We don’t need an Article V convention to “clarify” our Constitution!

By Publius Huldah
September 9, 2014
http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/huldah/140909

Those pushing for the so-called “convention of states” 1 say we must amend the Constitution because the people in Washington “don’t understand it.”

Rubbish!

Our Constitution is so simple that Alexander Hamilton expected us to be “enlightened enough to distinguish between a legal exercise and an illegal usurpation of authority”; and he said the people are “the natural guardians of the Constitution” (Federalist No. 16, next to last para).

Well then, if our Constitution is something The People are expected to know and enforce; is it plausible to assert that the Representatives we send to Washington – and even supreme Court Justices – are incapable of understanding it?

Justices on the supreme Court have been perverting our Constitution for a long time. Do they do this because they are so stupid they don’t understand our Constitution? Of course not! They violate our Constitution because they claim the right to impose their own personal views on the rest of us.

As every American over the age of 10 should know, the powers our federal Constitution delegates to Congress and the President are limited & defined – they are “enumerated.”

So! Progressives on the supreme Court had to find a way to get around the limitations imposed by the enumerated powers. And they did it by perverting three clauses: the “interstate commerce,” “general welfare,” and “necessary and proper” clauses.

However, a quick look in The Federalist Papers shows the original intents of these clauses. We don’t need a convention to draft amendments showing what these clauses mean – just look it up in The Federalist! But! You don’t have to – I’ve already done it – and here it is: 2

The “interstate commerce” clause (Art. I, §8, cl. 3)

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary says “commerce” is the buying and selling of goods.

In Federalist No. 22 (4th para) and Federalist No. 42 (9th & 10th paras), Hamilton and Madison explain the primary purpose of the clause: To prohibit the States from imposing taxes & tolls on merchandize as it is transported through the States for purposes of buying and selling.

The “general welfare” clause (Preamble & Art. I, §8, cl. 1)

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines “welfare” as:

      “2. Exemption from any unusual evil or calamity; the enjoyment of peace and prosperity, or the ordinary blessings of society and civil government; applied to states.”

 

It has nothing to do with handouts, public relief, or the feds doing whatever they think is a good idea.

In Federalist No. 41 (last 4 paras), Madison points out that Art. I, § 8, employs “general terms” which are “immediately” followed by the “enumeration of particular powers” which “explain and qualify,” by a “recital of particulars,” the “general phrase.” It is “error” to focus on “general expressions” and disregard “the specifications which ascertain and limit their import”; thus, to argue that the general expression provides an unlimited power is “an absurdity.”

So yes! The powers of Congress over the Country at Large really are limited primarily to those few listed at Art. I, §8, clauses 3-16.

Our Framers understood that “general Welfare,” i.e., the enjoyment of peace and prosperity, and the enjoyment of the ordinary blessings of society and civil government, was possible only with a federal government of strictly limited powers. [Let that sink in.]

The “necessary and proper” clause (Art. I, §8, last clause)

This clause delegates to Congress power to pass all laws necessary and proper to execute its declared powers (Federalist No. 29, 4th para); “the constitutional operation of the intended government would be precisely the same if [this clause] were entirely obliterated as if [it] were repeated in every article”; a power to do something must be a power to pass all laws necessary and proper for the execution of that power, and thus the clause is “perfectly harmless,” a “tautology or redundancy” (Federalist No. 33, 2nd & 3rd paras). Madison writes to the same effect in (Federalist No. 44, under his discussion of the SIXTH class of powers).

So the clause permits the execution of powers already delegated and enumerated in the Constitution. No additional substantive powers are granted by the clause.

Learn the enumerated powers delegated to Congress & to the President. With our Votes & Nullification of unconstitutional acts, let’s enforce the Constitution we already have. Don’t let others change or replace it! PH

Endnotes:

1 The term, “convention of states,” is deliberately deceptive. The only convention for proposing amendments is the one at Article V of our Constitution – and Congress has the power to “call” it. And since Article I, Sec. 8, last clause, vests in Congress all powers “necessary and proper” to carry out its power to “call” the convention, Congress decides all organizational issues, such as, the number and selection process for delegates.

But once the delegates (whoever they turn out to be) are seated, neither Congress nor the States have any control over them. The delegates can do whatever they want. They can propose a new Constitution with a new method of ratification. Here are two Constitutions already waiting in the wings: The “Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America,” which you can read about from their own website HERE and from JBS HERE; or the “Constitution for the Newstates of America,” which you can read HERE. Do you think that any of the delegates (remember, you have no idea who they will be), can be bribed to introduce and vote for one of these proposed constitutions?

