“The recent movement to call a convention to propose amendments…has sown consternation in Washington–precisely because it is the one device that can effectively bypass the Washington bureaucracy.”
– Milton Friedman
“We must rely on the states to force Congress to act on our amendment. Our Nation’s Founders gave us the means to amend the Constitution through action of state legislators. That is the only strategy that will work.”
– Ronald Reagan
“The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress.”
– United States Constitution, Article 5
The nature of Central Government is to centralize – to consolidate power unto itself. And Central government does so at the expense of those it takes power from – specifically the states and the people. A few days back we took a look at the history and evolution of Federalism in our country (see my article: Exploring Federalism). One thing that becomes abundantly clear is how dramatically states’ rights and their political powers have been eroded over time.
Our founding fathers recognized the natural tendencies inherent in central government and foresaw the possibility of Congressional inaction or unresponsiveness to the states. As a result they elected to put a small but important (and very powerful) provision into the Constitutional amendment process. Specifically, if two-thirds of our states’ legislatures (34 states) make application to Congress by passing resolutions calling for a convention of states on the same subject matter then Congress is required to call for a convention of states for the purposes of proposing amendments to the Constitution. The proposed amendments then need to be agreed to by three-fourths of state legislatures (38) for actual ratification. Each state has one vote regardless of population. And Congress has little or no power over this process.
Sound simple? Essentially it is. And there is an effort already underway.
The Convention of States Project (or COS Project) has “gotten eight states to pass subject-matter resolutions agreeing to convene a convention to limit the size and jurisdiction of the federal government, propose fiscal restraints, and consider term limits”. Another 11 states have legislation passed in one chamber. And active legislation is underway in another 24 states. Their website is excellent and full of resources and FAQs that enable further exploration of the topic along with active chat. I highly recommend a visit. They can also be found on Twitter – @COSProject.
Mark Levin’s 2013 book “The Liberty Amendments” helped to re-energize the movement. The Convention of States effort is now endorsed and supported by a host of well-known conservatives:
Gov Greg Abbott, Sen Ted Cruz, Gov Bobby Jindal, Sen Marco Rubio, Sen Rand Paul, Ex Sen. Tom Coburn, Sen Mike Lee, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Gov Mike Huckabee, Gov John Kasich along with many other influential conservatives have all put forth their formal support for a Convention of States. And the list is growing.
While there is no set timetable the goal is to have a Convention in 2017 or 2018.
Every time a Convention of States has been seriously discussed or endorsed there has been the immediate fear mongering from the left citing concerns of a Runaway Convention (see: The Constitutional Convention Trap), whereby the original intent of the convention is lost and entirely new or unexpected revisions to the Constitution are brought about. The 1787 Constitutional Convention is invariably cited. But there are Constitutional safeguards in place and these are listed and discussed on the COSProject website (see also Mark Levin’s Response to article). Per the Constitution, in order to pass any amendment under a Convention of States, three-fourths of state legislatures need to ratify said amendment – the same percentage required for an amendment to pass through Congress. And as Mark Levin notes in his article, there are already processes being established to govern a Convention of States.
In the midst of this, let us not lose sight of why a Convention of States is being discussed in the first place. The federal government has grown exponentially in size since the passage of the 17th Amendment (see my article: Repeal the 17th Amendment) and Congress willfully ignores the states, the people and the Constitution as a matter of routine. It is that very fact as to why we are here.
We find ourselves in a singularly unique place and time. Republicans now control the Senate, the House and the Presidency. On the state front, Republicans control 68 state legislative chambers to Democrats 31. Republicans control both chambers in 32 states – 17 of which have veto-proof majorities. Republicans hold 33 governor seats.
This is the place and time we have been waiting for, hoping for – it is finally here. Let us realize and seize this moment. Bring power back to the states where it belongs and restore balance to the federal behemoth that is Washington.
Support a Convention of States.
newer post A Republic to be Thankful for
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