Conservative Infighting Over Article V — History

by Rick Bulow, Rick’s Civics Blog — May 3, 2015


Washington_Constitutional_Convention_1787In my last entry I mentioned that liberals have launched a misinformation campaign to create infighting among conservatives over #ArticleV. I want to remind you, and will continue to do do so, what Robert G. Natelson had said:

Under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, any constitutional amendment must be ratified by three fourths of the states (now 38 of 50) to be effective. Before an amendment can be ratified, however, it must be proposed either (1) by Congress or (2) by an interstate task force the Constitution calls a “convention for proposing amendments.” This gathering is convened when the people convince two thirds of the state legislatures (34 of 50) to pass resolutions demanding it. The convention itself is a meeting of the representatives of state legislatures—an assembly of the kind traditionally called a “convention of states.”

Natelson goes on to say in his dissertation that

The Framers adopted the convention procedure to ensure that Congress did not have a monopoly on the amendment process. The Framers saw the procedure as a way the people, acting through their state legislatures, could respond if the federal government became dysfunctional or abusive.
There is widespread public support for amendments to cure some of the real problems now plaguing the country. However, since repeal of Prohibition, Congress repeatedly has refused to propose any constitutional amendments limiting its own power and prerogatives. When reformers sought to check lavish congressional pay raises, for example, they could get nothing through Congress. Instead, they had to secure ratification of an amendment (the 27th) that had been formally proposed in 1789!
Such unresponsiveness would seem to be exactly the occasion for which the Founders authorized the convention for proposing amendments. Yet a handful of conservative groups—including but not limited to, the John Birch Society and Eagle Forum—have uncompromisingly opposed any use of the convention procedure to bypass Congress. They assiduously lobby state legislatures to reject any and all proposals for a convention, no matter how worthwhile or necessary they may be. This uncompromising opposition has become a mainstay of those groups’ political identity and, perhaps, a useful fundraising device.
Although these groups bill themselves as conservative, their reflexive opposition to the convention process regularly allies them with the liberal establishment and with special interest lobbyists who seek only to protect the status quo. Since the 1980s, this strange coalition has blocked all constitutional efforts to address federal dysfunction. As a result that dysfunction has become steadily worse. For example, their long-held opposition to a balanced budget convention is a principal reason America now labors under a $18 trillion national debt.

Now, one of the things that Joanna Scutari (aka “Publius Huldah”) says in her blog (no I am not going to link it here) is that we do not need an #ArticleV Convention to clarify our constitution. If the Constitution did not need clarifying, then amendments would not have been needed. Instead, the Constitution had been amended 18 times (the first 10 amendments [aka the Bill of Rights] which were ratified all at once plus 17 other amendments) so we know that amending the constitution to clarify it ISpossible and doable. Those 27 amendments were done by way of the United States Congress. As I pointed out in the last entry, that is one way of amending the Constitution. The other way is by the state legislatures applying to Congress for aCONVENTION TO PROPOSE AMENDMENTS. As Natleson pointed out (and I will get to it in a later entry) it is not a Constitutional (or plenipotentiary) Convention. As pointed out by the Virginia legislature in 1788,

The slow forms of Congressional discussion and recommendation, if, indeed, they should ever agree to any change, would, we fear, be less certain of success. Happily for their wishes, the Constitution hath presented an alternative, by admitting the submission to a convention of the States. To this, therefore, we resort as the source from whence they are to derive relief from their present apprehensions

Therefore, applying for an #ArticleV Convention is a Convention of the States. Congress just calls for the convention once 2/3 of the states (34 states) submit the same type of application, then gets out of the way, as I will explain in the next entry. There have been 400 such applications for a convention of the states, but Congress has not acted on them, thanks to people like Scutari, Floyo, Nelson, and their ilk who use liberal lies to discredit the real meaning of #ArticleV and convince people that using something that is in the Constitution (and SHOULD BE USED OFTEN) is not the REAL way to go. If you want to know who the REAL domestic enemies of the Constitution are, you need look no further then them, only they do not use guns or bombs but rather words. Those at the Convention of States are using words to counter liberal lies. To take a phrase from my good friend Wayne Dupree (of WAAR Media fame), we are “Assassinating #ArticleV lies with documented facts.”

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