By Publius Huldah
Q: How are amendments to the federal Constitution made?
A: Article V of our Constitution provides two method of amending the Constitution:
- Congress proposes amendments and presents them to the States for ratification; or
- When 2/3 of the States apply for it, Congress calls a convention to propose amendments.
Q: Which method was used for our existing 27 amendments?
A: The first method was used for all 27 amendments including the Bill of Rights which were introduced into Congress by James Madison. 3
Q: Is there a difference between a constitutional convention, con con, or Article V Convention?
A: These names have been used interchangeably during the last 50 years.
Q: What is a “convention of states”?
A: That is what the people pushing for an Article V convention now call it.
Q: Who is behind this push for an Art. V convention?
A: The push to impose a new Constitution by means of an Article V convention (and using a “balanced budget” amendment as justification) started in 1963 with the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations. 1 Today, it is pushed by:
- Hundreds of progressive (Marxist) groups listed at https://movetoamend.org/organizations
- George Soros
Michael Farris, Esq., of “Convention of States” (COS), and author of the “parental rights” amendment which delegates power over children to the federal & state governments.
Nick Dranias, Esq., of the Compact for America, Inc., whose “balanced budget” amendment imposes a new national sales or VAT tax on the American People.
- Former law professor, Rob Natelson.
Nullification denier and law professor, Randy Barnett, who proposes an amendment which delegates to Congress the power to regulate “emissions” [EPA now exercises usurped powers].
- Nullification denier and birther denier, Mark Levin, Esq., whose “balanced budget” amendment legalizes Congress’ unconstitutional spending and does nothing to control the debt.
Q: Why do they want an Article V Convention?
A: The only way to get rid of our existing Constitution and Bill of Rights is to have an Article V convention where they can re-write our Constitution. Jordan Sillars, Communications Director for Michael Farris’ “Convention of States”, said:
“… 3. I think the majority of Americans are too lazy to elect honest politicians. But I think some men and women could be found who are morally and intellectually capable of re-writing the Constitution…” [boldface mine].
Q: How can they impose a new constitution if ¾ of the States don’t agree to it?
A: Only amendments require ratification by ¾ of the States (see Art. V). But a new constitution would have its own new method of ratification – it can be whatever the drafters want. For example, the proposed Constitution for the Newstates of America is ratified by a referendum called by the President (See Art. XII, section 1).
Q: Can a convention be stopped from proposing a new Constitution?
A: No. Once the delegates are duly appointed & assembled, they are acting under the inherent authority of A People to alter or abolish their form of government [Declaration of Independence, 2nd para]; and have the sovereign power to do whatever they want at the convention.
Q: Is this what happened at the Federal Convention of 1787?
A: Yes. Pursuant to Article XIII of The Articles of Confederation, the Continental Congress resolved on February 21, 1787 (p 71-74) to call a convention to be held at Philadelphia “for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation”. But the delegates ignored this limitation and wrote a new Constitution. Because of this inherent authority of delegates, it is impossible to stop it from happening at another convention. And George Washington, James Madison, Ben Franklin, and Alexander Hamilton won’t be there to protect you.
Q: Did the delegates at the Convention of 1787 introduce a new mode of ratification for the new Constitution?
A: Yes. The Articles of Confederation required the approval of all 13 States for amendments to the Articles to be ratified. But the new Constitution provided it would become effective if only 9 of the 13 States ratified it (Art. VII, cl. 1, U.S. Constitution).
Q: Who would be delegates at a Convention?
A: Either Congress appoints whomever they want; or State governments appoint whomever they want.
Q: Who would be chairman at a convention?
A: We don’t know. But chairmen have lots of power – and George Washington won’t be chairman.
Q: But if the States appoint the delegates, won’t a convention be safe?
A: Who controls your State? They will be the ones who choose the delegates if Congress permits the States to appoint delegates. Are the people who control your State virtuous, wise, honest, and true? [Tell PH if they are, so she can move there.]
Q: But aren’t the States the ones to rein in the federal government?
A: They should have been, but the States have become major consumers of federal funding. Federal funds make up almost 35% of the States’ annual budgets. The States don’t want to rein in the feds – they don’t want to lose their federal funding.
Q: Did Thomas Jefferson say the federal Constitution should be amended every 20 years?
A: No! In his letter to Samuel Kercheval of July 12, 1816, Jefferson wrote about the Constitution for the State of Virginia, which he said needed major revision. And remember James Madison’s words in Federalist No. 45 (3rd para from the end):
“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce … The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which … concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.” [boldface mine]
The powers delegated to the feds are “few and defined” – what’s to amend? All else is reserved to the States or the People – so State Constitutions would need more frequent amendments. Do you see?
Q: Did Alexander Hamilton say in Federalist No 85 (next to last para) that a convention is safe?
A: No! He said, respecting the ratification of amendments, that we “may safely rely on the disposition of the State legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority”. But today, our State legislatures don’t protect us from federal encroachments because:
- We have been so dumbed down by progressive education that we know nothing & can’t think;
- State legislatures have been bought off with federal funds; and
- Our public and personal morality is in the sewer.
