If anyone asks you, “Hey, did you know Wyoming signed off on joining this crazy constitutional convention that could wind up rewriting the document that has guided this nation for the past 228 years?” tell them yes. Because even if you didn’t know before, you do now.

The Wyoming Legislature approved House Joint Resolution 2 during this year’s general session with little fanfare. It serves as the state’s official request to Congress to authorize a constitutional convention for the specific purpose of considering a federal Balanced Budget Amendment.

That’s what it states, and that’s what supporters of HJR 2 promised, but that’s not what the resolution does. When it was approved by the House 35-23, by the Senate 20-10 and signed by Gov. Matt Mead, Wyoming joined an effort that could open a constitutional Pandora’s Box.

A recent event served as a reminder about how Wyoming was hoodwinked into making this mistake by powerful forces. Three state legislators chose to blow off attending a meeting of the Joint Revenue Interim Committee in Buffalo earlier this month so they could attend a four-day session in Phoenix, Ariz., to plan for the proposed convention, if it ever happens. The trio were Sens. Ray Peterson (R, SD-19, Cowley) and Jeff Wasserburger (R, SD-23, Gillette), and Rep. Dan Laursen (R, HD-25, Powell).

The revenue committee is considering bills to help close the $260 million annual shortfall in education funding, but I can see how the opportunity to fly free to Phoenix (using “scholarships” paid for by a nonprofit group that’s funded by wealthy conservative organizations) could lure them from doing their jobs here.

Radical conservative groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council have been trying pass a federal balanced budget amendment since the 1980s. Having been repeatedly turned away from the front door — having an amendment proposed by Congress then ratified by a supermajority of the states — they are now using Article V of the U.S. Constitution, which sets the parameters of a constitutional convention of the states, to achieve their goal.

Nevermind that such a convention could totally alter how the United States is governed. Once they remove the lid on the supreme law of the land, there would be absolutely no filter on what could go in or come out.     Article V doesn’t contain a word about what issues a constitutional convention can cover. Constitutional scholar and Harvard Law School Professor Laurence Tribe has succinctly spelled out the possible damage: “What you’re doing is putting the whole Constitution up for grabs.”

If that doesn’t scare Americans, I don’t know what will.

The Wyoming Legislature tried to put a safeguard in HJR 2 that says such a convention can only be for one purpose, and the one it approved was to pass a BBA. Unfortunately, the state’s resolution doesn’t control the situation, the U.S. Constitution does.

A convention can be called if a two-thirds majority of the states — 34 or more — petition Congress for it. Wyoming is supposedly the 27th, but there is a heated debate over how many states have officially sought the convention. Several other states passed resolutions decades ago, so it’s questionable whether they are still in effect. While Wyoming approved its resolution this year, Maryland, New Mexico and Nevada just overturned the ones they signed years ago .

There are two main backers of the BBA movement. One is ALEC — a “bill mill” that churns out anti-democratic proposals introduced by red state legislatures. Their most recent high-profile handiwork is a suite of ID laws that courts have been throwing out left and right. The other primary backer is Americans for Prosperity, which is the vehicle the billionaire Koch brothers use to fund causes like getting the government to stop telling rich people what they can do.

There is a legitimate debate to be held about whether a balanced budget amendment would be good for the U.S., which is now $20 trillion in debt. Conservatives believe a constitutional amendment mandating that the nation balances its budget and stops borrowing money is the only way to get its fiscal ship in order. Progressives, like myself, maintain that passing the BBA would have the unintended consequence of causing a recession in many small states and could cause economic havoc everywhere.

But Congress has already had that debate, and the last time it considered the issue in the 1990s, it failed by one vote in the Senate. Congress, which is at least nominally accountable to voters, and which can restrict a bill to a single issue, is the appropriate place to debate and, if warranted, take action on a balanced budget amendment.

An Article V convention, in contrast, could be hijacked by radical groups like the Convention of States, which advocates for an open convention. ALEC is hedging its bets and supporting both the Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force, a legislative alternative, and the COS.

The COS has passed 12 resolutions about what it wants to come out of a constitutional convention. It has proposed imposing term limits on Congress, mandating a nationwide voter ID, “taking back” America’s education system, and restricting the fiscal powers and jurisdiction of the federal government.

