Phyllis Schlafly vs. Article V

      91 Comments on Phyllis Schlafly vs. Article V

From the 1776 Maryland Declaration of Rights and the 1783 New Hampshire Bill of Rights we are reminded of the proper American attitude toward a government hostile to freedom:

The doctrine of non-resistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.

In a recent post to her Eagle Forum website, the highly respected and admired Phyllis Schlafly unfortunately resorted to a lot of snark and little reason in her decades’ old opposition to an Article V convention of the states to reclaim free government.

Beginning with her title, “Failed Republicans Want to Rewrite the Constitution,” Mrs. Schlafly goes on to imply that since the former candidates Huckabee, Rubio, Jindal failed in their bids for the GOP presidential nomination, whatever they support must be a losing proposition too. Not only are they losers, but since they support what Schlafly derides as “something called the Convention of States,” they are con-artists as well. According to her, these three men and the snake-oil salesmen and volunteers at the Convention of States (COS) project intend to deceive the American people. Schlafly writes, “Theirs is the same old con, or con con.” No, Mrs. Schlafly, yours is a sleazy alliteration far beneath your intellect and standing. Your comment attacks the character of patriotic men and women determined to turn back the progressive tide overwhelming our nation.

Mrs. Schlafly eventually gets into a bit of substance when she explains that she opposes the COS recommended application, to “limit the authority and jurisdiction of the federal government,” on the grounds that our Constitution is “wonderful,” and how can new language improve a government designed by the “most brilliant political thinkers in American history?” Well, Mrs. Schlafly, it doesn’t take a reincarnated visiting French nobleman by the name of de Tocqueville to see that which is obvious: after almost 230 years, the Framers’ Constitution has been horribly corrupted. Instead of serving its stated purposes as per its Preamble ( . . . secure the Blessings of Liberty . . . ), various laws, executive precedents and many scotus decisions have transformed a once wonderful governing form into an instrument of usurpation that tramples our God-given unalienable rights on a daily basis.

The most brilliant thinkers in political history were not so conceited as to believe their design was perfection on earth. The existence of Article V is self-evident proof of their humility.

Next, Mrs. Schlafly displays a common misunderstanding of the hierarchy of law. The state convention process draws its independence from two sources: Natural Law and from Article V itself. A convention to recommend amendments to the supreme law of the land is simply above the government. It represents the natural law right of all societies to frame their compact of union. Government, as the servant, cannot supersede the master. Furthermore, the Framers created a stand-alone Article in recognition of the sovereign superiority of the amendment process, rather than detail an amending procedure in Article I and subject it to congressional control.

Alexander Hamilton, a man not known for his states-rights approach to republicanism, wrote in The Federalist #85 that once two-thirds of the states apply, nothing is left to the discretion of congress. Mrs. Schlafly believes congress has discretion to determine if, at all, it will call a convention.

From the simple custodial duty of congress to call a convention, Mrs. Schlafly reads further powers into Article V that just aren’t there. Contrary to the opinion of Mrs. Schlafly, should congress or scotus attempt to control state delegate selection, their voting power, number of delegates, rules of the convention and so forth, the states must let facts be submitted to a candid world that a state convention to propose amendments is the expression of the sovereign capacity of the people and is thus beyond the grasp of congress or scotus. The role of congress is limited by Article V to the duty of calling a convention and specifying the mode of ratification. To assert additional powers of government beyond those enumerated is the habit of Leftists, not conservatives.

Notice also in her column, Mrs. Schlafly deftly changed the word, ‘application’ in Article V to ‘petition.’ Our Framers were careful wordsmiths. The word petition is associated with underlings, with peasants who humbly ask their lord for relief. On the other hand, to apply is to put the recipient on notice. In the context of Article V, the component members of the American republic inform congress of their intent to consider amending the Constitution.

Let’s resort to first principles. Unalienable rights are just that. Neither congress, nor the president, nor the scotus can take away the Natural Rights of individuals or society. For instance, as individuals, we have the natural and God-given right to defend ourselves. The Second Amendment grants nothing. The 2A merely acknowledges a preexisting right. If Article V was absent from the Constitution, would we, the sovereign people, not have the right to amend our form of government? Of course we do! The Constitution is our creation. It belongs to us, and no institution has the authority to deny society of the right to set the limits of their government.

Next, Mrs. Schlafly equates the excruciatingly detailed calls of the democratic and republican party leaderships to their national conventions with what she believes congress may insist in its call to a state amendments convention! Need I explain the total absence of substantive equivalence between the two?

Perhaps as the ultimate, uncalled for and undignified slam at the persons of Huckabee, Rubio and Jindal, Mrs. Schlafly attributes their support for an Article V “circus” as somehow promoting their political future.

Mrs. Schlafly apparently equates an Article V convention with an actual and dangerous circus, the congress of the United States. While I debunked that equivalence in an earlier blog post directed at The John Birch Society, suffice to say here that states will send delegates with detailed commissions that provide for punishment should a delegate wander outside his authorized power. In other words, the states will not send schlubs off the streets and arm them with plenipotentiary power.

Considering the precarious condition of the remains of the American republic, why does Mrs. Schlafly assume the states will recommend amendments that will ensure its destruction?

I ask Mrs. Schlafly, what is her solution to the accelerating tyranny that is America 2016? I say that to recommend doing nothing beyond voting every two years is to condone Obamunism. Maryland and New Hampshire got it right: The doctrine of non-resistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is indeed absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind. What say you, Mrs. Schlafly?

