Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Is Article V in Our Future?

Out of exasperation with the flouting of the Constitution by Barack Obama, and the way Congress is letting them get by with these violations, several conservative authors are promoting the calling of a national convention to propose amendments to the Constitution, which they believe can put our country on a wiser path. The authority for such an unprecedented procedure is Article V of our Constitution, so they are calling their proposal an Article V convention. However, they are fooling themselves when they suggest that Article V creates a path to bypass Congress with a convention run by the states. The only power the states are given by Article V is the opportunity to submit an "application" humbly beseeching Congress to call a convention. The applications already submitted have widely different purposes and wording. Many applications were later rescinded. It takes 34 states to trigger the calling of a convention, but how will Congress count valid applications? The states have submitted hundreds of such applications, and so far Congress has ignored them all.

If Congress ever decides to act, Article V gives Congress exclusive power to issue the "Call" for a convention to propose amendments. The Call is the governing document which determines all the basic rules such as where and when a convention will be held, who is eligible to be a delegate, and how delegates will be apportioned. That's the most important question. Will each state have one vote, which was the rule in the 1787 Philadelphia convention, or will the convention be apportioned according to population (like Congress or the Electoral College)? Nothing in Article V gives the states any power to make this fundamental decision.

Article V doesn't give any power to the states to propose constitutional amendments, or to decide which amendments will be considered by the convention.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

1 comment:

Robert Karnes said...

Time for the Article V Convention to be held. Of course it is scary.
We must recognize we aren't going to send people to Washington to fix this mess. 70% of the "Tea Party" members sent in 2010 and 2012 voted to increase the debt limit without getting ANY significant concession. Same with each new and bigger federal budget/CR.
You can't win a war when 70% of your frontline troops defect.

Can congress try to play games? Maybe but the standard was set at the federal convention, 1 state 1 vote and delegates are selected by the states. Nothing in the historical record indicates it would be otherwise.
There is simply no reason to believe we are going to regain control of this lawless, out of control government short of making changes in the basic structure of the federal government.
We can watch the slow death of our country or we can do what Washington did at Trenton when faced with the certain and final defeat spring would have brought. We can do something BOLD that also has risks. Doing nothing, or doing what we have been doing, means we give up.

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