Fritz Pettyjohn, a former Alaska state senator and a leading BBA advocate, was surprisingly candid in an op-ed that was posted on the ALEC website in April. “An Article V Convention could … propose any number of solutions. One would be to dissolve Congress and elect a new one. When you’re the sovereign, you can do that.”

You could constitutionally outlaw abortion, redefine who has the right to vote, institute the gold standard, disband the standing military and do away with all federal public lands while you were at it. Once the white-out and the red pencils come out, only the loudest (i.e. best funded) voices will determine how and where they’re applied.

Whether they realized it or not at the time of the HJR 2 vote, Wyoming lawmakers have made possible the kind of undemocratic power-grabs described by Pettyjohn at an open convention.

“I’m sure there are those that disagree with the effort of acquiring the needed 34 states and their applications for a state’s constitutional convention,” Peterson wrote in an email to WyoFile reporter Andrew Graham. “But … developing the rules that will govern such a convention and ensuring that our state is involved in that planning … is critical as we approach the necessary number.”

No matter how many times Wyoming’s Peterson, Wasserburger, Laursen and other state legislators fly to Phoenix and pass rules against opening up their convention, their efforts are meaningless. There are no rules that could keep a convention from becoming a free-for-all where anything could get passed. If extreme-right groups grab control, the nation is in deep trouble.

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David Super, a Georgetown law professor who has extensively studied the issue, told Graham, “If an actual convention is convened we will see an outpouring of special interest money like this country has never seen.”

The other side doesn’t even contest that view. According to a report in the Center for Media and Democracy’s PRWatch a cocky convention proponent bragged to Democratic Wisconsin state representative Chris Taylor at a 2013 ALEC summit, “You really don’t need people to do this. You just need control over the legislature and you need money, and we have both.”

They certainly do. Republicans control 32 state legislatures and 33 governorships, including 25 where they have majorities in both state legislative chambers and the governorship. That includes red state Wyoming, of course.

The 55 Wyoming legislators who voted for HJR 2 have aligned our state with billionaires who would like to change the U.S. Constitution, and are all too willing to buy those changes — groups like ALEC that connect state lawmakers with businesses that want to be deregulated; and radical ideologues who openly intend to hijack a BBA convention and have their way with the Constitution.

What will our lawmakers do for an encore? How about coming to their senses and changing their minds in 2018?

Kerry Drake

Veteran Wyoming journalist Kerry Drake has covered Wyoming for more than four decades, previously as a reporter and editor for the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle and Casper Star-Tribune. He lives in Cheyenne and...

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  1. Well, well, well Mr. Drake, judging from the multiplicity of professionally funded and out of state responses this article has garnered, I would say you hit the hornets nest full on..

    The onslaught of derogatory snits makes your point – that an army of well funded, career essayists will spring into action to vehemently deny the facts, twist the debate and obfuscate the real beneficiaries of the proposed revisions. Though the talking bots decline to identify their masters, isn’t it rather obvious it won’t be Middle Class America?

    With this early and rather bold showing of their hand, I anticipate the fire fight to come, assisted by foreign agents no doubt, will be quite a conflagration. Only in retrospect will Americans realize that our beloved nation and the values we hold dear have gone up in smoke.

  2. While Mr. Drake’s columns are usually thought-provoking and well-researched, I am deeply disappointed by this one. Mr. Drake has unfortunately let his antipathy toward the balanced budget amendment cloud his judgment. He resorts to fearmongering instead of sound reasoning.

    There are very many things he exaggerates or completely misstates in this column, but I wish to focus on only two:

    First: as other commenters have pointed out, his claim that a convention could “rewrite the Constitution” is simply false. A convention called to propose amendments has very limited power. I believe it can (and would) be limited to the purpose for which it was called (in this case a balanced budget amendment), but even assuming that it did “run away,” its only power is to propose amendments to the Constitution. Notwithstanding the opinion of some former Alaska state senator, a convention could never “abolish Congress.” It could only propose doing so; the abolition would only occur if 38 states ratified that crazy amendment. The chances of that happening are essentially nil.