We are the many; our oppressors are the few. Be proactive. Be a Re-Founder. Join Convention of States. Sign our COS Petition.

91 thoughts on “Phyllis Schlafly vs. Article V

  1. David Wickham

    Hear, hear. Masterfully stated promulgation of what I believe is the only option left to us to regain our republic. God bless our founders and God bless us and the world with success in our attempt to save the United States of America.

    1. robert burns

      In the beginning of Schlaflys statements she states that she is not understanding how altering the Constitution that our governance doesnt adhere to will change anything.
      That has a very simple answer Mrs Schlafly.
      Successfully bypass those that deem themselves in complete control(House, Senate,Judiciary,Executive,) and and garner support from those Crony Capitalists that think the same, and suddenly they will realize that they are not the sole power and scramble to appease the people. Watch how fast it will happen if your first Article V is term limits.

  2. Patriot who actually has defended the constitution while in uniform in Vietnam

    You can create thousands of amendments but until the ones that we have are followed, what’s the point, Levine? Focus on saving and maintaining what we already have!

    1. Garrett S

      Patriot, thank you for your service. I can tell you I have met countless Vietnam vets who are volunteering their time and energy for Convention of States.. I think one of the most important parts of Convention of States is that as constitutionalists we’ve been playing defense for far too long, which has contributed to the state our nation is in. We need to go on offense, focus the nation in on limiting the power of the federal government with a Convention of States, putting the left on its heels and advancing liberty for generations to come. The truth is that the feds DO follow the Constitution–unfortunately it’s the SCOTUS’s 3,000 page Constitution, because SCOTUS has made itself the final arbiter of the law. Only a Convention of States can permanently overturn their distortions and restore the true Constitution. With COS, we can also put checks on the Supreme Court, such as term limits or giving the states the power to overturn SCOTUS decisions cosaction.com/strategy

    2. hancock

      first of all its levin.thats the whole point .take much of the power that the federal govt. especially the executive branch has stolen from the states and restore some semblance of balance between the two.regarding the out of control federal courts,we could have an a amendment for term limits for federal judges including the supreme court .maintaining what we have! what we have is an out of control federal govt. separation of power does not exist anymore

  3. Conservative Patriot

    Just as an aside to those who say why will “they” follow new wording or amendments if they don’t follow the Constitution now? It’s not that they don’t follow it-they just follow the one the courts have adopted for them in their rulings. We have gone from about 1100 words to over 3000 pages of Constitution. Can any of you naysayers actually tell me off the top of your head how many duties & what they are that were enumerated to Congress in Article I? Well, most Congressmen can’t either! The point is to clarify what duties are there, what they meant when the Constitution was written not today’s meaning of words and to remove the ambiguity of phrases in the Constitution so there is no room to interpret, but rather uphold. The issue is the use of such phrases that don’t say for instance, education is not the purview of the federal govt. Just because it isn’t banned by name to the federal govt they use the General Welfare Clause to say if it is for the good of the general society they can make law on it. That is wholly incorrect as it does not refer to the general welfare of the entire society group by group but rather to the those things that are in their purview. The same is true of the Commerce Clause, which did not give the govt authority over all business activity. The word commerce means only the vary narrow definition of shipment/transport across state lines and then only if there was conflict between the states on that subject. The Supreme Court meddled in that and changed what the word commerce means without any authority to do so. That’s the kind of mess Washington has made of our Constitution. The states have a moral obligation to set things straight whenever the federal govt goes outside the limits placed on it by our Constitution and the time has come to exercise Article V. The power does belong to the states. Conventionofstates.com has all the details for you to see why this is vital and necessary to our nation to do this now.

    1. Conservative Patriot

      The two types of conventions, Jeff are completely different is so many ways. A con-con is not in the constitution, requires 100% of the states to ratify & is what it’s name implies – a convention to write a constitution. The Article V convention of states is a multi-state convention upheld several times as a convention of states by the Supreme Court, it IS in the constitution and requires 2/3 of the states to call and 3/4 of the states to ratify each amendment, not 100% as the constitutional convention would. Publius bases her “theory” on her own delusions of fear since her entire foundation lacks both a knowledge of the history of the founding era & legal precedent. Just because she was a lawyer, is not enough to validate her ramblings. Go back to the founding era documents & she clearly has every fact wrong. It was not a runaway convention that produced the constitution. It wasn’t called by Congress. It couldn’t amend the Articles of Confederation simply because the Articles contained no such provision-(which btw is why the new constitution does have an amendment provision in Article V). She misses every SC ruling that disputes her “theory” and apparently does not have an understanding of legal precedent and shows that c common misunderstanding of the hierarchy of law that Schlafly does. It defies logic that after all that had gone before in gaining independence from King George that our founders would not have provided the people a way to go around the govt they themselves were creating, to protect and preserve liberty should the federal govt become too large and oppressive some day. It is time for today’s patriots to use the tool we were given to reduce the power and scope of the federal govt before it’s too late. Do your research and get your facts straight before you go out into the public arena & repeat inaccurate information that shows you have not done so.

    2. Alice Pavlick

      His name is spelled Levin. This is not just an amendment. Article V – Convention of States was added to give we the people back the power that was ours in the first place. We are proposing an amendment to rein in the federal governments power. I encourage you to check out http://www.conventionofstates.com
      We, the people have a powerful tool to use to get our country back!

