A movement to call a constitutional convention and tweak America’s founding document in order to limit the federal government appears to be gaining momentum among conservatives.
Approximately 100 legislators from a total of 32 states recently converged at George Washington’s home in Mount Vernon, Virginia, to debate the possibility of calling a convention of the states.
Article V of the US Constitution details the process state lawmakers could utilize in order to vote on amendment additions to the document drafted by our Founding Fathers. No constitutional amendment has ever been added via a convention of states – yet.
The possibility of such an endeavor has both fervent supporters and opponents among conservatives and libertarians. According to Article V, two-thirds (34) of state legislatures must approve an application for a convention to occur before the gathering has any official power. Proposed amendment would then require the ratification of three-fourths of the states.
The Virginia gathering was organized by Wisconsin State Representative Chris Kapenga and Indiana State Senator David Long.
Some of the topics discussed at the Mount Vernon convention of states included placing specific limits on federal taxation and enacting term limits on elected officials.
States are not used to working toward a common goal. With the focus solely on defining how a convention of states, including an Article V Convention for Proposing Amendments would function, we are learning how to work together. It is clear the Founders left this responsibility to the states …. As you know, those powers not enumerated are left to the states under the Tenth Amendment.
A post at The Foundry, a division of the Heritage Network, cautioned Americans to remember that there is no “silver bullet” or simple fix to all of the problems facing the United States today.
An excerpt from The Foundry report reads:
In the course of our work advising state and federal lawmakers and conservative allies across the country, we have been giving this issue close attention and study. Stemming from that analysis, and taking into consideration the circumstances under which we are now operating, we have come to the conclusion that an Article V convention is not the answer to our problems. The lack of precedent, extensive unknowns, and considerable risks of an Article V amendments convention should bring sober pause to advocates of legitimate constitutional reform contemplating this avenue.
The United States of America was founded on states’ rights, a concept which many feel has diminished over the past several decades.
One risk of calling a constitutional convention involves left-leaning states also having the opportunity to tweak the document.
Joe Wolverton II, of the John Birch Society, addressed the factors involved with restoring a balance of power between the federal government and the states in an article published by The New American. Wolverton said:
The prospect of a convention endowed with power of this magnitude, populated by politicians (many of whom would likely be bought and paid for by powerful lobbyists and special interest groups) determined to recalibrate the precision gears that give movement to works of our mighty Republic, is frightening and should give pause to everyone considering supporting the Mt. Vernon Assembly 2013 or any subsequent call for an Article V convention.
Despite criticism over the convention of states approach by some, legislators from South Carolina, Virginia and Florida have “pre-filed” the required application to Congress asking that a convention be called. The mere act of filling out the necessary forms at least indicates that the Mount Vernon meeting was not a fluke or that it involved only fringe elements from a single political party. If more states follow suit, the conventions will surely be taken more seriously by supporters and detractors alike.
How do you feel about the convention of states?