Members of the Georgia General Assembly are seeking to pass a resolution applying to Congress to “call a Convention for proposing Amendments,” under Article V of the Constitution, otherwise known as a constitutional convention (Con-Con) or “convention of the states,” as some erroneously refer to it.
House Resolution 257 (HR 257) has been introduced. It urges Congress to call a convention to propose a constitutional amendment “to set a limit on the number of terms that a person may be elected as a member of the [U.S. House and Senate].”
HR 257 claims it is “for the sole and express purpose” of congressional term limits. However, any convention, no matter how well intentioned, 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.
Furthermore, term limits would do nothing to limit the federal government or improve our representation in Congress. For example, they would throw out the best congressmen along with the worst. Furthermore, term limits ignore the most serious problems our nation faces, including fiscally-irresponsible policies and lack of adherence to the Constitution. In fact, we already have term limits — elections — while formal term limits on the U.S. president or in legislatures such as California, by contrast, have failed to rein in the executive branch of the federal government or the legislative branch of out-of-control state governments, respectively.
And in 2018, Congressman Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) tweeted:
I don’t support a COS. If my colleagues won’t follow the present constitution, why would they follow a new one?
In another tweet on December 30, 2022, Massie correctly noted that:
Repeal of the [16th and 17th amendments and the Federal Reserve Act] would obviate any need or want for a term limit amendment and a balanced budget amendment.
The document our founders gave us was genius, and we tamper with it at our own peril.
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.”
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 HR 257, 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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