Tag Archives: Article V convention

Setting the record straight on the idea of a Constitutional Convention

Historical Context

In the beginning of our Nation’s history, and after the war for independence. Our young nation was struggling with a flawed constitution, known as the Articles of Confederation. The Articles of Confederation may have had a very a limited percentage of good with in the Law. The Law however was still tremendously flawed, and needed to be revised and or replaced. The founders of this nation were incredibly Inspired, Wise, and Honorable men, and knew something had to be done. So they set out  meeting with different groups such as The Patriotic Society or the Society of the Cincinnati in order to discuss this first constitutional crises and possible solutions. The founders were wary of these groups, and were cautious when meeting with them such as this wise counsel from the Father of the Nation George Washington.

“If the first, I would fain hope that like other Mobs it will, however formidable, be of short duration. If the latter there are surely men of consequence and abilities behind the curtain who move the puppets; the designs of whom may be deep and dangerous. They may be instigated by British counsel; actuated by ambitious motives, or being influenced by dishonest principles, had rather see the Country in the horror of civil discord, than do what justice would dictate to an honest mind.”

The founders then decided to amend the current constitution by calling for a Convention of the States. Some of whom had great concern such as George Washington in his quote stating.

“On the last occasion, only five States were represented; none East of New York. Why the Nw. England Governments did not appear, I am yet to learn; for of all others the distractions and turbulent temper of these people would, I should have thought, have afforded the strongest evidence of the necessity of competent powers somewhere. That the Foederal Government is nearly, if not quite at a stand, none will deny. The first question then is, shall it be annihilated or supported? If the latter, the proposed convention is an object of the first magnitude, and should be supported by all the friends of the present Constitution. In the other case, if on a full and dispassionate revision thereof, the continuance shall be adjudged impracticable or unwise, as only delaying an event which must ’ere long take place; would it not be better for such a Meeting to suggest some other, to avoid if possible civil discord or other impending evils? I must candidly confess, as we could not remain quiet more than three or four years in time of peace, under the Constitutions of our own choosing; which it was believed, in many States at least, were formed with deliberation and wisdom, I see little prospect either of our agreeing upon any other, or that we should remain long satisfied under it if we could. Yet I would wish any thing, and every thing essayed to prevent the effusion of blood, and to avert the humiliating and contemptible figure we are about to make in the annals of mankind.

If this second attempt to convene the States for the purposes proposed by the report of the partial representation at Annapolis in September, should also prove abortive, it may be considered as an unequivocal evidence that the States are not likely to agree on any general measure which is to pervade the Union, and of course that there is an end of Foederal Government. The States therefore which make the last dying essay to avoid these misfortunes, would be mortified at the issue, and their deputies would return home chagrined at their ill success and disappointment. This would be a disagreeable circumstance for any one of them to be in, but more particularly so for a person in my situation. If no further application is made to me, of course I do not attend; if there is, I am under no obligation to do it, but as I have had so many proofs of your friendship, know your abilities to judge, and your opportunities of learning the politics of the day, on the points I have enumerated, you would oblige me by a full and confidential communication of your sentiments thereon.”

So after a few attempts in each State resolutions were passed calling for a general convention to amend the Articles of Confederation (the constitution). With the strict language of amend only and if not to come home immediately. A sample of such language can be found in the George Washington’s letter to Governor Edmund Randolph on Dec. 21st 1786.

“Sensible as I am of the honor conferred on me by the General Assembly, in appointing me one of the Deputies to a Convention proposed to be held in the City of Philadelphia in May next, for the purpose of revising the Foederal Constitution”

In Federalist number forty we read about New York’s call.

“as a mean to remedy which, several of the States, and PARTICULARLY THE STATE OF NEW YORK, by express instructions to their delegates in Congress, have suggested a convention for the purposes expressed in the following resolution; and such convention appearing to be the most probable mean of establishing in these States A FIRM NATIONAL GOVERNMENT:”Resolved, That in the opinion of Congress it is expedient, that on the second Monday of May next a convention of delegates, who shall have been appointed by the several States, be held at Philadelphia, for the sole and express purpose OF REVISING THE ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION, and reporting to Congress and the several legislatures such ALTERATIONS AND PROVISIONS THEREIN, as shall, when agreed to in Congress, and confirmed by the States, render the federal Constitution ADEQUATE TO THE EXIGENCIES OF GOVERNMENT AND THE PRESERVATION OF THE UNION.”

If we look at all of the credentials of all of the delegates sent to that convention of the States in the Elliot Debates it shows the same language, that their intent was to “revise” the current constitution (Articles of Confederation. Then sending the Congress the proceedings of the convention to be voted upon and adopted. If we continue reading (in the Elliots Debates) the rules that were set up in the beginning of the convention itself  reads in the same manner. That being to “revise” the current constitution. Lets turn to the Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary as it reads.

1. To review; to re-examine; to look over with care for correction; as, to revise a writing; to revise a proof sheet.

2. To review, alter and amend; as, to revise statutes.”

During those hot summer months of 1787 the founders did NOT revise the Articles of Confederation, but worked hard on a new Constitution. With in this new constitution they changed the mode of ratification for the new constitution from 100% of the States to 3/4ths of States. Why do I say this? In Article eight of the Articles of Confederation (the old constitution) it’s expressively clear that All of the States or 100% of the States were needed to amend the constitution and or ratify any thing affecting the nation as a whole. The reason why for this change of ratification requirements were dual fold. One reason is that Rhode Island refused to attend, making their voice absent from the convention process. The other reason was when the convention was on it’s way and after the first resolution by Governor Randolph some of the delegates walked out, losing their say in the proceedings such as the case as Alexander Hamilton from New York.

Let me also add that all of these resolutions to call for one convention for the strict purpose of revising the constitution. The calls were done strictly to the vernacular of the Articles of Confederation. So why violate the rules and the strict instruction to set aside the old constitution and to draft a new constitution? The reason being is that the old constitution was written more like a treaty, it was flawed and could not with hold the tests of time. Some of the flaws of the document were  as follows. No war making authority for the defense of these States United. No supreme court to settle disputes among the states. No executive power to lead yes, but to act as another check and balance against the federal courts and the federal congress. No enforcement provisions regarding to international trade and the free trade amongst the individual states. There are many more reasons why we needed a stronger Law to bind this Union of States, but this should be sufficient for now.

I am grateful that the original Constitutional Convention that turned into a runaway convention took place. I am grateful for the founders that were raised up by God in order to fulfill their purpose upon this earth. I am grateful that God presided over that convention. I am grateful that the founders knew this to be a fact, and please let me share with you just two quotes of George Washington stating as such in two different letters. The first quote comes from his letter to Jonathan Trumbull on July 20th 1788.

