Articles

by Larry Greenley, Director of Marketing

Congratulations on Your Con-Con Successes!

Late last year and for the first couple months this year, we were concerned over the numerous Con-Con calls being introduced in so many states. However, our members have done a magnificent job in state after state in stopping these new Con-Con calls. In most cases the Con-Con resolutions have been stopped in committee through testimony by our members in public hearings.

The key to success has been personal contact with state legislators to inform them about the dangers of calling a constitutional convention, then following up with six to ten members providing personal testimony at the committee hearings. In several cases the sponsors of Con-Con calls have withdrawn their bills after hearing the testimony against other Con-Con calls in their state.

Please continue to monitor the status of any Con-Con resolutions in your state and take the appropriate actions to defeat them in committee, or if necessary, on the floor of your state legislature. Contact the Coordinator or Regional Field Director for your state to find out how to get involved. Go to http://www.JBS.org/STOPaCon-Con for educational tools.

Two New Tools

As many of you know, a main proponent of calling a Con-Con is the Arizona-based Goldwater Institute. They have issued some research reports in support of calling a constitutional convention by Robert Natelson, posted “Ten Facts to Rebut the Mythology of a Runaway Convention,” and sent representatives to several state legislatures to testify (complete with lengthy PowerPoint presentation) in committee hearings and in personal meetings with state legislators.

To help our members rebut these initiatives by the Goldwater Institute, we’ve published “10 Point Refutation” (refuting “Ten Facts to Rebut the Mythology of a Runaway Convention”) in the April 4 issue of The New American, and “Renewed Push for a Con-Con” (refuting “Amending the Constitution by Convention: A Complete View of the Founders’ Plan” by Robert Natelson) in the April 18 issue. Both articles were written by constitutional expert Joe Wolverton. They’ve also been posted online at TheNewAmerican.com and JBS.org/STOPaCon-Con.

New Addition to Our Headquarters Staff

I’m very pleased to announce that Christian Gomez has joined our Headquarters Staff. He began his full-time work for us on March 1, 2011, then moved from his home in the Bronx, New York, to Appleton to begin working as part of our headquarters staff as a Research Associate on March 21. His initial assignment is to focus on helping our staff and members prevent a constitutional convention.

Christian received his B.S. in Diplomacy and International Relations from the John C. Whitehead School of Diplomacy at Seton Hall University in December 2010. He has already worked at our headquarters during June to August 2010 as an intern for Campus Liberty Alliance. Since June 2010 Christian has been a free-lance writer for The New American. Furthermore, during the past couple years he has specialized in researching the life of Larry McDonald.

More Email Tools for Stopping a Con-Con

With Christian Gomez on our staff we’ll now increase our email tools for stopping Con-Con calls and rescinding previous Con-Con calls. While we’ve already had some email tools for the Con-Con battle, we’ll now create specific pre-written, editable emails in opposition to all the current state Con-Con resolutions and in support of all the current Con-Con rescission resolutions (only Missouri and Kansas at present). You’ll find a link to these email tools at JBS.org/STOPaCon-Con.

Remember to use these email tools to supplement your personal contacts and committee testimony in your state legislature, not replace them. Our primary method for stopping new Con-Con calls and rescinding old ones will remain personal contacts with state legislators and personal testimony at committee hearings.

Action Summary

  • Contact the Coordinator or Regional Field Director for your state and find out whether there are any Con-Con resolutions that need to be opposed or Con-Con rescission resolutions that need to be supported.
  • Use the two new articles by Joe Wolverton mentioned above to rebut the Goldwater Institute’s pro-Con-Con materials.
  • Go to http://www.JBS.org/STOPaCon-Con to send emails to your state legislators in opposition to Con-Con calls and in support of Con-Con rescission resolutions.

Freedom Campaign

by Larry Greenley, Director of Marketing

Widespread Con-Con Successes!
Birchers and their allies are working with state legislators to stop Con-Con calls all across our nation. So far, the successes far outnumber the failures. And, these successes are built on the hard work of our members in educating their state legislators about the dangers of a constitutional convention and in testifying against Con-Con calls in public committee hearings. See also “Recruiting” on page 1.

The Ultimate Argument Against a Con-Con
As most of you know, one of the key reasons for why we oppose the calling of a constitutional convention is that there’s no way to limit which constitutional amendments would be debated and proposed at such a convention. So now, an amendment, known as the Madison Amendment, has been proposed in Congress that would appear to solve the problem of a runaway convention:

ARTICLE ___. The Congress, on Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, which all contain an identical Amendment, shall call a Convention solely to decide whether to propose that specific Amendment to the States, which, if proposed shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified pursuant to Article V.

