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Kansas attorneys debate constitutional convention

By BECKY KISER
Hays Post

constitution ws

About 80 people gathered Tuesday night in Hays to hear a “Con-Con” Constitutional Convention debate between two Kansas attorneys.

Kansas is one of 49 states filing at least one resolution with Congress calling for a constitutional convention to consider changes to the founding document.  In order for a convention to be held, at least 34 states must pass a resolution on the same subject.

Two Kansas attorneys debated a Constitutional amendment Tuesday night in Hays at Thirsty’s Brew Pub and Grill.

Kansas Director of the Convention of States Project  and Fort Hays State University graduate David Schneider, Wichita, and Richard Fry, Olathe, were invited by the Big First Tea Party.

About 80 people filled the room, coming from as far away as Dodge City, Salina and Beloit, as well as Hays.

The issue involves Article V of the U.S. Constitution, which allows two-thirds of the states to call a convention. Those states can appoint delegates to debate changes.  The states’ reasons range from balancing the federal budget to limiting federal powers. There’s been just one  constitutional convention, the original one in 1787.

“Washington is out of control with overspending, taxing, seizing more and more control with no authority, and

David Schneider, KS Director the Convention of States Project, says the plan is twofold: 1. Call a convention for a particular subject rather than a particular amendment; 2. Energize the grassroots

David Schneider, KS Director the Convention of States Project, says the plan is twofold: 1. Call a convention for a particular subject rather than a particular amendment; 2. Energize the grassroots

Washington will not fix itself,” Schneider said.

“The COS project empowers state legislators to call a Convention of States.  The delegates would propose amendments to the Constitution to rein in the federal government and restore power back to the state level,” said Schneider.

Both Schneider and Fry, who consider themselves “good conservatives,” agree the federal government has ceased to operate within a proper interpretation of the U-S Constitution.

constitution tear

Attorney Richard Fry, Olathe, rips pages from his pocket Constitution while Big First Tea Party founder Roger Ewing, Hays, holds the microphone.

“Our politicians are wicked and self-serving. No amendment will make these clowns respectful of their sacred oaths to support and protect the Constitution,” Fry responded passionately.  He demonstrated the “folly” of the COS project by ripping pages out of his pocket Constitution, saying it could affect the existing amendments.

“The root problem is us — we’re not doing our job,” Fry said.  “We have to work with the states and get them in control before we can get the feds in control.”

“Let’s get a constitutional amendment in this state and give a citizen referendum initiative and recall that applies to all government officials in this state from dog catcher to the governor,” he suggested.

The Kansas resolutions calls for a constitutional convention to balance powers of states and the federal government, and specifies that education, guns, health care, insurance and elections are strictly state powers with no role for the federal government.

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  • Bob Bowser

    Left out of this article is the website address for Mr. Fry’s organization, http://www.defendnotamend.com and the fact that Mr. Fry is legal council for http://www.patriotcoalition.com

    The entire video of the debate can be viewed at http://vimeo.com/bobbowser/hays-con-con-debate

    Additional resources may be found at http://www.johnbirchsociety.org/issues-pages/no-con-con

    The pages he was ripping out of the Constitution where the original Articles that would be threatened by the loose “limits” placed on the convention by its current supporters, NOT “amendments” which were added to further restrict and clarify (according to the Preamble to the Bill of Rights).

    It all boils down to two main issues…
    1. If DC isn’t following the Constitution as it is written, what effect will a new piece of paper have on that?
    2. Are we really willing to “fire a shot across the bow” (as SOS Kris Kobach is quoted) not fully being able to control the consequences?

    One of our Founding Fathers has been quoted as saying, “The most serious threat to our Republic is an uninformed voter.”

    • Suzy Dixon Bennett

      We are surrounded by uninformed voters and citizens full of apathy! It is truly a sad state of affairs! Our Founding Father’s are probably turning over in their grave right now!