Disabuse yourself of the false notion that “the States have to ratify anything the convention does.” That is the second biggest lie ever told: The proposed “Constitution for the Newstates of America” is ratified by a Referendum called by the President. The States, as political bodies, never get the opportunity to reject it – they are dissolved and replaced by regions answerable directly to the new national government.

The ONLY precedent we have for an “amendments convention” is the federal convention of 1787 which drafted & proposed our existing Constitution.

HERE is the Resolution, made by the Continental Congress on February 21, 1787 (p 71-74), to call a convention to be held at Philadelphia:

      “…for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation.”

The delegates ignored their instructions and wrote an entirely new Constitution – the one we now have. Furthermore, whereas Article XIII of the Articles of Confederation (LINK) required all of the then 13 States to ratify Amendments to the Articles; Article VII of the new Constitution required only 9 of the 13 States to ratify the new Constitution.

Do you see?

2 Our People don’t have a clue about what these 3 clauses mean. So YOU learn the original intent. On social media, start teaching that original intent to The People. Help turn on the lights in their minds. PH

© Publius Huldah

About Publius Huldah

Lawyer, philosopher & logician. Strict constructionist of the U.S. Constitution. Passionate about The Federalist Papers (Alexander Hamilton, James Madison & John Jay), restoring constitutional government, The Bible, the writings of Ayn Rand, & the following: There is no such thing as Jew & Greek, slave & freeman, male & female, black person & white person; for we are all one person in Christ Jesus. She also writes legal and Constitutional commentary at her site: Publius-Huldah

PDF: http://freedomoutpost.com/2014/09/dont-need-article-v-convention-clarify-constitution/

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About arnash

“When you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.” - Mark Twain - Politicians and diapers - change 'em often, for the same reason. "Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other." Ronald Reagan "Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views." William F. Buckley, Jr. “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.” - Bertrand Russell The people are the masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert it. Abraham Lincoln “Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” - George Orwell “Satan will use a lake of truth to hide a pint of poison”.
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10 Responses to We don’t need an Article V convention to “clarify” our Constitution!

  1. arnash says:

    joepotato
    The US Supreme Court over the years has green-lighted abuses by Fedzilla who was never designed to be so big and HONGRY…. but we are here now and faced with a monstrosity that is so far out of control, and a population consisting of at least 1/2 zombies that are clueless as to the deceit and manipulation that is controlling their very thought patterns… Propaganda works, that’s why they do it… The USA is set up for an economic implosion that will make the great depression look like a church picnic…. Stay well my fellow infidels, this could get rather ugly in the short term….

    Ever since the Feral Reserve Bank and Income Extortion Tax was illegally implemented the USA has been on the road to perdition… The current crop of parasitic weasels aka congress have no inclination to fix anything and the clock is running out… The smart people have predicted the obvious outcome and I have no counter argument… and I hate to be the eternal pessimist, but we seem to be re-enacting the ancient Roman playbook…

  2. arnash says:

    The Blue Tail Gadfly wrote:

    At the Virginia Ratifying Convention in 1788, James Madison declared:

    “I go on this great republican principle, that the people will have virtue and intelligence to select men of virtue and wisdom. Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks — no form of government can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea, if there be sufficient virtue and intelligence in the community, it will be exercised in the selection of these men. So that we do not depend on
    their virtue, or put confidence in our rulers, but in the people who are to choose them.”

    The Article V Convention aka Con Con advocates continually ignore that great republican principle and instead scapegoat the politicians as the problem. Corrupt politicians are merely one of the symptoms of an ailing nation. It’s not rational to risk losing the Constitution on a solution that does not cure the sickness itself.

    In fact, their solution does nothing positive at all. It not only consumes their time, money, and resources but their opponents as well that could otherwise go to better causes. In reality, all this talk about a Con Con amounts to “feel good” legislation for those who have been duped into supporting it. And as we all should know by now, “feel good” legislation always turns around to bite us on the ass.

    I submit that if ‘We the People’ let ourselves become willing instruments in bringing forth an Article V Convention, aka a Constitutional Convention, it will be to our own demise. I would rather fight for liberty with a constitution that supports me rather than against one which declares me the criminal.

  3. arnash says:

    EagleDoc reply to The Blue Tail Gadfly

    Why not a single, simple Amendment that supports, reinforces and reiterates the original rights we were guaranteed which have been so blasphemed of recent years? http://www.usconstitutionalcon… As Yoda would say, “Fear not, do!”