“Or at least we may, with a kind of grateful and pious exultation, trace the finger of Providence through those dark and mysterious events, which first induced the States to appoint a general Convention and then led them one after another (by such steps as were best calculated to effect the object) into an adoption of the system recommended by that general Convention; thereby, in all human probability, laying a lasting foundation for tranquillity and happiness; when we had but too much reason to fear that confusion and misery were coming rapidly upon us. That the same good Providence may still continue to protect us and prevent us from dashing the cup of national felicity just as it has been lifted to our lips, is the earnest prayer of My Dear Sir, your faithful friend, &c.”

Or this letter to the Marques De Laffeyette on May 28, 1788 and it reads.

“A few short weeks will determine the political fate of America for the present generation and probably produce no small influence on the happiness of society through a long succession of ages to come. Should every thing proceed with harmony and consent according to our actual wishes and expectations; I will confess to you sincerely, my dear Marquis; it will be so much beyond any thing we had a right to imagine or expect eighteen months ago, that it will demonstrate as visibly the finger of Providence, as any possible event in the course of human affairs can ever designate it. It is impracticable for you or any one who has not been on the spot, to realise the change in men’s minds and the progress towards rectitude in thinking and acting which will then have been made.”

This researcher is of the faith the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and with in our Holy Writ it says this with in the Doctrine and Covenants on December 16 and 17, 1833.

“79.Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.

80 And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.”

As you may see The Constitution was inspired to come about to solve all the issues at the time in our Nation’s young history. The Constitution was and still is the solution to solve any of our issues that we may face as a Nation. So that all of man kind may be free and independent.

 Modern Day Push to Call for Another Convention

Jumping ahead two hundred and twenty eight years to this year 2015. We now have people from different walks of life and different special interest groups seeking to revise the US Constitution, by calling for one convention to do so. They are calling these ideas an Amendments Convention, an Article V Convention, or a Convention of the States. You know what the old saying goes? If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck! All three names are a modern day constitutional convention. The suggestions that this researcher has seen has been amendments to call for balanced budget amendments (already mandated by the constitution), term limits amendments (we used to have in the articles of confederation), amendments to repeal or revise the second amendment, amendments to mandate governmental healthcare, amendments to restrict free speech, etc. Some of these special interest groups are ALEC, Balanced Budget Task Force, Occupy Wall Street,  different Tea Party groups, Wolf PAC, Goldwater Institute, Convention of States, Convention USA, MoveOn.org, etc.

Some of the persons with an agenda whom are pushing for this are as followers George Sorros, Mark Levin, Lawrence Lessig, Glenn Beck, Representative Sickles, etc. I know what you may be thinking “who are most of these people?” State Representative Sickles is known for making this comment which either proves his incompetence or his agenda.

“We don’t want anyone “whacking away” at our Constitution – and Delegates to an Art. V convention would have the power to do just that….”

While George Sorros is known for bankrupting different nation’s economies and causing havoc from with in those nation’s societies. If you don’t believe me then please just Google this simple known fact. Lawrence Lessig was the main former campaign manager for the Obama administration. There are also certain gay activists pushing for this as well. I take you to this excerpt from the New American Magazine as of Sunday the 8th of this year, and I quote.

“Make no mistake, if the Constitution is opened up to the tinkering of these tin horns, the monied interests will be present and their irresistible influence will shape the product of the Article V process.

Take a look around the country and one can see what a new constitution would look like. With courts forcing states to recognize gay “marriage” in one jurisdiction after the other, there is no limit to the panoply of “rights” that would be pursued by the con-con 2.0 delegates.”


The question is this. Do we really want this modern day constitutional convention to be torn ripped a sunder due to partisan bickering and globalist agendas?!  Let us remember George Washington’s advise earlier on in this white paper regarding unsavory characters. Let us also heed to George Washington’s advise and council with in this quote.

“In these honorable qualifications, I behold the surest pledges, that as on one side, no local prejudices, or attachments; no separate views, nor party animosities, will misdirect the comprehensive and equal eye which ought to watch over this great assemblage of communities and interests: so, on another, that the foundations of our National policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality; and the pre-eminence of a free Government, be exemplified by all the attributes which can win the affections of its Citizens, and command the respect of the world.”

The proponents of such an idea to call for one ambiguous constitutional convention (no matter what name that they use to describe it). May say that the “States would be in control”, “the States would set the rules”, “that we can limit this to one item convention”, or that “we still need 3/4ths of the States for ratification”. All of which is simply not true! As we learn from history the founders changed the mode of ratification when Rhode Island choose not to attend, and when only 55 out of 73 delegates never attended the convention due to the distance of the convention and the financial restraint. If we use the first and only convention as a guide in these matters the same will occur again, that being the mode of ratification will be changed to adopt something that we ALL do not want. As to the other excuses that the proponents are using as this time, lets look at what the most current Congressional Research is saying about an Article V convention. Since it will be the Congress that will be calling this convention after the request from 2/3rds of the States. On Page 3 of that report generated in 2014 it reads.

