Historic call for Article V convention begins to reign in federal power

By Jack Minor –

 

Legislators in Georgia made history on Thursday when they passed an application calling for a Constitutional Convention in an attempt to rein in a federal government that many feel is out of control and has far exceeded its authority.

 

The Convention of States confirmed that Georgia lawmakers overwhelmingly passed the organization’s application calling for an Constitutional Convention based on Article V of the Constitution which permits states to bypass congress and call for a convention of states. The House passed the Senate’s version of the bill by a vote of 107-58.

 

“I am pleased that the Georgia legislature has given voice to the frustrations of millions of Georgians,”  said State Sen. Cecil Staton (R-Macon),  the resolution’s primary sponsor.  “Enough is enough. It is time to impose fiscal and other restraints on our runaway federal government.  We urge other states to join us.”

“We Georgians have become the hope of the Nation today,”  said Jacqueline Peterson, the Georgia State Director for the Convention of States Project.  “Many thanks to our State Legislators for standing for Liberty.  May God bless us, every single one!”

 

The application says the federal government has “ceased to live under a proper interpretation of the Constitution” and has “invaded the legitimate roles of the states through the manipulative process of federal mandates, most of which are unfunded to a great extent.”

 

Passage of the application is historic since it would be the first time the Article V provisions have been exercised. All previous amendments to the constitution were passed by Congress and sent on to the states for approval.

 

However, with many of the amendments being called for it is unlikely Congress would ever send the proposed amendments to the states. Among these are the rights of states and individuals to recall members of congress, a balanced budget amendment, a new definition of the welfare clause, which has been used to justify nearly all social programs, term limits for Congress and the Supreme Court, a sunset of all existing federal laws, limits on executive orders and others.

 

Critics have expressed alarm that the convention could actually make the problem worse because the entire constitution could be rewritten, including the Second Amendment.

 

Michael Farris, who is most well-known as the face of the Home School Legal Defense Association is at the forefront of the Article V movement and said he believes while the concerns by critics are valid, he does not see that happening.

 

“The Founders gave us Article V for the very purpose of creating structural change when the federal government abuses its power,” Farris said. “State legislatures control this process from beginning to end. Governors are irrelevant. Congress can only name the time and place. State legislature name the delegates and give them their instructions.

 

“We will either get good amendments or we will get nothing,” he continued. “The people who must approve the work product – state legislatures – are the ones who name the delegates. They are also the ones who give the convention its subject matter.”


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  • A correction: Our Constitution provides no process for a plenipotentiary “Constitutional Convention.” The phrase “Constitutional Convention” does not exist in our Constitution. Article V provides a process for “a convention for proposing Amendments.” The difference is far more than simply a matter of semantics. Our Founding Fathers understood that, from time to time, our Constitution would need to be amended, but they never intended that the Constitution would ever be entirely re-written. Professor Rob Natelson is the senior fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence at the Independence Institute in Denver, and is widely recognized as one of the leading constitutional scholars in our country. Here is his article on why a state-initiated effort to convene an Article V Amendments Convention should not be labeled as a “Constitutional Convention.” http://constitution.i2i.org/2012/03/04/why-an-amendments-convention-is-not-a-%E2%80%9Cconstitutional-convention%E2%80%9D/

  • Tom Grandpre says:

    Please refrain from calling it a Constitutional Convention. A Constitutional Convention is called for the purpose of proposing an entire Constitution and we already did that once. This is a Convention of the States whose sole purpose is to propose one or more amendments. Any that are agreed upon by the majority, are sent to the states where it takes 3/4 of the states for ratification.

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