    3. Brent Dunklau

      Jeff, if you want to appear unbiased, drop the “con-con”.

      It’s a tell-tell

    4. Rick Bulow

      Joanna “Publius Huldah” Scutari is a fraud and charlatan who had been debunked many times by REAL AMERICANS who KNOW what Article V is about.

      If you use her, then you have already lost the argument.

        1. Rick Bulow

          Dale, she makes no sense at all. She demeans Article V. She has been called out as a liar and a fraud. And if you follow her, then you do not know the only LEGAL CONSTITUTIONAL method to saving this country.

          1. Rodney Dodsworth Post author

            Dale, you are very close to getting zotted from this forum. Knock it off.

  4. M Sellers

    Thank you for an excellent article. It is clear that the fears of Mrs. Schlafly are not based on fact or reality. Article V is the constitutional and safe process that we should use immediately to restore the freedoms we have lost. I enthusiastically support and volunteer for the Convention of States Project. This effort is being led by an army of grassroots citizen activists in all 50 States. That is why it is not a question of IF, but WHEN it will succeed. We The People have had enough, and we are going to reclaim our country. Join us! http://www.cosaction.com/?recruiter_id=1113502

  5. Roger Kramer

    Well stated Rodney. The way the three branches have operated under constitution as written has resulted in USA Gross Domestic Product for 2015 of $17.95 Trillion and today’s Gross Outstanding Federal Debt of $19.5 Trillion. Spendthrift Democrats and Republicans refuse to stop wasting taxpayer $. We need clearly written amendments that stop the waste, restrain the exercise of Federal powers and limit terms of office.

  6. Robyn Campbell

    Mrs. Schlafly is a use-to-be herself. She doesn’t have any room to talk. I would think a conservative like she pretends to be would see the value in a Convention of States. And I see some commenters don’t understand a COS. Our debt is over $18 Trillion, our Congress doesn’t represent us (unless we’re special interest groups), our President and Supreme Court have decided they are the king and his court, and there are no other credible solutions proposed to save the nation for our kids and grandkids. So if not Article V, then what? You tell me. What? This is it. If a COS doesn’t happen, then be afraid. America will be lost. Sign the petition at http://www.conventionofstates.com/ and sign up to volunteer at http://www.cosaction.com/?recruiter_id=898217 PLEASE! We have to fix the damage that’s been caused by Dems and GOP. It is a bipartisan issue.

  7. Carol Menges

    I always feel sad when I remember how many of my generation were willing to follow Phyllis Schlafly into very scary state ERA conventions, when she was a true conservative leader of so many of us. Life must have dealt some terrible blows because she used to be so very astute and logical in her constitutional thinking. She’s completely wrong on Convention of States and I wish she could see that. http://www.conventionofstates.com

  8. Mary

    Very well stated. I can’t wait to hear from Mrs. Schlafly. For the life of me I can’t understand what’s behind her position. We can’t let people like her and the John Birch Society to stand in the way of the people saving our Republic

  9. bob dowd

    Phyllis is right about her objection to a States Convention. All it would do is to open the door to more insanity. Phyllis has more knowledge and experience about our government than all the self proclaimed experts. Hang in there Phyllis they are all wind bags.

    1. Gary Rosenbaum

      The Federal Government is out of control. America is 20 Trillion dollars in debt. It has 200 Trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities. Congress has surrendered the power of the purse. The Judiciary views the Constitution as an anachronistic historical document. We at Convention of States have a solution as big as the problem. As Henry David Thoreau once said, “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” Now we know who the enemy is. It’s time we strike at the root of the problem and stop its destruction of our Freedom.

      Visit here to learn more, sign the petition, and volunteer:
      http://www.cosaction.com/?recr

  10. Diane Barnes

    Thank you for this well written article. I have yet to see any of the people who are opposed to a Convention of States suggest a better idea. Not one! You can either get on board and support the Convention of States or get out of the way so we can do what is needed to save all of us. To those of you who do not think we need this please just go and take a long nap and hopefully when you wake up, we will all live in a free country again!

    1. Rodney Dodsworth Post author

      Agree. Scotus and Obama amend the Constitution at will. The Constitution belongs to us, We The People.

  11. Doug Edwards

    Sir,

    The way forward with a “Convention of the States” is to define the purpose and logistics. Schlafly is right in this regard. If you want additional content on this matter, observing that your site lacks links to direct contact with the owner of this site, I humbly offer my thoughts here on the way forward with “COS” to the owner and via email. Might make “good” content. > First topic: Hayek’s local knowledge problem as applied to the federal gov’t.<

  12. Dale Terry

    There are so many errors and omissions stated or omitted by COS leadership and COS supporters that time and space requires me to only select one talking point for me to discuss. There has been over 700 calls passed by state legislatures to call an Article V Convention up to this point in our history. Not one Convention has been called by Congress even though the Constitution requires Congress to convene one. Who really is in charge of an Article V Convention, the States or the Federal Govt.?

