By Publius Huldah
Q: How are amendments to the federal Constitution made?
A: Article V of our Constitution provides two method of amending the Constitution:
1. Congress proposes amendments and presents them to the States for ratification; or
2. When 2/3 of the States apply for it, Congress calls a convention to propose amendments.
Q: Which method was used for our existing 27 amendments?
A: The first method was used for all 27 amendments including the Bill of Rights which were introduced into Congress by James Madison.3
Q: Is there a difference between a constitutional convention, con con, or Article V Convention?
A: These names have been used interchangeably during the last 50 years.
Q: What is a “convention of states”?
A: That is what the people pushing for an Article V convention now call it.
Q: Who is behind this push for an Art. V convention?
A: The push to impose a new Constitution by means of an Article V convention (and using a “balanced budget” amendment as justification) started in 1963 with the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations.1 Today, it is pushed by:
• Hundreds of progressive (Marxist) groups listed at https://movetoamend.org/organizations
• George Soros
• Michael Farris, Esq., of “Convention of States” (COS), and author of the “parental rights” amendment which delegates power over children to the federal & state governments.
• Nick Dranias, Esq., of the Compact for America, Inc., whose “balanced budget” amendment imposes a new national sales or VAT tax on the American People.
• Former law professor, Rob Natelson.
• Nullification denier and law professor, Randy Barnett, who proposes an amendment which delegates to Congress the power to regulate “emissions” [EPA now exercises usurped powers].
• Nullification denier and birther denier, Mark Levin, Esq., whose “balanced budget” amendment legalizes Congress’ unconstitutional spending and does nothing to control the debt.
Q: Why do they want an Article V Convention?
A: The only way to get rid of our existing Constitution and Bill of Rights is to have an Article V convention where they can re-write our Constitution. Jordan Sillars, Communications Director for Michael Farris’ “Convention of States”, said:
“… 3. I think the majority of Americans are too lazy to elect honest politicians. But I think some men and women could be found who are morally and intellectually capable of re-writing the Constitution…” [boldface mine].
Q: How can they impose a new constitution if ¾ of the States don’t agree to it?
A: Only amendments require ratification by ¾ of the States (see Art. V). But a new constitution would have its own new method of ratification – it can be whatever the drafters want. For example, the proposed Constitution for the Newstates of America is ratified by a referendum called by the President.
Q: Can a convention be stopped from proposing a new Constitution?
A: No. Once the delegates are duly appointed & assembled, they are acting under the inherent authority of A People to alter or abolish their form of government [Declaration of Independence, 2nd para]; and have the sovereign power to do whatever they want at the convention.
Q: Is this what happened at the Federal Convention of 1787?
A: Yes. Pursuant to Article XIII of The Articles of Confederation, the Continental Congress resolved on February 21, 1787 (p 71-74) to call a convention to be held at Philadelphia “for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation”. But the delegates ignored this limitation and wrote a new Constitution. Because of this inherent authority of delegates, it is impossible to stop it from happening at another convention. And George Washington, James Madison, Ben Franklin, and Alexander Hamilton won’t be there to protect you.
Q: Did the delegates at the Convention of 1787 introduce a new mode of ratification for the new Constitution?
A: Yes. The Articles of Confederation required the approval of all 13 States for amendments to the Articles to be ratified. But the new Constitution provided it would become effective if only 9 of the 13 States ratified it (Art. VII, cl. 1, U.S. Constitution).
Q: Who would be delegates at a Convention?
A: Either Congress appoints whomever they want; or State governments appoint whomever they want.
Q: Who would be chairman at a convention?
A: We don’t know. But chairmen have lots of power – and George Washington won’t be chairman.
Q: But if the States appoint the delegates, won’t a convention be safe?
A: Who controls your State? They will be the ones who choose the delegates if Congress permits the States to appoint delegates. Are the people who control your State virtuous, wise, honest, and true? [Tell PH if they are, so she can move there.]
Q: But aren’t the States the ones to rein in the federal government?
A: They should have been, but the States have become major consumers of federal funding. Federal funds make up almost 35% of the States’ annual budgets. The States don’t want to rein in the feds – they don’t want to lose their federal funding.
Q: Did Thomas Jefferson say the federal Constitution should be amended every 20 years?
A: No! In his letter to Samuel Kercheval of July 12, 1816, Jefferson wrote about the Constitution for the State of Virginia, which he said needed major revision. And remember James Madison’s words in Federalist No. 45 (3rd para from the end):
“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce … The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which … concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.” [boldface mine]
The powers delegated to the feds are “few and defined” – what’s to amend? All else is reserved to the States or the People – so State Constitutions would need more frequent amendments. Do you see?