At first glance, the Madison Amendment, if adopted by Congress and ratified by three-fourths of the states, would appear to solve the problem of a runaway convention by adding a specific amendment to the Constitution to assure that a single issue Article V convention could be convened safely. However, the inability to limit which and how many amendments would be debated and proposed in an Article V constitutional convention is not based solely on the language of the Constitution, but rather this problem is inherent in the very nature of such a convention. Consider this quote from constitutional expert, Don Fotheringham in “Con-Con Call,” The New American, March 6, 1995:

The organizers have latched onto a principle that is not well known by our citizenry: the consolidation and mobilization of the power inherent in a free people. Congress reaffirmed this principle in an extensive joint resolution in 1935: “The government of the United States is not a concession to the people from some one higher up. It is the creation and the creature of the people themselves, as absolute sovereigns.” This concentration of collective right, formally assembled, portends the most serious of consequences.

Those inherent powers of the people when consolidated are superior in every respect to government. In 1911 Senator Weldon Heyburn of Idaho sounded a warning while debating the matter on the floor of the Senate: “When the people of the United States meet in a constitutional convention there is no power to limit their action. They are greater than the Constitution, and they can repeal the provision that limits the right of amendment. They can repeal every section of it because they are the peers of the people who made it.”

This is the ultimate argument against convening a Con-Con: An Article V convention cannot be limited by either Congress or the Constitution because it is the type of body, no matter how it is called into existence, that is capable of creating constitutions.

Action Summary:

  • Keep on working to stop Con-Con calls in your state legislature. See http://www.JBS.org/STOPaCon-Con.
  • Keep on working to nullify the entire ObamaCare law in your state. See http://www.JBS.org/StopObamaCare.

Correction: We mistakenly announced in last month’s Bulletin that a refutation of Robert Natelson’s constitutional convention claims had been posted at TheNewAmerican.com. But plans changed. We have now posted “Constitutional Convention: 10 Point Refutation” by Joe Wolverton II which addresses some of Natelson’s claims, and which will appear in the April 4 issue of TNA. Another article by Joe Wolverton on the subject of Natelson’s pro Con-Con arguments will appear in the April 18 issue of TNA and be posted online as well.

Freedom Campaign

by Larry Greenley, Director of Marketing

Hopeful News From the State Legislative Battlefronts!

The “good news” is that our members and their allies have been successful in stopping constitutional convention (Con-Con) call resolutions in many state legislative committees and in getting ObamaCare nullification bills introduced in at least 12 states. The “bad news” is that 1) the Con-Con proponents with their multiple Con-Con resolutions will keep on pressuring state legislators in every state to issue Con-Con calls until each state adjourns its legislative session; and 2) even in the states where ObamaCare nullification bills have been introduced, our members and allies must now generate sufficient grassroots pressure to convince a majority of state legislators to pass those bills.

Although I’ve been inspired by our initial successes on the Con-Con front, it would be unwise to publicize them because it would provide battlefield intelligence to the Con-Con proponents.

Be sure to get involved in stopping Con-Con call resolutions in your state. Every state is being targeted by the Con-Con proponents, so it’s virtually certain that your state has one or more Con-Con call resolutions already introduced. You need to find out when committee hearings are scheduled on your state’s Con-Con resolutions, then arrange to have many people show up to testify against them. Check with your Coordinator or volunteer leaders in your state to see whether this is already being done. Go to http://www.JBS.org/STOPaCon-Con for educational tools.

New Tools for the Con-Con Battle

I have heard from our members that “Amending the Constitution by Convention: A Complete View of the Founders’ Plan (Part 1 in a 3 Part Series)” by Robert Natelson (posted at the website of the Goldwater Institute on September 16, 2010) is persuading some state legislators that convening an Article V constitutional convention would be safe. We’ve recently posted a refutation of Natelson’s constitutional convention claims by Joe Wolverton at TheNewAmerican.com. We’ll also have a link to it at http://www.JBS.org/STOPaCon-Con.

As most of you know, the battle over calling for a constitutional convention hinges largely on whether such a convention could become a “runaway convention.” Recently we’ve located a gem of personal testimony by a qualified witness on this point, which several members have already put to good use in committee hearings. We found this testimony in a huge green book, Constitutional Convention Procedures, which resulted from a “Hearing Before the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, November 29, 1979.” This Senate subcommittee had held this hearing due to the rapidly increasing number of states petitioning Congress to call a balanced budget amendment constitutional convention in the late 1970s.

