Submitted By Richard D. Fry
The current push for a “Con Con” (Article V Constitutional Convention) started in the 1970’s leading up to the U.S. Bicentennial. At that point it was a balanced budget amendment which was being used as a cover. However that effort fell flat.
The push was renewed in the 1980’s and the myth perpetrated by the Con Con proponents #including the American Legislative Exchange Council #ALEC## was that the states could limit the topics of the “Con Con” delegates. That issue was largely discredited and in no small part by Chief Justice Warren Burger and Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum. In fact Mrs. Schlafly noted that the proponents had dropped this argument in their renewed efforts in a 2010.
These folks were exposed for wanting to change the form of the governments for the United States and of the several States. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger said in a April 8, 1986 letter to Phyllis Schlafly:
” I am acquainted with Lloyd Cutler and some of the sponsors of this idea of a Constitutional Convention, and I have made no bones about my views on the subject. Some of the professors would like to abolish the states, and reorganize the federal structure along the lines of the division of circuits for the Federal Judicial system, or even on a more rigid regional basis. None of it makes any sense to me.”
This movement for a revised Constitution grew out of those behind the “New Deal” program. The Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions #CSDI# drafted a new Constitution. CSDI was set up by the Fund for the Republic #FFR# which was set up by the Ford Foundation.
The CSDI released its Constitutional draft in 1974 call the Constitution for the Newstates of America. It calls for the states to be replaced by 10 to 20 federal regions. These are the regions that Justice Warren Burger referred to in his 4/8/1986 letter to Phyllis Schlafly.
Now the proponents are back again and once again they are promoting the myth that the states can limit the topic of a “Con Con”. Even the Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is pushing a “Con Con” using Representative Brett Hildabrand and putting out the false message the states can control the topics at a “Con Con”.
But this time the proponents have a plan “B”. Plan “B” is an interstate compact drafted by ALEC whereby a consortium of states request the “Con Con” and have tied themselves together on related issues. According to ALEC :
” The Compact for America initiative condenses four state legislative acts #the Article V application, delegate appointment, prohibition on an invalid convention conducted without authority, ratification# into one legislative act – the Compact for America.”
The myth being perpetrated now is that they can do through a interstate compact what they couldn’t convince people they could do through the individual states i.e., control the topic and outcome of a Constitutional Convention. Or as ALEC says in the Compact:
” Whereas, every State enacting, adopting and agreeing to be bound by this Compact intends to ensure that their respective Legislature’s use of the power to originate a Balanced Budget Amendment under Article V of the United States Constitution will be exercised conveniently and with reasonable certainty as to the consequences thereof.
Compact for America, Article I
ALEC is clearly making promises it or its Compact cannot keep.
It is not clear if such a compact would even pass constitutional muster under Article 1, § 10 Clause 2 which provides in part:
“No State shall, without the Consent of Congress…enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State…”
But, laying this issue aside it still ignores the fact that a Con Con is called forth by Congress and under federal law #the Constitution# and that for the most part it is Congress that has control over much of what happens leading up to the Convention, the initial operation of the Convention and the ratification of what comes out of the Convention.
For instance the Compact provides:
“To the furthest extent permitted by law, the Convention shall be entirely focused upon and exclusively limited to the subject matter of introducing, debating, voting upon, and rejecting or proposing for ratification the Balanced Budget Amendment.”
Compact for America, Article V, §2
This is the same chicanery and sophistry used to pass the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2012, the Obama Care law in 2010 and the Dick law of 1903 which led to the end of the state militias.
The phrase ” To the furthest extent permitted by law” is meaningless if the law permits no limitation on the topics at a Con Con and that is what experts including Chief Justice Warren Burger and Phyllis Schlafly have been saying for over thirty years!!
The Compact also provides:
“Congress is further petitioned to refer the Balanced Budget Amendment to the States for ratification by three-fourths of their respective Legislatures. ”
Compact for America, Article V, §3
The states can “petition” to Congress all day long but Article V of the Constitution provides:
“The Congress… 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…”
If Congress listened to the “petitions” of the states and citizens we would not have Obama Care, federal gun control and a myriad of other unconstitutional laws and WE WOUL D NOT BE TALKING ABOUT HAVING A CON CON!
Once again some political wizards are trying to take advantage of the uninformed, ignorant, mad and scared citizens to get the citizens to institute upon themselves exactly what the citizens are afraid the government may be trying to do to them.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the author. These views and opinions do not represent those of the Post News Network and/or any/all contributors to this site.
Commenting Rules: No personal attacks. Take on the idea, not the messenger.