    1. Tamara Colbert

      Dale – I am curious as the errors and omissions you refer to above by COS leadership and supporters? Every single one of these replies/comments provides evidence, examples and references. There have been hundreds of “calls” for an Article V convention, but none have ever reached the threshold stated in the Constitution as 2/3rds of the states with the exact same call (meaning single amendment or subject). Here is a fact for you: the only roll Congress has in an Article V Convention of States (and you can find it by actually reading Article V of the Constitution) is to set the time and date. That’s it. AND if they do not set that in a “reasonable” amount of time, the states get to call it themselves. I expect it to be that way because once we get to 34 states calling for an Article V convention of the states, Congress will absolutely be the “stinkers” they are and drag their feet–just like they do on everything else that doesn’t line their pockets, increase their power or get them re-elected. When Congress understands that we the people are out to limit their time in office then the fear of ‘we the people’ will really hit them right in the face.

      Finally, several wise people commented prior to yours, about the fact that We the People are in charge. Obviously, you have forgotten that too. What no one has ever learned in school is that the final and 4th Check and Balance to a tyrannical federal government is ‘WE THE PEOPLE.’ That means that if ‘We the People’ still have the WILL to be free then ‘We the People’ will push our state legislators to file an Article V Resolution under the same call to step in and put the feds back into their small, microscopic and limited Constitutional box.

      The beauty of the Convention of States Project making history is the fact that NEVER BEFORE IN OUR NATION’S HISTORY has anyone, any group attempted to call and Article V COS by using the same, identical resolution in every state. I understand the fear that thumbsuckers like you have in doing something that has never been done before. It’s okay, Dale, you sit on your couch and watch while the rest of the great patriots in this nation goes out in FAITH, believing that our Founders gave us this ‘SAVE AMERICA’ button in Article V. I will pursue liberty, even if you won’t.

      Thank the good Lord above that our Founding-era leaders were not like you, Dale. Otherwise, we would be singing ‘God Save the Queen’ and hoisting a British flag over the White House.

      Anyone reading this who is ready to join the real battlefield of solutions and ideas that is the Convention of States Project–we need you. If you are thinking about what to do to celebrate the Independence Day holiday on MOnday, sign up at conventionofstates.com. Join the 1.5 million Americans engaged and preparing for the fight ahead–to reclaim and fully restore the Constitution and the rule of law in America.

      1. Gary Hall

        Tamara,

        You are incorrect about a few things:

        1. Not only does Congress set the date and location of an Article V Convention of the States, but it [Congress] gets to choose the ratification method the States use; by state legislature or state convention vote.

        2. The wording of Article V does not actually require two-thirds of the state legislatures to send Congress ‘identical’ applications that call for a Convention of the States. The identical part is a requirement that Congress decided to impose to make it difficult for the state legislatures to exercise their Article V privilege.

        3. You omitted the only constitution check and balance that no longer exists – the check and balance between the Federal and State Legislatures that was obliterated by the 17th Amendment. Without the power to retain or replace Senators during the election process, state legislators have no influence over Senate decisions and, thus, no representation in Congress.

        What should be apparent to everyone is that a bunch of state politician put the federal government together. Then, decades later, a bunch of state politicians decided they no longer wanted to be accountable and suffer voter retributions for the actions of the Senators they chose so they demanded to be relieved of their Constitutional duty. Now, the ability of the state legislatures to govern themselves has been greatly diminished and the 10th Amendment relies on Court interpretations rather than state legislature enforcement via the Senate.

        In my own experience while discussing this issue with several state legislators across the state, I was surprised to find that many of them view the 17th Amendment as a mistake of epic proportions and would like to see it repealed. However, aside from dealing with the public learning curve on constitutional governance repealing the 17th Amendment would entail, some have a valid concern over whether there are enough state legislatures who are willing to re-assume the responsibility.

        I have seen 0 support amongst our state legislators for imposing term limits on elected officials (although some will bite at appointed officials). Most of them openly support a balanced budget amendment – which, ironically, is something that could easily be achieved by restoring electoral control over the Senate to the legislatures since all appropriations must pass both chambers of Congress to wind up on the POTUS’ desk.

      2. Dale Terry

        I will just say that Gary Hall has covered a few points of what I referred to as errors and omissions. Well stated there Gary! You need to educate yourself before commenting on something you really don’t know much about, Tamra!

        1. Gary Hall

          From my understanding of Article V, the applications collected by Congress are nothing more than an official way to determine whether two-thirds of the state legislatures want to bypass Congress and propose amendments using the Convention of States method. No where in Article V does it insinuate or presume that applications must specify a reason as to what amendment(s) a state intends to propose because the whole point of the convention is to discuss, debate, and vote on amendment proposals. Amendment proposals, mind you, that three-fourths of the States must ratify separately by either state legislature or state convention vote.

          Actually, if two-thirds of the state legislatures started meeting, ironed out preliminary rules, chose delegates/commissioners, and held a convention of states there isn’t much that Congress could do about it because their prescence at the convention would give validity to their application.

          … and ease up on Tamara. I am not perfect and she is not perfect. My reply to her was not meant as a chastisement; rather as an add on to what she was saying.

          1. Dale Terry

            i am not asking for anyone to be perfect just to be civil. Mark Levin type behavior is not a virtue!

  13. Alice Pavlick

    The states are in charge. Please do your homework on the cos before you make your comments/decisions. The reason the other cos were not sucessful is the 2/3 ‘s majority of states could not agree on the particular amendment. The difference with our strategy is we want to call a convention for a particular subject rather than a particular amendment. We want to call a convention for the purpose of limiting the
    power and jurisdiction of the
    federal government. Please look more closely at http://www.conventionofstates.com

      1. Rick Bulow

        The states created the federal government, not the other way around.