    The Blue Tail Gadfly reply to EagleDoc

    Are you seriously trying to suggest that the politicians and judges are so ignorant that they don’t know the law and need it spelled out for them in a new amendment?

    If so, then I suggest we pass a second amendment that supports, reinforces, and reiterates 2+2=4. Along with many more amendments to reiterate self-evident truths.

    Your side keeps discounting the fact that ‘We the People’ on both sides of the aisle have continually elected those incompetent and corrupt politicians to represent us at all levels of government (local, state, and federal). What does that say about, ‘We the People’?

    I have never seen where COS addresses that elephant in the room. Will people’s voting rights be revoked? A Convention does nothing to fix the problem of ignorant voters who keep electing corrupt politicians that will ignore your new amendments as well.

    All We have to do is stop electing scoundrels who don’t obey the Constitution. If We can’t even do that, no law can protect us from ourselves and we are living in James Madison’s “wretched situation”. Even if a convention went flawlessly and fixed any flaws there is to be found with the US Constitution, it still wouldn’t stop our decline.

    “Nothing is more certain than that a general profligacy and corruption of manners make a people ripe for destruction. A good form of government may hold the rotten materials together for some time, but beyond a certain pitch, even the best constitution will be ineffectual, and slavery must ensue.”
    ~John Witherspoon

    Like I said before, a Convention amounts to feel good legislation that does more harm than good. You should be more concerned with the fact that the US will be bankrupt long before anything becomes of a Constitutional Convention for one amendment.

    ~BTG

    “When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers, “just men who will rule in the fear of God.” The preservation of [our] government depends on the faithful discharge of this Duty; if the citizens neglect their Duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made, not for the public good so much as for selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the Laws; the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy
    men; and the rights of the citizen will be violated or disregarded. If government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the Divine Commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the Laws.” ~Noah Webster, History of United States

  4. arnash says:

    The Blue Tail Gadfly

    Instead of enforcing the existing Constitution, pro Con Con groups want to create more laws as the solution.

    It should be noted that the Democrats work under the same principle; create a crisis by not enforcing the laws, then advocate for more oppressive laws, e.g. gun laws.

    “Machiavel, discoursing on these matters, finds virtue to be so
    essentially necessary to the establishment and preservation of liberty,
    that he thinks it impossible for a corrupted people to set up a good
    government, or for a tyranny to be introduced if they be virtuous; and
    makes this conclusion, ‘That where the matter (that is, the body of the
    people) is not corrupted, tumults and disorders do not hurt; and where
    it is corrupted, good laws do no good:’ which being confirmed by reason
    and experience, I think no wise man has ever contradicted him.”
    ~Algernon Sydney, Discourses Concerning Government

    No wise man has ever contradicted him… yet the COS argument does just that.

  5. arnash says:

    CaMaven
    Excellent article. So much for Mark Levin and George Soros, who seem to be on the same side on this issue.

    Here’s more http://citizensjournal.us/pros-and-cons-of-constitutional-conventions

    Here’s what Soros seems to want: http://www.sweetliberty.org/issues/concon/newstates.htm

    MikefromNC CaMaven

    Soros and Levin are polar opposites on probably everything, but certainly on this issue. I’m sure Soros and other lefties would love to modify the Constitution to their purposes. The same Article V being discussed here is available to them. But what is NOT available is to hijack a convention called for reducing the size, power and jurisdiction of the federal government and instead use that to increase the power of same.

  6. arnash says:

    MikefromNC Steven

    True. Article v does not explicitly say how delegates are selected. So how do we know how that process would look? Allow me to make an analogy.
    Where in the Sixth Amendment do we find the idea of “presumption of innocence”?
    How about the requirement for a unanimous verdict?
    Where does it talk about “proof beyond a reasonable doubt”?
    Answer – None of these basic and unquestioned Constitutional guarantees are even mentioned. So are we to therefore assume they don’t really exist?
    Of course not. These are bedrock principals of our legal system. We accept them because we know what the Founders meant when they talked about a jury trial. In the same manner, we know what they meant when they talked about a convention, and the rules and procedures associated with it. They were not operating in a vacuum when they wrote the Constitution, including Article V.
    Don’t get mad and defensive. Just think about it logically. I have little doubt you view the Founders as wise visionaries. Give them that credit.