Q: Did Our Framers – the ones who signed The Constitution – think conventions a fine idea?
“Conventions are serious things, and ought not to be repeated.”
Alexander Hamilton wrote of:
“…the utter improbability of assembling a new convention, under circumstances in any degree so favorable to a happy issue, as those in which the late convention met, deliberated, and concluded…” Federalist No. 85 (9th para)
“3… an election into it would be courted by the most violent partizans on both sides; it … would be the very focus of that flame which has already too much heated men of all parties; would no doubt contain individuals of insidious views, who under the mask of seeking alterations popular in some parts but inadmissible in other parts of the Union might have a dangerous opportunity of sapping the very foundations of the fabric. … it seems scarcely to be presumable that the deliberations of the body could be conducted in harmony, or terminate in the general good. Having witnessed the difficulties and dangers experienced by the first Convention, which assembled under every propitious circumstance, I should tremble for the result of a Second, meeting in the present temper of America…” [boldface mine]
Q: Do we have “violent partizans” or “individuals of insidious views” who seek a “dangerous opportunity to sap the very foundations of the fabric” of our country?
A: Yes, and they have been pushing for an Article V convention since 1963.
Q: What did our Framers say about the purpose of amendments to the Constitution?
the novelty and difficulty of what they were doing would require periodic revision (Mr. Gerry on June 5, 1787);
- remedy defects in the Constitution (Hamilton on Sep. 10, 1787);
- useful amendments would address the “organization of the government, not … the mass of its powers” (Federalist No. 85, 13th para); and
- “amendment of errors” & “useful alterations” suggested by experience (Federalist No. 43 at 8.) 3
Q: But those pushing for a convention say the remedy for politicians who violate the Constitution is to amend the Constitution.
A: Yes, that is their crazy claim: that even though for over a century, the feds have been usurping hundreds of powers not delegated in the Constitution, all we have to do is amend the Constitution, and everyone will start obeying it. 4
Q: But they say the feds would obey future amendments because the feds haven’t violated recent amendments, such as women’s suffrage.
A: Of the 15 amendments ratified since the 12th in 1804; 10 increased the powers of the feds (13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 23rd, 24th, 26th); and 4 were “housekeeping” amendments (20th, 22nd, 25th, 27th) – so of course the feds “obeyed” those. 5
Q: What about their claim that the feds violate the Constitution because they don’t understand it?
A: Rubbish! Our Constitution is so simple that Hamilton said The People were “the natural guardians of the Constitution”. The Oath of office at Art. VI, clause 3, implicitly requires the feds to learn it. For phrases the feds have perverted – such as the “interstate commerce”, “general welfare” & “necessary and proper” clauses, a quick look into The Federalist Papers reveals the original intent. I illustrate that here and elsewhere.
Q: How do we get rid of the bad amendments such as the 16th &17th?
A: Repeal them the same way we repealed the 18th amendment. Instead of sending to Congress people who don’t know the Constitution; send people who know the Constitution and commit to repealing the bad amendments. And if they don’t act to repeal them, fire them!
Q: Why was the “convention method” put in Article V?
A: This chart compiles the references in Madison’s Journal of the Federal Convention of 1787 to what became Article V.
- Law professor John A. Eidsmoe suggests the convention method of Article V was added rather hastily, at the time when the delegates were closing their deliberations, and this provision did not receive the careful attention given to most other provisions of the Constitution.
- It may also have been a compromise designed to induce Gov. Morris, Gerry, Mason, & Randolph to sign the Constitution. 6
Q: Why can’t what happens at the convention be controlled by federal or State laws?
A: We are naïve and tell ourselves that people will “play by the rules”. So we assume all we have to do is make some laws saying delegates can’t exceed the scope of the call, and everyone will obey it.
But if they don’t, who is going to enforce these laws you have so much faith in? The feds? Obama would love the constitution for the Newstates of America – it makes him dictator! He won’t prosecute delegates who violate the call. Your State government? They sold you out to the feds long ago. Errant delegates will be protected by the feds. It doesn’t matter what a law says if it isn’t enforced.
Ever since 1963, globalists have intended to use an Article V convention as the means for imposing a new Constitution on us. Today, George Soros – the destroyer of countries – is financing the push for a convention. Don’t let him and his minions destroy America.
This little chart illustrates our Constitution & Declaration and the enumerated powers delegated to the federal government. For 100 years, we elected politicians who ignore them. We don’t understand that the amendments proposed by Michael Farris, Mark Levin,Randy Barnett, & Nick Dranias increase the powers of the federal government because we don’t know the list of enumerated powers in the Constitution. You could remedy that: Print out the chart and read the Constitution & Declaration!
As The Blue Tail Gadfly said, even though “the Constitution is not being enforced, it still declares this federal government LAWLESS! The true rule of law is still on our side, but not for much longer if the Constitution is allowed to be foolishly altered.”
2 Those pushing for a convention are not telling the truth about what Madison said in his letter to Turberville. The only way you can know who is telling the truth is to study the letter.