“What compelling interest, among the many competing demands for its time and energy, does
Congress have in the Article V Convention mechanism? There is little to command its interest if
the Article V Convention remains, as it has for the past three decades, a constitutional footnote. In
the event of revived pubic interest in this issue, however, Congress might choose to reexamine its
constitutional duties under Article V.”Page 18
“The language of the Constitution is notably straightforward on Congress’s duty to call an Article
V Convention: “… on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States,
[Congress] shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments…. (emphasis added)” The
founders’ intentions seem unmistakable, and no less an authority than Alexander Hamilton wrote
emphatically that, once the two-thirds threshold is met, “the Congress will be obliged … to call a
convention for proposing amendments…. The words of this article are peremptory. The Congress
‘shall call a convention.’ Nothing in this particular is left to the discretion of that body
Page 4
“Second, while the Constitution is silent on the mechanics of an Article V convention, Congress
has traditionally laid claim to broad responsibilities in connection with a convention, including
(1) receiving, judging, and recording state applications; (2) establishing procedures to summon a
convention; (3) setting the amount of time allo
tted to its deliberations; (4) determining the
number and selection process for its delegates; (5) setting internal convention procedures,
including formulae for allocation of votes among the states; and (6) arranging for the formal
transmission of any proposed amendments to the states.”
Page 19
“For instance, most constitutional scholars hold
that applications proposing a specifically worded amendment are invalid. As one observer noted,
“these resolutions seek to make the ‘Convention’ part of the ratifying (emphasis in the original)
process, rather than part of the deliberative process for “proposing” constitutional amendments….
they are applications for a convention empowered solely to approve or disapprove the submission
to the states of particular amendments ‘proposed’ elsewhere.” 79 Another reason for hesitation in
calling an Article V Convention centers on the great issue of its scope”
Page 26
“… an application requesting an up-or-down vote on a specifically worded amendment cannot
be considered valid. Such an approach robs the Convention of its deliberative function which
is inherent in article V language stating that the Convention’s purpose is to “propose
amendments.” If the State legislatures were permitted to propose the exact wording of an
amendment and stipulate that the language not be altered, the Convention would be deprived
of this function and would become instead part of the ratification process.1″
Page 22
“According to his judgment, an Article V Convention must be free to pursue any issue it pleases,
notwithstanding the limitations included in either state applications or the congressional summons
by which it was called: If the legislatures of thirty-four states request Congress to call a general constitutional convention, Congress has a constitutional duty to summon such a convention. If those thirty – four states recommend in their applications that the convention consider only a particular subject, Congress still must call a convention and leave to the convention the ultimate
determination of the agenda and the nature of the amendments it may choose to propose. 96″
Lastly on Page 21
“In fact, he went on to assert that limited conventions would be constitutionally impermissible for the reason that no language is found in Article V that authorizes them:
It (Article V) does not (emphasis in the original) imply that a convention summoned for the
purpose of dealing with electoral malapportionment 91 may kick over the traces and emit
proposals dealing with other subjects. It implies something much more fundamental than
that; it implies that Congress cannot be obligated, no matter how many States ask for it, to
summon a convention for the limited purposed of dealing with electoral apportionment
alone, and that such a convention would have no constitutional standing at all. 92
Consequently, by this reasoning, the many hundreds of state applications for a convention to
consider amendments on a particular subject are null and void.”
As you can see with in this report that Congress will have sole discretion upon setting the rules on which to call the delegates. Setting the location of the convention. Setting the rules for the purpose of the convention. It is also apparent that a convention CAN NOT be limited to one cause, agenda, or amendment. There will be court challenges as well that would last years, money and resources. Why waste such valuable resources on such a dangerous unknown process?!  Please see pages 8 and 20 of that same report.Page 8
“17 states passed resolutions rescinding their applications for an Article V Convention, or in some instances, all previous applications. Five of these 17 states, most recently Tennessee and Georgia, have submitted fresh applications since 2010, thus arguably making the question of their original rescissions, and those of other states, moot. 23 With respect to rescission, the current status of applications from the remaining 12 states turns on the question of whether states have the right to rescind their applications for an Article V Convention. Proponents of the convention device tend to deny legality of rescission, while others argue to the contrary. Ultimately, the question remains at issue because it has yet to be the subject of congressional legislation or a definitive court decision.
Page 20
“Ultimately, it is difficult to conceive that Congress would fail to heed the deliberate call of a
substantial majority of the nation’s citizens, acting through the agency of their state legislatures,
and meeting the clearly stated requirements of Article V. As Cyril Brickfield noted, in the final
analysis, “[p]ublic opinion and, ultimately, the ballot box are the only realistic means by which
the Congress can be persuaded to act.” 87 The House Judiciary Committee speculated that congressional failure to call a convention might trigger court challenges that could lead to a constitutional crisis, 88 but another legal scholar wrote that, “[e]ven conceding the reach of the judicial power as exercised these days, I find it difficult to believe that the Supreme Court would issue an order compelling Congress to carry out a duty which can hardly be called a simple ministerial duty, or would, in the alternative, take it upon itself to prescribe the procedures for a convention. I much prefer to rely on the integrity of Congress in carrying out a constitutional duty.””

Many of us patriots/citizens are not just the only ones in opposition to this modern day constitutional convention call, but many if not all of the founders were against having another convention of the States as well. Such as James Madison (Father of the Constitution) and George Washington (Father of the Nation). Let us heed to their wise counsel when the anti-federalists were pushing to have another constitutional convention. In his letter to Marquis De Lafayette, George Washington has this to say on Feb. 7th, 1788

“Should that which is now offered to the People of America, be found an experiment less perfect than it can be made—a Constitutional door is left open for its amelioration. Some respectable characters have wished that the States, after having pointed out whatever alterations and amendments may be judged necessary, would appoint another federal Co[n]vention to modify it upon these documents. For myself I have wondered that sensible men should not see the impracticability of the scheme. The members would go fortified with such Instructions that nothing but discordant ideas could prevail. Had I but slightly suspected (at the time when the late Convention was in session) that another Convention would not be likely to agree upon a better form of Government, I should now be confirmed in the fixed belief that they would not be able to agree upon any System whatever: So many, I may add, such contradictory, and, in my opinion, unfounded objections have been urged against the System in contemplation; many of which would operate equally against every efficient Government that might be proposed. I will only add, as a farther opinion founded on the maturest deliberation, that there is no alternative—no hope of alteration—no intermediate resting place—between the adoption of this and a recurrence to an unqualified state of Anarchy, with all its deplorable consequences.”

Or this this advice in James Madison’s letter to George Lee Turberville on Nov. the 2nd 1788.

“If a General Convention were to take place for the avowed and sole purpose of revising the Constitution, it would naturally consider itself as having a greater latitude than the Congress appointed to administer and support as well as to amend the system; it would consequently give greater agitation to the public mind; an election into it would be courted by the most violent partizans on both sides; it wd. probably consist of the most heterogeneous characters; 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. Under all these circumstances it seems scarcely to be presumeable 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 and under all the disadvantages I have mentioned. 4. It is not unworthy of consideration that the prospect of a second Convention would be viewed by all Europe as a dark and threatening Cloud hanging over the Constitution just established, and perhaps over the Union itself; and wd. therefore suspend at least the advantages this great event has promised us on that side. It is a well known fact that this event has filled that quarter of the Globe with equal wonder and veneration, that its influence is already secretly but powerfully working in favor of liberty in France, and it is fairly to be inferred that the final event there may be materially affected by the prospect of things here. We are not sufficiently sensible of the importance of the example which this Country may give to the world; nor sufficiently attentive to the advantages we may reap from the late reform, if we avoid bringg. it into danger. The last loan in Holland and that alone, saved the U. S. from Bankruptcy in Europe; and that loan was obtained from a belief that the Constitution then depending wd. be certainly speedily, quietly, and finally established, & by that means put America into a permanent capacity to discharge with honor & punctuality all her engagements. I am Dr. Sir, Yours”

Now what are the solutions to ALL of our Nation’s problems? I have to ask this simple question, because the proponents of these modern day constitutional convention calls do a very fine job laying out the problems. To which I whole heartily agree to being our problems that must be corrected. To map out just a small percentage of issues plaguing our nation, let me cite Utah House Representative Merrill F. Nelson’s constitutional convention resolution (H.J.R. 3) lines 37 through 50.