        And we know the federal govrnment cannot fix itself, so we need the states to do what the Feds cannot.

        1. DALE TERRY

          Good luck trying to get congress to call the convention when or if you get 34 state applications.

  14. Lynn Wiggers

    The tired old argument of Schafly and her followers of branding a Convention of States as a con-con when it is actually only capable of drafting amendments that the states would then need to ratify is illogical and a fear-mongering technique. Thanks for a great article, Rodney.

  15. Wide Awake

    Diane, insulting people will not get you very far in this world. Some of us have been in the trenches fighting for the constitution a lot longer than you have. We may just have a different approach, like cleaning up the Supreme Court first and placing people in it who represent the actual demographics of our great Republic first otherwise you’ll get nowhere in your convention campaign.

    1. James Rogers

      Wide Awake…not to diminish efforts many may have dedicated in the past, but what has been the outcome? Can one actually look to the ‘successes’ so far and identify what is a promising approach to our problem? The timescale related to replacing justices is a measured in lifetimes, and the legislature is effectively the same. There appears no force within the beltway’s sphere of influence which is even decelerating our advance to self-destruction. BTW, you should read UnAmerican, The Resident’s Story and Our Country’s Last Chapter if you do not think we are nearing our end. Research, educate, donate, volunteer…it’s your country, at least for a little while longer: http://www.cosaction.com/?recruiter_id=1954708

    2. Diane Barnes

      Why is someone who is using a pretend name trying to give me advice ‘Wide Awake’? Your comment implies that you know me personally, when in fact you do not know anything about me. Please explain to me exactly what you are doing to “clean up the Supreme Court” and why you see that as more important than what I am doing. The people who are supporting a Convention of States are the people who make up the “actual demographics” of the United States of America and we are determined to see this “campaign” through to the end so do not try to stop us.

  16. Gary Hall

    When Congress was created it was representative of the people (the House) and the state legislatures (the Senate). Due to the 17th Amendment, state legislatures no longer have congressional representation, which means that Congress can freely ignore the 10th Amendment without fear of retribution.

    Not only is Congress free to ignore the 10th Amendment, but the Executive and Judicial Branches are as well because they owe their jobs to Senate confirmation.

    Repeal the 17th Amendment and MANY problems will be fixed as the legislatures can enforce the 10th Amendment themselves.

    1. Rodney Dodsworth Post author

      Well said. All good things are possible once the 17th is repealed.

  17. Michael Millikan

    Ms. Schlafly is a relic and like all good relics, she should sit on a shelf somewhere and be quite. We should all admire her for her great conservative leadership in the past. I also admire George Washington but when asked what has he done worthwhile lately, I have to answer nothing. It is the same with Ms. Schlafly. Unfortunately, she doesn’t recognize her time has passed and tries to use deception and confusion instead of logical arguments against what she perceives as the threat of an Article V Convention of States. Please visit our website to learn about Citizens for Self Governance and our Article V Convention of States Project:

    http://www.cosaction.com/?recruiter_id=1501881

  18. George Rombach

    I hope people will understand the difference between a Con – Con and an Article V Convention of States that was and is part of the structure that our Founding Fathers gave us.

  19. Stan Jack

    Excellent post. I am a long-time COS supporter, and was pleased to find your blog earlier this year.

    I ran this post by a friend of mine who is an Article V expert, who also thought it was well written; however, he did have one rather important point of clarification:

    “The Constitution’s ‘convention for proposing amendments’ does not draw any of its power from natural law. It draws its power exclusively from the Constitution and is subordinate to the Constitution. As Madison said, it is held under ‘the forms of the Constitution’ and not ‘plenipotentiary.’ This is an important point because alarmists sometimes argue that an Article V convention would be a sovereign entity that could do anything it wished.”

    “The fact that an Article V convention draws its authority exclusively from the Constitution is consistent with rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court that when an assembly (convention, Congress or state legislature) acts in the amendment process, it is performing a ‘federal function’ under the Constitution. A good analogy is the Electoral College. Other analogies are state legislatures regulating congressional elections and governors issuing writs of election to fill congressional vacancies. The reason the state legislatures can instruct commissioners is simply because, as the Court has recognized, the convention for proposing amendments is a ‘convention of states’ and state legislatures have certain prerogatives in gatherings of that type.”

    I think it may be beneficial for you to network with my friend. As I am signed up to receive your posts, you have my email. Please feel free to reach out to me directly.

    Keep up the good work!

    1. Rodney Dodsworth Post author

      Thank you for taking the time to compose a thoughtful post. Meckler and Natelson agree with you. I suspect that all lawyers would also agree. Thankfully, I am not a lawyer.

      But, there is room in our COS movement for respectful and thoughtful differences.

      Our Declaration of Independence acknowledges the natural law right of all peoples to amend or abolish their government. Article V merely gives form to this preexisting societal right. To allow scotus or congress any influence beyond the limits enumerated in Article V would invert the master/servant relationship of our Constitution. There is no higher earthly power than the exercise of the people’s sovereign will and the law they create. The state convention and ratification processes are expressions of the sovereign will of the people and cannot be made subservient to any branch of the sovereign’s government.

      Our nation is in a horrid mess in large part because it disavows the hierarchy of law acknowledged by our Founders: 1. God’s Laws, 2. Natural Law, 3. Law of the Sovereign people. When governments believe that its statutes or judicial opinions are supreme over 1-3, then gulags, killing fields, concentration camps are practically inevitable.

