Forum Post: All of your problems will be solved with an Article V Convention - if your name is alec or koch
Posted 4 years ago on Dec. 9, 2012, 12:12 p.m. EST by bensdad
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
The Existential Danger of an Article V Constitutional Convention ver 4.2
IT CAN DISCARD OUR CONSTITUTION AND CREATE ONE FROM SCRATCH
ARTICLE V: The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by [state] Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress.
TO CREATE CON CON:
( 2/3 of House + 2/3 of Senate ) OR ( 2/3 of State Legislatures ) RATIFICATION OF CON CON PROPOSED & PASSED AMENDMENTS:
( ¾ of State Conventions ) OR ( ¾ of State Legislatures )
This language clearly states that only the Convention itself is authorized to determine the amendments that are to be proposed and what subjects will be addressed in those amendments. During the first 100 years of the Republic, applications for a convention did not try to tell the convention which amendments to propose, that is, they were, as stated in Article V, general applications for a convention.
Early applications, since 1788, properly left the determination of the content of the amendments to the convention. As time passed, the state legislatures lost sight of the clear language and intent of the U.S. Constitution. Later, they attempted to dictate to a convention what amendments it could propose. They did this by stating in their applications that they sought only a limited convention with authority to propose an amendment on a single subject. By issuing single-issue convention applications, legislatures sought to turn the convention into a rubber stamp which could do only what the applications stated. These unenforceable, unconstitutional limitations defy the intended purpose of the convention, which was to deliberate and decide what amendments to propose. Most recent calls for a con-con has been dressed up as a movement to require Congress to call a convention for the limited purpose of proposing an amendment requiring a balanced budget; to ban flag burning; to ban abortion…. Topics to which a convention is to be limited are designed to be appealing, but most jurists agree that Congress has no authority to dictate or limit what subjects to address in a convention.
The Article V ratification process was not sufficient to stop the runaway convention which met in 1787. The delegates were called to meet in Philadelphia for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation and reporting to Congress. Yet it did not take the delegates long to assume upon themselves more powers than what they had been given. In fact , they completely discarded the Articles of Confederation and wrote a completely new Constitution – defining the first “runaway convention” - discarding the original document and starting from scratch
The primary argument against calling for a constitutional convention is that once convened, such a convention would be free to propose whatever amendments it deemed beneficial. Which is to say that such a convention could become a “runaway convention” - exactly like the 1787 Convention that disregarded the guidelines under which it was convened. U.S. Supreme Court justices and the nation's leading legal scholars have stated that these single-subject limitations cannot be enforced; that if a convention is called, it will be free to propose any kind and number of amendments to the same effect, as if the limitations in the applications did not exist. In other words, although applications are effective, all such limitations must be ignored.
We even have a warning directly from James Madison, the “Father of the Constitution,” concerning the inadvisability of calling for a constitutional convention. When the states of New York and Virginia formally petitioned Congress in 1788 to call a constitutional convention to propose amendments to the Constitution, Madison wrote a letter in 1788 in which he emphatically warned against convening such a convention: “If a General Convention were to take place for the avowed and sole purpose of revising the Constitution, it would naturally consider itself as having a greater latitude than the Congress.... An election into it would be courted by the most violent partisans ... [and] would contain individuals of insidious views, who, under the mask of seeking alterations popular in some parts ... might have the dangerous opportunity of sapping the [nation’s] very foundations.”
Chief Justice Warren Burger, vigorously opposed convening a constitutional convention wrote on June 22, 1988: “I have also repeatedly given my opinion that there is no effective way to limit or muzzle the actions of a Constitutional Convention. The Convention could make its own rules and set its own agenda. Congress might try to limit the Convention to one amendment or to one issue, but there is no way to assure that the Convention would obey. After a Convention is convened, it will be too late to stop the Convention if we don't like its agenda. The 1787 Convention ignored the limit stated by the Confederation Congress "for the sole and express purpose”. Whatever gain might be hoped for from a new Constitutional Convention could not be worth the risk involved. A new Convention could plunge our Nation into constitutional confusion and confrontation at every turn, with no assurance that focus would be on the subjects needing attention.”
Associate Justice Arthur J Goldberg: "One of the most serious problems Article 5 poses is a runaway convention. There is no enforceable mechanism to prevent a convention from passing wholesale changes to our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Moreover, the absence of any mechanism to ensure representative selection of delegates could put a runaway convention in the hands of single-issue groups, whose self interest may be contrary to our nations well being"
Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Tribe stated that a Con-Con could not be limited to a single issue. "The stakes in this institution are much greater because you are putting the whole Constitution up for grabs. In 1787, there was at least agreement on the direction we should move ... today, we don't even agree what direction we should move. In 1787, America had a treasure of enlightened leaders such as Madison, Washington, Hamilton, and Jefferson. I don't know how you feel about the current cast of characters." Tribe also noted that a runaway convention could even change the rules of ratification, as the 1787 convention did, and make them ratifiable by national vote or some other method. (The Articles of Confederation required unanimous ratification by all 13 state legislatures, but delegates at the 1787 convention recognized this might not be accomplished, so they changed the ratification rules to three-fourths of the state legislatures or state ratifying conventions.)
Professor Rex E. Lee, former law school professor and president of Brigham Young University : "In short, if the question is whether a runaway convention is assured, the answer is 'No', but if the question is whether it is a real and serious possibility, the answer is 'Yes'. In our history we have only one experience with a Constitutional Convention, and while the end result was good, the 1787 convention itself was a definite runaway"
Professor Charles Allen Wright, a Professor of Law at the University of Austin. "I feel quite certain that even opening the door to the possibility of a constitutional convention would be a tragedy for the country."
Professor Gunther, Professor of Law at Stanford Law School wrote "The fear that a constitutional convention could become a 'runaway' convention and propose wholesale changes in our Constitution is by no means unfounded. Rather, this broad view of the authority of a convention reflects the consensus of most constitutional scholars who have commented on the issue. A convention, once called, would be in the same position as the only other convention of this kind that we have had in our history - the 1787 Philadelphia Convention - the first runaway convention."
However, if we use precedent of the 1787 Constitutional Convention, that includes one vote per state, just 14 states – a majority of a quorum [ 26 of 50 states ] is 14 states - representing less than 16,000,000 Americans could write & propose a completely new Constitution!
Some possible Amendments to come from an article V convention : No one can own a gun. Evolution cannot be taught. No corporate tax. No inheritance tax. The gold standard. Labor unions are illegal. The EPA & FDA & SEC are abolished. Islam is banned. Abortion is illegal. For the purposes of house representation, women are counted as 3/5. Birth control is illegal.
Some people believe that the ratification process is a check on the insanity. What if the Democrats, as they are so co-operative [ like they gave up on single-payer ], agree to cut defense spending by 50%, in exchange for eliminating the inheritance tax & capital gains tax – how many billionaires would turn this down?
American Legislative Exchange Council & the Koch brothers__
Everything, absolutely every fact and opinion stated above – warning against the inherent dangers
of a con-con - carries the weight of a flea compared to one single item:
ALEC & the Kochs are doing everything in their power to initiate a Constitutional Convention.