Congress: Hands Off State Con-Con Rescissions

04/12/2014
       
Congress: Hands Off State Con-Con Rescissions

Has Michigan triggered a congressional call for an Article V convention?

On April 1, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) noted that Michigan's approval of its Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) Article V convention application on March 26 made it the 34th state to apply to Congress to call a constitutional convention (aka Con-Con) for the purpose of proposing a BBA. On the same day he wrote a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner, strongly advocating that the House take the lead in determining whether enough states have now applied for a BBA Article V convention to require it to call such a convention. However, click here for an analysis of state BBA Article V convention applications that shows that although Michigan is the 34th state to apply for such a convention, twelve of those states have rescinded (taken back) their applications, making Michigan only the 22nd state with a "live" application. Of course, 22 states is nowhere near the required 34 (two-thirds) for Congress to call a convention as provided in Article V of the Constitution.

So, the issue is: Either Congress has 34 valid state applications for a BBA Article V convention, in which case Congress "shall call a convention," OR Congress has only 22 valid applications due to the twelve state rescissions, in which case we're nowhere near the 34 needed for calling a convention.

Although there's no indication that any of the leading Article V convention proponents support the idea that rescissions should not be allowed, there are actually some people who maintain that once a state has applied to Congress to call an Article V convention, it can never rescind that application. However, since it is the right of the people to alter their form of government according to the Declaration of Independence and as provided for in Article V of the Constitution, that right surely includes the right to decide when to alter the government, and therefore it is surely valid for state legislators acting as representatives of the people to decide on rescinding their applications to Congress to call a convention for altering the Constitution.

Therefore, the best reaction to Rep. Hunter's request would be for congressional leaders to take note that since there are only 22 states with "live" applications for a BBA Article V convention, there is no action required by Congress.

Please contact your representative and senators in Congress. In short, your message should be — Congress, please take no action on calling an Article V convention because even though 34 states have applied to Congress to call a BBA Article V convention over the past 60 years, twelve of them have rescinded their applications leaving only 22 "live" state BBA Article V convention applications, well short of the required 34 (two-thirds) for Congress to call a convention. Furthermore, the state legislatures should be the judge of the validity of rescissions of their convention applications, not Congress.

Also let them know that you oppose the calling of an Article V convention on the basis that such a convention would be inherently unlimited and could propose harmful revisions to the Constitution including a new ratification procedure.

For more information go to our "Choose Freedom — STOP A CON-CON" action project page on JBS.org.

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