Q: Did Alexander Hamilton say in Federalist No 85 (next to last para) that a convention is safe?
A: No! He said, respecting the ratification of amendments, that we “may safely rely on the disposition of the State legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority”. But today, our State legislatures don’t protect us from federal encroachments because:
• We have been so dumbed down by progressive education that we know nothing & can’t think;
• State legislatures have been bought off with federal funds; and
• Our public and personal morality is in the sewer.
Q: Did Our Framers – the ones who signed The Constitution – think conventions a fine idea?
• Mr. Pinckney said on September 15, 1787:
“Conventions are serious things, and ought not to be repeated.”
• Alexander Hamilton wrote of:
“…the utter improbability of assembling a new convention, under circumstances in any degree so favorable to a happy issue, as those in which the late convention met, deliberated, and concluded…” Federalist No. 85 (9th para)
• James Madison said in his letter of Nov. 2, 1788 to Turberville:2
“3… an election into it would be courted by the most violent partizans on both sides; it … would be the very focus of that flame which has already too much heated men of all parties; would no doubt contain individuals of insidious views, who under the mask of seeking alterations popular in some parts but inadmissible in other parts of the Union might have a dangerous opportunity of sapping the very foundations of the fabric. … it seems scarcely to be presumable that the deliberations of the body could be conducted in harmony, or terminate in the general good. Having witnessed the difficulties and dangers experienced by the first Convention, which assembled under every propitious circumstance, I should tremble for the result of a Second, meeting in the present temper of America…” [boldface mine]
Q: Do we have “violent partizans” or “individuals of insidious views” who seek a “dangerous opportunity to sap the very foundations of the fabric” of our country?
A: Yes, and they have been pushing for an Article V convention since 1963.
Q: What did our Framers say about the purpose of amendments to the Constitution?
• the novelty and difficulty of what they were doing would require periodic revision (Mr. Gerry on June 5, 1787);
• remedy defects in the Constitution (Hamilton on Sep. 10, 1787);
• useful amendments would address the “organization of the government, not … the mass of its powers” (Federalist No. 85, 13th para); and
• “amendment of errors” & “useful alterations” suggested by experience (Federalist No. 43 at 8.)3
Q: But those pushing for a convention say the remedy for politicians who violate the Constitution is to amend the Constitution.
A: Yes, that is their crazy claim: that even though for over a century, the feds have been usurping hundreds of powers not delegated in the Constitution, all we have to do is amend the Constitution, and everyone will start obeying it.4
Q: But they say the feds would obey future amendments because the feds haven’t violated recent amendments, such as women’s suffrage.
A: Of the 15 amendments ratified since the 12th in 1804; 10 increased the powers of the feds (13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 23rd, 24th, 26th); and 4 were “housekeeping” amendments (20th, 22nd, 25th, 27th) – so of course the feds “obeyed” those.5
Q: What about their claim that the feds violate the Constitution because they don’t understand it?
A: Rubbish! Our Constitution is so simple that Hamilton said The People were “the natural guardians of the Constitution”. The Oath of office at Art. VI, clause 3, implicitly requires the feds to learn it. For phrases the feds have perverted – such as the “interstate commerce”, “general welfare” & “necessary and proper” clauses, a quick look into The Federalist Papers reveals the original intent. I illustrate that here and elsewhere.
Q: How do we get rid of the bad amendments such as the 16th &17th?
A: Repeal them the same way we repealed the 18th amendment. Instead of sending to Congress people who don’t know the Constitution; send people who know the Constitution and commit to repealing the bad amendments. And if they don’t act to repeal them, fire them!
Q: Why was the “convention method” put in Article V?
A: This chart compiles the references in Madison’s Journal of the Federal Convention of 1787 to what became Article V.
• Law professor John A. Eidsmoe suggests the convention method of Article V was added rather hastily, at the time when the delegates were closing their deliberations, and this provision did not receive the careful attention given to most other provisions of the Constitution.
• It may also have been a compromise designed to induce Gov. Morris, Gerry, Mason, & Randolph to sign the Constitution.6
Q: Why can’t what happens at the convention be controlled by federal or State laws?
A: We are naïve and tell ourselves that people will “play by the rules”. So we assume all we have to do is make some laws saying delegates can’t exceed the scope of the call, and everyone will obey it.