3 Madison did not endorse the “convention method” of proposing amendments. He always said that when States want amendments, they should instruct their congressional delegation to pursue it:
- In his letter of 1788 to Turberville, he speaks of the two methods of proposing amendments:
“2. A Convention cannot be called … without the previous application of ⅔ of the State legislatures…The difficulties … must …be much greater than will attend the origination of amendments in Congress, which may be done at the … [instruction] of a single State Legislature… ”
- How was the Bill of Rights handled? On May 5, 1789, Rep. Bland (p. 258-261) introduced into Congress a petition from Virginia for an Art. V Convention to propose amendments. On June 8, 1789, Madison (p. 448-460) circumvented Bland and introduced the amendments for Congress to propose to the States. On September 24, 1789, Congress sent them to the States for ratification.
4 If your spouse violates the marriage vows, amend the vows and your marriage will be saved!
If motorists violate the speed limit, amend the speed limit and safety will be restored!
When people violate the Ten Commandments, amend the Ten Commandments!
When politicians violate the Constitution, amend the Constitution, and all will obey it!
5 It is important to understand that the proposed amendments drafted by Randy Barnett, Mark Levin, Nick Dranias, and Michael Farris all increase the powers of the federal government by legalizing powers they have already usurped – or they delegate new powers to the federal government.
6 The Constitution was a product of compromise: Alexander Hamilton was an abolitionist – but the Constitution permitted slavery. James Madison wanted to stop the importation of slaves immediately (Federalist No. 42, 6th para); but Art. I, Sec. 9, clause 1 permitted it to continue 20 more years. Hamilton said the Constitution wasn’t perfect, but “is the best that the present views and circumstances of the country will permit” (Federalist No. 85, 6th – 8th paras). The “convention” provision of Art. V seems to have been added – on the last day of deliberations (Sep. 15, 1787) – to induce Gerry, Mason, & Randolph to sign the Constitution. But they still refused to sign. PH
Note: This last series of Questions and Answers was suggested by an esteemed colleague:
Q: Are there unanswered questions about an Article V Convention?
A: Yes! Article V is utterly silent about the following and more:
- How would delegates be selected? And who would select them: Congress? The States? A national Referendum?
- Would the States even be represented at the convention? If so, how many delegates and/or how many votes would each State have at a convention?
- Would a convention be open or closed to the public and the media? (The Convention of 1787 was closed.)
- Could a convention be limited to consideration of a single amendment, or several amendments? [The plural language of Article V, "a convention for proposing amendments," suggests the convention could not be limited to a single amendment.]
- Could a convention consider an entirely new constitution?
- How would state calls for a convention be tabulated? For example: If 20 states call for a convention to consider a balanced budget amendment; 10 states call for a convention to consider a term limits amendment; and 4 states call for a convention to consider a right-to-life amendment, will these all be counted together to constitute 34 state calls for a convention? And will the convention be authorized to consider all three amendments even though none of them individually have been called for by 34 states? May it consider other amendments? Must all of the state calls for a convention agree on the precise wording of the amendment to be considered? And could a convention alter the wording of the proposed amendment, or must it be passed or rejected in exactly the form the states called for? Will state calls for a convention many years ago be counted in determining whether 34 states have called for a convention? For example, in the 1970s and 1980s about 32 states called for a convention to consider a balanced budget amendment. If two more states called for a convention today, would that constitute 34 states? Article V says nothing about any time limit on such calls.
- If a state calls for a convention, may the state later rescind its call? Article V is silent about this question. Several of the states that called for a convention in the 1970s and 1980s later rescinded their calls, but no court has ever determined whether those rescissions are valid.
- What rules would a convention follow, and who would make those rules? Article V says if two-thirds of the states apply for a convention, “Congress … shall call a convention.” Since Congress and Congress alone calls a convention, presumably Congress and Congress alone has authority to make rules for a convention — rules for delegate selection, voting, election of officers, agenda, scope of business, and other matters. What if the Senate and the House cannot agree on rules for a convention? Nothing in Article V gives the states any authority whatsoever to demand that a convention follow certain rules, or to condition their calls for a convention with the requirement that certain rules or limitations be followed.
- If Congress can make rules for a convention and does so, what guarantee exists that the convention will abide by those rules?
The plain fact is, the Constitution is utterly silent about all of these questions. As convention proponents confidently and dogmatically proclaim their answers to these questions, please ask yourself: Do they have any authority for their claims? Are you willing to just take their word for it?
Q: Why are convention proponents so certain that a convention will be run by constitutional conservatives?
A: This is a complete mystery. There is no such guarantee. Considering liberal dominance of the media, law schools, well-funded legal foundations, and state and federal governments, liberal dominance of a convention is not only possible but probable.
Q: Is the drive for a convention led by conservatives?
A: Some conservatives support a convention, along with numerous liberals and liberal organizations who are waiting in the wings to jump in and dominate a convention once it has been called. But many conservatives strongly oppose a convention. So please do not be misled into thinking support for a convention is the “default” conservative position.