By J.B. Williams
September 19, 2013
The idea of calling a Constitutional Convention (Con-Con) as a means of saving America from the overt destruction of our Constitutional Republic and all it stands for is not new. The idea has been around for many – many years, floated and promoted by numerous individuals with a wide range of ideological agendas attached.
The Article V convention has been around since the ratification of the U.S. Constitution and like the topic of global warming, there are those who believe that we can and those who argue against it with solid reasoning. Two-thirds of the state legislatures can indeed apply to Congress for a Con-Con and upon doing so; Congress shall call a convention (Con-Con).
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.
The Con-Con idea has recently resurfaced as a result of Mark Levin’s latest million-seller, The Liberty Amendments, in which Levin proposes ten (10) new amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The book is an open call to Tea Party activists to push state legislators to apply to Congress for a Con-Con and the call is catching fire with Tea Party Patriots and other groups in search of a solution.
Levin’s subtitle “Restore the American Republic” is curiously close to a Veteran’s Declaration to Restore the Constitutional Republic issued on the Washington Mall on 11.11.11 – although Levin’s subtitle would be more accurately stated as “Amend the American Republic.”
Levin’s call for a Con-Con ignores the reality that our Founders placed everything needed to restore the Constitutional Republic in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights and assumes that his ten new amendments will be an improvement upon the Founders work. Many of us disagree with those assumptions.
In recent days, Levin’s Liberty Amendments are being promoted as a means to “restore a constitutional balance of powers,” yet another term borrowed from a three-year effort to restore a constitutional balance of powers via State legislation titled The Balance of Powers Act, showing up in several states during the 2013 state legislative sessions.
Only days after back-channeling a copy of the model legislation to Levin through a mutual friend, his Liberty Amendments were suddenly being marketed as a balance of powers initiative. I had hoped for a private discussion with Levin, rather than writing about his Con-Con CON publicly, but I never heard back from Levin.
More importantly, reasonable questions surrounding the real possibility of a State initiated Con-Con remain largely ignored in the blind rush to follow Levin off the Con-Con cliff.
1. Two-thirds of the states means that at least 34 state legislatures are needed to apply to Congress for a Con-Con. Currently, only 24 states are under Republican control, which means Levin will need at least 10 Democrat controlled states to help call upon Congress for a convention.2. Once 34 state legislatures apply to Congress for a Con-Con, Congress, the House controlled by Republicans and the Senate controlled by Democrats, shall call for a convention.3. Both chambers of Congress will then control the convention, along with 24 Republican controlled states and 26 Democrat controlled states.4. The convention will not be limited to Levin’s ten (10) proposed amendments and the convention will not be controlled by Levin or Tea Party activists. It will be controlled by the same leftist politicians currently controlling the federal government and 26 states.5. Ratification of any amendments that survive that process is even more difficult, requiring three-fourths of the states or of congress to ratify.6. The process could very well take years, during which time the nation will be hoisted into Civil War over the convention as we sink deeper and deeper into a socio-economic abyss.
In short, the notion that American conservatives can force and control a Con-Con today is just plain insane. Levin, who holds a degree in law and proclaims himself a “constitutional expert”, should have done the simple math before suggesting a plan that most constitutionally-minded Americans are smart enough to avoid at all cost.
The current budget debate in which the Republican controlled House is attempting to defund ObamaCare as the Democrat controlled Senate runs blocker for the Obama administration, provides a much needed glimpse into reality, for those who think they can control a Con-Con at a time in history when leftists control everything in America, including that which is under the sole authority of the House.
As a student of Constitutional Law, Levin should realize that our Founders provided everything we need to restore our constitutional republic, if people would only stop trying to reinvent the wheel and stick to the basics.
The U.S. Constitution tells us what authority and responsibilities belong to the Federal Government, and those authorities do not include more than 70% of what the Federal Government is doing today, including nationalizing health care.
The Bill of Rights tells us what the Federal Government can never touch or infringe upon. Here, of utmost importance is the Ninth Amendment protecting Individual Rights and the Tenth Amendment protecting States Rights. The amendments the people need to save their Constitutional Republic already exist in the Bill of Rights.
In case Levin and others don’t know how to enforce the existing amendments, I direct you to the Declaration of Independence which states;
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Levin wants to alter government via a Con-Con in which he believes that he can control the outcome of that convention, and do so in time to save our Constitutional Republic. Is he right?
I agree that our government must be altered before abolishing it altogether is the only solution left. However, the Rights already belong to the people and their states. If two-thirds of the state legislatures had the good sense and backbone to stop the runaway Federal Government from destroying the entire nation, they would simply pass and enforce The Balance of Powers Act in their state and begin to stop unconstitutional acts by the Federal Government without any need for a Con-Con.
Several states have already taken this critical action, as several more states plan to do in the next state legislative sessions. Tennessee opened the newly formed committee this past August. Why won’t Levin tell his loyal followers about this very real and very doable plan for restoring a constitutional balance of powers, in a manner which is easily controlled within each state without any involvement from Congress or the White House?
Why don’t “constitutional experts” follow the constitution instead of attempting to re-write it via a very dangerous and cumbersome amendment process, which they will never be able to control?
I’m afraid that the simple answer is that the advice offered is not intended to provide any realistic solutions, but rather to simply sell books to good people in desperate need of solutions.
Mark Levin has not offered any realistic solution in his book, but our nation’s Founders did…
• “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”• “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”• “…whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Sadly, the net effect of books like this is more dangerous than people trying to figure it out on their own. Too many “patriots” are searching for solutions from others like Levin, when it is the people themselves who are the only solution available. I’m starting to think that the purpose of such books is to keep the people in the bleachers awaiting the next book, while they could be taking appropriate actions on their own at the local level.
“What can we do?” is the most common question asked over the last several years and thousands of people take a stab at answering that question. As a result, millions of good people are headed in a thousand competing directions and nobody is really going anywhere as a result.
Yet, the answer is right under our noses the entire time, it was written over 230 years ago, it is real, it is simple and it is totally doable, unlike the Con-Con CON…which is none of these things. The fact is, we have too many amendments already. We need to return to fundamentals of freedom and liberty that already exist in our founding documents.
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If you want your country back, start by taking your state back, via The Balance of Powers Act already moving across the country at the state legislative level. If you or your state legislature does not have to good sense or the backbone to reclaim the constitutional authority of the state and the people in it, then your state legislature will never be part of any productive Con-Con process.
The future is in YOUR hands…. No one else’s… You can reclaim this country state-by-state with the Balance of Powers Act, and you should do it while you still can. The lack of focused peaceful actions will sooner or later result in a need for violent revolution.
© 2013 JB Williams - All Rights Reserved
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JB Williams is a writer on matters of history and American politics with more than 3000 pieces published over a twenty-year span. He has a decidedly conservative reverence for the Charters of Freedom, the men and women who have paid the price of freedom and liberty for all, and action oriented real-time solutions for modern challenges. He is a Christian, a husband, a father, a researcher, writer and a business owner. He is co-founder of action organizations The United States Patriots Union, a civilian parent organization for The Veteran Defenders of America. He is also co-founder of The North American Law Center, a citizen run investigative legal research and activism organization preparing to take on American's greatest legal battles. Williams receives mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web site 1: www.PatriotsUnion.org
Web site 2: www.VeteranDefenders.org