    Second: Mr. Drake completely overlooks the fact that, if any Wyoming delegate attempted to “run away” at an Article V convention, that delegate would do so at the risk of being imprisoned for five year. Literally. At the same legislative session where HJ 2 (the balanced budget measure) was adopted, the legislature also adopted House Enrolled Act 123, now codified at Wyo. Stat. 9-22-101 et seq. Specifically, 9-22-102 now provides that “No delegate [to an Article V convention] shall have authority to vote to allow consideration of, or to approve, an unauthorized amendment for ratification to the United States constitution.” The term “unauthorized amendment” means “a proposed amendment that is outside the permitted subject matter contained in the article V application or contrary to legislative instructions.” In other words, the Wyoming delegation is required, by law, not to “run away” even if the rest of the convention might try to.

    Just to be sure that this limitation has teeth, 9-22-102 further provides that any vote made in violation of this limitation “shall be null and void” and the delegate shall be immediately replaced by a new delegate. Finally, to add suspenders to that belt, the delegate who illegally voted on a matter other than the purpose for the convention “shall be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than five (5) years, a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00), or both.”

    I think it is highly unlikely that any Article V convention would attempt to “run away,” but even if it did, (a) any crazy amendment proposed would still have to be ratified by 38 states (highly unlikely), and (b) no Wyoming delegate would be running with the convention. That would be a crime.

    There may be many good reasons to oppose the merits of a balanced budget amendment, but resorting to fearmongering based on false or incomplete statements of the law is not persuasive.

  3. A huge, regionalized country like ours is not going to agree on any rewrite of the Constitution, but it will agree to electoral reforms and the destruction of the two-party system. Journalist Kerry is either an operative meant to create fear, or he doesn’t know his subject. Get the facts: foavc.org

  4. You, Mr. Drake, need to read Article V. No where in there does it say the Constitution will be trashed. The Constitution allows for amendments. There have been 27 amendments to the Constitution without chicken littles running around claiming the sky is falling. The Founders knew the document would need amendments and made provisions to do so. When Congress fails to act, the states are duty bound to make things right. If we have to bypass Congress to keep them in line, then do so we must.

    There is a high bar just to PROPOSE ONE AMENDMENT (34 states) let alone ratify it with 38 states.

    STOP SPREADING FAKE NEWS.

    1. An Article V Convention of States would be limited to propose amendments in the following three areas: 1) Amendments that will limit the federal government’s jurisdiction and power, 2) Amendments that will impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, and 3) Amendments that will impose term limits for federal officials (including judges) and Congress.

      Seems to me the real fear is, that the lid to that Pandora’s box would be slammed shut on most of todays unruly behavior of the Federal government.

  5. “It would seem….” You want to throw our Constitution into the wood chipper on THAT?

    Your #1 means nothing. Congress defines an Article V con con:

    “As a rule, the Constitution speaks in general terms, leaving Congress to deal with subsidiary matters of detail as the public interests and changing conditions may require, and Article V is no exception to the rule.”
    — DILLON v. GLOSS, 256 U.S. 368 (1921)

    “And the few cases that have been asked to deal with issues comparable to the one now tendered to this Court have uniformly held questions as to compliance with Article V’s requirements are within the sole province of Congress and not the courts — in the language that has come to characterize such issues, they are political” (that is, nonjusticiable) questions.”
    — United States of America, Plaintiff, v. Wayne Wojtas, Defendant, No. 85 CR 48, United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, 611 F. Supp. 118; 1985 U.S. District. Lexis 19914, May 10, 1985

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vo00q3T6uq4 – Video showing Congress calls and Natelson is wrong

    “Congress, however, has historically interpreted the language authorizing it to “call” an Article V Convention as providing a broad mandate to establish standards and procedures for such an assembly. In its 1984 report on S. 119, 98th Congress, the Senate Judiciary Committee expressed its judgment that … [a]s a necessary incident of its responsibility to “call” the convention, Congress must have the authority to determine that the constitutional preconditions exist for such a convention… The Congress, as well, clearly possesses the authority to set forth the necessary and attendant details of the convention.”
    — Constitutional Convention Implementation Act of 1984, 98th Cong., 2nd sess. S.Rept. 98-594, p. 21.