But if they don’t, who is going to enforce these laws you have so much faith in? The feds? Obama would love the constitution for the Newstates of America – it makes him dictator! He won’t prosecute delegates who violate the call. Your State government? They sold you out to the feds long ago. Errant delegates will be protected by the feds. It doesn’t matter what a law says if it isn’t enforced.
Ever since 1963, globalists have intended to use an Article V convention as the means for imposing a new Constitution on us. Today, George Soros – the destroyer of countries – is financing the push for a convention. Don’t let him and his minions destroy America.
This little chart illustrates our Constitution & Declaration and the enumerated powers delegated to the federal government. For 100 years, we elected politicians who ignore them. We don’t understand that the amendments proposed by Michael Farris, Mark Levin, Randy Barnett, & Nick Dranias increase the powers of the federal government because we don’t know the list of enumerated powers in the Constitution. You could remedy that: Print out the chart and read the Constitution & Declaration!
As The Blue Tail Gadfly said, even though “the Constitution is not being enforced, it still declares this federal government LAWLESS! The true rule of law is still on our side, but not for much longer if the Constitution is allowed to be foolishly altered.”
2 Those pushing for a convention are not telling the truth about what Madison said in his letter to Turberville. The only way you can know who is telling the truth is to study the letter.
3 Madison did not endorse the “convention method” of proposing amendments. He always said that when States want amendments, they should instruct their congressional delegation to pursue it:
• Madison’s comments & proposals at the Federal Convention of 1787 show this.
• In his letter of 1788 to Turberville, he speaks of the two methods of proposing amendments:
“2. A Convention cannot be called … without the previous application of ⅔ of the State legislatures…The difficulties … must …be much greater than will attend the origination of amendments in Congress, which may be done at the … [instruction] of a single State Legislature… ”
• How was the Bill of Rights handled? On May 5, 1789, Rep. Bland (p. 258-261) introduced into Congress a petition from Virginia for an Art. V Convention to propose amendments. On June 8, 1789, Madison (p. 448-460) circumvented Bland and introduced the amendments for Congress to propose to the States. On September 24, 1789, Congress sent them to the States for ratification.
4 If your spouse violates the marriage vows, amend the vows and your marriage will be saved!
If motorists violate the speed limit, amend the speed limit and safety will be restored!
When politicians violate the Constitution, amend the Constitution, and all will obey it!
5 It is important to understand that the proposed amendments drafted by Randy Barnett, Mark Levin, Nick Dranias, and Michael Farris all increase the powers of the federal government by legalizing powers they have already usurped – or they delegate new powers to the federal government.
6 The Constitution was a product of compromise: Alexander Hamilton was an abolitionist – but the Constitution permitted slavery. James Madison wanted to stop the importation of slaves immediately (Federalist No. 42, 6th para); but Art. I, Sec. 9, clause 1 permitted it to continue 20 more years. Hamilton said the Constitution wasn’t perfect, but “is the best that the present views and circumstances of the country will permit” (Federalist No. 85, 6th – 8th paras). The “convention” provision of Art. V seems to have been added – on the last day of deliberations (Sep. 15, 1787) – to induce Gerry, Mason, & Randolph to sign the Constitution. But they still refused to sign.
All of the Founders represented that the Article V convention could be limited to whatever the States desired. This makes perfect sense if you take the Tenth Amendment seriously. The States retain all of the traditional powers they had prior to the Constitution unless those powers were delegated away or they were prohibited from exercising them. The States organized and targeted conventions to specific and limited topics repeatedly prior to the Constitution. The fact that Article V does not address, much less disable, the States’ power to organize and target a convention for proposing amendments means, under the Tenth Amendment, that the States retain full traditional power to limit the convention as they see fit.
Here’s what the Chairman of the Philadelphia Convention and first President of the United States of America, George Washington, said about Article V: “It should be remembered that a constitutional door is open for such amendments as shall be thought necessary by nine States.”
George Washington did not tell a lie.
In Federalist No. 43, James Madison emphasized that Article V ”equally enables the general and the State governments to originate the amendment of errors, as they may be pointed out by the experience on one side, or on the other.”
James Madison did not tell a lie.
On June 6, 1788, Patrick Henry raged against ratification at the Virginia convention, spending a huge chunk of his argument asserting that the state origination of amendments under Article V was completely unworkable and unwieldy. In response, leading Federalist and advocate of ratification, George Nicholas, observed that state legislatures may apply for an Article V convention confined to a “few points;” and that “it is natural to conclude that those States who will apply for calling the Convention, will concur in the ratification of the proposed amendments.”
