Publius Huldah. Near 30:30 minutes into her speech, Ms. Huldah posits that James Madison opposed the state convention method in Article V. She cites The Federalist #49, and a private letter from Madison to a Virginia legislator named George Lee Turberville.
Rodney Dodsworth Response. Considering that Madison made provision for amendments in his Virginia Plan of Government, and his notes of the federal convention do not reflect hostility to Article V, the bar must be set high for anyone to claim that Madison opposed a state convention to propose amendments.
Ms. Huldah failed to clear the bar. Those who rely on her interpretations of readily available source material do themselves a disservice. In a blog post here, I relate how Madison dealt with the problem of legislative usurpations raised in The Federalist #49 and #50. He emphasized the structure of government, rather than the virtue of its participants, in the form of natural checks and balances as the means to keep free government. Again, and again, from the early 1780s onward, James Madison emphasized the necessity of properly designed institutions to keep free government.
Ms. Huldah’s glib summary of Madison’s letter to George Turberville in late 1788 is an especially irritating rewrite of history. Earlier in 1788, Madison wrote of Article V in The Federalist #43: “(it) seems to be stamped with every mark of propriety. It guards equally against that extreme facility, which would render the Constitution too mutable; and that extreme difficulty which might perpetuate its discovered faults.” Are we to believe that Madison bounced from support to opposition between January and November? I analyzed Madison’s letter in the context of 1788 politics here, in a November 2nd 2016 blog post.
Publius Huldah. “Are there violent partisans and individuals with insidious views among us today? Yes, and they want a convention.” Do you trust congress? How about state legislatures? Do you trust popular elections to appoint moral and wise delegates?
This is the most corrupt period in our history. Baby killing, oath-breaking, responsibility-shirking. Moral and wise people haven’t overseen anything in over 100 years. The con-con lobby has deceived people because they don’t know the Constitution already limits the federal government to twenty-one or so enumerated powers. Because we don’t know, we have been manipulated into believing that the Constitution is the problem. Americans had better start using their heads.
Rodney Dodsworth Response. The fundamental difference between Article V proponents and opponents is their estimation of the sovereign people. Ms. Huldah looks across the nation and sees nothing but rot, a rotten society, and its mirror in a rotten government. Not only is society not to be trusted at an Article V convention, but by her logic, America 2016 isn’t capable of self-government at all. She is correct in that Soros-supported groups work with the democrat party to destroy our nation. However, by a narrow margin, America rejected the tool of Soros, Hillary Clinton. While American society isn’t virtuous, neither is it as corrupt as Ms. Huldah describes. Global elites came very close to winning, and without the assistance of Article V.
Looking closer at our situation, COS and Article V supporters know that corruption flows downward from government, pop-culture, and academia. Outside of a few anarchists, we all want strong families, decent jobs, safe streets, an educated populace, and liberty. Yet federal courts, executive branch regulations, media, and educators at all levels work to undermine the society upon which republican government depends. These institutions are outside the reach of the electoral process and, if left alone, are sure to eventually complete the corruption that Ms. Huldah fears.
Can an Article V convention of the states be abused? Of course. No God-given right or privilege is immune. We all have free will, yet possible abuse is an insufficient reason to deny the exercise of God’s gifts. Slander and libel are corruptions of free speech and press, but few would deny 1st Amendment protections based on its possible abuse. As described in previous posts to this series, state legislatures will send delegates limited by detailed commissions to an amendments convention. Yes, respected men and women will be entrusted to do their duties in accordance with state law backed up by felony punishment in the event a delegate goes rogue. To realize Ms. Huldah’s nightmare, an unrealistic, improbable and enormous cabal of state legislators and congress must conspire with Soros’ affiliated groups.
Article V opponents typically equate an Article V state amendments convention with congress, an institution in which freedoms and rights are easily traded away today for money, media support, and reelection tomorrow.
This is an erroneous comparison, for congress is popularly derived and thoroughly corrupted from its designed purposes. An Article V convention will be new, fresh, uncorrupted, and federal, just like the only other remaining federal institution from 1787, the familiar Electoral College (EC).
Like an Article V amendments convention, operation of the EC is extra-congressional and controlled by the states. Not only congress, but the executive and judiciary have no more authority to regulate or participate in the deliberations or parliamentary rules of an Article V convention than they do to direct the EC. Both federal institutions derive their independence from discrete sources in the Constitution itself. Like the EC, an Article V convention is temporary, and neither can be made subservient to any branch of the government. This renders the Article V convention distinct from, and superior to, the three existing branches.
I ask Ms. Huldah, if the states are so wild and politically insane such that everyone should fear the outcome of a convention, why haven’t we experienced a ‘runaway’ session of the EC? States do not have to cast their votes for the nominee of any political party. The EC is a one-day event outside the control of congress or scotus. Why hasn’t the EC proved to be dangerous? How often do electors disobey their duty under state law?
Publius Huldah. Amendments don’t control government.
Rodney Dodsworth Response. Ms. Huldah contradicts herself. When she admonishes the nation to just follow the existing Constitution, she presumably includes its twenty-seven amendments.
Like the body of the Constitution, there are various soft and hard clauses (See Part I) among the amendments. For instance, the 27th Amendment prohibits congressional pay raises until after the next election. Lawmakers avoid the spirit of the 27A through the subterfuge of automatic, inflation adjusted pay increases. Like so much of the Constitution, the 27A is disregarded because no structural check or private interest group exists to pressure congressmen into observance.
On the other hand, hard clauses are obeyed. The 13th Amendment banned slavery, while the 17th Amendment established popular election of senators.
As demonstrated by logic and a couple hundred years of experience, the key to restoration of free government is the reestablishment of institutions which naturally check encroachments of the Constitution. This concept isn’t complex; it was recognized in 1787 and served America very well until 1913. Ms. Huldah’s assertion that amendments cannot control the government is overly broad and misleading. Properly designed amendments, like those from Mark Levin, can certainly lead to the restoration of free government.
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