    You really shouldn’t comment on this area you know nothing about. Over four years of study dedicated to Article V and backed up with references, we know 1787 greatly exceeded their authority, that they admitted it and rationalized it. But, oh it will be different this time? Who will hold them to it, the courts? WRONG, courts won’t touch it:

    “In one particular IT IS ADMITTED THAT THE CONVENTION HAVE [did] DEPARTED FROM THE TENOR OF THEIR COMMISSION. Instead of reporting a plan requiring the confirmation [of the legislatures] of all the states, they have reported a plan which is to be confirmed [by the people,] and may be carried into effect by nine States only.”
    — James Madison Federalist 40 (Emphasis mine)

    “…it is therefore essential that such changes be instituted by some informal and unauthorized propositions….”
    — James Madison Federalist 40

    “The States sent us here to provide for the exigences of the Union. To rely on & propose any plan not adequate to these exigences, merely because it was not clearly within our powers, would be to sacrifice the means to the end.” — Mr. Hamilton, Madison’s Notes, June 18, 1787 “How did the federal Convention meet? From the beginning of time, in any age or country, did ever men meet under so loose, uncurbed a commission? There was nothing to restrain them but their characters and reputation. They could not organize a system without defects. This cannot, then, be perfect.”
    — Mr. Monroe, Virginia Ratifying Convention

    “At first Mason acted hand in hand with delegates who wanted to create a substantially stronger central government. He apparently supported the plan of government the Virginia delegation proposed in the opening days of the Convention, a plan that closely resembled Madison’s pre-Convention ideas and included a congressional veto on state laws. He was ready to tear up the Confederation and start over. When a New York delegate said the Convention had authority only to propose amendments to the Articles of Confederation, Mason answered him: There were, he said, crises when “all the ordinary cautions yielded to public necessity.”
    — Maier, Pauline (2011-06-01). Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788 (p. 42). Simon & Schuster.

    “Does not the thirteenth article of the Confederation expressly require that no alteration shall be made without the unanimous consent of all the states?”
    — Mr. Madison, Debate in Virginia Ratifying Convention, 5-6 June 1788

    “I would make this enquiry about of those worthy characters who composed a part of the late federal convention…I have the highest veneration for those gentlemen; but sir, give me leave to demand, what right had they to say, We the People?…who authorized them to speak the language of We the People instead of We the States?… The people gave them no power to use their name. That they exceeded their power is perfectly clear…The federal convention ought to have amended the old system –for this purpose they were solely delegated. The object of their mission extended to no other considerations.”
    — Patrick Henry – June 4, 1788, Speech at The Virginia Ratifying Convention

    “The States sent us here to provide for the exigencies of the Union. To rely on and propose any plan not adequate to these exigencies, merely because it was not clearly within our powers, would be to sacrifice the means to the end. It may be said, that the States cannot ratify a plan not within the purview of the Article of the Confederation providing for alterations and amendments.”
    — Monday June 18th, 1787, Madison, James (2005-12-01). Journal of the Federal Convention: Volumes 1 & 2 (Kindle Locations 2072-2075). Packard Technologies. Kindle Edition.

    “Upon due consideration of the Constitution under which we now Act, some of us were clearly of opinion that the 13th article of the Confederation precluded us from giving an opinion concerning a plan subversive of the present system and eventually forming a New Confederacy of Nine instead of 13 States….This compromise was settled and they took the opportunity of inserting the word Unanimously, which applied only to simple transmission, hoping to have it mistaken for an Unanimous approbation of the thing”
    — Richard Henry Lee to George Mason, 1 Oct. 1787 Mason Papers 3:996–97

    “The Convention of 1787 was called “for the sole and express purpose of revising the Article of Confederation.”
    — Associate Justice Goldberg

    “General PINCKNEY expressed a doubt whether the act of Congress recommending the Convention, or the commissions of the Deputies to it, would authorize a discussion of a system founded on different principles from the Federal Constitution. Mr. GERRY seemed to entertain the same doubt.”
    — Madison, James (2005-12-01). Journal of the Federal Convention: Volumes 1 & 2 (Kindle Locations 643-645). Packard Technologies. Kindle Edition.

