Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Article V Convention


American citizens have fallen victim to years of unconstitutional government at the hands of inept legislatures, politicians and judges who have corrupted the Constitution’s original meaning. Economic malaise of the nation and loss of personal freedoms and liberty is the heavy price paid for violation of the U.S. Constitution. America is the “land of opportunity” – not the land of guaranteed benefits and subsidies or the “land of milk and honey”.
                Over the course of many years the federal government has usurped these powers the Constitution reserves to the States. Federal regulatory and spending excess have created economic calamity for the country and a loss of personal freedoms. A tarnished Constitution caused by insidious judicial activism has enabled the mischief of expanded government power. ‘Executive Orders (EO’s)” are being used as law. There is no mention of executive orders in the Constitution. EO's were directives of the executive branch on how to carry out a policy for the most part and was never intended to circumvent Congress. When you couple that with court rulings which, again, aren't "law" (Laws can only be made by Congress according to the Constitution) and we have major issues. The courts have repeatedly opined that EO's carry the force of law. That is where the problem lies. The branch that was to be the weakest Federalist #78, "The judiciary, on the contrary, has no influence over either the sword or the purse; no direction either of the strength or of the wealth of the society; and can take no active resolution whatever. We now have the “perfect storm” for a runaway government with two branches working against the people.
                Our laws and freedoms are being totally destroyed by 3-5 States (New York, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan) due to their Judicial courts and their very liberal positions. This is the only way to reverse course for our country as a whole. This small group will never survive the process - PERIOD!

Some questions have to be asked or analyzed since the Constitution is not just being disobeyed, but made ineffective. 

What is the value, understanding or consequences of nullification?
Nullification, for the purposes of declaring a federal law null and void and unenforceable, is in fact, what begins the process of destroying the Constitutional compact. Severing the relationship of the federal government with the states, in short, is separating or disuniting the United States. In Federalist #46, Madison speaks of “powerful means” to oppose an unconstitutional federal government. These powerful means include nullification. The right to protest, perhaps individual non-compliance, civil disobedience, protest by State legislature including resolutions is the recurring mantra of Madison in many of his papers.  Madison consistently reminds that the nullification as rendering federal law “null and void” is not conducive to the compact of the Constitution and is in open opposition to Constitutional government, more in line with those who reject the government as constituted and favor a confederacy.
Declaring a law unconstitutional does not render the law repealed. So that it is understood, the movement to make a federal law “null, void or unenforceable” by a State, is to make that state take its first steps to secession. Madison repeatedly clarified his thoughts on nullification as a protest.  Jefferson did in fact agree to nullification and even drafted a plan of secession, but in Madison’s words, “No example of the inconsistency of party zeal can be greater than is seen in the value allowed to Mr. Jefferson’s authority by the nullifying party; while they disregard his repeated assertions of the Federal authority, even under the articles of confederation, to stop the commerce of a refractory State, while they abhor his opinions & propositions on the subject of slavery & overlook his declaration, that in a republic, it is a vital principle that the minority must yield to the majority..” The Tenth Amendment as the right of the States to make null and void federal law, or, as the power of States to dissolve the Union, which of course is a power it does not have in that amendment.

The convention process, as written in the Constitution by the founders. Is it really set up to destroy the Constitution?

