Members of the Vermont General Assembly are seeking to pass resolutions applying to Congress to call a convention to propose amendments, under Article V of the Constitution, otherwise known as a constitutional convention (Con-Con).
Joint House Resolution 1 (J.R.H. 1) follows the wording of Mark Meckler’s Convention of States (COS) Action/Project application, urging Congress to call a convention to propose amendments “that impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of office for its officials and for members of Congress.”
This vaguely-worded resolution claims to seek a “limited” convention. In reality, any convention could lead to a runaway convention that would reverse many of the Constitution’s limitations on government power and interference. In other words, a Con-Con could accomplish the same goals that many of its advocates claim to be fighting against. As evidence, a 2016 Convention of States (COS) controlled simulation resulted in amendments massively increasing the federal government and expanding its spending powers.
The late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia understood the danger of a constitutional convention. While he voiced support for one at a 1979 event, the justice had reversed his opinion by 2014 due to the uncertainty of what could come out of it. In 2015, Scalia reiterated his opposition to an Article V convention, stating “this is not a good century to write a constitution.” Furthermore, what kind of delegates would Illinois send to such a convention?
Show me a single state where Constitutionalists comprise a majority of the state legislature.
At this point in history, an Article V Convention of the States would be a disaster.
An Article V constitutional convention is unnecessary to protect individual liberty and limit the size and scope of government. If anything, a constitutional convention would more than likely undermine those protections and increase the size and scope of the federal government rather than impose any meaningful limitations on its jurisdiction, as the resolution purportedly seeks to accomplish. The massive expansion of government and growing infringements on our liberties are not because of “problems” or “flaws” with the Constitution, but rather due to misinterpretation, wrongful application, or lack of enforcement altogether. If applied faithfully and accurately, in accordance with its original meaning, at least 80 percent of the federal government’s programs would likely be found unconstitutional. This fact negates any reason for convening an Article V convention today. The correct solution is constitutional enforcement, not a constitutional convention.
Rather than passing Article V convention applications, which risk a runaway convention threatening our God-given rights and individual liberty, the General Assembly should consider Article VI and nullify unconstitutional laws.
Furthermore, state lawmakers should also consider rescinding any and all previously passed Article V convention applications to Congress, regardless of the desired amendment(s). Passing rescission resolutions will help prevent aggregating past Article V convention applications with those from other states to force Congress to call a convention.
Above all, urge your state representative and senator to oppose J.R.H. 1 and all other pro-Article V convention resolutions and to instead consider nullification as a safe and constitutional means to limit government.
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