  • PatriotWatchdog

    The Convention of States model requires the public to “believe” three things: 1) that the federal government is the problem, 2) that we can trust state legislatures to amend a document they have little history of upholding, and 3) that amending the Constitution will somehow make public servants at all levels of government suddenly to start upholding it.

    The author of this article claims that in order for an application to be included in the aggregate that it must be on the same subject, yet there is nothing in Article V, nor anywhere else in the Constitution that even hints at that, let alone requires it. That Congress has refused to call a convention using that excuse does not a valid excuse make.

    The COS model application puts virtually the entire Constitution on the chopping block. Their “limited” convention model reaches every Article except Article VII, and the date-limiting clauses that have since expired, such as the prohibition defined in Article V affecting Article I.

    The Constitution isn’t the problem, so why is amending it the solution?

    A solution that doesn’t address the problem is no solution at all.

    States (and the People) need to try defending the Constitution before we set about amending it, regardless of the method. We might find that what we are seeking… we had all along.

  • Richard D. Fry

    Debate in Hays on Proposal to Amend Our Constitution: Did someone miss the Point

    I was a little bit disappointed with your reporting of the 1/14/14 debate on whether amending the Constitution would solve the problem of the federal government not following the Constitution. It seems you left out every major point I made.

    The real problem is “We the People” are not holding the politicians
    accountable for violating their sacred oath to God to protect the Constitution. These politicians no longer fear God or the wrath of the people.

    First, if everything goes exactly as those who want to amend
    the Constitution want it to go, a very unlikely possibility, why do they think
    that those politicians who have been ignoring and violating their sacred oath
    to support the Constitution will all of the sudden stop violating the Constitution?

    Mr. Schneider’s position was that the politicians would be very
    unlikely to violate a Constitution that is in “black and white “, implying
    the current Constitution is not clear. But when challenged on this point by an audience member he quickly admitted the current Constitution is clear to him but some in Washington say it is not. Mr. Farris, head of the Convection of States, has made the same point suggesting the Constitution is vague but then recanting and acknowledging it is clear.

    We have two hundred years of case law that says the Constitution was written so the “average citizen” or “voters” could understand it. It was not written for attorneys (including Mike Farris and Bob Natelson), law professors, judges or politicians. These are the folks that have been perverting its meaning.

    As I graphically pointed out at the debate with a constitution, that in spite of the COS saying they were supporting a “limited” convention, in reality it is anything but. Their model convention application calls for a convention limited to:
    ” impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of office for its officials and for Members of Congress.”

    The second issue, ” limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government”, is exactly what the Constitution covers so
    this provision opens up the entire Constitution to amendment. How’s that for a
    limited unlimited convention!

    Mr. Schnieder acted like he was upset because I tore pages out of a pocket Constitution. He said he “loved” his Constitution, but yet he wants to change it. I wonder how far one would get with a marriage proposal like that: “I love
    but you must change.”

    My love of the Constitution is unconditional. I am duty bound to defend it while
    Mr. Schnieder wants to change it. What a very curious kind of love.

    The reality is unless “We the People” learn to defend our Constitution (Liberty) and hold those politicians accountable that think of the Constitution as a mere suggestion, we will be losing more and more of our Liberty.

    If the Constitution is not the problem, how can amending it be the solution?

    We need to take back control of our state governments and force the states to defend our Liberty and the Constitution like the Framers intended. Changing the state Constitution to give the people the right of initiative , referendum and recall of all political officers is a very good beginning. Citizens need to take more responsibility not less which is what the Article V people are proposing.

    Defend not Amend the Constitution.

    Richard D. Fry
    General Counsel
    Patriot Coalition
    Co-Founder Defend not Amend the Constitution

  • Bob Bowser

    Who is it that reported that BOTH of these men are attorneys.
    Research indicates ONE is an attorney, the other a banker.
    NOT that it matters unless someone is misrepresenting himself.