Some things, such as Senate Joint Resolution 18 and Senate Bills 224 and 225, just aren’t worthy of your trust. A constitutional convention is like an iceberg. A berth on the Titanic would be far less tragic than to give birth to a United States Constitutional Convention.
It will be very difficult to sell a rewrite of the Constitution to the American people, who have deep-seated reverence for our Constitution, and it is rather difficult to amend the constitutional way. The normal amendment process, used for all 26 existing amendments, requires passage by two-thirds of each house of Congress and ratification by 38 state legislatures.
The other amendment procedure prescribed in Article V, has never before been used successfully. The process requires 34 states calling for a Constitutional Convention. In 1987, 32 states passed resolutions calling for a constitutional convention to consider a balanced budget amendment. If two more states had done likewise, Article V would have required Congress to call such a constitutional convention.
At that point, the United States Constitution would be up for grabs and open to any and all changes. We can assume there are those ready and waiting with their packages, containing their goals, of restructuring the American government under Article V of the Constitution.
The Constitution, which apparently not many of our elected officials have bothered to read, is the supreme law of the land. It does not make suggestions. It commands. It is written in clear English. It has provisions to amend it, but it should never be amended by interpretation. There is ample authority. It does not need to be statutory, because it is constitutional authority. Article 6 requires all state officeholders to be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; this duty to support is affirmative.
If the state legislators involved were sincere in reinstating states rights under the Constitution, they would merely invoke the current 10th Amendment sovereignty resolution they passed in 1995: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively or to the people. The states should refuse to obey mandates issued by the federal government that are out of bounds with the 10th Amendment.
The problem is when the states take federal money, they take federal control. So wrote Justice Sandra Day O’ Connor in New York vs. the United States. According to this case, the states in their sovereign capacities are no longer agencies of the federal government; the shoe is on the other foot. The states are the principals, and the federal government is the agent of the states.
We need to keep abreast of this calling for a constitutional convention. The legislators must get involved by picking up our present, unique Constitution, and starting to use it again to make sure that the states and the people’s freedom’s are fully protected by keeping the Constitution’s doors locked. I am convinced we would all be pleasantly astonished at the results.
PAUL F. DOUBLE