This gem of a statement was provided to the Senate subcommittee by James A. Michener, the world-famous author. Michener had been Secretary for the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention in 1967-68. Here are some very relevant excerpts from his statement to the subcommittee in 1979:

I am, however, totally opposed to any measure that would encourage the 50 states of our nation to amend our national Constitution by means of the convention method, for I, better than most, appreciate the hidden dangers inherent in this system....

I object [to convening a constitutional convention] for two reasons: The plan we are using has served us so well and so constructively in the 182 years since 1789 that as a traditionalist I see no need for meddling with the system; but more important, I know from history and from experience that once a constituent assembly has been convened, there is no power that can restrict it to limits arbitrarily set.

Any such a convention contains the right and the implied power to become a runaway convention, and this is the most dangerous possibility that should be avoided if at all possible. And in the case like the present, when we already have a splendidly functioning system of amendment, it would be folly to lurch off irresponsibly to an alternative method which has not been proved and which contains dangers of the most treacherous kind.

History is replete with examples of innocent conventions, assembled for one purpose, which exploded into unforeseen directions, the two most memorable being the Legislative Assembly which gave hideous guidance to the French Revolution and the Long Parliament which supervised the more peaceful revolution in England. I am afraid of such runaway conventions.

But, it is argued, if the United States convened such a constitutional convention its powers would be strictly limited by the enabling legislation which summoned it into being. And here precisely is the trouble. I do believe that any prior law, no matter how carefully drawn, cannot inhibit, or restrict, or delimit a constituent assembly once it convenes. Of course, those initiating the convention would say, ‘But its field of legal operation is limited. We have said so.’ My contention is that it cannot be so limited. At the moment a convention is assembled and sworn in, it becomes a self-directing body with only such limitations as it prudently places upon itself, and the prior constraints which have so carefully been placed upon it no longer apply.

As you can see, Michener’s statement, based on his experience as Secretary for a state constitutional convention, is very clear as to why it is not safe to convene a national constitutional convention. Michener’s full statement is also worth reading. It is highly readable (no surprise here) and includes a very interesting story of how the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention was only kept on track through a personal threat to do physical harm. Don’t worry, the story has a good ending. We’ll post links to these excerpts as well as Michener’s full statement at http://www.JBS.org/STOPaCon-Con.

Create the Pressure to Pass Nullification Bills

At least twelve states have already introduced bills to nullify the ObamaCare law entirely. Here’s the list of the 12 states with their bill numbers: Texas (HB297), Montana (SB161), Wyoming (HB0035), Oregon (SB498), Indiana (SB505), Maine (LD58), Nebraska (LB515), Oklahoma (HB1276), Idaho (HB117), New Hampshire (HB26), South Dakota (HB1165), and North Dakota (SB2309).

At this point in mid-February, the Idaho nullification bill seems to be leading the pack in terms of coming to a vote in a full house of a state legislature. On February 10 the Idaho House State Affairs Committee passed HB117 on to the full House by a vote of 14 to 5 with a recommendation that it be passed.

This passage out of committee is the good news. However, the Idaho nullification bill also led the pack in attracting media attention, which caused some complications. First, the Idaho attorney general issued a statement that the original Idaho nullification bill, HB59, was unconstitutional. In response, TheNewAmerican.com posted an excellent refutation, “Idaho ObamaCare Nullification Bill Is Constitutional,” by Bill Jasper on January 31.

Next, on February 7 a new version of the nullification bill was introduced as described here in The Spokesman-Review online:

Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, introduced a new version of his health care “nullification” bill this morning, and Barbieri said it’s been toned down and made “kinder and gentler.” “I think you could say it’s no longer a nullification bill,” he said. “We have removed the words ‘null and void.’” The issue in the bill is no longer the controversial argument about whether states have the final say over which federal laws are constitutional, Barbieri said; now it’s just about halting implementation of the health care reform law in Idaho. Also removed from the bill: Misdemeanor penalties for state employees who follow federal requirements under the bill.

Barbieri said the changes were made “to get it through the Legislature.” He said, “There are politics,” and said he got “pushback” on the original bill, which followed a course an Idaho Attorney General’s opinion said would violate both the state and federal constitutions and Idaho lawmakers’ oath of office.

As you can see from this excerpt from The Spokesman-Review, the sponsors of the Idaho nullification bill felt sufficient pressure to make them modify the bill to the extent that the bill’s sponsor said, “I think you could say it’s no longer a nullification bill.” However, after reading HB117, I would say it is still an excellent bill for protecting the citizens of Idaho from the implementation of ObamaCare in their state. Hopefully, most of the other 11 states with nullification bills will be able to pass their bills intact, or nearly so, without the extensive rewrite Idaho’s nullification bill underwent. Nonetheless, if other states also experience “pushback” on their nullification bills to the point of needing to revise them, they should consider Idaho’s HB117 as a good model to emulate.