37          WHEREAS, the United States Congress has, at times, exceeded its delegated powers
38     and otherwise passed laws injurious to the states and the people;
39          WHEREAS, the President of the United States has, at times, exceeded the executive’s
40     constitutional authority and taken actions injurious to the states and the people by issuing
41     certain executive orders, failing or refusing to enforce certain laws duly passed by Congress,
42     issuing waivers from compliance with federal statutes, and directing federal administrative
43     agencies to impose rules and regulations contrary to federal statutes;
44          WHEREAS, federal courts have, at times, exceeded their authority by issuing decisions
45     not grounded in the United States Constitution, by issuing decisions on public policy matters
46     reserved to the states in violation of principles of federalism and separation of powers, and
47     otherwise issuing decisions injurious to the states and the people;
48          WHEREAS, federal administrative agencies have, at times, issued rules and regulations
49     beyond their statutory authority and have otherwise issued rules and regulations or taken other
50     actions injurious to the states and the people;”

The Solution

The solution to all of our problems is the same solution that lifted up our Nation out of our problems in the very beginning. That being the enforcement of the US Constitution. Our problems are not a problem with the Constitution, but a violation of the Law. We are in a sense have become a lawless society because neither the republicans nor the democrats are adhering to the the Law. Now you may be asking yourself this question. “Wouldn’t calling for a Constitutional Convention be adhering to the Law?” Technically yes, but is is wise to execute this principle in our currently dangerous political climate?  With so much of the general populace being ignorant as to what is Lawful vs Lawless? Calling a modern day constitutional would only bring chaos and confusion to our society! The solution is and has always been what James Madison and Thomas Jefferson referred to as Nullification. Which is the States raising the barriers against the unconstitutional nature of the federal government, enforcing the Law being the US Constitution, and declaring that a law, edict or court opinion is Null in void. In fact I find it prudent to cite lines 31-36 as well as lines 65-71 of Mr. Nelson’s Con Con resolution which reaffirms what exactly Nullification is.

“31          WHEREAS, all governing power under the United States Constitution originates from
32     the people and the states;
33          WHEREAS, the United States Constitution delegates certain limited powers to the
34     legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the federal government;
35          WHEREAS, the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution reserves all
36     non-delegated powers to the states and the people;

65          WHEREAS, a Countermand Amendment to the United States Constitution would
66     authorize the states, upon a vote by three-fifths of the state legislatures to override and
67     invalidate a congressional statute, executive order, federal court decision, or administrative
68     agency rule, regulation, or other action deemed injurious to the states and the people;
69          WHEREAS, the states, by adopting a Countermand Amendment, properly exercise
70     their constitutional authority to check federal power, preserve state sovereignty, and protect the
71     rights of the states and the people”

I know you might be saying that the Supreme Court has deemed Nullification unconstitutional. Or that the founders never discussed the topic. Well done below is James Madison’s quotes regarding Nullification taken from his speech on the floor of the Virginia and Kentucky State House.

“The resolution, having taken this view of the federal compact, proceeds to infer, “that, in case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by the said compact, the states, who are parties thereto, have the right and are in duty bound to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining within their respective limits, the authorities, rights, and liberties appertaining to them.”

“It appears to your committee to be a plain principle, founded in common sense, illustrated by common practice, and essential to the nature of compacts, that, where resort can be had to no tribunal, superior to the authority of the parties, the parties themselves must be the rightful judges in the last resort, whether the bargain made has been pursued or violated. The Constitution of the United States was formed by the sanction of the states, given by each in its sovereign capacity. It adds to the stability and dignity, as well as to the authority of the Constitution, that it rests on this legitimate and solid foundation. The states, then, being the parties to the constitutional compact, and in their sovereign capacity, it follows of necessity, that there can be no tribunal above their authority, to decide in the last resort, whether the compact made by them be violated; and, consequently, that, as the. parties to it, they must themselves decide, in the last resort, such questions as may be of sufficient magnitude to require their interposition.”

“In the existing Constitution, they make the following part of Sec. 8, “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and to provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States.”

“This similarity in the use of these phrases in the two great federal charters, might well be considered, as rendering their meaning less liable to be misconstrued in the latter; because it will scarcely be said, that in the former they were ever understood to be either a general grant of power, or to authorize the requisition or application of money by the old Congress to the common defence and general welfare, except in the cases afterwards enumerated, which explained and limited their meaning; and if such was the limited meaning attached to these phrases in the very instrument revised and remodelled by the present Constitution, it can never be supposed that when copied into this Constitution, a different meaning ought to be attached to them.”

“In the existing Constitution, they make the following part of Sec. 8, “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and to provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States.”

“This similarity in the use of these phrases in the two great federal charters, might well be considered, as rendering their meaning less liable to be misconstrued in the latter; because it will scarcely be said, that in the former they were ever understood to be either a general grant of power, or to authorize the requisition or application of money by the old Congress to the common defence and general welfare, except in the cases afterwards enumerated, which explained and limited their meaning; and if such was the limited meaning attached to these phrases in the very instrument revised and remodelled by the present Constitution, it can never be supposed that when copied into this Constitution, a different meaning ought to be attached to them.”

“The paragraph in Art. I. sect. 8, which contains the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excise; to pay the debts, and provide for the common defence and general welfare, having been already examined, will also require no particular attention in this place. It will have been seen that in its fair and consistent meaning, it cannot enlarge the enumerated powers vested in Congress.”

Lastly he concludes with this.

“The plain import of this clause is, that Congress shall have all the incidental or instrumental powers necessary and proper for carrying into execution all the express powers; whether they be vested in the government of the United States, more collectively, or in the several departments or officers thereof. It is not a grant of new powers to Congress, but merely a declaration, for the removal of all uncertainty, that the means of carrying into execution, those otherwise granted, are included in the grant.

Whenever, therefore, a question arises concerning the constitutionality of a particular power, the first question is, whether the power be expressed in the Constitution. If it be, the question is decided. If it be not expressed, the next inquiry must be, whether it is properly an incident to an express power, and necessary to its execution. If it be, it may be exercised by Congress. If it be not. Congress cannot exercise it.”

In order to address the concerns regarding the constitutionality of Nullification. Let me post what this researcher has addressed in his legislation titled “What to do about same sex marriage ruling”.

I stated this.

“In the area of federalism, the States have an unequivocal right to have their own State Constitutions which coincides with the Federal Constitution, and the people of the individual States have an unequivocal right to amend those individual state constitutions. The US Constitution declares this statement to be a fact. In the tenth amendment we read:

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

and the Ninth Amendment of the US Constitution reads:
“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

One of the duties of the Federal government is to protect the right of the State and of the people to govern the individual States accordingly. As we read in Article Four Section Four:
“The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on application of the legislature, or of the executive (when the legislature cannot be convened) against domestic violence.”
With this being said on December 20, 2013 a Federal court Judge Shelby pinned his opinion that Utah’s amendment three was unconstitutional. Which violates these three clauses with in the US Constitution, which is the Supreme Law of the Land. As laid out in Article Six Section Two, which reads:

“This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.”
They also violated their Oath of office as well, as mentioned in Article Six Section Three:

“The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

With these blatant attacks by the Federal government upon the Law, it is the Duty of the States to Enforce the Law. Since it was the People that created the States and the States that created the Federal government.”

