nullification is founded on the fact that the sovereign states formed the union, and as creators of the contract, they retain ultimate authority to enforce the constitutional limits of the power of the federal government.

There are several benefits for applying this understanding via nullification: It is a far safer approach for remedying problems caused by violating the Constitution than a constitutional convention; it is based on upholding the Constitution and the founding principles of the Republic; and it can be implemented by individual states, without having to first get two-thirds of the states on board.

I’ll give the last word to an anonymous author of an article published in several cities during the original Constitutional Convention in August and September 1787. 

It is laughable to observe the strange whims and ideas of people in respect to the Grand Convention and their proceedings. It is taken for granted by the generality that something is accidentally wrong in our political machine, which a little skill and contrivance may alone put to rights by the magic of a few resolves upon paper; not considering that the evils and confusion we experience have originated in a great measure with the people themselves....

A long course of frugality, disuse of foreign luxuries, encouragement of industry, application to agriculture, attention to home manufactures and a spirit of union and national sobriety can alone place us in the respectable rank of rich and flourishing nations, a station which we all pant for, but the price of which very few are willing to pay.

Photo: qingwa/iStock/Getty Images Plus

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