“Article V Convention: Pouring gasoline on the Burning Constitution”

by Janine Hansen

Recently, I spoke at Carole Fineberg’s Conservative Talk Lunch in Reno, about the dangerous threat of an Article V Constitutional Convention now being promoted by such “conservative” elitist as Mark Levin, Glenn Beck, Michael Farris, Mark Meckler, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity. 

In the June 2014 Nevada Families Newsletter, I included an article by Phyllis Schlafly about the threat to our Right to Keep and Bear Arms from the Article V Constitutional Convention. I have fought this dangerous idea for more than 30 years and serve as the National Constitutional Issues Chairman for Eagle Forum.  But now more than ever before, the extreme hazards of this bad idea have been exposed.

A Constitutional Convention will be the Greatest Political event in the history of our nation since the original Constitutional Convention…   Do you think that the liberals will sit back and let the Conservatives control the Convention? Are you dreaming? 

Just ask yourself: Do we control our City Council, County Commission, State Legislature or Congress?  How in the world are “conservatives” going to control a Constitutional Convention of the States? This is the myth being promoted by the Convention of the States group…that the people, of course the conservatives, will control a Convention.

A proponent of a Constitutional Convention (ConCon) said to me at the Conservative Talk Lunch, “That’s what’s the matter with you. You don’t trust the people!”  Am I supposed to trust the people who voted for Obama for President? Or perhaps the people who voted for Harry Reid? Did the Founding Fathers trust the people?  Absolutely not! That’s why they gave us a Republic not a Democracy and that Republic had lots of checks and balances to restrain the government and the people.

Some Background: Article V of the U.S. Constitution states:  “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…” Notice that Congress Calls the Convention and will set the rules…not the States. Can you imagine this happening without dingy Harry Reid’s fingers in the pie?

All we know for sure about an Article V Convention is what Article V states. There are no precedents because there has never been one called.  All else is speculation. However, proponents tell us that the safeguard is that any amendments coming out of an Article V will have to be ratified by three-quarters of the states. As history tells us the original Constitutional Convention CHANGED the ratification process in the Articles of Confederation which required unanimous agreement to a requirement of only nine states.

A Convention cannot be Limited: Former Chief Justice Warren Burger stated: “I have also repeatedly given my opinion that there is no effective way to limit or muzzle the actions of a Constitutional Convention. The Convention could make its own rules and set its own agenda. Congress might try to limit the Convention to one amendment or to one issue, but there is no way to assure that the Convention would obey. After a Convention is convened, it will be too late to stop the convention if we don’t like its agenda…”


Interesting note: Michael Farris/Mike Meckler’s Convention of the States organization is proposing three amendments and Mark Levin’s book promotes Ten separate amendments.  There can be no legitimate discussion of limiting a convention to a single subject.

How will Delegates be chosen? We don’t know. Will there be one vote per state like the original Constitutional Convention?  Can you imagine California or New York putting up with that? If delegates are based on population the large liberal states will control the convention. And don’t forget recent experiences at Republican and Democrat Conventions. He who has the gavel makes the rules.

Who else is interested in Changing the Constitution besides the Conservative Elite?

Liberal Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens recently published a book about the Six Constitutional amendments he is promoting.  Specifically he wants to change the Second Amendment. Stevens proposes that the Second Amendment should be modified by adding five words, as follows: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms when serving in the militia shall not be infringed.” This change adding “when serving in the militia” eliminates the individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms.  A Convention would be a real opportunity for the Gun Grabbers.

Move to Amend is a leftist organization which opposes the U.S. Supreme Court Decision in Citizens United. Move to Amend wants to take away our right of free speech by eliminating independent contributions and expenditures for campaigns and limit campaigns to government money only (which will silence dissent). They support an Article V Constitutional Convention.  In 2014 California and Vermont passed this radical proposal calling for an Article V Constitutional Convention to implement it. If you go to Move to Amend’s website you will see nine pages of leftist organizations across the nation supporting this radical idea. "We will win our amendment through Congress or through a Constitutional Convention (Article V)…” https://movetoamend.org/2013-highlights

Their radical amendment prohibits candidates from spending their own money on their own campaigns.  Their claim is that money is not free speech.  Really? I guess we can stand on the corner and shout at passing cars with our message, because you won’t be able to purchase literature, pay for a website, place ads on TV, put up campaign signs, pay for phone calls or campaign workers or print and mail a newsletter. Screaming on the corner would be about all that would be left to us if we can’t spend any money to exercise free speech. 

Conservative Republicans who claim to support a Balanced Budget Amendment are blowing smoke!

All States receive a significant portion of their budgets, between 19% and 45%, from the federal government. Nevada receives 25.48% of its budget from the federal government.  You could look high and low and not find a conservative Republican legislator willing to refuse the federal money and mandates. They want to cut the federal budget but not their state’s budget!  This is why conservatives who say they want a Balanced Budget Amendment are blowing smoke. Legislators, conservative or not, will not vote to reject federal funds and mandates. Do you think they will go to an Article V Convention and vote to cut their own state budgets by 25%?  This is why a Balanced Budget Amendment won’t work. 


BBA supporters admit a BBA Article V Convention will raise your taxes, not cut spending

Fritz Pettyjohn, a former Alaska Legislator, is the Co-Founder of the Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force and currently the Field Director of Lew Uhler’s National Tax Limitation Committee. February 26, 2014, during a meeting of the Utah Legislature’s Conservative Caucus in a room full of Legislators, Pettyjohn was asked, “What would prevent the Congress from raising our taxes to balance the budget?

Pettyjohn responded by saying, “They probably will raise our taxes, but there’s nothing wrong with that. It would make the people so mad they would throw them out.” WOW! The Article V BBA failed at the Utah Legislature. Many Legislators were not willing to support a measure that would result in taxes being raised.

I often hear the argument in favor of an Article V Constitutional Convention that everything is so bad that we have to do something. If my house was on fire and the only liquid available was gasoline I would not throw gasoline on my burning house because I had to do something. That’s what an Article V gives us…the real chance of throwing gasoline on an already burning Constitution.

I was asked what is the alternative to an Article V Convention? I agree that the situation is truly bleak. The solutions to our nation’s plight will not be legislated by corrupt politicians representing morally bankrupt citizens. The only real solutions to this problem is the answer given by the Lord in 2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked way; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”


Originally published in the Nevada Families for Freedom Newsletter, www.nevadafamilies.org