I go on to say this.

“Since we are Nullifying a Court opinion in order to enforce our own State Constitution as well as the Federal Constitution. I find it prudent to mention these comments from the opinion of the Supreme Court in the renown court case Marbury vs. Madison which reads.

“Certainly all those who have framed written constitutions contemplate them as forming the fundamental and paramount law of the nation, and consequently, the theory of every such government must be, that an act of the legislature, repugnant to the constitution, is void.”

In that same court opinion we read.
“It is also not entirely unworthy of observation that in declaring what shall be the supreme law of the land, the constitution itself is first mentioned; and not the laws of the United States generally, but those only which shall be made in pursuance of the constitution, have that rank.
Thus, the particular phraseology of the constitution of the United States confirms and strengthens the principle, supposed to be essential to all written constitutions, that a law repugnant to the constitution is void; and that courts, as well as other departments, are bound by that instrument.”

Now you are most likely saying to yourself that this idea of Nullification may just work, but you still have questions of it working? Or else you are being negative as to it not working at all. Let me simply point out the the instances in modern history of this working with out ramifications from the federal government. That list includes:

1.In MontanaLR-122 is an act “prohibiting the state or federal government from mandating the purchase of health insurance.”  It also prohibits the imposition of “penalties for decisions related to the purchase of health insurance coverage.” The measure passed overwhelmingly, 65%-34%2. In Colorado

Section 3 allows the “personal use and regulation of marijuana” for adults 21 and over. Section 4 addresses legal commercial cultivation, manufacture, and sale. The intent is that marijuana be regulated in a manner similar to alcohol. Colorado, after Washington State (info below), is the 2nd state in the country to have passed full legalization, and one of only a handful in the entire world. The measure passed by 54%-46%

 3. In Alabama
This legislatively-referred amendment frees Alabama citizens from any requirement to participate in Obamacare, or any other compulsory health care program. The ballot language reads as follows: Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to prohibit any person, employer, or health care provider from being compelled to participate in any health care system. It passed, 59%-41%4. In Washington State

Whatever you call the plant, Washington DC considers it dangerous and illegal. Laws on the books in Congress – illegal. The executive branch – aggressive about enforcing those laws. The supreme court – in 2005 ruled against the idea of states legalizing for any purpose. But yet, 18 states have been standing up and defying DC on this issue by legalizing marijuana for limited medicinal purposes. Washington’s I-502 takes it a step further. It ends marijuana prohibition and treats pot in the same manner as alcohol. People are allowed to grow, produce, sell, buy and consume the plant – in direct defiance to all three branches of the federal government. The Initiative passed, 55%-45%

 5. In Wyoming

Wyoming voters passed a health care freedom amendment to the Declaration of Rights in the state constitution. The Wyoming Constitution now guarantees citizens of the state the right to make their own healthcare decisions with minimal governmental interference. Article 1, Section 38 – Right of Health Care Access (a) Each competent adult shall have the right to make his or her own health care decisions.  The parent, guardian or legal representative of any other natural person shall have the right to make health care decisions for that person. (b) Any person may pay, and a health care provider may accept, direct payment for health care without imposition of penalties or fines for doing so. It passed by a huge margin, 76%-24%

6. In Massachusetts

A YES VOTE  on Question 3 enacted “the law eliminating state criminal and civil penalties related to the medical use of marijuana, allowing patients meeting certain conditions to obtain marijuana produced and distributed by new state-regulated centers or, in specific hardship cases, to grow marijuana for their own use.” The 18th state to nullify federal laws on weed did it in a landslide. The final tally was 64%-36%

7. The Real ID Act under Bush Jr. has been nullified in about 16 States and growing.

Here are a list of topics where the rest of the States are Nullifying including in the State of California, where they have Nullified the usage of drones. This list continues to grow.

For more information as to which State is doing what regarding to Nullification please see the Tenth Amendment Center, which by the way is opposed to calling for one ambiguous Constitutional Convention. In closing I end just like I began, which is the same advice for our great Nation as these States United. The solution is, as it has always been to enforce the Constitution.

The Threat to Liberty is another Constitutional Convention.

For the past six years now I, as well as many other Honorable patriots have been fighting this threat. This threat that has started recently by my own State of Utah elected officials! I have written a plethora of articles of warning individuals of this threat, I have even sounded the battle cry to defeat Rep. Brad Daw,  but because of recent circumstances those articles are now gone. So in the interest of time I am posting a opt ed piece,  as  well as a clarion call to all that may read this to take immediate action. Both of which were written by my mentor and closest friend Dr. Scott N. Bradley.

To all who love the United States Constitution and the Blessings of liberty it preserves:

I apologize for the length of this message, but understanding is critically important in this battle to preserve the blessings of liberty which were vouchsafed to us at such great cost.  Please consider this matter as something upon which the liberty of your unborn posterity rests.  Please read this, gather to the cause all who you can influence, and take action.

Thank you!

—Scott N. Bradley

Constitution-Convention Threat Originating in Utah

Tragically, Utah’s Legislature is in the forefront of the effort to call a constitution convention.  Advocates of this effort call it by many names to obfuscate the risk, but a rose by any other name is still a rose.

House Joint Resolution (HJR) 8, sponsored by Republican representative Kraig Powell, is moving through the legislative process and is currently under consideration in the House Government Operations Committee.  HJR 8 is a resolution which, if passed through the Utah Legislature, will result in Utah being added to a growing number of States which have applied to the United States Congress for the call of a convention.

The process by which the United States Constitution may be modified is defined in Article V of the United States Constitution.  To date, all 27 of the amendments to the Constitution have passed through both the U.S. House and Senate using the first and safest method, with 2/3’s margins in both houses, and being ratified by 3/4’s of the States.  The other option of a convention has never been applied since the ratification of the work of the 1787 Constitution Convention.  Certainly, other conventions have been held for many other purposes, but NONE of them have ever claimed the power to originate an amendment to the Constitution.

The un-tried and un-proven second method of modifying the Constitution requires 2/3’s of the States (34 States) to apply to congress for a convention, and then congress is required to call a convention.

Because of the unmeasured risks associated with a convention such as is being sought by HJR 8 and dozens of other similar resolutions currently under consideration throughout the United States, in 2001 the Utah legislature rescinded its previous calls for a convention in a near unanimous vote.

