Nothing to Fear In Article V
by Mark Ramsey on July 22, 2016 at 12:49 PM
The Convention of States Project has made huge inroads into educating Americans about what the FOUNDERS themselves put into our Constitution as a remedy to an overreaching federal government, who they presciently observed could become so onerous as to thwart the will of the people. Recently Texas Governor Greg Abbott has joined the call for an Article V amending convention when he proposed his Texas Plan. None the less, the anti-Constitutional folks continue to trot out time-worn arguments against such a solution. Please read and study the comments below from Tamara Colbert, co-chair of the Texas Convention of States project. GOP clubs and Tea Party groups should note that Tamara and others in the CoS project are available to speak to your group. We heard one recently in N. Houston and frankly, it was the best-received speaker I’ve EVER heard at that particular club. Note that many of the ideas and educational tools the COS Texas group has generated in the past three years have been “exported” to other states as well! Once more, Texans leading the way!
The following is authored by Tamara Colbert:
America is at the edge of a cliff with crushing debt and spending, one-third of Americans out of work, a president driving racial tensions and a world on the edge of war, thank goodness Texas has the leadership of Governor Greg Abbott. He is a rock-solid liberty-anchor in a world suffocating from a leadership vacuum. For those of you “hoping” that the Congress will wake up tomorrow to enforce the rule of law and Constitution, I have one piece of advice. Hope is not a strategy.
In a recent opinion editorial, Ms. Shirley Spellerberg spread a sea of misinformation to instill fear in Texans about the Convention of States Project and Article V, while lambasting Gov. Abbott and by inference, the wisdom of our Founders themselves. Unfortunately, she would rather use fear to quash a constitutional discussion that empowers and educates legislators and citizens to the Constitution and their duty as sovereigns.
Anti-constitutionalists who oppose using the Constitution to save the country are dead wrong in their assumptions and even more egregious in their willful ignorance of history. Imagine if the fate of America was left to them. We know without a doubt that choosing to do nothing, only one thing will happen. The United States will follow the cues of Greece, the USSR and Rome – collapsing from within into ruin. We can be very thankful that America’s Founders were spiritually anchored in faith and not fear.
Contrary to what opponents will tell you, an Article V amending convention of states will NOT jeopardize our Constitution; Convention of States Project supporters are NOT misguided; and that the COS Project’s resolution CAN fix federal agencies making law, unconstitutional executive power grabs or judges who legislate from the bench.
The good news is that the COS Project resolution can address many issues facing the nation. The resolution is a limited “subject” matter resolution with three components calling for fiscal restraint, limiting the size, scope and jurisdiction of the federal government and term limits on federal officials (such as judges). This is precisely why Gov. Abbott’s Texas Plan compliments the COS Project resolution. His nine ideas provide a starting point for legislators that illuminates how to address structural changes in the federal leviathan that could be fixed with the proper amendments.
Balancing the budget fits nicely within the “fiscal restraint” part of the Convention of States Project resolution, but why stop there. Did you know that under this “subject”, commissioners could discuss abolishing the IRS completely and recommend a flat, fair or consumption tax to replace it and spread the tax burden once-and-for-all equally among all Americans regardless of income?
President Ronald Reagan supported balancing the federal budget 1983. Back then our debt was under $5 Trillion. President Reagan supported using Article V to create mechanisms to keep the federal government in check and mandate fiscal responsibility. Many who oppose COS Project now helped kill the balanced-budget amendment that President Reagan supported. Two days before the Constitution was finalized, Colonel George Mason implored the commissioners to include the States-originated amendment process now in Article V. His primary reason was that an out-of-control federal government would never propose amendments (via the Congressional-origination process already agreed to by the delegates) to restrain itself if it grew too big and corrupt.
Article V that 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;”
Like Mason, James Madison also believed that the only way to secure the Republic would be in the care and vigilance of the People tending to “the sacred fire of liberty.” In Madison’s notes from the Constitutional Convention in 1787, he said about Article V, “Amendments therefore will be necessary, and it will be better to provide for them, in an easy, regular and Constitutional way than to trust to chance and violence.”