    “On 26 and 27 September Congress debated the manner in which it would send the Constitution to the states. Critics of the Constitution wanted it transmitted to the state legislatures with an indication that the Convention had violated Article XIII of the Articles of Confederation and the congressional resolution of 21 February 1787.”
    — The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution Digital Edition, ed. John P. Kaminski, Gaspare J. Saladino, Richard Leffler, Charles H. Schoenleber and Margaret A. Hogan. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009 NOTE: This was reconstructed from the Journals of Congress, manuscript motions made in Congress, Congressman Melancton Smith’s notes of debates, Richard Henry Lee’s amendments, and the letterbooks of the Secretary of Congress. (This means that the Convention illegally changed the rules required to ratify any changes to the Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union, as well as the original charter from Congress for the Philadelphia Convention.)

    “He was decidedly of opinion that the power of the Convention was restrained to amendments of a Federal nature, and having for their basis the Confederacy in being. The acts of Congress, the tenor of the acts of the States, the commissions produced by the several Deputations, all proved this. And this limitation of the power to an amendment of the Confederacy marked the opinion of the States, that it was unnecessary and improper to go further. He was sure that this was the case with his State. New York would never have concurred in sending Deputies to the Convention, if she had supposed the deliberations were to turn on a consolidation of the States, and a National Government.” — Saturday, 16 June, 1787 in James Madison’s Journal describing the comments of Delegate John Lansing, Jr. from New York, who LEFT the Convention July 10th after realising they exceeded their authority. Source: Madison, James (2005-12-01). Journal of the Federal Convention “We are told that we assume the power, and that we are merely the agents and attorneys, of the people. Sir, we are the delegates of the people, chosen to act in their stead. We have the same power and the same right, within the scope of the business assigned to us, that they would have, were they all convened in this hall.”
    — Benjamin F. Butler, Massachusetts Convention of 1853.

    “THE ASSENT OF THE STATES, IN THEIR SOVEREIGN CAPACITY, IS IMPLIED IN CALLING A CONVENTION, AND THUS SUBMITTING THAT INSTRUMENT TO THE PEOPLE. But the people were at perfect liberty to accept or reject it; and their act was final. It required not the affirmance, and could not be negatived, by the State governments. The constitution, when thus adopted, was of complete obligation, and bound the State sovereignties. “The convention of Virginia had not the shadow of a legal, or constitutional form about it. It derived its existence and authority from a higher source; a power which can supersede all law, and annul the constitution itself — namely, the people, in their sovereign, unlimited, and unlimitable authority and capacity.”
    — McCulloch v. Maryland 4 Wheat. 316 1819

    “Neither the calling of a convention, nor the convention itself is a proceeding under the constitution. It is over and beyond the constitution.”
    — Journal, 69th N. Y. Assembly, p. 919.

    “When a law becomes the instrumental process of amendment, it is not because the legislature possesses any inherent power to change the existing constitution THROUGH A CONVENTION, BUT BECAUSE IT IS THE ONLY MEANS THROUGH WHICH AN AUTHORIZED CONSENT OF THE WHOLE PEOPLE, THE ENTIRE STATE, CAN BE LAWFULLY OBTAINED IN A STATE OF PEACE. … If the legislature, possessing these powers of government, be unwilling to pass a law to take the sense of the people, … the remedy is still in their own hands; they can elect new representatives that will.” (EMPHASIS MINE)
    — Wells v. Bain (1872), 75 Pa. 39, 47-48.

    “During this debate, we were threatened that, if we did not agree to the system proposed, we never should have an opportunity of meeting in convention to deliberate on another; and this was frequently urged. In answer, we called upon them to show what was to prevent it, and from what quarter was our danger to proceed. Was it from a foreign enemy? Our distance from Europe, and the political situation of that country, left us but little to fear. Was there any ambitious state or states, who, in violation of every sacred obligation, was preparing to enslave the other states, and raise itself to consequence on the ruin of the others? Or was there any such ambitious individual? We did not apprehend it to be the case. But suppose it to be true; it rendered it the more necessary that we should sacredly guard against a system which might enable all those ambitious views to be carried into effect, even under the sanction of the Constitution and government. In fine, sir, all [356] these threats were treated with contempt, and they were told that we apprehended but one reason to prevent the states meeting again in convention; that, when they discovered the part this Convention had acted, and how much its members were abusing the trust reposed in them, the states would never trust another convention.”
    — The debates in the several state conventions on the adoption of the federal Constitution, as recommended by the general convention at Philadelphia, in 1787. Together with the Journal of the federal convention, Luther Martin’s letter, Yates’s minutes, Congressional opinions, Virginia and Kentucky resolutions of ‘98-‘99, and other illustrations of the Constitution … 2d ed., with considerable additions. Collected and rev. from contemporary publications, by Jonathan Elliot. Pub. under the sanction of Congress. (1836), 5 vols. http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/1905#Elliot_1314-01_3767