                The letter from Madison to a Mr. Everett in August of 1830 in which Madison repeatedly denounces nullification defined as a right of states to disavow unconstitutional laws by the federal government, but clarifies the Resolutions of 98-99 as protests and proves them exercises extinguished by the denouncement of them by other states. Madison writes in Federalist #43, “To provide for amendments to be ratified by three fourths of the States under two exceptions only.That useful alterations will be suggested by experience, could not but be foreseen. It was requisite, therefore, that a mode for introducing them should be provided. The mode preferred by the convention seems to be stamped with every mark of propriety. It guards equally against that extreme facility, which would render the Constitution too mutable; and that extreme difficulty, which might perpetuate its discovered faults. It, moreover, equally enables the general and the State governments to originate the amendment of errors, as they may be pointed out by the experience on one side, or on the other.”
In the 1830 letter, Madison states, “Should the provisions of the Constitution as here reviewed, be found not to secure the government and rights of the states, against usurpations and abuses on the part of the United States, the final resort within the purview of the Constitution, lies in an amendment of the Constitution, according to a process applicable by the states.” The convention process was voted unanimously during the convention, meaning Madison approved of the constitutional provision, which is not, a mere tactic.
“No example of the inconsistency of party zeal can be greater than is seen in the value allowed to Mr. Jefferson’s authority by the nullifying party; while they disregard his repeated assertions of the Federal authority, even under the articles of confederation, to stop the commerce of a refractory State, while they abhor his opinions & propositions on the subject of slavery & overlook his declaration, that in a republic, it is a vital principle that the minority must yield to the majority..”
                The only permanent cure is specific amendment to key clauses to restore the original limits of the Constitution on federal powers. These discrete amendments to the Commerce Clause, General Welfare (spending) Clause, Necessary and Proper Clause, and Supremacy Clause will restore the luster to the original Constitution. Amendment under Article V is the only permanent cure to restore the balance of power, Federalism and the soul of the Constitution. We have allowed this to go on for 227 years without making the necessary moves to prevent this from happening.
Congress holds no role other than sanctioning the event, but many of the “nullifiers” want to scare citizens into believing that the second amending process is going to be initiated by the States and subsequently taken over by Congress.  If that were to happen, the States who in earnest ascribed to the method would reject Congress’s suggestions. The runaway convention worry was taken care of and pointed to in Madison’s notes, or fear of tyrannical government birthed the solution of 2/3rds and 3/4ths.
I had many concerns about a Article V Convention but as I have read hundreds of articles, the Federalist papers, books and applied some common sense, I realized the power to adopt any changes that come out of the Article V Convention resides with the (State Legislatures).  Even if the "Con Con" as some like to refer to it as, adopted a radical policy that abandoned our Constitution altogether, the State legislatures would have to ratify that, and that means 38 legislatures.  I fear a “runaway Federal Government” more than a “runaway Article V Convention” because the Constitution sets a process in place to prevent that from happening. The framers intended on Article V being used, they crafted it to be used, and they used the process to give us our current Constitution. To fear it, is to only continue down this path of not understanding the process or the purpose of the framers to keep the constitution and the "MAJORITY" of the states in control of the direction our country is to follow.
                Something I read that stuck with me was James Madison’s position for the Amendments and the overall intent of our founders to make sure the power of our government stayed first with the people and then secondly with the States.

Amendments Offered in
Congress by James Madison
June 8, 1789
First. That there be prefixed to the Constitution a declaration, that all power is originally vested in, and consequently derived from, the people.
That Government is instituted and ought to be exercised for the benefit of the people; which consists in the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the right of acquiring and using property, and generally of pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.
That the people have an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to reform or change their Government, whenever it be found adverse or inadequate to the purposes of its institution.

Why Call for an Amendment to the Constitution?
To Reduce the Size of Government
To Restore Constitutional Limited Government Powers
To Limit the Regulatory Power of Government
To Limit the Spending Power of Government
THE GOAL OF AN ARTICLE V CONVENTION is to AMEND the Commerce and Spending Clauses of the Constitution, first and foremost. Amendment of these clauses and two others will stop the runaway growth of big government. Obviously the Judicial Branch will have to be dealt with as well so that a full understanding of how they will proceed in their decision making and how it can and will be dealt with in the future as they are not the “final say” in any matter.

How is the Constitution Amended?

There are two methods of proposing constitutional amendments:

     (a)     Article V convention.  Upon application of the legislatures of three-fourths of the States, the Congress of the United States shall enact a law authorizing a Article V convention for the purpose of proposing a specific amendment or amendments to the Constitution.  
     (b)     Congressional act.  A constitutional amendment may also be proposed by an act of Congress pursuant to the provisions of article IX, sections 20 through 22 of the Constitution.

As it pertains to the Article V Convention, State legislatures will vote to "call for the convention" and the topics of choice. The Legislatures of two thirds of the states must call for the Convention. Once the Convention is called, a Chair must be elected of the delegates, and any amendments have to be drafted and voted on by the delegates, the Constitutional Amendments proposed will be sent to the State Legislatures to be ratified through the Legislatures of three quarters of the states. This is a long but important process that has to be exercised. Voting at the ballot box doesn't even begin to address the problems in any manner worthy of discussion.

Ratification of constitutional amendments:

     (1)     A proposed constitutional amendment is deemed to have been ratified if approved by three-fourths of the votes cast on that amendment in at least three-fourths of the States of the United States.
     (2)     In the event conflicting constitutional amendments submitted to the voters at the same election are approved, the amendment receiving the highest number of affirmative votes shall prevail to the extent of the conflict.
     (3)     Once ratified, a constitutional amendment becomes part of the Constitution and is as effective as all other parts of the Constitution, against all States of the United States.

