Monday, February 28, 2011

No, no Con-Con ~ By Henry Lamb

Proponents of a Con-Con say that the requirement that three-fourths of the states must ratify whatever comes out as a constitutional amendment is a safeguard to prevent radicals on either side from imposing radical provisions. These folks forget that the convention can specify what it takes to ratify whatever they produce. They could produce a new Constitution with an entirely new form of government and specify that ratification would occur upon a simple majority vote in national referendum. They could specify that the new document would be ratified when approved by state legislatures in any combination of states that represent more than 50 percent of the population. Under this scenario, a handful of blue states could transform the government of the United States.

Scary? You bet. Scenarios such as this should instill fear and force people to reject the idea of a Constitutional Convention for any reason. Here is a thorough explanation of the dangers:

Video provided by capousa ~ Feb 2, 2008
Henry Lamb contends that we should not desire to amend the Constitution of the United States by using the Constitutional Convention (Con-Con) mode as specified in Article V, seen below:
ARTICLE V of the Constitution of the United States

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.
And why the discussion on how to amend the Constitution? Henry has a thorough understanding that the founders had a good reason for having the States elect the Senators, and the 17th Amendment destroyed the balance between the States and the federal government.  He concludes by saying this: "The time has come to restrain the powers of the federal government, and the best way to do it is to return to the design created by our founders. Repeal the 17th Amendment!"

No, no Con-Con

By Henry Lamb

February 26, 2011 ~ 1:00 am Eastern

© 2011

The U.S. Constitution provides two ways to offer amendments: by resolution of the Congress; and by a Constitutional Convention requested by two-thirds of the states. In either case, the proposed amendment(s) must be ratified by three-fourths of the states.

There is a very good reason why all 27 amendments to the Constitution were offered by congressional resolution: a Constitutional Convention is an invitation to disaster.

Proponents of a Constitutional Convention claim that opponents of a Con-Con use "half-truths, myths and outright falsehoods" to instill fear of the process. They do not, however, provide any examples of the alleged "half-truths, myths and outright falsehoods."

Here is the whole truth, which is neither a myth nor a falsehood.

Article V of the U.S. Constitution allows states to apply to the Congress for a Constitutional Convention. Should two-thirds of the states issue such an application, Congress is compelled to call a Constitutional Convention. Note, however, that the Constitution provides the states only with the authority to call for a convention for the purpose of "proposing amendments." There is no authority for the states to specify what those amendments might be, or to set or limit the agenda of a convention.

When 34 states have applied for a Constitutional Convention, Congress is compelled to call one. Here's where the scary begins. Congress sets the time and location for the Con-Con. Congress determines how the delegates are chosen and how many delegates will be chosen. Congress could designate the existing Senate to be the delegates. Congress could designate the Electoral College from the last presidential election to be the delegates. Or, Congress could allow the states to choose their own delegates in whatever manner Congress might contrive. But this is not the scariest part.

Should a Constitutional Convention ever be assembled, neither Congress nor any state would have any authority or control over what the convention might do. There is no way for Congress to set or limit the agenda of a Constitutional Convention, regardless of what proponents might say. As evidence, consider the only Constitutional Convention that was ever assembled. It was assembled expressly to amend the existing Articles of Confederation, with explicit instructions from some states for their delegates to walk out should the convention stray beyond this specific purpose.

History demonstrates that the convention ignored its instructions and abolished the Articles of Confederations while creating an entirely new Constitution. There is nothing to prohibit another Constitutional Convention from doing precisely the same thing.


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