There is a debate going on in Virginia that has reached the General Assembly. What is hyperbole? What is the truth? I don’t know. The problem is that we have never had an Article V Convention. So there is no precedent. That’s means that if you support an Article V Convention YOU HAVE AN OBLIGATION to WORK to keep the politicians honest.
From an email he sent on 01/29/2015, here is Senator Richard Black‘s take on the matter.
Virginia will vote to change the Constitution of the United States in a few days!
This is called an Article V Convention and the purpose is to rewrite parts of the Constitution of the United States. Two thirds of the states must apply for a Convention and there is confusion about whether Virginia will complete the tipping point because other states that passed it decades ago have since attempted to rescind that vote.
3 SIMPLE FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Article V Convention Supporters include:
George Soros, Code Pink, MoveOn.org, Occupy Wallstreet, New Progressive Alliance and 100 other liberal groups are pushing for this.
- We can’t control who will amend the Constitution.
This is the most troubling aspect because there is no law that states how delegates to the Convention are chosen. Congress could appoint themselves. Even if Congress allowed states to choose their own delegates, the Republican establishment leadership in Virginia’s House and Senate would never choose a conservative to amend the Constitution.
- We cannot limit what parts of the Constitution can be changed.
No matter what limited rules are put on the Convention regarding what parts of our Constitution will be changed, the delegates themselves can vote to change the rules at the Convention. The First Amendment, Second Amendment, etc. could be changed if delegates at the Convention vote to change the rules.
Please contact your state delegate and senator and ask them to vote no and protect our Constitution! Find out who your representative is here and tell them not to gamble with the Constitution of the United States.
Want to learn more? Read on:
Conservative Supreme Court Justice Burger said history shows us we can’t control what parts of the Constitution will be changed.
In a letter to the Eagle Forum’s Phyllis Schlafly (who opposes calling a Convention), former Supreme Court Justice Warren Burger wrote, “The Convention could make its own rules and set its own agenda. The 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 Confederation Congress ‘for the sole and express purpose.’ With George Washington as chairman, they were able to deliberate in total secrecy, with no press coverage and no leaks. A Constitutional Convention today would be a free-for-all.”
A new Convention could plunge our Nation into constitutional confusion and confrontation at every turn, with no assurance that focus would be on the subjects needing attention. I have discouraged the idea of a Constitutional Convention, and I am glad to see states rescinding their previous resolutions requesting a Convention…
Whatever may need repair on our Constitution can be dealt with by specific amendments.”
We have never had an Article V Convention. In 1787 we had a Constitutional Convention for the sole purpose of amending the Articles of Confederation. History shows us that although limitations were put on these delegates, they came out of that Convention with a completely different form of government. Thankfully, we had selfless men of character in that Convention who crafted a Constitution that has withstood the test of time. However, do you think today’s Congress would send similar selfless men/women of character to a modern-day Convention? Do you think Congress today has similar values as those who crafted our Constitution?
What does Article V say? Here it is in its entirety (it’s very short):
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; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.
Now that you’ve read Article V, ask yourself some questions:
Where does it say how the delegates to the Convention are chosen? Where will it take place? Will delegates be bound to vote on behalf of their state or as individuals? How many delegates will there be? Can Congress appoint themselves as delegates? ANSWER: No one knows. It’s similar to what Nancy Pelosi said, “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”
You Cannot Control Who the Delegates Will Be at a Constitutional Convention:
The makeup of the delegates to the Convention is the most troubling aspect of this entire endeavor, and it is the one thing that is guaranteed to go AGAINST those hoping for a conservative outcome.
There is no law or statute that binds Congress or the states on who will be selected as delegates to a Constitutional Convention, or how they will be chosen. There is not even a requirement that a delegate to the Convention representing Virginia be an actual Virginia Citizen. All we have are historical precedents of how other conventions have chosen delegates, but precedent is NOT binding.
The most likely scenario is that a slate of delegates would be put forward by the General Assembly, voted on by both Houses, and approved by the Governor. Governor McAuliffe is not likely to approve a conservative delegation, nor would the Republican establishment choose conservative lawmakers. This would guarantee that the delegates from Virginia would NOT be conservative and would most likely be evenly split between Republicans and Democrats.
With the need to secure Democrat support for any slate of delegates, do you think there is a chance that Virginia will send a group of people dedicated to reining in the size and scope of government? Absolutely not. Frankly, it was the Republican establishment that gave us the largest tax increase in Virginia’s history and they would never choose a conservative to amend the Constitution of the United States. The most likely scenario would be moderate Republicans joining with the Democrats to select a slate of centrist, left-leaning individuals, and that’s just in Virginia. Imagine what states like California and New York would do.
In states controlled by Democrat legislatures, you can be assured of getting only a slate of liberal lawmakers without a single conservative voice among them.
You Cannot Limit the Scope of a Constitutional Convention:
Proponents of a Constitutional Convention argue over and over that they can keep the scope of any convention focused on a narrow subject. They are wrong. Just like any other political convention ever held in this country, the delegates to the convention set their own rules.
No matter what limited rules any Congress, State Legislature, or anyone else may seek to impose on the Convention, the delegates themselves are the ones that vote on these rules. They can easily dismiss any limits placed upon them and set their own rules governing what amendments they can consider, as well as how those proposed amendments are considered. They can even do away with the “one state, one vote” notion put forward by Convention proponents and institute “proportional representation” giving liberal states like New York and California the ability to run roughshod over smaller, more conservative states.
Imagine what harm a Constitutional Convention, packed with left leaning delegates, could do to the Constitution? If the left were able to amend the Constitution of the United States, they could change Freedom of Religion to say certain teachings from the Bible are hate speech, they could take away our right to own a gun, etc.
Planners Are Already Moving to Loosen Restraints on the Scope of a Convention:
“Assembly of State Legislatures” is a group of legislators planning the Article V Convention. About fifty state legislators met December 9, 2014 in Washington DC. Notes from this meeting show that lawmakers tabled a motion to restrict the scope of the Convention to only the subject matter of the state applications, and also rejected a motion which would have prevented congressmen and senators, federal judges and governors from serving as delegates to the Convention. This is an early indication that politicians want to have a more open process and may want to appoint members of Congress, the US Senate and federal judges to amend the Constitution.
We Don’t Get a Second Chance to Get it Right:
The supporters of a Constitutional Convention are well-meaning people who, like us, want so badly to get our country back on track. Unfortunately, there is no easy fix to our problems. Our form of government was never meant to be on autopilot.
Proponents of a Convention say that they know the rules. But how can anyone know the rules for something that has never been done before? There has never been a Constitutional Convention called under Article V of the US Constitution , and with good reason. Most people understand the dangers to our liberties a Constitutional Convention represents. At a time when our rights are being redefined by activist judges and the Constitution is being ignored by our President and his supporters in Congress, why would we place our most sacred document into the hands of the same corrupt leaders who are trampling it in the first place? The fact is that there is no way around bad leaders. The only way is to replace them with good leaders. We would be delusional to think these bad leaders would choose good leaders to amend our Constitution, no matter how badly we need them to.
Please contact your state delegate and senator and ask them to vote no and protect our Constitution! Find out who your representative is here and tell them not to put the Constitution of the United States of America AT RISK: http://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov/
I will be in my Richmond office until February 28 and welcome you to stop by. Our office is in Room 308 of the General Assembly Building. You can contact me at District13@senate.virginia.gov or 804.698.7513. You can also follow me on Twitter @SenRichardBlack and on Facebook where I will do my best to bring you the most up to date information on the session.
Senator Dick Black