      If, in the future, you think I am in error regarding other matters, I encourage you to challenge me.

      Thanks, and please post again.

      1. Stan Jack

        As supporters of the states restoring the balance of shared power between themselves and the federal government (as a vertical check and balance on centralized power), I believe our case is strongest when it remains grounded in reason and history. We must not only make the moral argument, but also reinforce and uphold the rule of law. So while this distinction may seem to be a bit “in the weeds” to some, we should all be clear about where the power for an Article V amendments convention comes from.
        The finer point is this: While you and I agree that the power to govern ourselves comes from nature and nature’s God, I think you may be conflating the power of the sovereigns (the states) in deciding what form of government they want for themselves (as the states set forth in the Constitution) and the authority a convention of states has when called under Article V of the U.S. Constitution.
        For example, since the federal government derives its power from the states, any state could call for a “constitutional convention” at any time. There is no requisite 2/3 threshold as with an amendments convention. (Just to be clear, there is no serious movement within any states proposing a new constitution.)
        On the other hand, an Article V amendments convention does not allow for a mechanism to replace our constitution; rather, it only allows for amendment proposals (which must then be ratified by 3/4 of the states to become law). This power is derived specifically from the Constitution itself, under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, which as you know stipulates that 2/3 of the states must apply, and that the topic of the convention should be specified (in order to be aggregated).
        This in essence is the difference between a constitutional convention (to replace our constitution, something which no state is calling for), and an Article V convention of states (occurring under the authority of the U.S. Constitution, to propose clarifying amendments to the Constitution).

  20. Alice Pavlick

    The federal government was created for the states, not the states for the federal government.

  21. Alice Pavlick

    Good luck? Wouldn’t you like to be part of the solution? Again, Congress doesn’t have a choice about the Convention. Article V says “the Congress SHALL call a Convention” they have no choice. If they drag their feet in doing so , WE THE PEOPLE will call the Convention. It’s time we realized WE have been given the power by Article V of the
    Constitution. It’s time for US to back our God-given rights of individual sovereignty !!!

  22. dale terry

    The fact of the matter is that congress has never called an Article V Convention in the history of our current Constitution. This is despite hundreds of state calls to do so. I am not trying to be mean about this but it will be even more difficult to call such a convention because of congress’s disregard for the states. Just saying.

  23. Alice Pavlick

    This is a Convention of STATES. The only part Congress plays is to schedule the Convention. Please do yourself & Liberty a favor & study this issue.

    1. Dale Terry

      Your organisation is named Convention of States but Article V itself is first and foremost a FEDERAL amendments Convention. That’s why CoS has to apply to congress to trigger an Article V Convention. I am only stating the fact that congress has never acted upon the state applications to trigger an Article V Convention. Alice, I know you mean well but the facts are the facts.

      1. Gary Hall

        Dale,

        Slight problem with your logic…

        Article V describes two methods of officially proposing amendments to the Constitution.

        The first method requires no application or convention, just a two-thirds majority vote from both chambers of Congress. Why? Because prior to the 17th Amendment Congress already met the qualifications of being a state convention. Senators were delegates of the state legislatures and could be used to forward amendment proposals for them.

        The second method requires Congress to call a convention for proposing amendments when two-thirds of the state legislatures apply. Obviously, the only reason that state legislatures would use this method is because Congress is refusing to propose amendments that the state legislatures want to see proposed. If, as you’re insinuating, Congress makes the rules of the convention and chooses the delegates for the states then what purpose would this secondary method serve? Why include it at all?

        Also, with regard to the applications sent to Congress; they are not requests, they are notifications – an official way for Congress to count how many states want to hold a convention for proposing amendments.

        Congress can continue to refuse to call a convention on behalf of the state legislatures until two-thirds of them become unified behind the idea. Once that happens, whether or not Congress sets a time and location for a convention is a moot point because the states can proceed with or without Congress’ approval as they have fulfilled their constitutional requirement for doing so.

        1. Dale Terry

          Thank you for your response Gary. I do not agree with your comment that congress had already qualified as a state convention for the reason you listed. First of all Article V has always been a Federal statute with or without the 17th amendment. There is no “qualifying” of congress to become eligible for the purposes of a state convention. I also disagree with you that I ever stated that congress would choose the states delegates. You say I “insinuate” I say you are putting words in my statements that I never said. I appreciate your response for debate but I see little in your commentary that I agree with but it is interesting to see what others have to say on the subject matter.

          1. Gary Hall

            Dale,

            I am sorry if I misunderstood you. It was not my intent to put words in your mouth.

            The point I am trying to make is that the whole purpose of including the secondary method in Article V was to allow the state legislatures to propose amendments that Congress would not propose on their behalf. Therefore, it’s only logical that Congress’ role under the secondary method of proposing amendments is limited to setting a time and location for the convention to occur once two-thirds of the states apply.

            Also, the reason I brought up the 17th Amendment is because if the state legislatures had congressional representatives in the Senate to forward amendment proposals for them then there would be no need for them to even consider using the second method.

            … and if a convention does actually occur and the state legislatures do not address the 17th Amendment then I can guarantee that, at some point in the future, they will forced to use the secondary method again.

          2. Dale Terry

            Thanks for the clarifications Gary. I see exactly what you mean and it makes a lot more sense to me.

