A Constitutional Convention?

constitution120212-scotus-framersIt is obvious to me that Washington cannot/will not correct the problems it has levied on this nation. If there are hopes of slowing things down or reversing them, the pressure must come from states who bear the burden of the mischief that comes out of Washington.

Tom Lester provides some interesting information and thoughts regarding the possibility of a Constitutional Convention. Such an event would not be without risk as Mr. Lester points out. Here are his comments:

From Wikipedia:
According to Article V [of the U.S. Constitution], Congress must call for an amendment-proposing convention, “on the application of the Legislatures of two-thirds of the several States”, and therefore 34 state legislatures would have to submit applications.  Once an Article V convention has proposed amendments, then each of those amendments would have to be ratified by three-fourths of the states (i.e. 38 states) in order to become part of the Constitution.
Congress has the power to choose between two methods of ratification: ratification by the state legislatures, or instead ratification by state conventions called for that purpose.  In contrast to those separate state ratification conventions, a convention to propose amendments to the Constitution would be a single federal convention.  While there have been calls for a second federal convention based on a single issue such as the Balanced Budget Amendment, it is not clear whether a convention summoned in this way would be legally bound to limit discussion to a single issue; law professor Michael Stokes Paulsen has suggested that such a convention would have the “power to propose anything it sees fit”.  All 27 amendments to the Constitution have happened in a procedural sense by going through Congress and not through proposal by state legislatures.
From ThisNation.com:

While there has never been a sufficient number of states calling for a constitutional convention to compel the Congress to convene one, an effort in the 1980s and early 1990s to call a convention for the express purpose of considering a balanced budget amendment nearly succeeded.  However, concerns that all aspects of the Constitution would be open for amendment if such a convention were convened caused the effort to fall short.

A Constitutional Convention has never been called by petition of the states.  There may be some troubling aspects of such an action.  First, many of the state legislative members, likely delegates to such a convention, see themselves as future national representatives and senators and may be less than aggressive in limiting their future potential compensation and benefits.  Secondly, once amendments are proposed and presented to the state legislatures, these same individuals would have the power of ratification.
Still, it is an action I would welcome perhaps finally determining if this country is to become a European socialist democracy or one more closely aligned to its roots embodied in the Constitution.  While a 28th Amendment, “Congress shall make no laws…”, would be welcomed, it would be my hope that the convention would go further in addressing Congressional term limits; the limitation of earmarks; a Balanced Budget Amendment; approval of Congress of all regulatory edicts; and a statutory publishing of bills, and specific summation of their impact, for a thirty or sixty day lapse of time before the final bills could be voted on by the House and Senate.
Tom Lester

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2 Comments

  1. Obviously Mr. Lester has never actually read the Constitution regarding his comments about an Article V Convention. In fact, the Constitution states that a convention shall be called upon two thirds applications of the several state legislatures. There is no requirement regarding same amendment subject or any other term or condition except that two thirds of the states must apply for a convention call. This means 34 states, 34 applications. You can read the applications from 49 states and their 748 applications at http://www.foavc.org. The reason a convention has not occurred is not because the states have not applied but because Congress refuses to obey the Constitution and call the convention.

  2. The demise of our Republic is not due to flaws within the Constitution. Rather it is caused by ignoring the principles and original intent of the authors and understood by the ratifiers. All three branches at the federal level are guilty of circumventing the limitations intentionally placed in that wonderful document.

    The Congress has no concept of their authorized role within Article 1, Section 8.
    The Courts have become filled with political hacks who have no desire to keep the other branches in check.
    And for some time now, the chief executive, seeing that there is no limit to the power he might assume to his office, has become worse than King George ever was.

    We the people have become we the sheeple and meekly permit- even invite- this assault on Liberty to continue. And now the “problems” can be fixed by some wordsmithing? Nay, the only thing that will keep us from continuing our decline is a change in the hearts of the people to reawaken the love of Liberty.

    When the collapse finally arrives and the real pain of tyranny makes itself known to America, the best we can hope for is to rebuild with the existing Constitution as our guide and a commitment to hold fast to the principles of the Founders.

    Sic Semper Tyrannis

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