  7. arnash says:

    DSC(USNRet)

    I refer you to the history of conventions at the founding. Who chose the delegates to the convention of 1787? Congress’ role is ministerial. In Federalist 85, Hamilton explained “The words of this article [Art V] are preemptory. The Congress ‘shall call a convention.’ Nothing in this particular is left to the discretion of that body. And of consequence, all the declamation about the disinclination to change vanishes in air.” Therefore other than recording the application of 2/3 of states, Congress has no role.

    MikefromNC Steven
    Congress did NOT call the 1787 convention. Hence, they did not choose the delegates nor did they instruct the delegates. The “runaway convention” argument is simply not based on the history of the Constitutional Convention. In addition, an Article V convention is a product OF the Constitution, and as such is subject to it. It IS limited to proposing amendments which would then require ratification. Just like the existing 27 Amendments.

  8. arnash says:

    Steven — MikefromNC

    The Continental Congress called for the Annapolis Convention. Because ONLY 5 states sent delegates to that convention, they could not fulfill the function for which the convention was called. For that reason, they set another date and location, and requested the remaining states appoint delegates to what was, in essence the SAME convention called by the Continental Congress.
    Your reference to Federalist 40 actually proves MY point. The convention was EXPECTED to take action that SPECIFICALLY violated the amendment provisions in the Articles of Confederation. ANY such convention NECESSARILY draws its authority NOT by the power that nominally convenes the convention, but from the RIGHT of the people to alter or abolish the form of government. ANY amendment to the Constitution, by its very nature, alters the form of government in some way. NO body whose SOLE purpose is to alter the form of government can reasonable be expected to abide by the limits of the existing structure it is charged with altering.
    Note: The Articles of Confederation required all amendments to be ratified by ALL states to become effective. That method was REPLACED in the Constitution produced by the convention. you have yet ot provide ANY rational argument that EXACTLY the same thing would not happen in any new convention. ALL of your arguments boil down to the EXACT same limits that were ignored by the 1787 convention would be obeyed by a new convention. Absent ANY evidence, such a contention is ABSURD.

    MikefromNC — Steven

    Yes, the word “call” meant to name the place and time. Period.

    Why would the Founders write an alternative method of amending the Constitution, specifically to address an over reaching federal government, and then put that same federal government in charge of it? The whole premise of that is absurd.

  9. arnash says:

    Serenabit • 15 days ago

    The Convention of States project seeks to limit the scope, power, and jurisdiction of the Federal Government. To put it simply, COS intends to exercise one of the Constitutional tools that our Founders put into place as part of the checks and balances of power when they designed our Constitutional Republic.

    Some misinformed groups or individuals erroneously refer to Convention of States as a “Constitutional Convention” or a “Con-Con.” Nothing could be further from the truth, in that the Constitution does not authorize a “Constitutional Convention,” but instead I believe it morally compels the legislators of the several States to exercise their duties under Article V to amend the Constitution in order that the government may better be representative of the people.

    John Adams in 1788, just 8 years after completing the Massachusetts Constitution as its principle author, counted eight explicit balancing mechanisms in the new Constitution of the United States. He proudly proclaimed them as evidence of the Constitution’s republican virtue. These instances of government branches checking one another were as follows: (1) the states v. the central government, (2) the House v. the Senate, (3) the president v. Congress, (4) the courts v. Congress, (5) the Senate v. the president (with regard to appointments and treaties), (6) the people v. their representatives, (7) the state legislatures v. the Senate (in the original election of senators prior to the 17th Amendment), and (8) the Electoral College v. the people.

    Today we can look back upon this list of balances and see that most no longer apply. From the passage of the 17th Amendment, to the various powers shifting from the States, and many flawed court decisions, virtually every one of these protections have been diluted. As a result, our central government has predictably grown out of control.

    Article V of the Constitution empowers those State Assemblymen and Senators in every State Capital to rebalance that power; and while doing so are more accountable to you and I. They live in our neighborhoods, work in our cities and rural communities. These are the politicians that are truly accountable to “We the People,” and our Founder’s knew that one day they may be called upon to right a central government that has gone astray.

    Some argue for example, that the State of Nevada “needs” the Federal Government. That over 25% of our State’s revenue comes from the Federal government. In light of this should we not ask how much revenue that State would receive if the federal government only owned as much land in Nevada as it does in Texas? Over 84% of Nevada’s land is owned and controlled by the federal government. Less than 2% of Texas’ land has those same restraints.* The federal government doesn’t pay property tax, but instead just as in so many other areas like our schools, they impose unfunded mandates which adversely affect the people and communities that live on or near these lands. Should Nevada be allowed to sell or lease these properties their state revenue would be substantially higher, and the new jobs and businesses that are built upon these lands would increase the standards of living for all Nevadans.

