By: Larry Greenley
Ever since the early 1980s when 32 out of the necessary 34 states (two-thirds) had petitioned Congress to call a constitutional convention (con-con) for the purpose of proposing a balanced budget amendment (BBA) to the Constitution, no other movement has come close to getting 34 states to issue a call for a con-con for the same specific purpose. In fact nearly 20 states have gone on to pass resolutions rescinding all of their previous con-con calls.
Now in 2013 a much more complex approach to calling a con-con for the purpose of proposing a BBA to the Constitution has been announced by the Compact for America Initiative. Read “How the Compact for America Threatens the Constitution,” an article from the January 21, 2013 issue of The New American, to learn more.
The new Compact for America (CFA) Initiative has an ambitious plan for getting 38 states to pass their legislation this year in time for holding a constitutional convention in Dallas on July 4, 2013. As of February 6, CFA reported that CFA bills have been drafted or introduced in four states: Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, and New Mexico. They also reported that the following seven states are getting close to introducing a CFA bill: Idaho, Kansas, Maryland, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Texas, and Virginia. Even if your state is not in this list, chances are good that you’ll have a CFA bill introduced in your state sometime soon.
The basic argument against convening an Article V constitutional convention is that based on the right of the sovereign People in convention to alter their government whenever it fails to secure our rights (as proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence), an Article V constitutional convention could not be limited as to what amendments might be proposed, and therefore could lead to the proposal and ratification of dangerous alterations to the Constitution. The Article V requirement that three-fourths of the states must ratify any new amendment would not necessarily protect us from harmful amendments because, just as our original Constitutional Convention did in 1787, any new constitutional convention could prescribe an entirely new ratification procedure, such as holding a national referendum.
View a video of Harvard Profressor Laurence Tribe’s 15-minute speech at the Harvard Conference on the Constitutional Convention on September 24, 2011, where he provides a whole list of reasons to avoid calling an Article V constitutional convention.
You can find additional information about the current status of the JBS action project to defeat any state or federal legislation to bring about a constitutional convention at “Choose Freedom — STOP A CON-CON” on JBS.org.
If you agree with us that holding a constitutional convention would pose an unacceptably high risk of damage to the Constitution, please send an email to your state legislators in opposition to the Compact for America and any other con-con bill as well.