URGENT: COS Con-Con resolution HCR 5008 failed in the House by a 74-48 vote. Although more representatives voted in favor, it failed because it didn’t exceed the 2/3rds majority threshold required under the Kansas Constitution for passage. SCR 1607 and ineffective delegate bill SB 92 could receive floor votes in the Senate, but they too are unlikely to exceed the Kansas Constitution’s 2/3rds majority requirement.
However, Mark Meckler’s Convention of States Project has threatened litigation against the legislature for upholding its own state’s constitution. COS wants to sue the Kansas Legislature to forgo their state’s constitutional requirements in order to easily adopt COS’s federal Con-Con applications. If COS wants to blatantly ignore an explicit provision of the Kansas Constitution, how can we trust it to uphold the U.S. Constitution?
Members of the Kansas Legislature are seeking to pass multiple resolutions making application to Congress to “call a Convention for proposing Amendments,” under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, otherwise known as a federal constitutional convention (Con-Con) or “convention of states,” as some erroneously refer to it.
Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 1607 (SCR 1607) follows the wording of Mark Meckler’s Convention of States (COS) 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 officials of the federal government and members of the Congress of the United States.” (HCR 5008, another COS resolution, had been introduced, but thankfully, it failed to reach the two-thirds majority threshold to pass in a vote on March 22.)
Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 1609 (SCR 1609) 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 of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.” (HCR 5005, also for term limits, had been introduced, but thankfully, it failed to reach the two-thirds majority threshold to pass in a vote on March 8.)
Additionally, Senate Bill No. 92 (SB 92) has been introduced. It seeks to regulate the conduct of delegates to prevent a runaway convention. SB 92 would be completely useless at preventing a runaway convention — for example, it doesn’t regulate delegates from other states, and it doesn’t prevent delegates from proposing an entirely new constitution (in the 1787 Convention, states also attempted to limit delegates’ authority). The bill would merely create a false sense of security that a convention will not get out of control.
Changing the Legislative Rules
Convention of States (COS) and other supporters of an Article V constitutional convention sought to change the Kansas Legislature’s rules to require a simple majority to approve resolutions applying for a Con-Con — even though Article 2, Section 13, of the Kansas Constitution explicitly requires a two-thirds vote for such resolutions.
At the beginning of the session, the Kansas Legislature removed the two-thirds requirement from the legislative rules. This will invite a lawsuit, in which COS will try to strike down that portion of the Kansas Constitution using leftist judicial-activist reasoning.
If COS wants to blatantly ignore an explicit provision of the Kansas Constitution, how can we trust it to uphold the U.S. Constitution?
Dangers of a Con-Con
SB 92 claims it is “limited to” congressional term limits. However, any Article V 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. 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, by contrast, have failed to rein in the executive branch.
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 State Legislature 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 HCR 5008, SCR 1607, SCR 1609, SB 92, 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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