FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
To interview John F. McManus regarding the dangers of a Constitutional Convention,
Constitutional convention being debated in Ohio legislature is a bad idea says The John Birch Society
John Birch Society members testify against House Joint Resolution 8, calling for a con-con to deliver an amendment for fiscal responsibility
APPLETON, WIS. — December 10, 2008 — Today the Judiciary Committee of the General Assembly of the Ohio State Legislature is debating whether or not to formally ask Congress for a constitutional convention (con-con) in the hopes of creating a new Constitutional amendment forcing fiscal responsibility on the government. “While fiscal responsibility is extremely important in reducing our debt,” says John F. McManus, president of The John Birch Society and publisher of The New American, “the call for a constitutional convention is fraught with danger that few realize.”
McManus states that the last time a constitutional convention was called, the Articles of Confederation were cast out and the current Constitution replaced it. “This turned out to be a great replacement, but I shudder to think of what a con-con would do today.” The John Birch Society believes the Constitution, that they say most in Congress habitually ignore, is a great roadmap for the Republic, but only if it is adhered to. “There’s no reason to call for a con-con. Congress already has the power to make the federal government fiscally responsible.”
“We recommend that citizens work through their elected Congressional leaders to force fiscal responsibility, not through the creation of a con-con that cannot be controlled,” offered McManus.
The New American reported in 2006 that “A majority of the judges and scholars who have opined on the subject [of a con-con] have declared that restraints and limitations contained in the resolutions of state legislatures which apply to Congress to call a convention are unenforceable and of no effect whatever.” The late Chief Justice of the United States, Warren Burger, wrote in a private letter in 1988 also published in the same article:
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.... 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. I have discouraged the
idea of a Constitutional Convention, and I am glad to see
states rescinding their previous resolutions requesting a
Convention. In these [constitutional] Bicentennial years,
we should be celebrating [the republic's] long life, not
challenging its very existence.
Members of The John Birch Society have appeared to testify before the committee today to discourage a call for a con-con and have undertaken a last minute push to help educate legislators and their staffs about the dangers of a possible runaway convention.
McManus joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966, and by 1991 was named its President and Publisher of its official magazine, “The New American.” He has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and has written and produced numerous videos and DVDs, including the popular "Overview of America," a moving survey of America’s remarkable roots. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, he is a graduate of Holy Cross College in Massachusetts. He served on active duty as a lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps for three years. For six years before accepting a staff position with the Society, he was employed as an electronics engineer.
Founded in 1958 and headquartered in Appleton, Wisconsin, The John Birch Society is dedicated to restoring and preserving freedom under the U.S. Constitution. Members come from all walks of life and are active throughout the 50 states on local, regional and national issues. United by a strong belief in personal freedom and limited government, plus a sense of duty, members have played a continuous and pivotal role in halting legislation and federal policies that threaten the independence of our country and the freedom of American citizens. Visit www.JBS.org for more information.