DeWeese: The Key Word In Opposing a Con Con

deweese_tThe call for a new Constitutional Convention (Con Con), particularly from Conservative circles, is starting to grow at an alarming rate. Several Conservative organizations, particularly the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Goldwater Institute (among others) are telling Conservative state legislators that they can call for a Con Con and control the subject and the outcome of such an event.

That is simply not true. The reason: “Precedent.” There has been only one Con Con in U.S. history. That was in 1787. Delegates to this gathering (not originally planned as a Con Con) were given specific instructions by their states and a very strongly worded resolution by Congress limiting the meeting to the “sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation.” Those instructions were completely ignored. As soon as the delegates arrived in Philadelphia, the doors were closed and the meeting was kept secret until finally they were opened to announce a complete new Constitution. That is a Precedent!

Second, the Articles of Confederation specifically called for 100% support from the states before any changes could be made to it. Obviously a new Constitution qualifies as a change! But ratification of the new Constitution operated under the yet un- ratified Article VII of the new Constitution, which called for a vote of approval of just three fourths of the states. That is a Precedent!

Further, there is nothing in Article V to give instructions on how to organize a Con Con after the required number of states call for it and Congress agrees to comply. There is nothing to tell us who the delegates should be, where they should come from, what their qualifications should be, or what rules they need to follow. The fact is, once Congress calls for the Con Con, and the delegates are chosen, that Con Con body becomes the most powerful force in the nation. Congress has no control over what they do, or how they do it. And the Precedents say they can do anything, including writing a new Constitution — and that new Constitution can be voted into power anyway the delegates decide.

Those pushing for a new Constitutional Convention are deluded if they think they can dictate what issues are to be debated. Many proponents of the Con Con are smugly telling legislators in the many states that there is no danger of bad things happening because the states must ratify what they do. The Precedent says otherwise. It says the delegates can decide how a new constitution is ratified. Moreover, may I point out that just last year, 75% of the American people opposed Obamacare, but Congress passed it anyway. Do we really want to put our precious Constitution on an operating table so those who think like Obama, Reid, and Pelosi can operate on it to their own satisfaction? That is exactly what we are doing if we allow a Con Con to be called.

We were lucky in 1787. Our young nation had some incredible leaders who, while breaking the rules, gave us a great governing document. However, in today’s political atmosphere, where the prevailing attitude by government leaders is that the Constitution stands in their way of enforcing massive government control over our lives and our fortunes, do we really want to gamble that a Con Con will improve things rather than destroy the greatest governing document in history? I fully believe the timing is all wrong for such a possibility and, for these reasons, will do everything I can to stop all calls in every state for a Con Con.

April 3, 2013

© Tom DeWeese, 2013

~ The Author ~
deweese_tThomas A. DeWeese is the President of the American Policy Center and the Editor of The DeWeese Report. The DeWeese Report is now available online, for more information click here.

3 thoughts on “DeWeese: The Key Word In Opposing a Con Con

  1. Osh

    ..yeah. I was taught this Con-Con stuff in the fourth, and eleventh grades, in the fifties, when we still had schools that were trying to turn out educated citizens. You’d be surprised at the folks that mistakenly think a Con-Con will solve all this crap socialism has brought forth. Once the hammer falls, and the thing is brought into session, any supposed agenda to rule the meeting is tossed right out the window. And with the closing of the session, also comes the end of any possibility of bringing this mess to a peaceful end.

  2. ByGosh

    Why could not each State legislature choose delegates to a con-con from amongst themselves…or the registered Electors of a State choose from among a list of candidates of their choosing? What’s so hard about that? Don’t we know how to do elections in this country?

    I can think of at least three of our State’s legislators who would be great choices for a Con-Con who are pretty strict constitutionalists.

  3. Craig Tarter

    The problem we have in our “government” is, they have the power to do the things they want, not the right. Their power is not derived by the consent of the people, it’s by the ignorance of them. Most laws written are not worth the paper ruined by having them written on it. How many interpretations are there for “shall not be infringed”. It seems to me that the “Declaration of Independence” mandates the overthrow of such a debacle as the one ruining this country now. Is not the 16th amendment an abrogation of the constitution itself? Complacency & taking the “news” at face value is suicide. These “representitives” deserve to be hung for treason(Clinton), theft(IRS), murder(Waco), embezzlement(Solyndra) and unlawfully restricting(animal rights laws)its citizenry’s, now its “subjects” from the persuit of their own happiness. The mere sight of this dreadful organism, the “president” makes my blood boil, & when I hear its voice I become unhinged. The only thing that keeps me from taking action is my own lack of resources and the realization that whatever happens in the future is ancient history to God. Like Sarah Palin said, “I want to be on God’s side; being on my side is of no consequence”. Something to that effect, anyway.


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