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Monday, February 7, 2011

More on the Dangers of a Constitutional Convention

I've copied below an excerpt from an article by Tom DeWeese on the dangers of a modern Constitutional Convention. A gentleman took issue with my earlier blog post including an ad hominem attack that accused me of dishonesty (and stupidity). What he didn't mention is that the first Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia did exactly what the nay-sayers like me warn. The delegates threw out the Articles of Confederation and ignored the restrictions placed on their body by the individual states they represented. They went back to the drawing board and came up with a brand new Constitution that governs us today. In view of the historical reality, what possible evidence is there that the delegates to a new convention could not imitate their forebears?

We also are not the country we were in 1787 when the Constitution was written and 1789 when it was finally ratified. Can anyone doubt that in our abortion/gay marriage culture the rights of free speech for Christians, the right to bear arms, the right to free assembly, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, etc. will be protected? And with so many liberal blue states can we be sure the state legislatures won't ratify whatever comes forth?

I remember the women's meetings held in every state in 1977 during the Carter administration which was top-heavy with feminsts like Sarah Weddington, the lawyer who represented the plaintiff, Jane Roe (Norma McCorvey) in Roe v. Wade. I attended the meeting in Richmond, VA where a coven of witches had an information table and the workshops I chose were dominated by lesbians. It was a horrifying and life-changing experience. I was already active in the pro-life movement and the meeting intensified my sense of urgency. The recommendations from these meetings were radical and evil: unlimited "reproductive rights," no-fault divorce, elimination of the requirement for single women to get a father's agreement to place a child for adoption, ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment, federally funded day care to get more moms in the workforce, affirmative action for women, etc.

The Houston Conference did not represent women like me, but radical feminists who took advantage of an opportunity to promote their extreme agenda. I think it's highly likely that a Constitutional Convention would go the same way as the women's meetings, taken over by well-financed liberals backed by billionaires like George Soros, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfry, Ted Turner, etc. Just imagine who the delegates would be from Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, California, Oregon, Wisconsin, and other blue states. And that's why I fully concur with Tom DeWeese's analysis:
The fact is, once 34 states petition Congress to convene a Constitutional Convention, the matter is completely out of the States’ hands. There is absolutely no ability to control what the delegates do in the convention. Attempting to instruct delegates to discuss only a specific issue like a balanced budget – or the whole package offered by the 10 Amendments for Freedom group — is absolutely impossible. Instead, once the convention starts, the delegates become super delegates which can take any action they desire concerning the Constitution. In short, at the convention the Constitution can be literally put on an operating table and the delegates can take a “scalpel” (pen) to it and change any section or even the entire document if they desire.
What proof do I offer? Here are the exact words of Article V of the Constitution: “…on the application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, (Congress) shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which…shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States.”
Article V gives absolutely no guidelines as to how it will be run, how delegates can be selected and who can do the selecting. Once the 34 states make the request, the entire matter is in the hands of Congress to decide. It does not matter if the states passed resolutions as Fruth proposes, containing absolute guidelines for delegate selection. The Constitution provides no rules – it is up to Congress to decide how delegates are selected and what qualifications they will have. The guidelines proposed by Fruth carry absolutely no weight in the final process – even if every state passes the exact same resolution including those rules. Again, Article V simply says that when 34 states have called for a Con Con the Congress “shall call a Convention…” Period.
And there is more legal proof in support of the argument that delegates are not bound by any instructions or resolutions from the states.
First, of course, is the famous letter written by former Supreme Court Justice Warren Burger to Phyllis Schlafly, President of Eagle Forum. In the letter Burger writes, “…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. The meeting in 1787 ignored the limit placed by the confederated Congress…”
And there is more legal documentation proving that Congress or the states can control the agenda of a Con Con. Corpus Jurus Secundum is a compilation of State Supreme Court findings. The following is the collection of findings regarding the unlimited power of the delegates attending a Con Con. (From Corpus Jurus Secundum 16 C.J.S. 9) “The members of a Constitutional Convention are the direct representatives of the people (1) and, as such, they may exercise all sovereign powers that are vesting in the people of the state. (2) They derive their powers, not from the legislature, but from the people: (3) And, hence, their power may not in any respect be limited or restrained by the legislature. Under this view, it is a Legislative Body of the Highest Order (4) and may not only frame, but may also enact and promulgate, Constitution. (5)” The footnote numbers after the citation quoted reference the particular cases from which the citations were made. (1) Mississippi (1892) Sproule v Fredericks (11 So. 472); (2) Iowa (1883) Koehler v Hill (14N.W. 738); (3) West Virginia (1873) Loomis v Jackson (6 W. Va. 613); (4) Oklahoma (1907) Frantz v Autry (91 p. 193); (5) Texas (1912) Cox v Robison (150 S.W. 1149).
Despite the cheerleading for a modern Constitutional Convention, it's clear that it would be a dangerous effort. And who will end up deciding whether or not what they did was consitutional? The activist courts? We are already living in an oligarchy ruled by a simple majority of nine men and women dressed in black. Do we really want to risk throwing out the Constitution that has served us for over 200 years? We don't need a new Constitutional Convention. We need to honor the Constitution we already have!


Bill Walker said...

Most likely your comment about a gentleman making comments was directed at me. I notice you did not publish my comment and allow it to stand on its own. Most likely you'll do the same here but that is what people like you are reduced to--hiding behind a blog wall so the truth can't be told.

The states have applied. The over 700 applications can be read at and nothing you can say will change that. You say honor the Constitution. Then you say we should dishonor it and not hold a convention when the Constitution states we are supposed to. Nothing else need be said. You're a constitutional hypocrite and nothing will change that.

By the way if you want people to believe you next time, try publishing the responses THEN prove them wrong. It doesn't work to just say something and give just your point of view when people already know the truth.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

There you go again, Bill.

As a matter of fact I did publish your comment -- on the first blog post to which you were responding. Not paying much attention, eh? Just pulling out new ad hominem attacks about "people like (me)".

"If you want people to believe you" try treating them with respect and discuss the merits of your argument rather than just attacking them as dishonest and stupid. I addressed the issue, you responded with an attack. And now you are resonding with another attack.

As for the Constitution saying we are "supposed to" hold a Constitutional Convention, that's nonsense. It's an alternative, but not a very smart one in today's political climate. My bet is that the Founders would be rolling over in their graves over what's happened to the Republic. And I suspect Ben Franklin would be shaking his head. He told the woman who asked what kind of agovernment they had formed. "A Republic, if you can keep it." but we haven't kept it very well and a Con-Con could be the final death knell.

I don't think the founders would recognize what they began at this point in our history. And I think they would themselves advise against a Constitutional Convention under the circumstances.

As for your 700 applications, after looking at the lists I don't see any indication that the states were calling for a convention. You seem to claim that every time a state proposes an amendment that constitutes a call for a convention. That's not what Article V says. There's that little word "or" that distinguishes between proposing amendments or calling for a convention.