Way back in olden times when all of us were taught civics, we learned about the Constitution and how it is amended.
Everyone is familiar with the first method of amending the Constitution, whereby the Congress – with two-thirds vote of both Houses – pass a proposed amendment, then send it to the states, whereby three-fourths of the states must ratify the proposed amendment for it to become part of the Constitution.
This has happened only 27 times in our history.
Far fewer people know of the second method authorized by Article V of amending the Constitution. Congress, upon “the Application of the Legislatures of two-thirds of several States shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments… .” From this convention would come proposed amendments that would be sent to the states, whereby three-fourths of the states must ratify a proposed amendment for it to become part of the Constitution, just as with the first method.
The Constitution’s Framers foresaw a day when the federal government would exceed and abuse its enumerated powers, thus placing our liberty at risk. George Mason was instrumental in fashioning a mechanism by which “we the people” could defend our freedom – the ultimate check on federal power contained in Article V of the Constitution.
For several decades the federal government has become a runaway government, and has far exceeded it enumerated powers given it by the Constitution – and it must be reined in.
This is the first in a series of columns in which I will explain how the Convention of States as authorized by Article V of the Constitution is the only way the United States of America can be saved and returned to the vision of the Founders. If things continue as they have for more than 100 years of progressive/statists efforts, the United States will find its place on the ash heap of history along with other great civilizations that lost their way.
My primary sources for this series of columns are the Convention of States organization (ConventionofStates.com); Mark Levin’s book The Liberty Amendments; and Robert G. Natelson’s book The Original Constitution: What It Actually Said and Meant. I will explain the problem; a strategy for solving it; how a Convention of States would work; some proposed amendments; and finally answer some criticisms which have been laid against the process of Article V.
The first thing I want to clear up is this is not a “Constitutional Convention.”
There have been only two Constitutional Conventions in our history. The first was in 1787 which produced our current Constitution. The second was when the Confederacy held its convention and developed the Constitution of the Confederate States of America. This is a Convention of States as authorized by Article V to propose amendments to the Constitution.
Some will say it will be a ”runaway” convention to rewrite the entire Constitution. I will address that when I discuss objections and criticisms.
First, some historical background is in order. For more than 100 years the statists/progressives have been successful in their attempts to mangle the Constitution into a “living document” that changes and “evolves” with the times as the people become “smarter.” It began with presidents Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson during what is known as the Progressive Era.
To me, the biggest assault of that time was the passage of the 17th Amendment, which changed from the method U. S. senators being selected by the state legislatures to being voted on by the populace. This eliminated any elected official in congress whose sole purpose was to represent the interests of the state and destroyed one of the key features of republicanism as enshrined by the Founders. It took the country one step closer to a pure democracy – something abhorred by the Founders.
There have been three progressive presidents since the Progressive Era: Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson and Barack Obama. Each of these, along with his followers, further eviscerated the Constitution to one degree or another.
In the next column I will detail the problem, propose a strategy and explain the Convention of States process.
The writer lives in Augusta.