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Oppose Any New State Calls for a Constitutional Convention

Written by Larry Greenley on October 16 2010.

Next, these newly awakened constitutionalists observe that although Congress will not propose certain amendments that would appear to be useful additions to the Constitution, Article V provides a second way that amendments can be proposed, a constitutional convention (con-con). However, these same newly awakened Americans all too easily overlook the risks involved in a con-con. Click here to view a 36-minute video, "Beware of Article V," that exposes the unacceptable risks that would be involved in convening a constitutional convention at this time in our nation's history.

Furthermore, most Americans are not aware of the successful 25-year campaign by The John Birch Society and other constitutionalist organizations to preserve the Constitution by preventing the calling of a con-con. Click here to read "Dangers of a Constitutional Convention," which will bring you up to date on this campaign. This article also includes two color-coded maps: (1) showing the high water mark of the movement to call a con-con based on the desire for a balanced budget amendment; and (2) showing the eleven states (now fifteen) where the state legislature has voted to rescind all previous calls for a con-con.

On November 10, 2009, Professor Kevin Gutzman promoted the idea of a constitutional convention during his appearance on the Glenn Beck TV Show. Even though Beck has posted an excellent position statement on his website in opposition to calling a constitutional convention, several guests on his FoxNews show in 2009 and 2010 have also promoted the con-con concept. Click here to read "Another Endorsement of a Constitutional Convention on Glenn Beck." This article includes a link to video of Gutzman's appearance as well as a link to the "Beware of Article V" video and "Dangers of a Constitutional Convention" article referred to above.

The case against calling a constitutional convention in a nutshell: A large number of leading constitutional scholars agree that an Article V constitutional convention cannot be restricted as to what amendments it would consider and ultimately propose (an example). After this constitutonal convention would "propose amendments," the amendment(s) would then be submitted to the states (either legislatures or special state conventions as specified by Congress according to the Constitution, but possibly some other bodies proposed by the constitutional convention itself following the precedent of our original Constitutional Convention in specifying the means for the ratification of the Constitution) for ratification. Although 3/4s of the states would have to ratify an amendment for it to become part of the Constitution, there is still the all-too-real risk that a harmful amendment or series of amendments could be ratified due to the extraordinary influence exerted on American voters and their representatives by powerful elites in our news media, government, educational institutions, and foundations.

Another way to look at our situation where the federal government is out-of-control and routinely ignoring the Constitution is to consider a hypothetical situation where you might have a contract (that you wish to keep in force) with another party. If the other party violates the provisions of the contract, do you recommend revising the contract, or do you enforce the contract? Obviously, you'd want to enforce the contract rather than revise it, especially if you have no reason to believe the other party would adhere any better to a new contract.. In a similar way, the states need to enforce the Constitution through nullification of unconstitutional federal laws (more on nullification here, here, and here), not revise the Constitution in a vain attempt to rein in the federal government.

In short, the solution is for states to enforce, not to revise, the Constitution. As Tom Woods has made so abundantly clear in his recent book, Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century, since ratification of the Constitution back in 1788, the states have been parties to a compact (agreement) establishing a strictly limited federal government as prescribed by the Constitution. The ratification of the Tenth Amendment in 1791 made explicit that the compact between the states included the stipulation: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." In the past few years many state legislatures have begun to assert their Tenth Amendment powers by passing legislation to nullify various unconstitutional federal laws, most notably federal firearms laws and the ObamaCare Individual Mandate.

A constitutional convention has been prevented from being called over the past 25 years through the hard work of members of The John Birch Society and their like-minded allies in personally contacting their state legislators of both parties and making them aware of the risks involved in calling a con-con. This is truly a nonpartisan issue. Whenever the time has been taken to present the risks associated with a constitutional convention to state legislators, the majority of both parties have voted against calling for a con-con. Not only have very few additional state legislatures called for a con-con for the past 25 years, legislators in 16 states (AL, AZ, GA, ID, LA, MT, ND, NH, OK, OR, SC, SD, TN, VA, UT, and WY) have become so thoroughly convinced of the dangers of a constitutional convention that they have voted to rescind (take back) all previous con-con calls in their states.

Starting in late 2008 and continuing on through 2010 there have been many individuals and organizations that have decided to make the calling of a constitutional convention a top priority, and have begun contacting state legislators throughout the nation to support their project with the goal of influencing at least the necessary 2/3s (34) of state legislatures to pass a resolution in early 2011 petitioning Congress to call a constitutional convention for the purpose of considering their proposed amendment(s). One example of an active pro con-con organization is 10 Amendments for Freedom which posted this comment on August 4, 2010:

In January of 2011 history will be made when the same Article V Convention Resolution is introduced in every state legislature in the United States.  Never before has the same call for an Amendments Convention occurred at the same time.

The 10 Amendments for Freedom organization is well on its way to having a sponsor in every state which will introduce the same resolution.

To get a powerful dose of just how committed Professors Randy Barnett and Kevin Gutzman are to promoting a constitutional convention read the transcript of the Mike Church radio show of April 9, 2010.

Preserving the Constitution from the threat represented by calling a con-con will require the hard work of constitutionalists throughout the United States. Personal contact through office visits and phone calls are a must (Click here for contact information for your state legislators.). Your tools include "Beware of Article V" (free online and as a DVD), "Dangers of a Constitutional Convention" (free online and as a reprint), "Another Endorsement of a Constitutional Convention on Glenn Beck" (free online), and "Model Con-Con State Rescission Resolution" (free online). Visit our new "Choose Freedom — STOP A Con-Con" campaign web page from time to time for additional tools.

When contacting your state legislators keep these two purposes in mind: (1) Convince them to oppose any new con-con call resolution in your state legislature; and (2) Convince one or more of them to sponsor or cosponsor a resolution to rescind all of your state's existing con-con calls based on the "Model Con-Con State Rescission Resolution" (unless you live in one of the following states which have already passed a resolution to rescind all previous con-con calls: AL, AZ, GA, ID, LA, MT, ND, NH, OK, OR, SC, SD, TN, VA, UT, and WY).

Click here to supplement the necessary personal contacts mentioned above by sending a prewritten, editable email message to your state legislators in opposition to any new con-con calls and in support (in those states where appropriate) of a resolution to rescind all previous con-con calls. While email messages cannot equal the impact and effectiveness of personal contacts, they can play a role in an overall campaign. Please be sure to personalize your emails for maximum impact.

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