    1. Mr. Meehan:

      There is no such thing as an “Article V constitutional convention.” Those words do not appear anywhere in Article V, or anywhere else in the Constitution.

      What Article V does provide for is a “convention of states to propose amendments.” Thus the precise wording of the Constitution contemplates only *amendments* to the existing constitution; any attempt to consider writing an entirely new Constitution would *on its face* not be authorized by Article V.

      People refer to an “Article V constitutional convention” as a scare tactic to suggest that the entire constitution would be up for grabs. Nothing in Article V even remotely suggests that is possible.

  6. “Constitutional scholar and Harvard Law School Professor Laurence Tribe has succinctly spelled out the possible damage: “What you’re doing is putting the whole Constitution up for grabs.”

    A ridiculous assertion. Any proposed amendments to the US Constitution would still have to be ratified by 38 of the states. Thirty-eight states are not going to vote to illegally toss out the Constitution.

    The Founding Fathers set this up for us–unanimously–during the final two days of the Constitutional Convention, made for a time such as this. As George Washington wrote on November 10, 1787, “I do not think we are more inspired, have more wisdom, or possess more virtue, than those who will come after us. The power under the Constitution will always be in the People.”

    1. Again Carol Menges posts her cut and paste misinformation from COS.

      The 1787 Convention set a precedent that the rules of a convention and ratification can be ignored and changed.

      Article V convention option most certainly was NOT unanimous. Look in a parliamentary procedure text to discover this COS deception. SEVEN votes took place after the Article V vote, one to remove the entire thing and others to change it. AND, George Mason refused to sign the Constitution because he didn’t get what he wanted.

      Article V was not, nor can it, designed to restrain the government. It was designed for when needed amendments for DEFECTS could not be obtained.

      The Convention of States organization has propagated deceptions before. See for example how they reversed the message of Thomas Jefferson in decribing their fake convention: https://www.guardtheconstitution.com/2017/07/06/convention-of-states-falsifies-thomas-jeffersons-advice-2/20530

      When considering COS, take the advice of one of their leading spokespuppets: “…a person or organization that will engage in this kind of deceitful innuendo can’t be trusted to tell the whole truth on anything”
      — Convention of States (Paid?) Spokesperson Sen. Tom Coburn

      “Study both sides of everything, no matter how personally uncomfortable. If someone tells you not to study the other side of your beliefs, that is a huge red flag that means you should do exactly that.”
      — Annonymous

      What did the Founders REALLY tell us to do to capture runaway government?

      “I know no safe depositary of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”
      –Thomas Jefferson to William C. Jarvis, 1820

      “Then it is important to strengthen the state governments: and as this cannot be done by any change in the Federal Constitution, (for the preservation of that is all we need contend for,) it must be done by the states themselves, erecting such barriers at the constitutional line as cannot be surmounted either by themselves or by the general government. The only barrier in their power is a wise government….” (emphasis added)
      — Thomas Jefferson To Archibald Stuart December 23, 1791

      “The disquietude of the people; their repugnance and, perhaps, refusal to co-operate with the officers of the Union; the frowns of the executive magistracy of the State; the embarrassments created by legislative devices, which would often be added on such occasions, would oppose, in any State, difficulties not to be despised; would form, in a large State, very serious impediments; and where the sentiments of several adjoining States happened to be in unison, would present obstructions which the federal government would hardly be willing to encounter….”
      — Federalist 46, Madison

      “The truth is, that this ultimate redress may be more confided in against unconstitutional acts of the federal than of the State legislatures, for this plain reason, that as every such act of the former will be an invasion of the rights of the latter, these will be ever ready to mark the innovation, to sound the alarm to the people, and to exert their local influence in effecting a change of federal representatives.”
      — James Madison in Federalist 44, January 25, 1788

      ”…in the last resort a remedy must be obtained from the people who can, by the election of more faithful representatives, annul the acts of the usurpers.”
      — James Madison in Federalist 44, January 25, 1788

      1. Mr. Meehan is mistaken. Of the 12 states that sent delegates to the 1878 convention in Philadelphia, all 12 voted in favor of the addition of Article V. This is specifically recorded in the record of the Convention.