Later, this public understanding of Article V was further confirmed by the last of the Federalist Papers, Federalist No. 85, in which Alexander Hamilton concluded, “We may safely rely on the disposition of the State legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority” by using their amendment power under Article V.
That was not just pillow talk.
On February 7, 1799, James Madison’s Report on the Virginia Resolutions observed that the states could organize an Article V convention for the “object” of declaring the Alien and Sedition Acts unconstitutional. Specifically, after highlighting that “Legislatures of the States have a right also to originate amendments to the Constitution, by a concurrence of two-thirds of the whole number, in applications to Congress for the purpose,” Madison wrote both that the states could …ask their senators to propose an “explanatory amendment” clarifying that the Alien and Sedition Acts were unconstitutional, and also that two-thirds of the Legislatures of the states “might, by an application to Congress, have obtained a Convention for the same object.”
James Madison was not smoking something.
There is simply no reasonable dispute over the fact that the Founders believed and, more importantly, promised posterity that Article V could be laser-targeted by the States to the constitutional amendments they desired.
The author of this article is just plain wrong. Just electing “people” who understand the constitution will change nothing. The Constitution has been fatally wounded. And the Marxists may try Art V but there is more of US than them. While I believe nullification is valid under 10th amd, it can only be used in limited fashion. It will not undo the Fed Monster. That will take Art V. If we can not muster the requisite support from the States….IT”S OVER….the last resort WILL BE war…the hot kind. The bad kind. So, choose your “poison” Either Art V saves the Republic and restores it OR it will be restored by war. Choose.
I want to know WHY You are pushing back, so hard on this?? WHY NOT CHALLENGE Mr. Levin?? Afterall, HE wrote the Book; Liberty Amendments , which has gotten OUR States involved in http://www.conventionofstates.com . Are You brave enough to challenge Him?
Just want to say thank you for publishing this. I have written to all of the representatives in my state and only 1 replied to me. He did not send a form letter, but explained that he was still looking at both sides of the issue and ask that I provide him with information to help him see why it is NOT a good step to take, to have an Article V convention.
I have sent him some information that I have collected, but what you have provided here, laid out with questions and answers and links to further research for himself, is an excellent tool and I will send it to him today. Again .. thank you as I know most (including myself until a very short time ago) have NO idea that this is the worst direction we could go in at this time … or any time. Truth is a hard pill to swallow, when sugar coated lies have been ingested for so long, you are not in this by yourself, there are many of us finally waking up!
It boggles my mind to think that there are such arrogant people. People who think they can do better than our Founding Fathers. Our Constitution was written with form and freedom that can’t be duplicated in our hedonistic society. Where’s the foundation these conspirators stand on? It sways in the political winds of change. Indiana’s liberal David Long is trying to lead the states toward this COS. He couldn’t be trusted to stand on Truth if his life depended on it.
The moral people don’t get to stay very long in the political world. They just don’t fit.
Thanks for asking the questions we ask and giving us answers we need.
Kudos to Publius for her thorough exposure of this threat to the very definition of America.
My comment: Liars or Traitors? – only God Knows
Levin, Farris, Meckler, Natelson and those other high profiles who are manipulating the patriotic but constitutionally illiterate into pressuring State Legislators to pass Resolutions intended to trigger an Article V Convention are being disingenuous (lying). Only God can look into men’s hearts. So I’ll not attempt to determine whether they’re motivated by stupidity or treason. However, I will make a case against their opportunistic stupidity. Although every can of rat poison is actually 99.9% good food, it’s the .001% that is fatal. The problems the COS promoters point out in the three branches of the federal government are disturbingly real. This 99.9% of truth gets their intended recruits nodding in agreement. Then the solution they stipulate is the .001% cyanide of Con-Con Kool-Aid.
First: Every problem they point to germinates not from any errors or inadequacies in the Constitution, but rather from those we elect and those they appoint despising their solemn oaths to restrain their legislative passions to the clear restrictions already spelled out in the Constitution. Therefore, the COS crowd never dares to quote any portion of the Constitution except Article V. They never quote the Founders’ (Madison, Franklin, Henry, Hamilton and others) warnings against ever convening another Convention. They conveniently ignore the wise counsel of the Founders regarding the use of Nullification to restrain abuses of constitutional authority. Without pointing out any errors in the Constitution, they insist it must be amended. They ridicule those who oppose them. They shun open debate. The strength of their position is proportional to the naïve gullibility of their audience. Their leap of faith, that amending our foundational document will cause those we ignorantly elect to supernaturally obey it, is an unwarranted leap into constitutional chaos.