    The John Birch Society and Eagle Forum argue that we should just stick to the original Constitution, but there are currently two Constitutions in play. The Constitution as written by the Founders, and the Constitution that is interpreted by the Supreme Court. We all have read and are familiar with the Constitution as it was written, but the Constitution as interpreted by the courts has led to bad decisions like Dred Scott and several others. The fact is that most of the Amendments written in the past hundred years have been interpreted pretty close to the people’s intent upon passage. Prohibition, the repeal of Prohibition, the right for 18 year olds to vote, these have all been clearly written and are not really up for interpretation. Those amendments that have been troubling are the ones that were intentionally written to be open to interpretation in their structure and their intent like the 16th Amendment. The most compelling argument regarding the above groups strategy of inaction, is that an Article V Convention of the States is part of our original Constitution. Why would we choose not to exercise this part of the Constitution, but vehemently enforce the other articles and amendments?

    So in closing this is not about conservative or liberal ideology; this is about State’s rights, and the rights of the people to be fairly represented in their government.

    Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist #85; what has come to be known as the “final argument” for the ratification of the Constitution, that “We may safely rely on the disposition of the State legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority. “ And so I encourage you to empower yourselves with knowledge of our history and our Constitution, and to empower your State government with the task of calling for a Convention of States with the sole purpose of limiting the scope, power, and jurisdiction of this Federal Government that is no longer responsive to “We the People.” Contact your representative in the Assembly and your State Senator; let them know that you support them in these efforts. We need them to exercise their rights under Article V; and make no mistake, this will require herculean efforts on their part but the rewards are great. The United States is still that “shining city on a hill” radiating the light of freedom and independence to all the world. It is that very freedom that is at stake, for once it’s lost none of us will ever see it again.

    Publius Huldah Serenabit

    Serenabit, you have been grievously deceived. Mark Levin’s proposed amendments legalize most of the powers the federal government has usurped for the last 100 years! Surely YOU are not so stupid that you can not see that his amendments do the opposite of what he claims? I PROVE it here: http://freedomoutpost.com/2014

    You can not point out one thing I say in that paper which is not true.

    And after that, you should look at Michael Farris’ so-called “parental rights” amendment which actually DELEGATES POWER OVER CHILDREN to the federal and State governments. You can find the papers on this on my Author page here – and be sure to read Farris’ response and the Editor’s Comment to my last paper on that topic.

    Those two – Levin & Farris – are demonstrating that they can call “evil good and good evil, turn darkness into light and light into darkness, make bitter sweet and sweet bitter” and people actually fall for it! Shame on you for blindly accepting and regurgitating what you have been told, without understanding what you are saying and not thinking it out for yourself.

  10. arnash says:

    MikefromNC Tim Brown

    The COS project is not proposing ANY specific amendments. That is intentional and wise. The subject matter is stated in the applications, and the convention WOULD be limited to that subject matter.
    Specifically, the convention would be called 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.
    No amendment could be proposed that is not in keeping with the scope of the application.

    EagleDoc All this talk about “runaway conventions”, Socialist re-writes of the Constitution, etc. HELLO!!! Does EVERYONE forget that ANYTHING that comes out of an Article V convention MUST be RATIFIED by 3/4’s of the States for it to become operative?!?! Geez….

    Publius Huldah — EagleDoc

    EagleDoc, do read endnote 1 where I address this precise point. And do click on the hyperlinks and read for yourself Article XIII of the Articles of Confederation AND the Resolution, dated February 21, 1787 of the Continental Congress calling the convention “for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation”.

    And click on the link for the Constitution for the Newstates of America and read Article XII, SECTION 1 which shows that that constitution is ratified by a Referendum called by the President. The States never get the opportunity to accept or reject it.

    It is very wicked of you to pontificate on matters of which you are demonstrably ignorant. However, the good news is that you can repent.

    EagleDoc — Publius Huldah
    Nice to see an erudite individual such as yourself can still stoop to mud slinging and name calling. Be that as it may, I am neither ignorant nor wicked. The Constitution for the New States of America was neither ever formally proposed nor a convention convened, so your point about its implementation is moot. I do believe, that with the liberalization of the courts and the continued election of the corrupt lawmakers, certain reiterations (clarifications, reinforcements) do need to be made, so there is no remaining doubt left to decide in the courts. I fear a less organized and potentially more violent uprising will occur if a legitimate, law abiding solution is not offered. But if you are happy with the way things are, Ms. Status Quo, please do continue pontificating and please blow harder….

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