        There have been over two dozen conventions called by the states, and none of them violated the charter of the call to that convention, and none of them bcame a “runaway” convention as some fake-history claims. The 1878 Philadelphia convention was in fact called by the 1786 Annapolis convention which, after it met in Annapolis to propose changes to the Article of Confederation, decided that the Articles needed wholesale replacement which the Annapolis convention lacked authority to do. Hence the call by the Annapolis convention for a subsequent convention to be held the next summer in Philadelphia, where states were asked to send delegations with expanded authority to replace the Articles. Only two states limited their delegates to the 1787 Philadelphia convention to amendment of the articles. The other states’ delegations were expressly empowered by their state legislatures to replace the Articles in their entirety.

        Don’t just take my word for it… you can read for yourself the text of the commissions passed by the states appointing their delegates (“commissioners”) to the 1787 convention. They are located in the third volume of Max Farrand’s Records of the Federal Convention of 1786 (2d ed. 1937), pp.559-86.

  7. For the full public record regarding an Article V Convention please go to http://www.foavc.org. The author has misstated several facts of public record or twisted them primarily the fact a convention can propose any number of amendments. For that matter so can Congress. However I don’t read about his fear of Congress doing so. This article is simply an example of someone whipping up fear. The author fails to mention for example that Congress is required to call the conventions and the states have already satisfied the constitutional requirement several times. Perhaps then the author should spend his time not creating fear but acting like a patriotic American and suggesting solutions to the problems he raises. Otherwise he’s advocating the Government be able to “deviate” from the Constitution.

    1. AMEN Bill Walker and Paul Adcock!!! Article V Convention of States was added to the Constitution in the final days before it’s signing expressly because the founders knew of the probability that Congress would become corrupt and wouldn’t pass amendments to stop their own corruption!!! They are now the aristocracy the Revolutionary War was fought for to end… breaking their Oath of Office to support and defend the Constitution against All enemies, both foreign and domestic…. proving it by exempting themselves from some of their laws; i.e. ObamaCare.

    2. Bill Walker, how do you keep cutting and pasting the same B.S.? States cancelled numerous applications upon the realization they were passed by fraud. We have never reached 2/3.

  8. An Article V convention is EXACTLY what we need. Congress no longer cares what we think. I think both parties can agree on that. As for the claptrap about it being able to run away, it personally says “for the purpose of proposing amendments”. Since it is establishment that 2/3 of Congress have to agree on an amendment of the same subject matter, it would seem that 2/3 of the states would have to agree on a convention on the same subject matter as well.

    ” Article V doesn’t contain a word about what issues a constitutional convention can cover.”

    1) It doesn’t specify what issues a Congressional amendment can cover either (with some exceptions).

    2.) It does specify limitations. I prohibited an early end to the slave trade and it also currently prohibits changing a state’s equal representation in the Senate without its consent.

    “The COS has passed 12 resolutions about what it wants to come out of a constitutional convention. It has proposed imposing term limits on Congress, mandating a nationwide voter ID, “taking back” America’s education system, and restricting the fiscal powers and jurisdiction of the federal government.”

    The COS movement has applied for 1.) Fiscal restraints on the federal government. 2.) Limits on the terms of office of Congressmen and other federal officials. 3.) Limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government.

    I don’t see anything in there about a national voter ID.

    “I’m sure there are those that disagree with the effort of acquiring the needed 34 states and their applications for a state’s constitutional convention,” Peterson wrote in an email to WyoFile reporter Andrew Graham.

    This is not like a state constitutional convention (like in New York State) where you CAN alter the whole constitution. This can only PROPOSE amendments for the US Constitution. No different than Congressional amendments. They still need 38 states to ratify.