1. Article V requires the State’s applications are for “specific” amendments. It also requires the States to apply for an Article V “Convention for proposing Amendments.”
2. When the Founders drafted the U.S. Constitution in 1787, the Founders used the convention to create what many people state as one of the greatest documents ever written. A fact that has to be recognized is that all of the States ratified the U.S. Constitution (per the Federalist papers) and many people forget that George Washington was chosen to be the chair person to mediate this setting only to go on and become our 1st President. So this process worked before and the founders understood the power of the States to check the Federal government and this process was amended and added to our Constitution.
3. Thirty eight (38) state legislatures must ratify any proposal from an amendments convention, requiring a broad consensus that makes sure any amendment is approved by clear majorities of the States. So this use of “runaway convention” is simply a position of ignorance to the process.
4. The states will define the agenda of an amendments convention through their applications for the convention and through the commission of delegates. Amendments conventions can be limited to specific topics. It doesn’t stop them from addressing other issues, but anything they propose and pass still requires 38 State legislatures to approve.
5. The Constitution was sold by the Founders to the ratifying states on the basis that they retained their ultimate authority over the federal government through their Article V amendment powers. James Madison in Federalist No. #43 specifically argued that states should use the power to correct errors in the Constitution. And Alexander Hamilton in the “final argument” of the Federalist Papers, in Federalist No. #85, said the Article V amendment process was the means by which the states would rein in an out-of-control federal government. One cannot take the Constitution seriously and contend that Article V was not meant to be used. It is a critical and “deal closing” element of the balance of power created by the Constitution. It is not “nullification” by states but the use of a convention to reel in the federal government. Any attempt or argument that does not take into or reflect the massive changes in government, technology or our social economics over the last 227 years cannot intellectually make an argument for structural changes that have to be made to the Constitution. There are simply to many issues that have arisen over the course of time that could not be or foreseen by our Founders. Currently the Constitution is flawed as many have tried and continue to circumvent the document to provide them their own power. There is much to gain in an Article V Convention for the people and the States!
6. There is zero precedent that any convention of the states has ever “runaway” from its assigned agenda. There have been 12 interstate conventions in the history of our country. All of them stayed within their stated agenda. Even the Constitutional Convention of 1787 was not convened to “amend” the Articles of Confederation, but to “revise” and “alter” the Articles to establish an effective national government. This was fully consistent with the Articles of Confederation because the Articles authorized alterations – a term that had revolutionary significance because it echoed the language of the Declaration of Independence. The broad purpose of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 was specifically mentioned in the call of Congress and in nearly all of the commissions for the delegates for each state. The 1787 convention did not “runaway” at all; it did what it was charged to do. Every State legislature approved the Constitution per the Federalist papers!  So even though they drafted a “NEW Constitution” which was radical if you listen to people too scared to have one now, the States approved the new Constitution with a 100% approval as the Federalist papers required. When the State’s call for the Convention the Federal Government better be prepared for major changes in their job descriptions and authority, while the Supreme Court will need to prepare for a whole new look at their branch.
7. The procedures for conducting an amendments convention are similar to Congress’ long-established rule making powers. Constitutional text, language and custom make clear that Congress calls the convention, setting a time and location; states appoint delegates by way of resolutions and commissions (or general state law); delegates initially vote as states at the convention; and majority votes will decide what amendments are proposed for ratification. An amendments convention is simply an interstate task force with each State receiving 1 vote.
8. The limited scope of an amendments convention is similar to that of state ratification conventions that are also authorized in Article V, but no one worries about a ratification convention “running away,” even though such a convention does make law. The Article V Convention is there too use for the States to satisfy the Constitutional requirements and protections they seek against an over reaching Federal government. The deliberation and process are very time consuming and would take time to construct all the laws or changes needed to satisfy majorities of the state bodies to ratify.
9. This is not a government takeover. This is the States and the people in those states saying “enough is enough” and taking the hard issues that the Federal government has been unable to address for decades and getting the work done.

Ronald Reagan 1977 at CPAC-

                "We must be ever willing to negotiate differences, but equally mindful that there are American ideals that cannot be compromised. This will mean compromise, but not a compromise of basic principle.
                Our candidates must be willing to communicate with every level of society, because the principles we espouse are universal and cut across traditional lines. In every Congressional district there should be a search made for young men and women who share these principles and they should be brought into positions of leadership in the local Republican Party groups. We can find attractive, articulate candidates if we look, and when we find them, we will begin to change the sorry state of affairs that has led to a Democratic-controlled Congress for more than 40 years.
                I need not remind you that you can have the soundest principles in the world, but if you don’t have candidates who can communicate those principles, candidates who are articulate as well as principled, you are going to lose election after election. I refuse to believe that the good Lord divided this world into Republicans who defend basic values and Democrats who win elections. We have to find tough, bright young men and women who are sick and tired of cliches and the pomposity and the mind-numbing economic idiocy of the liberals in Washington."

                Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Gov Walker, and so on are heeding Reagan's advice, and leading the fight against anti-American liberal ideological idiocy, which leads to the equal sharing of poverty, misery, and despair, thus empowering the tyranny of authoritarian rule, whether socialist marxism, nazism, and or islamism. At some point we must use the blunt tool of power given to the States and the people to exercise and gain control over the Federal government.