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Congress’ Present Duty to Call a Convention. (Part IV)
Hamline Law Review ^ | Fall 1990 | Bruce M. Van Sickle & Lynn M. Boughey

Posted on 11/19/2014 3:47:33 AM PST by Jacquerie

Full title: Lawful and Peaceful Revolution: Congress’ Present Duty to Call a Convention for Proposing Amendments.

Now more than ever, it is time for the people via their states to stop the runaway train of tyranny. Despite a landslide midterm win, the GOP is emotionally and institutionally incapable of defending congressional prerogatives against a lawless president. It is past time to reassert our right, both constitutionally and God given, to free government. This fourth in a series of excerpts from the Hamline Law review is designed to arm freepers with the intellectual ammo to convince their state reps and senators of their duty to the people to defeat Rome-on-the-Potomac, and restore the republic.

37. From various comments by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton in The Federalist , and James Iredell, George Nicholas at their state ratifying conventions, it is clear the convention method of amending the constitution was intended as a way to circumvent congress.

Despite the early attention directed at Article V, congress has never called a convention since ratification. However, the threat of a convention prodded major changes through the congressional method of proposing amendments which resulted in the 17th , 18th, 22nd, and 25th amendments.

38. It also caused congress to enact legislation which it otherwise would not. The Budget Control Act of 1974, and the Balanced Budget Act of 1985 are the result of pressure from the states. In the first four months of the 1981-1982 congress, 145 state applications involved school busing, racial integration, prayer in public schools, abortion, racial quotas were submitted.

Congressional resentment in the form of bills to control the limit and scope of an amendment convention began in 1967.

39. In the 101st Congress, Orrin Hatch introduced a bill (not passed) which required the states to include the subject matter of their amendments along with their applications. Other extra-constitutional restrictions limited the life of applications to seven years. Only applications concerning the same subject matter would be counted toward the two thirds minimum. Congress would determine the subject matter of the convention, regulate the election of state delegates, provide the convention will be convened by the House Speaker and President pro tempore of the Senate. Congress would also determine the number of delegates from each state, and would have sole discretion as to which, if any amendments from the convention would be submitted to the states for ratification.

40. If the content of Hatch’s bill wasn’t clear enough, the accompanying report stated congress’ purpose in placing a state convention under its control was to prevent a ‘runaway’ convention unfaithful to the mandate with which it was charged by the states and the congress.

Some organizations, like the American Bar Association, a few attorneys general, and legal scholars have asserted congress has authority to establish convention procedures.

Congress has only that authority granted it by the constitution, and Article V clearly and plainly limits congress’ role to calling a convention and identifying the mode of ratification.

41. This understanding is supported by the long-standing rule of constitutional construction that “the words are to be taken in their natural and obvious sense . . . “

The very limited role in the convention process allotted to congress by the framers of the constitution arose from their experience. An extra-congressional process would provide a safeguard against an abusive or recalcitrant national legislature. Debate records from the federal and state ratifying conventions make it plain that Article V is designed in part for the states to circumvent congress.

It is outright absurd to say the framers intended to entrust congress with authority over the very institution created specifically to bypass it! As Alexander Hamilton succinctly stated, “the words of this article are peremptory. The congress shall call a convention. There is no discretion.

42. “The structure of the federal government created by the constitution also supports the view that congress’ role in the amendment process is severely limited. The convention process is created by Article V; it is not a component of any of the three branches of government created by the first three articles. The convention derives its power from a separate and independent grant of authority in the constitution itself. It cannot be made subservient to any branch of the government. Further, the sole purpose of the convention is to propose changes in the pre-existing system of government. This renders the convention distinct from, if not superior to, the three branches of government.

Article V is our last hope, a lifeline to freedom bequeathed to us by the framers. Let’s use it!

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; FReeper Editorial; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: articlev; constitution
Part I
Part II
Part III
1 posted on 11/19/2014 3:47:33 AM PST by Jacquerie
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