This year the movement to call such a convention has exploded upon the nation as a highly organized, cleverly disguised, powerfully promoted, and extremely well funded movement.  Advocates that have sought for many years to modify the document which has vouchsafed the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity for over 200 hundred years are co-opting good and caring Americans into support of this effort through fear.  Our magnificent Constitution is under assault as never before in our history.

The amendment movement is co-opting “conservative” issues that have developed (such as HUGE budget deficits) because those who hold the reigns of government have abandoned the limits and bounds defined within the plain English words of the United States Constitution.  To be blunt: They are violating the Constitution and have cast off their oath to uphold the Constitution.  The general population of the nation is guilty of continually returning these sycophants to office and are therefore party to these violations of the Constitution and the resulting problems.

In addition, there is a massive “left wing” “Move to Amend” movement which wants to see a convention called so they can manipulate the convention to their desired ends.  (See www.movetoamend.org.)


An amendment, or a series of amendments, are not necessary and will not solve the nation’s challenges.  Those who hold office do not currently follow the Constitution.  We delude ourselves in thinking they will honor a new amendment.  We also delude ourselves in the hope that the delegates who attend the proposed convention if it is called will be made up of any other than the current crop of “leaders” who have crafted the disaster which currently faces the nation, whether they are selected from those who currently hold national office, or those who currently sit in the States and sop up the tasty unconstitutional pork proffered to the States by the national government.

While the advocates of the convention process promote the idea with great and naive hope as to its result, no one can predict and really knows the outcome of a convention (or two, or three or more conventions which will likely follow-on).  Despite flowery and eloquent promotion, it is ALL based upon supposition.  I am not willing to risk the United States Constitution on someone’s hopeful opinion.

We MUST stop the effort to call a convention.  Utah must take the lead in the effort to keep the Constitution from hanging in the balance—by a thread, if you will.

PLEASE contact the members of the House Government Operations Committee and implore them to defeat HJR 8 in the committee. Tell them it is imperative that the resolution NOT be advanced to the floor of the House.  The telephone number of the Utah House is 801-538-1029.  If you call the number, ask the operator to pass a note to the desired representative with your counsel.

In addition, PLEASE keep an eye on the Utah Legislature web site to discover when this committee will take public testimony on this resolution so you can (PLEASE) TAKE THE TIME TO TESTIFY REGARDING YOUR OPPOSITION TO THIS RESOLUTION.

Following are the members of the House Government Operations Committee:

Rep. Jack R. Draxler (R), Chair email:  jdraxler@le.utah.gov
Rep. Ken Ivory (R), Vice Chair (Ardent advocate of the convention effort as long as he has been in the legislature.  He will likely seek to manipulate any contact made with him by those against a convention to further his efforts to call a convention.  He is a national advocate and spokesman for a convention and is fully and unequivocally committed to a convention.)
Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck (D)  email:  rchouck@le.utah.gov
Rep. Janice M. Fisher (D)  email:  janicefisher@le.utah.gov
Rep. Keith Grover (R)  email:  keithgrover@le.utah.gov
Rep. John G. Mathis (R)  email: jmathis@le.utah.gov
Rep. Michael E. Noel (R)  email: mnoel@kanab.net
Rep. Lee B. Perry (R)  email: leeperry@le.utah.gov
Rep. Kraig Powell (R) (Sponsor of the resolution to seek a convention—HJR 8)
Brian J. Bean, Policy Analyst

Following are two papers addressing the issue of proposed conventions.

The first is a paper which I recently wrote which addresses the plethora of efforts which are under way to call conventions to change the Constitution.

The second is an excellent paper which Bliss Tew wrote to Val Peterson, a member of the Utah House, and some of the members of the House Government Operations Committee.

Perhaps some of the information found herein will be of value as you contact members of the legislature or seek to educate those you may influence in the matter.

The Epidemic of Calls for a Convention to Modify the United States Constitution
Scott N. Bradley
January 2014

The efforts to call a convention to modify the United States Constitution have reached epidemic proportions.  Numerous organizations have sprung up in favor of such an undertaking.  Virtually all are highly organized, powerfully promoted, and well funded.  They have succeeded in obtaining the endorsement of many in positions of prominence.  They promote a spectrum of approaches to bring about their intention to change the Constitution.  The Declaration of Independence recognizes the right of the people to alter or abolish their government and institute new government when their government does not secure the God-given rights they were instituted to preserve.

The United States Constitution incorporated in Article V of the Constitution a peaceful means by which that self-evident truth may be carried out:
Article V
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; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

Notwithstanding the numerous other methods and nuances promoted by the various proponents fostering their “flavor” of “convention,” Article V of the United States Constitution defines the ONLY constitutional method.  There is no other way to bring a convention about under the Constitution.  There are innumerable other possible ways to alter or abolish the government, but none of them are found under the terms defined within the Constitution.  And Article V of the Constitution is the sum and substance of the matter to date.  Numerous procedures to define the convention process have been proposed over the years, and many are promoted today, but NONE have been codified.  And efforts to create a “bullet-proof” codification of binding rules under which a convention (under any name by which it may be denominated) must be viewed with skepticism.

The truth of the matter is that a convention undertaken to modify the United States Constitution would be an autonomous deliberative body which may (or may not) undertake its proceedings within limited bounds based upon initial instructions it receives upon its calling.  The 1787 Convention was constituted “for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation . . .”   The Articles of Confederation was the then-existing constitution of the United States, and the definition of “revising” as noted in the charge of the 1787 Convention is “amending.”  The 1787 Convention clearly understood and recognized their autonomous independence, and the convention set aside the existing constitution and wrote an entirely new one.  While the Articles of Confederation had a requirement that ALL States approve ANY changes to the constitution, without the prior input or approval of the States, the Congress, or the People, the men of the 1787 Convention included in the new constitution a lower standard for ratification.  When that lower standard of nine States, rather than the thirteen States required under the then-existing constitution was reached, the new constitution was considered fully approved and ratified.  Fortunately, the men of the 1787 Convention were good and noble men, well seasoned in the principles of liberty and properly limited government, so the outcome of the convention and ratification led to the United States becoming the greatest, freest, most prosperous, most respected, and most happy nation on earth for many generations.

Even in his day, soon after the Constitution was ratified, James Madison received a suggestion that the nation undertake another convention.  The United States Constitution was ratified during the Summer of 1788, so after that point a convention as defined under Article V (as suggested by some today) would have been the necessary process.  In November of 1788 James Madison responded to the suggestion of another convention as follows:

“If a General Convention were to take place for the avowed and sole purpose of revising the Constitution, it would naturally consider itself as having a greater latitude than the Congress appointed to administer and support as well as to amend the system; it would consequently give greater agitation to the public mind; an election into it would be courted by the most violent partisans on both sides; it would probably consist of the most heterogeneous characters; 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. Under all these circumstances 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, and under all the disadvantages I have mentioned.”