  24. Alice Pavlick

    Have you signed the petition & volunteered to help put an end to the federal governments choke hold on WE the people? Just asking….

  25. dale terry

    No, I don’t believe signing the petition and becoming a volunteer for CoS is the solution to our problems. The problem is not the Constitution. It doesn’t need amending it needs to be enforced. That’s the real solution.

  26. Dale Terry

    your wrong as usual Bulow. The founding Fathers chose congress with the task of enforcing and defending the Constitution above all other entities including the states. This is why CoS cannot be successful. After amending the Constitution CoS has to hand that amended Constitution back to congress to enforce and defend those new amendments as well as the old ones. We all know how that scenario will play out right Rick?

    1. Rodney Dodsworth Post author

      Dale, please stop the snark. “Your wrong as usual Bulow,” is personal and not necessary to make your point.

  27. Alice Pavlick

    You really should study the Constitution Congress has NO SAY about what happens at the Convention.

    1. Dale Terry

      Where did I say anything about what happens at the Convention? I did talk about what congress has done to stop a Convention before it approved any Convention. You should study hard as to what is actually being written.

      1. Alice Pavlick

        Check your sources , Dale, and do your homework. “WordPress” pdf? Really? If you would put as much effort into defending your Liberty, our COS would be much better off. Why do you want to argue? Why not apply yourself to understanding? “Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.” (Proverbs 13:10) KJV

        1. Dale Terry

          I do check my sources and every time I do the answer is the same. Congress has never acted upon the states call for an Article V Convention. What is it you don’t understand about that Alice?

          1. Alice Pavlick

            Mr. Terry,
            The reason Congress has never “acted” upon the Convention of States option given in Article V is because we could never agree on the amendments. Each state has different needs. The reason our movement is going to succeed is because we are calling the Convention for a particular SUBJECT, rather than a particular AMENDMENT.
            If you really want to debate this issue, perhaps you should try debating Mr. Michael Farris, JD, LLM, Expert in Constitutional law, co-founder of the COS project. He has been on Capital Hill for more than 30 years and has served as lead counsel in the US Supreme Court, eight federal circuit courts and the appellate courts of 13 states. He is also well-known for his legal defense of homeschooling.
            Mr. Farris has trusted credentials. What are yours?

  28. Alice Pavlick

    Again, I repeat the ONLY role Congress plays in COS is to schedule the date. They CANNOT stop a Convention called & ratified by 34 states.

    1. Dale Terry

      State calls for Article V Convention Congressional Article V Conventions Called total +700 Total 0

      1. Dale Terry

        Total state calls for Art. V Conv.= +700, Total congressional Art. V Conventions called= 0

        1. Stan Jack

          I can understand your cynicism, Dale. However there is more to understanding Article V than the paragraph found in the U.S. Constitution. There are also the Federalist papers, the state ratifying convention debates, and historical practice (as understood by our founders). The courts, including the Supreme Court itself, have also weighed in on Article V a number of times.

          The reason these various petitions have not resulted in an Article V amendments convention is because of the requirement that the applications be aggregated. This is not only historical practice, but it is common sense. If an amendments convention could be triggered every time a state decided to submit an application on any topic, big or small, there would be chaos. Amending our constitution is no small matter and should not be taken lightly.

          Right now the topic with the most applications that can be aggregated is the BBA (balanced budget amendment). Conservative estimates put the number at 28 (down from 29, since Delaware rescinded their application this year). I say “estimates” because not all of these applications were worded exactly the same and the matter of their aggregation is somewhat subjective.

          However we now live in an electronic world and it is much easier for state legislatures to communicate and coordinate their efforts. Convention of States, in order to eliminate the subjectivity of the aggregation process, suggests this wording:

          “The legislature of the State of ______ hereby applies to Congress, under the provisions of Article V of the Constitution of the United States, for the calling of a convention of the states limited to proposing amendments to the Constitution of the United States that 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.”

          In two years, eight states have submitted the Convention of States application. Legislators from the various states have now been meeting regularly during that time to coordinate this effort to push back against Washington.

          Our nation’s institutions are crumbling, Dale, and we are descending into tyranny. We need all hands on deck to fight this battle.

          1. Dale Terry

            No where in the constitution does it say that the wording in a states call must conform exactly with any other states call. It is the constitution that is the supreme law of the land, nothing else overrides the constitution.

          2. Rodney Dodsworth Post author

            Agree. Every time the tally of applications hits 2/3 of the states, congress (as per Hamilton in Federalist #85) is duty bound to call a convention.

            I address that in at least a couple of blog posts here and here.

  29. Gary Hall

    Dale,

    Assuming that you understand that the 17th Amendment leaves the State Legislatures with no representation in the Federal Legislature, how can you say that the Constitution simply needs to be enforced and not amended?

    I mean, really think about it…

    By changing the electorate of the Senate, the 17th Amendment not only ensured that the state legislatures have no influence over federal legislation or appropriations, but it also ensured that they lost influence over the Senate’s power of advise and consent to appointees of the Executive and Judicial Branches as well as the Senate’s power to ratify or reject foreign treaties and trade agreements that effect their commerce, rights, and revenues.

    … the reason that none of the Federal Branches observe the 10th Amendment is because no one in any of those Federal Branches represents the state legislature anymore.