The Idaho experience shows just how important it is to create grassroots pressure for passage of ObamaCare nullification bills.

Action Summary

  • Defeat Con-Con calls in your state legislature. Check for educational tools at http://www.JBS.org/STOPaCon-Con.
  • Get ObamaCare nullification bills introduced and passed in your state legislature. Check for educational tools at http://www.JBS.org/StopObamaCare.

Freedom Campaign

by Larry Greenley, Director of Marketing

Nullify the Entire ObamaCare Law Now!

Time is of the essence. Precious time is being frittered away by elected officials, and conservative organizations and individuals, who are fighting the individual mandate of ObamaCare with lawsuits and partial nullification legislation. These efforts, even if successful, will take years to complete. And, during those years the massive new federal healthcare bureaucracy authorized by the ObamaCare law will be enthusiastically implemented by the Obama administration. This implementation would devastate the healthcare providers and private insurers of our healthcare system.

So what if the individual mandate is stripped out of the ObamaCare law in the next couple years by legal decisions or congressional action, if we permit ObamaCare implementation to proceed there’ll be little left of our healthcare system to choose between. Furthermore, we already know that congressional repeal of the entire law is virtually impossible with Democrats in control of the Senate and occupying the White House until at least 2013.

We urgently need 10-20 states to nullify the entire ObamaCare law this year. That would definitely bog down the implementation of ObamaCare and build up the momentum for a full congressional repeal.

Even though this is being written in early January, I’m already aware of eight states where legislation to nullify the entire ObamaCare law has been introduced: Texas (HB297), Montana (SB161), Wyoming (HB0035), Oregon (SB498), Indiana (SB505), Maine (LD58), Nebraska (LB515), and Oklahoma. With our members working on this project in many additional states, I’m expecting we’ll see full ObamaCare nullification bills introduced in 10-20 states this year.

Of course, once a nullification bill is introduced the next order of business is getting sufficient votes for passage. If you get a nullification bill introduced in your state, let your Coordinator know and have him work with us at headquarters to post a legislative alert for your state similar to what we do for bills in Congress. We can then send an email to the people on our national legislative email alert list that reside in your state to help increase the pressure on your state’s representatives to pass your nullification bill.

If you haven’t already started working on nullification of ObamaCare in your state, go to http://www.JBS.org/StopObamaCare where you’ll find many useful tools, including our recent article “States Should Enforce, Not Revise, the Constitution!” from the December 6, 2010 issue of The New American and a “Model Federal Health Care Nullification Act for State Legislatures.”

Work to Stop Con-Con Calls Now!

For the past year I’ve been predicting that there would be vigorous pro Con-Con activity in all 50 state legislatures in early 2011. One of our Virginia members, who had just been working in the Virginia state capitol to convince legislators to oppose any new Con-Con calls, called me in mid-January to confirm just how active the pro Con-Con forces currently are. He told me that a majority of the Tea Party groups in Virginia have formed a federation that is backing a Con-Con call by the Virginia legislature. And, one Con-Con resolution, based on the Repeal Amendment, already has 49 cosponsors in the 100-member House of Delegates.

If you haven’t already been working with your state legislators on stopping any new Con-Con calls, please contact them now and see what the situation is in your state. We urgently need you to be in close contact with your state legislators in order to defeat any new Con-Con calls, and where appropriate (see the “States Should Enforce, Not Revise, the Constitution!” article for a list of the 34 states that haven’t rescinded), work on getting a resolution introduced and passed to rescind all of your state’s existing Con-Con calls.

Several different potential amendments are being used to entice state legislators to vote in favor of a Con-Con, such as the Repeal Amendment, a balanced budget amendment, and an amendment to restrict Congress from increasing the national debt limit. While the amendments often sound good, the Con-Con that would be necessary for getting them proposed would pose too great a risk to the Constitution.

We have just finished production of a new tool for convincing your state legislators to oppose any new Con-Con calls. This new tool is a video, Beware of Con-Cons: State Legislators Warn Against a Constitutional Convention, which is available on DVDs in two lengths, 12 minutes and 30 minutes, and with audio versions of both lengths also available on CDs. It features Oklahoma State Representatives Charles Key and Dr. Michael Ritze, and Randy Brogdon, who retired from the State Senate at the end of 2010. See the ShopJBS ad on page seven for ordering information. We’ve also posted a new “No Con-Con Documentation Packet” PDF under the Freedom Campaign downloads at JBS.org which includes nine letters by a wide variety of constitutional scholars and judges who oppose convening a new constitutional convention plus our “Model Con-Con State Rescission Resolution.” This documentation packet contains the letters referred to in the Beware of Con-Cons video.

