It is my sincerest hope that there are none among the ranks of the Constitution Party who are recommending that we pursue a convention of the states. It appears to me that it would be an unmitigated disaster. It is Article 5 in the Constitution that talks about the amendment process and constitutional conventions. It is only one paragraph, and though it says that a convention may be called by the application of 2/3 of the states legislatures, that is about the sum total of what it says about a convention. There are absolutely no ground rules given. The convention can write its own rules. The Constitutional Convention we had in 1787 was the first and only one we have ever had. The Continental Congress sent delegates to this convention to revise the Articles of Confederation, and bring their recommended revisions back to the Congress for ratification, requiring, as I recall, the approval of 100% of the states before ratification was effective. But the delegates to that convention threw out the mandate from the Continental Congress, and wrote a new Constitution entirely. Not only did they not abide by the mandate of the Congress at the time, but they also made their own rules for ratification of that new Constitution, which you will see in Article Seven. Instead of taking it back to the Congress for their ratification as per their instructions, they stated that ratification by Conventions in nine of the thirteen states would serve to make the Constitution effective and binding.
So, this makes evident several problems. First, there is not a legal way for a Convention to be called for a specific purpose, such as to consider a balanced budget amendment, or term limits, that proposed 28th amendment that occasionally circulates around the internet, nor even an amendment that simply states “we really mean it this time.” The Convention can consider anything it wants to consider, once it convenes. It could throw out the Constitution we have now in its entirety, and give us a new one modeled after that of Soviet Russia if the Convention so desired (not an unlikely scenario, considering what we presently have in the White House, Congress and the majority of the state legislatures). Or, we may find that they propose a constitution that might place us partly or largely under Islamic Sharia Law. There is no way to avoid these risks if a Convention is called. It is totally out of our control.
Secondly, there is no way to determine beforehand the method and means of ratification. Though the Constitution says that an amendment must be ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the states, this is not binding whatsoever on a Convention; ratification will be by whatever means the Convention decides to propose. The Convention may, for instance, stipulate that the changes to the old constitution, or the new constitution they propose (whichever they should decide to do), might become effective with only a majority vote of both houses of Congress, or even worse. Why would we want to trust anything so crucial to a simple majority of the clowns and criminals who have made such a mess out of our country in the first place? I don’t think that would turn out to be a wise policy.
Thirdly, there is the question of the delegates. Granted, if we could ensure that only wise and honorable men would be selected, men whom we could trust with our future, then a Convention might not be so dangerous. However, we haven’t had enough of those for the last two hundred years. And there probably are not five of them to be found among the 535 members of Congress and the Senate. Instead, we might expect the state legislatures to send to the Convention delegates that will represent the philosophies and opinions of the legislators themselves. And once again, it is the legislators on both the state and federal levels that have either caused, or allowed to develop, all the problems we have today. And considering the simple fact that the upper echelons of both major parties are controlled by the same interests (for evidence, consider how the candidates from both parties are funded largely by the same donors, and consider how the actual polices and direction of the country never seem to change, even though there may be a change of the party in power), they would doubtlessly pack the convention with their approved servants and cronies, so that there would be few if any voices of reason and honor in the entire Convention, and those few would never carry the day. We who are active in the liberty movement are few in number, and our dominions are small. Financially we haven’t the clout to compete for representation in the convention, and would find ourselves largely excluded.
And finally, there is little reason to believe that our lawless government would allow itself to be governed by any “good” amendments or revisions that might come out of a convention of the states. I need not belabor this point. It is obvious to all that the Constitution is approaching the status of a dead letter, about like Article Seven. Our mission in life needs to be to save that which, by the grace of God, we already have (a task, to all appearances, with a slim chance of success), rather than to flesh out a document with new changes, needed though we believe them to be, which will have no more efficacy in governing the government than that which we already have.
Given the current political climate in these United States, the upshot of all this is likely to be a constitutionally enshrined welfare state, the surrender of the last vestiges of our sovereignty to the UN, the loss of the means to defend ourselves by use of arms, with a muzzle on all dissent, and eye and an ear in every home, car, park, street and store, a disenfranchising of the Christian right, promoting the LGBT, pro-choice and other wayward special interests at the expense of traditional marriage and morality, perhaps granting reparations for slavery, and embodying elements of Sharia law at the expense of the principles of our judeo christian heritage. I can only think such would hasten upon our nation the judgments of God. What a thing to risk!
No, a Constitutional Convention would, I am convinced, be an unparalleled tragedy for our country, and indeed the world. Rather than changing the Constitution, let us use that which we’ve already got for a change. Everything good we still have in this country came on account of the principles embodied in the Constitution and the Declaration, and a nation of informed people with the morals, integrity and knowledge to stand behind those principles. Conversely, the ills of our day have in large measure come as a result of abandoning those principles.
Right now a goodly portion of the required 34 states have petitioned Congress with their calls for a convention. The number seems to vary from one year to the next. Some of the states (Utah among them, I think) have from time to time rescinded their resolutions. And that presents a big unknown. In the past, such actions have not always been recognized by either Congress or the Supreme Court. For instance, when the various southern states seceded prior to the civil war, that was essentially a rescinding of their previous resolutions of statehood, and such act was not recognized by either Congress or the Court, if I understand correctly. (Curiously, in the earlier years of the 19th century, it was the northern states who talked most seriously of secession from the Union, and the cause of that was also slavery.) And then, when the 14th Amendment was being ratified, I believe it was Oregon whose legislature ratified the amendment with an illegal quorum and submitted the result to whoever it was such things were submitted to in those days. Later, when they got the quorum in the legislature legal, they voted on the amendment again, and it failed to pass. However, the federal government chose to recognize the first vote, because it had the result that was wanted by the powers that then were. So, we may be a hair’s breadth from disaster, or we may have a fairly safe margin. We don’t really even know where we stand at the moment.
The Constitution, it has been said, hangs by a small thread. If this is the case, then that thread is nothing more than our franchise to vote. And now we even have reason to suspect that the sanctity of our ballots has been violated. That thread may have broken already. We need to forget about parties, and vote for wise men of the utmost integrity, who have a firm understanding of our founding principles, and in whose hearts burn the fire of liberty. We need to become informed concerning the issues of the day, and how they stack up in the light of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. And we need to scrutinize the voting records of any incumbents up for reelection, and judge them not by what they say, but by what they have done. We need men who will honor their oaths of office to support and defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic. We need men who are faithful to their oaths 100% of the time, and we must view any breech of that oath as cause to expel such an offender from office.
Now perhaps this has been a rather long winded missive. Brevity in writing has never been one of my virtues. And I understand that in writing it for this audience, I am preaching mostly to the choir, as it were. Nevertheless, if you have read this far, I commend you for your perseverance. That alone shows uncommon dedication. Now, let us go forth together and fight this move for a ConCon with every weapon and means at our disposal, lest we lose what little remains to us.
Chairman, CP of Utah