Elsewhere I have written:

“Some will argue that Madison’s term “General Convention” means something different than the type of convention which could be called under Article V of the Constitution, that it means a convention called for the specific purpose of creating a new constitution.  However, “general” was often used during the founding era as pertaining to the national government as the general government. If used in that way, the term applies to any national convention to deal with the national constitution.  To examine how the Founding Fathers used the term, we may examine how Founding Father Noah Webster defined the term in his1828 American Dictionary, which defines “general” thus:

“1. Properly, relating to a whole genus or kind; and hence, relating to a whole class or order.  4. Public; common; relating to or comprehending the whole community; as the general interest or safety of a nation.”

“Regardless of the exact way he used the term, Madison expresses his concern about how another convention will overstep its charter, become extremely politicized, and become dangerous to the nation.  If Madison was concerned about the risks in his day, who would be so foolish to suggest that today we are in a political environment that is better suited to bring forth more sound doctrines of liberty and proper government?

“. . . . Where in all the world today may we find even one or two statesmen of the character and understanding exhibited by George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, George Mason, James Wilson, James Madison, and the others who, under the inspiration of God, framed our marvelous Charter of Liberty: The United States Constitution?  We will search the world in vain for such individuals.  Who, today, will sit in the seats occupied by those who brought forth the Constitution of 1787?  NONE I would trust!”

The images of conventions today which are put out for public consumption are toothy “grip and grin” photo opportunities.  Cheering, enthusiastic party-faithful crowds are the background fodder for the unity promoted to assure the success of the convention’s effort.  The truth of the matter is that conventions for political undertaking are often slow motion bare knuckle brawls for power as the various factions wrestle for supremacy.  It has been observed that “government is not eloquence, it is not reason, it is force . . .”  Conventions for political purposes often are the embodiment of that axiom!

Hundreds of examples could be cited, but think of the skullduggery carried out in the convention environments in which Marx and Engels were selected to compile the Communist Manifesto in 1847, or the 1903 power struggle in the Second Party Congress between the Bolschevik and Menshevik factions, or the Beer Hall Putschs of the National Socialists during the 1920’s, or the 1952 railroad job done on the Republicans by the Eisenhower machine when Taft was ousted.

Yes, the various proposals for conventions to modify the United States Constitution are well-polished marketing pieces designed to deflect and deny any suggestions of risk, but they are no guarantee of everybody playing nice and above board. The proposals are generally written in a benign style of academic earnest hopefulness, promoting a belief in the hope that the proposed undertaking could possibly take the desired trajectory and have the desired outcome.  They are filled with hopeful terms like “should,” “could,” “might,” “possibly,” “ought,” “probably,” “depending,” “likely,” “reasonable,” “promise,” “nearly,” etc.  These are terms that leave “wiggle room” in the outcome.  All of the supposition and wishful projections are not sufficient justification for the immeasurable risks potentially associated with losing the document that has been the Charter of the Nation and vouchsafed our liberties for 225 years.

The old adage applies to the wishful thinking of the proposals for a convention: “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.”  All the wishful meandering and pontificating by those promoting a convention will not and cannot be guaranteed.

Regardless of the term by which the constitutional convention undertaking is obfuscated, be it a Constitution Convention, an Article V Convention, an Amendments Convention, a Conference of the States, or whatever, Article V of the United States Constitution says what it says (read it carefully):

“. . . on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, [Congress] shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments . . .”

When 2/3’s of the States apply, Congress SHALL call a convention.  And remember when the 1787 Convention was chartered it was for the purpose of amending the then-existing constitution.

Any variation on what the United States Constitution says in Article V about calling a convention is not constitutional, but may be another way to abolish the government.  Some of the current convention proposals suggest another approach, such as the thought that the States might band together in some kind of prearranged alliance that is intended to bring about changes.  This approach would arguably violate the Article I, Section 10 prohibition of States to enter into treaties, alliances, and confederations.

The bottom line is:  There is nothing wrong with the United States Constitution!  The problem is that the nation has stopped faithfully applying it.  Those who claim to love the Constitution and promote changing it are inconsistent.  If they love it they MUST abide by it.  ALL who hold office take an oath to the United States Constitution.  Those who hold office (and will likely sit in the seats of any convention which might be called) are oath-bound to uphold the Constitution.  Their actions in violation of the Constitution have led to the difficulties under which the nation currently suffers.  All of the challenges currently facing the nation are attributable to violations of the plain English words of the Constitution, and their original application.  Those who hold office ignore their oath, violate the Constitution at will, and are to be trusted to correct the resulting problems in a convention that could possibly eviscerate the Constitution of the limits and bounds which are already inherent in the document???!!!  One might reasonably ask: “Do we need an amendment that says ‘we really mean it this time?’” OF COURSE NOT!  The officers who violate the Charter of the Nation now will continue to violate it, even if modified.

And suppose for a moment a convention is called and it limits its actions to a single issue as some propose, and the issue successfully goes through the ratification process by 3/4’s of the States.  What does that encourage?  ANOTHER CONVENTION, AND ANOTHER, AND ANOTHER until the United States Constitution is a tattered rag that bears small resemblance to the original noble document, or it is ultimately scrapped altogether.  Either way, We the People lose.  And so do our posterity.

The corrective course is for We the People to become a virtuous people, well-schooled in the limits and bounds of the government bequeathed to us at such great cost in the body of the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights, to educate our fellow-Americans in these principles, to promote them in word and deed, to elect soundly-founded representatives who will abide in their oath of office, and a willingness to correct any variance from the standard by those elected officials (or bureaucrats tasked with the responsibility to faithfully fulfill constitutional laws).

We do not need to “correct” the Constitution.  We and our officials must abide by it.  By so doing we will again become the greatest, freest, most prosperous, most respected, and most happy nation on earth.

—Scott N. Bradley

Bliss Tew’s letter:

Dear Utah State Representative Val Peterson:

Perhaps it has been forgotten that in February 2001 a resolution sponsored by Utah State Representative Fred Fife (D) to rescind Utah’s former applications to the U.S. Congress to call an Article V Convention was passed by both houses of Utah’s Legislature- HJR15.

HJR15 passed in the Utah house 67 to 0 with 8 absent. On February 27, 2001, if my diary is correct, the rescission resolution HJR15 passed the Utah Senate without a single dissenting vote. Those Utah legislators just thirteen years ago rescinded all previous applications to the U.S. Congress for the calling of an Article V Convention, called at the time a Constitutional Convention as it had been long labeled. Even though a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) had been the cause for which Utah had previously applied to Congress for Congress to call a Convention for proposing amendments, nevertheless Utah’s legislature rescinded Utah’s applications.