We urgently need our members and their allies to work on stopping any new Con-Con calls in all 50 states. This is the critical time for you to help preserve the Constitution.

You’ll find all of our current tools for opposing Con-Con calls at http://www.JBS.org/StopACon-Con.

“State Legislator Packet” Project

This is still an excellent time for distributing our “State Legislator Packet” to newly elected, like-minded state legislators to get them started on the right foot by giving them some key educational materials that will increase their understanding of our form of government and their role as state legislators. See page seven of the January Bulletin for further information.

Action Summary

  • Get an act passed in your state to nullify the entire ObamaCare law.
  • Stop all Con-Con call resolutions in your state, and where appropriate, work to rescind all previous Con-Con calls. Personally distribute our new Beware of Con-Cons video to as many of your state legislators as possible.
  • Distribute the “State Legislator Packet” to newly elected, like-minded members of your state legislature.

Freedom Campaign

By Larry Greenley, Director of Marketing

Crunch Time Is Here!

For the past few months, we’ve been emphasizing the critical importance of personally contacting your state legislators in December regarding: (1) getting ObamaCare nullification legislation introduced in early 2011; (2) defeating any new Con-Con calls in 2011; and (3) getting a Con-Con rescission resolution introduced in those 34 states that still have not passed one.

I’ve already gotten reports back from many states that our members have been making these contacts in December. That’s terrific!

And, even though many states are in the process of introducing ObamaCare nullification, Texas is the first one I have specific information for. Rep. Leo Berman (R-Dist. 6) has introduced HB 297, entitled “An Act Relating to certain federal health care legislation imposing penalties,” which has provisions to nullify the entire ObamaCare law (Public Laws 111-148 and 111-152). House Bill 297 also includes criminal penalties for federal and state employees who attempt to enforce ObamaCare in Texas. Rep. Berman’s nullification bill is very similar in its provisions and wording to our “Model Federal Healthcare Nullification Act for State Legislatures,” which is available in the “Downloads” section at JBS.org.

We’re also hearing back from many states that various pro Con-Con organizations have been working with state legislators to get them to issue new Con-Con calls in 2011. We’ve also had many reports of our members working with their state legislators to fend off any new Con-Con calls and, where appropriate, working toward the introduction of Con-Con rescission resolutions.

Now, we need those who’ve already been making contacts in December to keep on making those contacts and distributing DVDs and reprints to their legislators in January and February. Plus, and this is tremendously important, we need those members who haven’t made any contacts in December to begin making their contacts with state legislators as early in January as possible, since many state legislatures have short sessions.

Remember, we’re working for nullification of the entire ObamaCare law, stopping all new Con-Con calls, and passing Con-Con rescission resolutions in as many of the 34 non-rescission states as possible. Your best sources of tools are http://www.JBS.org/StopObamaCare and http://www.JBS.org/StopACon-Con.

One of your key tools for working on both nullifying ObamaCare and stopping Con-Con calls should be our new reprint, “States Should Enforce, Not Revise, the Constitution” (also available as a PDF download at JBS.org). Continue to use our Beware of Article V DVD to stop Con-Con calls and build support for Con-Con rescission resolutions.

Based on the momentum of the Tenth Amendment movement of the past couple years, the millions of newly awakened Americans associated with the Tea Party movement, and the large numbers of conservatives elected to state legislatures on November 2, the stage has been set for some remarkable victories for freedom at the state level this year.

January is crunch time for the freedom fight in state legislatures. This is your historic opportunity to play a vital role in regaining our freedom under the Constitution, while at the same time preserving our Constitution!

New “State Legislator Packet” Project

We also have a new “State Legislator Packet” for you and other members to personally deliver to all of the representatives and senators in your state legislature. Please do not view this project as replacing your personal contacts made on behalf of nullifying ObamaCare and stopping Con-Con calls as requested above. Rather, this is an additional project that will complement your other contacting of state legislators.

This “State Legislator Packet” project has a broader educational objective than stopping ObamaCare and stopping Con-Con calls, and is intended for the personal delivery of highly relevant, foundational, educational materials to as many state legislators as possible.

See “’State Legislator Packet’ Distribution Project” on page 7 for further details on this project.

Action Summary

  • Continue to personally contact your state legislators to get ObamaCare nullification bills introduced and passed, to defeat any new Con-Con call resolutions, and, where appropriate, to get a Con-Con call rescission resolution introduced and passed.
  • As an additional project, personally deliver our new “State Legislator Packet” to as many as possible of the representatives and senators in your state legislature. See page 7 for more information.
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