    Look at Obamacare (which should be aptly named “Senatecare”). The chamber of Congress meant to represent the state legislatures not only passed, but introduced a health care law that a clear majority of state legislatures opposed and they could not even threaten to replace them. Instead, 30 of them had to represent themselves in Federal Courts and present their case to judges who owe their careers to *gasp* the Senators who confirmed them. How many times, since, has the House passed bills trying to dismantle that law that never made it to the Senate floor? Is that because a majority of state legislatures want the law maintained? No. It’s not.

    Therefore, I see the 17th Amendment as a flaw in our Constitution that was introduced in 1913, 123 years after the original document was established. A flaw that is worthy of an Article V convention of the states to propose its repeal because, no matter who you elect, two-thirds of the Senate will never agree to restrain themselves to voting the majority opinion of their legislature rather than being able to vote their conscience.

    This shouldn’t even be a partisan issue because, regardless of whether your legislature is Republican or Democrat, it should have a vested interest in ensuring that it has representation in the Federal Legislature.

    Further, by restoring electorate control over the Senate to the state legislatures, there would no longer be any reasonable need for the state legislature to apply for a convention to propose amendments as they would have congressional representation to do it for them.

    To this end, I have taken the time to meet and develop relationships with several of my state lawmakers and I have found that they, too, recognize this problem and would like to fix it but they need support from the public. So, I spend much of my spare time finding them public support by pointing out the problems the 17th Amendment causes and educating people on how to get their state lawmakers to work on repealing it.

    Nothing worth-while ever comes easy but, after only 2 years, our state group managed to get our legislators to pass the CoS Project application with one of our main goals being to propose a repeal of the 17th Amendment as an enforcable solution to permanently limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government over the states.

    Patience and persistence my friend, patience and persistence…

    Just my 2 cents…

    1. Rodney Dodsworth Post author

      Well said. In addition to your fine points, the 17A was a horrible error because it denied representation to a component member of the American republic, the states. Since their denial of representation in congress, the national government has exerted raw, arbitrary power (tyranny) over the states. In order to be consistent with republican theory, every clause in the Constitution that affected the states should have been removed upon ratification of the 17A.

      The denial of state representation in the senate makes as much sense as denying the people’s representation in the House. None.

      1. Dale Terry

        In all that is said about the 17th Amendment I never heard one line stating that the States ratified the 17th Amendment. This proves that not all bad amendments are properly scrutinized by the states. The current constitution needs to be enforced, not amended.

        1. Alice Pavlick

          Dale,
          And just how do you suggest we, the people enforce the Constitution when it consists of over 2,000 pages of “new” laws?
          Our only recourse is to use Article V of the Constitution to call a Convention of States and LIMIT the power of the federal government.
          Whose side are you on, anyway? The side of liberty or of oppression? Just asking…

        2. Gary Hall

          Dale,

          Why waste time on the obvious? Of course the States ratified the 17th Amendment. If they had not then it wouldn’t be a constitutional amendment silly. 🙂

          Want to know something even more shocking? The state legislatures not only ratified the 17th Amendment, a majority insisted that Congress propose it.

          Why? Because, as the Senate’s electorate, state legislators were responsible for their Senator’s actions which, oftentime, made them the target of state voter retributions. Interestingly enough, the 16th Amendment (granting the federal government the power to tax incomes and redistribute the wealth amongst the states) was passed in the same year as the 17th.

          IMHO, I believe the state legislatures signed off on these two amendments because, since the Senate was no longer their electorate, it relieved state legislators from being held responsible for supporting federal tax increases while, at the same time, increasing their own state revenues through federal grants. Unfortunately, over time, those federal grants started coming with strict stipulations attached to their usage. And because the legislatures have no electoral control over the Senate, they can either comply with federal demands to get some of what would otherwise be their own revenues back or they can refuse to participate and lose them to compliant states.

          And… just so you understand how long choosing Senators had been an issue for some state legislators, the very last line of Article V reads, “and that no State, without its consent shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate”. The inclusion of “without its consent” indicates that a state legislature could deprive itself of equal suffrage in the Senate if it could not agree on choosing a Senator. Can you say “electoral deadlocks”?

          Regardless, enforcing the current method of electing the Senate means that Senators remain unaccountable (by constitutional amendment) to the state legislatures; leaving them unrepresented in Congress and unable to use the exclusive powers of the Senate to reign in federal over-reaches.

          Will it happen? I have no idea. All I can do is my part in my state to ensure that people are educated about the issue and that they know how to contact their state legislators in support of it should they agree. And yes, I realize there is risk. But since the federal government is not following the intent of the Constitution and the three Branches have started colluding rather checking and balancing each other, preserving or changing what the Constitution says will not make the federal government abide by it.

          Therefore, repealing the 17th Amendment to restore the original electorate of the Senate seems like the only way to limit federal power and juridiction over the States.

          I wish there was another way but I really don’t see it.

          1. Dale Terry

            I will give you credit for one thing. you brought up the 16th amendment which was also ratified by the states. Another excellent reason to not support an Article V Convention. The knuckleheads in the states are no better than the Feds. CoS is a waste of time!

  30. Lon LeBlanc

    Excellent analysis. To do nothing, is to accept the status quo. And, since the status quo from the Left seems to be the constant, drip-drip-drip of change to the document that Ms Schafly feels is “so perfect” already, then doing nothing will merely allow the Constitution to be dismantled by the Left, one piece and sentence at a time, until we have a Constitution in name only – obviously the goal of the Left. A Constitution Of States is well overdue.

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