But now the BBA is revived and a new national promotion of the idea is coming from radio talk show host Mark Levin, from retire professor Robert Natelson’s promotion through ALEC, Nick Dranias, Michael Farris, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck. Surely we can trust these professors and pundits to have researched all the pitfalls, right? Maybe, maybe not. They certainly constitute a corroboratory media for those desiring the Convention call.

Is this question the most important concern Utah’s legislature will consider this year since the Constitution hangs upon the thread of your decision? This 2014 legislature, like the 2001 legislature, has a momentous choice to make- defend the Constitution or amend the Constitution.

HJR008, sponsored by Representative Kraig Powell, seems like a good “quick fix” to many legislators today if they have not yet had time to consider the drawbacks of initiating an Article V Convention for proposing amendments (plural) to our Constitution.  Opening such a Pandora’s Box and thinking that such a Convention can be held to one proposed amendment ignores the language of Article V itself and the fact that the deliberative Convention once called will be an autonomous Convention that will make its own rules. Who can guarantee that no delegates from the other 49 States will propose other Amendments, even harmful amendments to the Constitution at the Convention? Even if it were a misdemeanor to do so (that’s what the bill in Wyoming proposes) would delegates fear a misdemeanor charge when they could shape the Constitution?

Yes, there are lawyers in Utah’s legislature that are championing this process and assuring everyone that somehow the process can be contained and controlled. Perhaps we are supposed to feel assured by the opinions of lawyers, but those opinions are still merely opinions. The fact is that no Article V Convention has ever been called so we have yet to see what will happen at such a convention until it is called. We have in the past seen what happened at the 1787 Convention and perhaps that is the closest model we can look at to see what to expect, though even that Convention was not an Article V Convention since Article V was written at that 1787 Convention. That 1787 Convention actually changed the rules for ratification of its own production.

The Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) being suggested has escape hatches provided in it for Congress to deficit spend in times of crisis or war. When are we not in a crisis and a war, or even more than one war? How will the budget be balanced? Will it be by Congress cutting spending? Nothing in the BBA requires that as the method of balancing the budget does it? Then how about raising taxes to balance the federal budget? Oh that is allowed by a BBA. How about expanding the money supply of paper money through turning up the printing presses? That is not forbidden either. So hyperinflation of the currency could be used to balance the budget as Abraham Lincoln’s government did to some extent during the Civil War when he had “green backs” that were not backed by gold or silver printed to pay for war costs. Money was created out of paper to an unlimited extent and spent by the war department as needed to acquired necessities of war, a type of inflationary hidden tax. Is that what the BBA will bring us?

Is there anything in the BBA that requires Congress to stop its spending upon unconstitutional departments created without regard to the few delegated powers the Constitution actually granted to Congress, or stop its spending undeclared wars and military adventures as a global cop for the UN and NATO, or unconstitutional giveaways like foreign aid? Nope.

Isn’t it true that the Congress has the power today to actually cut spending and balance the budget by a vote of 1 over 50%? Then, why the need for a BBA and an Article V Convention? Will Congress, who ignores the Constitution so often now, obey a new amendment? In what way will they obey it?  Is the BBA really just a handy cause célèbre to excite interest in convening the Article V Convention so that other revisions to the Constitution can be put forth? What special interests and hidden agendas are awaiting the Convention call?

Representative Peterson, Congress itself is a constant Amendments Convention isn’t it? Can’t Congress at any time propose amendments to the Constitution and pass such amendments by a 2/3rds vote on to the State legislatures or to the State Ratifying Conventions? Yes, Congress is empowered by Article V to do that. We have seen 27 amendments passed through Congress to the States, haven’t we? Are they all good amendments? How about the 16h Amendment or the 17th Amendment? Didn’t the States still ratify those arguably bad amendments?  Then, what if dozens of amendments are proposed at an Article V Convention, couldn’t some new amendments pass the States ratification process at the 16th and 17th amendments did and prove to be unwise amendments too? Sure. Proof is seen in historical fact, not just opinions, right? If one amendment emanating from Congress as a proposal is a consuming concern of debate for a legislature, what would happen if many proposed amendments come to the legislature from an Amendments Convention, would each amendment proposal get the deliberative attention it should have?

What about representation at the Article V Convention; who decides how many voting delegates each state will have? Congress decides don’t they, since Congress calls the Convention. We are assured by proponents of the Convention that representation will be based on “one state, one vote” as the model as that has been the case at other conventions, but where in Article V is such an arrangement specified? Oh, it is not specified. Then, what if California’s Congressional delegation wants a proportionality rule for number delegates. After all California has 53 U.S. Representatives, Wyoming has 1, Utah has 4, Montana has 1. Won’t the big states like California and New York desire to see democracy in action through proportionality of representation as is seen in the Electoral College and the U.S. House of Representative? Shouldn’t that be the case at an Article V Convention as well, they will ask. And they will outvote Utah in Congress upon that question won’t they?

Val, I urge you, let our legislature not apply to open the Article V Convention at this juncture, no matter what name the proponents call it by “Convention of the States,” or “Amendments Convention,” etc.,  but rather let us try other ways of addressing the problems we are facing with the U.S. Congress and President. The root of our problems remain an electorate made up of voters largely ignorant of their Constitution and therefore not holding Congress and the President accountable to the Constitution. The Constitution is the solution not the problem.

Please oppose HJR8. Defend the Constitution from the left-leaning coalition of hundreds of organizations just dying to see the Constitution opened to an Article V Convention for proposing amendments: www.movetoamend.org.

Kind Regards,
Mr. Bliss W. Tew- Utah Citizen
909 West 500 North
Orem, UT 84057

P.S. Yes, I am the Regional Field Director of The John Birch Society. Perhaps Rep. Ken Ivory who wants to see an Article V Convention called will make a point of my employment, but the information I’ve supplied is as true as any to consider. Just because The JBS has historically opposed the calling of an Article V Convention doesn’t mean JBS or JBS employees or members are somehow behind the times in our knowledge about Article V; quite the contrary. While I’ve read Mark Levin’s chapter in his book where he promotes an Article V Convention,  read Policy Reports by Robert Natelson on the topic, and even talked with leading-proponents of the Convention, I remain unconvinced by their assurances that they can hold a limited convention.  Instead of the Convention route, if you’d like to discuss ideas of other ways to address our problems with the Federal government I’m at your disposal.

CC: selected members of the House Government Operations Committee: Rep. Jack R. Draxler (R), Chair, HGOC, Rep. Keith Grover (R)  , Rep. John G. Mathis (R)  , Rep. Michael E. Noel (R)