Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Texas GOP Leadership Passes Anti-Constitutional Convention Resolution

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The Texas GOP’s State Republican Executive Committee (SREC) approved an anti-constitutional convention resolution at their December meeting. The resolution said in part:

WHEREAS, Any convention called under the authority of Article V of the U.S. Constitution to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution will be a “Constitutional Convention” regardless of any title or labels attached to it, such as Constitutional Convention, Con-Con, Compact for America, Convention of the States, or any other label;

The resolution went on to say:

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That we call upon the 84th Legislature to rescind any and all existing “calls for a Constitutional Convention”;

This resolution addressed the contradictory planks that are currently in the 2014 State Republican Party Platform. The current party platform says:

Constitutional Convention — We strongly oppose any constitutional convention to rewrite the United States Constitution. We encourage the Texas Legislature to rescind its 1977 call for such a convention. We call upon other states to rescind their votes for such a convention.

Article V Convention — Under no circumstances shall the Bill of Rights, the first 10 constitutional amendments, be changed in any manner. We urge the Texas State Legislators to take the lead in calling for an Article V Amending Convention of States, for the specific purpose of reigning in the power of the federal government. Any proposed amendments must be ratified by ¾ of the states to take effect.

This contradiction was reported in a previous article in The New American online.

The platform plank advocating for an Article V Convention of the States (shown above) was added by the Committee on Platform and Resolutions in the days just prior to the official convening of Republican Party of Texas State Convention in June.

Some delegates, led by members of The John Birch Society and Eagle Forum, attempted to remove the Article V Convention of States plank by submitting an amendment to the party platform during the general session. There were approximately 200 proposed amendments filed, and only five made it to the floor before the delegates, noticeably frustrated by numerous procedural technicalities, passed a motion to adjourn without considering the vast majority of proposed amendments, including the one to remove the Convention of States plank.

Advocates of an Article V Convention of the States are actively lobbying the Texas Legislature to pass legislation calling for an Article V Convention of the States when the next legislative session convenes in January. They contend that an Article V Convention of the States would not be a constitutional convention. The U.S. Constitution, however, does not allow for different levels of Article V Conventions nor does it have any provisions for instructions from the state legislatures to limit the delegates. Article V of the U.S. Constitution says:

Congress … on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a convention for proposing Amendments.

So for all intents and purposes, an Article V Convention of the States is a constitutional convention.

The Republican Party of Texas SREC consists of 31 committeemen and 31 committeewomen, one of each for each Texas Senate district, plus the party chair and vice-chair. Their vote at the SREC’s quarterly meeting on December 6 did not the change the current party platform, but the results of this vote will be transmitted to the governor, each Republican member of the Texas Legislature, Republican county chairs, and Republican senatorial district chairs, and is considered a boost for those who oppose calling for an Article V Convention.

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