Second: They ignore the hundreds of organizations on the Left which have already gone on record as supporting an Article V Convention to further their own agendas. They ignore the 25 million dollars invested by the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations to draft the New States Constitution. They ignore the New Socialist Republic of North America Constitution drafted by the Revolutionary Communist Party of the U.S.
Third: They insist that ratification of any proposed amendments by the states is an ironclad safeguard against any unpopular amendment being adopted. Yet they not only downplay the fact that the only precedent for a Constitutional Convention in America’s history set the precedent of changing not only the entire Constitution but even the rules for its ratification. They go so far as in the words of Michael Farris that anyone saying the delegates to the Convention of 1787 exceeded their authority “is an enemy of the Constitution”! Yet Patrick Henry said exactly that. Are we to believe that Patrick Henry was an enemy of the Constitution?
Fourth: They posture as enlightened “Constitutional Scholars” while ignoring the published dire warnings against triggering Article V by not just the Father of the Constitution, James Madison, but by distinguished modern day constitutional experts such as: Supreme Court Justice Arthur J. Goldberg; Lawrence H. Tribe, Professor of Constitutional Law, Harvard University; Professor of Law Charles E. Rice, School of Law, Notre Dame; Professor Gerald Gunther, School of Law, Stanford University; Professor Charles Alan Wright, School of Law, University of Texas; Neil H. Cogan, School of Law, Southern Methodist University; Professor Christopher Brown, School of Law, University of Maryland; Professor Jefferson B. Fordham, College of Law, University of Utah; Rex E. Lee, President, Brigham Young University; 69th Annual Convention of the American Legion introduced a Resolution publically opposing any efforts to convene a Constitutional Convention.
Fifth: They assure us that the Supreme Court is willing to hear challenges brought by “those trying to throw a monkey wrench into it” regarding the proceedings of the Convention. Somehow I do not find putting the Constitution into the hands of the Supreme Court to be remolded in their own image all that reassuring.
Sixth: They assure us that Congress will have no say in the proceedings of the Convention beyond calling it. They do so by ignoring Article I section 8 which empowers Congress to make all laws necessary to carry out its assigned duties under the Constitution, one of which duties is the convening of a Convention under Article V once 2/3 of the states have petitioned for one. Contrary to their claims, Congress would therefore play a major role in conducting every detail of the Convention.
I could go on but without getting into quoting the Constitution and the Founders, I feel I’ve made my point for this venue.
Peter F. Boyce
U.S. Constitution Course Instructor
Publius and Mr. Boyce may very well be right. The COS participants may very well behave if not unlawfully, immorally, co-opting the Article V process to their own ends, making this dire situation even worse. Tyranny has just begun.
The question for me is, “Is there ANYTHING that can be done that will prevent 4th generation style civil mayhem if not world wide war?”
I think the short answer is ‘no‘. I personally don’t believe there are any legal or political remedies to our problems. Indeed, state nullification, one of Publius’ ideas in one of her 2012 youtube videos, may be as lame as the COS. Ironically, I think it will be for many of the the same reasons presented by Publius in her piece.
The real issue afaict is the moral decline of our society, of ourselves. That notion is also shared by Publius in her 2012 video, btw. This erosion has been coming for at least 100 years. It is beyond repair it seems, except by Jehovah Himself. Revisit Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel for likely outcomes to our mess. Indeed, there is nothing new under the sun.
The repairs needed will take generations. The Bible has the answers for each of us, of course, but the general picture is bleak, ladies and gentleman.
The worldly recognitions are these: a) the SWHTF, b) the Leviathan will grow more vicious as it attempts to protect itself (there is a reason for all of those hollow points), c) there will be concerted effort to disarm the population, making possible d) a reprise of 20th Century atrocities by the oligarchs as they cling desperately to their power and Utopian fantasies.
With that as the backdrop then, what DOES one do? Here are my personal answers (may you find your own):
1) “Keep the shield of faith before you if you want to stay alive” is absolutely essential.
2) Love each other as best you can. Try to help each other.
3) Show your children the straight path, no matter how difficult that is. Teach them the history regarding the demise of this republic. They must know how it went wrong in order to do what is right for their grandchildren. I think it will take at least that long to undo.
4) Sharpen your sword, and I might add, NEVER give it up. You will likely need it.
5) Don’t ever give up. You are not alone. He’s got your back.
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