In a Post Bulletin column on March 21, David A. Super, a Georgetown University law professor, made some comments regarding what he called a constitutional convention.
Super falsely claims Arizona asked Congress to call for a constitutional convention. What, correctly stated, took place is that Arizona state legislators, both House and Senate, passed a resolution to call for a convention of the states to consider amendments to the Constitution. That power is set forth in Article V of our constitution.
What happened in Arizona is not a bunch of crazy people off on some quest for power. It’s simply state legislators looking for solutions to bring the decision-making process back closer to home.
There is an incredible difference between a resolution calling for a convention to consider amendments and a constitutional convention. Much of the literature that has been issued in direct response and opposition to any consideration of letting the states use Article 5 and use a label — “Con Con,” for constitutional convention — as a way to belittle the process and misinform people.
We’ve had 27 amendments to our constitution, as Super accurately points out, and as he stated, the most recent, the 27th, took nearly 200 years before a sufficient number of states came around to that idea. That process always has been initiated in Congress, which, if you read Article V, is one of two alternatives for proposing amendments to the constitution.
You’ll also note Article V does not state that any amendments that would be proposed do not still have to clear the very high hurdle that 75 percent of the states — 38, as of today — would still have to ratify the amendment. That’s no different than how all previous amendments have been ratified.
Article V is not an unchecked process to allow some manic, unbalanced group of people the ability to rewrite the U.S. Constitution. It’s simply Plan B to consider amendments in case Plan A has somehow gone awry.
Ask your current state legislators: What is their primary concern? What problem do they deal with every day that continues to get worse and appears to have no end in sight? They’ll tell you that it’s complying with unfunded federal mandates. It’s not that constituents are not able to comprehend issues; it’s not that local legislators can’t figure out how to resolve budget or policy issues locally; it’s not that local educators are ineffective. It’s unfunded federal mandates. The only way to stop that is to reset who has the power to control education, health care and many other local issues that have been taken over by the unchecked growth of our federal government.
Ten states have passed a resolution calling for a convention of the states, and legislation exists in 29 other states. It’s not a fad. Our current legislative members are considering this as an alternative. The false “Con Con” narrative has distracted a few, but most know it’s the only way to defend the state against an overreaching federal government.
Article V was put there to help us reclaim local control. Let’s use it.
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