Last Saturday was the official Constitution Day, celebrating September 17th as the 229th anniversary of the day when the Constitutional Convention signed off on the document that was then sent to the states for ratification.
Has it stood the test of time? Well, we still have the same basic structure of government that it established. Yet there have been so many departures from the text that the whole concept of rule of law is now at risk.
This has led to a grassroots movement to ensure that the Constitution is taken seriously. It’s called the Convention of States, an entirely constitutional effort to amend the Constitution in ways that will make it more difficult for politicians and judges to overthrow the original intent and wording of this fundamental cornerstone of liberty.
The basis for the movement is found in Article V of the Constitution:
he 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.
Some have objected that such a convention would be a runaway assembly that will undermine the Constitution completely. I don’t accept that logic. There are two safeguards: first, the people supporting this movement are those who already fear the Constitution is being undermined, and their goal is to return to its original meaning; second, any proposed amendment will have to be ratified by 3/4 of the states. There are enough conservative states to stop any radical element being added to the Constitution.
What types of amendments are being floated? Here are possibilities that the organizers of this movement have mentioned:
- A balanced budget amendment
- A redefinition of the General Welfare Clause (the original view was the federal government could not spend money on any topic within the jurisdiction of the states)
- A redefinition of the Commerce Clause (the original view was that Congress was granted a narrow and exclusive power to regulate shipments across state lines–not all the economic activity of the nation)
- A prohibition of using international treaties and law to govern the domestic law of the United States
- A limitation on using Executive Orders and federal regulations to enact laws (since Congress is supposed to be the exclusive agency to enact laws)
- Imposing term limits on Congress and the Supreme Court
- Placing an upper limit on federal taxation
- Requiring the sunset of all existing federal taxes and a super-majority vote to replace them with new, fairer taxes
I see nothing radical in those propositions; I welcome a convention that will discuss them openly and make recommendations.
How has the movement progressed? Here’s the latest information:
I’m glad to report that my state of Florida has seen the light on this and the legislature has passed the application. The movement is picking up steam as can be seen by the number of states where applications have been filed.
To show the seriousness of this endeavor, the organization is convening a simulated convention of the states this week in Colonial Williamsburg.
State legislators will practice how a convention of states will be run on September 21-23, and the final deliberations will be made available to anyone interested in hearing them. Representatives from all the states will be present for this simulated convention.
If you are interested in becoming involved with this movement, go to http://www.conventionofstates.com/ to find out more.
Is it too late to make a difference and pull the nation back from the precipice? None of us should make that determination until we have done everything possible to stop the mad rush over the cliff.