When the states regain their power, we will no longer need to worry about a future president who does not respect the rule of law and Constitution—legislating with a pen and phone. Madison encouraged us to not just embrace Article V as the best tool for the States to retain their sovereignty, but that state legislatures should know how to use this tool and use it often to maximize its effectiveness against tyranny.
Those who oppose using Article V to rein in the federal government say, “Congress needs to enforce the laws we have now.” Citizens should expect and demand federal legislators and every branch of government respect the rule of law with strict adherence to the Constitution. However, we are dealing with some weak and corrupt politicians who only care about getting re-elected, not doing the right thing for the people. Just as in 1776, it is up to We the People to remain free and self-governing.
The best safety mechanism given to the People to shift the balance of power back where it belongs—the states, is Article V. The states have the duty to convene and suggest amendments that reclaim that power and anything else the federal government has unconstitutionally taken from us. This means that the final check and balance resides with you and me—the People.
The Convention of States resolution (detailed in Governor Abbott’s Texas Plan), can also deal appropriately with removing the power of unelected bureaucrats authority in the various liberty-stealing agencies such as the FDA, EPA, IRS, DOE, and lately, the FBI and DoJ, et al. Under this resolution recommendations for fixing the major structural issues related to justices legislating from the bench and onerous regulations (81,000+ of them in 2015 alone) and fees could be fixed.
Ms. Spellerberg would have you believe that all hope is lost and that the only thing left to do is “vote in the right people.” She doesn’t even want to consider a constitutional remedy to fix the country. What kind of logic is that?
She purposefully misleads readers by saying that former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was against a “Constitutional Convention.” A “Constitutional Convention” is NOT an Article V “amending” convention, so of course he was against it—and so is the Convention of States Project! Article V only allows the states to gather to solve a problem and must have a specific purpose. What Ms. Spellerberg didn’t tell you is that May 23, 1979, long before Justice Scalia was on the Supreme Court he didn’t just support Article V, but advocated to using it to check unbridled federal power when he participated in an American Enterprise Institute panel discussion on Article V.
Then Professor Antonin Scalia said, “The founders inserted this alternative method of obtaining constitutional amendments because they knew the Congress would be unwilling to give attention to many issues the people are concerned with, particularly those involving restrictions on the federal government's own power. The founders foresaw that and they provided the convention as a remedy. If the only way to get that convention is to take this minimal risk, then it is a reasonable one.”
Scalia continued, “I listed first among the things that I would like to have considered the structural issues at the federal level. I do not have a lack of trust in the American people. I am the one here who is least terrified of a convention. We have come a long way. We have gotten over many problems. But the fact remains that a widespread and deep feeling of powerlessness in the country is apparent with respect to many issues, not just the budget issue. The people do not feel that their wishes are observed. They are heard but they are not heeded, particularly at the federal level.”
Since 2010, Americans have voted in “the right people” in historic numbers and not one single thing has changed. Here we are six years later, thumb sucking our way through the 2016 elections as America hangs in the balance. This is not the answer now. The Founding Fathers intent was not for citizens to sit back and do nothing. Finally, I need to address another untruth in her article purporting that progressive, left-leaning organizations are giving support for Article V. Yes, they were only to use Article V to overturn the Citizens United decision on campaign finance. Other than that, progressives are silent because they can be—they are getting everything they want from a runaway federal government and a lawless president. The only “Pandora’s box” currently open is the fact that every day the Congress is in session, the People’s liberties are threatened. We are not threatened by a runaway convention at all—the Founders insistence on a three-fourths agreement by the states alleviates that. We ARE threatened every day by the runaway, and unresponsive, federal government at all levels.
If you think that everything in America is okey dokey and the federal government is fine—then by all means stay on your couch. However, if you want to do something and be engaged in this epic battle to save America, the Convention of States Project is right for you. We are amassing a growing grassroots army at www.conventionofstates.com. Texas leads the nation with nearly 90,000 volunteers/supporters and hundreds more joining the fight every day! Legislative session begins in January 2017 and we’ve got a battle plan. Our volunteers look forward to working with legislators on passing the Convention of States resolution in the 85th Legislative Session.