We know the rules: Congress does not control a Convention of States

Two false claims have been peddled by Convention of States opponents in recent months: 1) we cannot know the rules that would govern a convention and 2) Congress would control the rulemaking process.

Both of these claims contradict known history and established convention precedent. The simple truth is that Article V was not written in a vacuum; we have the debates of the Framers at the Constitutional Convention to guide us, as well as hundreds of years of historical practice. This history yields two important conclusions: the rules of a convention are not some unknowable mystery, and Congress does not control the rulemaking process for a convention.

In the century leading up to the ratification of the Constitution, the Founders held at least 32 multi-state conventions (1). The function of a convention and the rules that would govern it were well understood by the Founders. This is no doubt part of the reason for the brevity of Article V. The rules for these conventions were not set by Congress or any other national body, but by the convention delegates themselves, subject always to the instructions issued by their respective states.

In the years since, the states have held at least 4 more multi-state conventions. In each instance the procedural rules at the convention closely followed established historical precedent: the states appointed their own delegates; the states decided how many delegates to send; each state was always apportioned one vote, which was cast by a majority of delegates from that state; and the delegates selected the Chair and any other officers (2). Eagle Forum and other Article V opponents would have you believe that a convention is a series of unknowns for Congress to mold as it wills. History paints a far different picture.

Congress has repeatedly tried to assert authority over a convention and failed every time. Between 1967 and 1993 Congress considered 41 separate pieces of legislation that would set rules for a convention. Every single one was defeated. Even Congress itself has shown grave concern about asserting federal control over a convention.

The whole reason the Framers voted to put the convention provision in Article V was to ensure that the states could bypass Congress and the federal government if they became too powerful (3). Giving Congress rulemaking authority for the convention flatly contradicts the express intent of the Framers at the Constitutional Convention. Moreover, it makes no sense to say that Congress controls the convention process. Congress already has authority under the Constitution to propose amendments on its own initiative. The only reasonable reading of Article V is that states have ultimate control over the convention process.

This is why, historically, an Article V convention was called “a convention of the states,” (4) because the states controlled the convention. Even the Supreme Court has recognized that an Article V convention is “a convention of the states” (5). It is a contradiction in terms to assert that a convention of states would be controlled by Congress. A convention of states is controlled by the states.

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1. Robert G. Natelson, Founding-Era Conventions and the Meaning of the Constitution’s “Convention for Proposing Amendments,” 65 FLA. L. REV. 615, 620 (2013).

2. Id. at 686–90; see also Robert G. Natelson, Proposing Constitutional Amendments by Convention: Rules Governing the Process, 78 TENN. L. REV. 693 (2011).

3. 2 RECORDS OF THE FEDERAL CONVENTION 629–30 (Max Farrand ed., 1911). Madison recorded that the vote was unanimous. Id. at 630.

4. This phrase has deep historical roots. Virginia filed the very first application under Article V of the Constitution in 1788. The application called for “a convention of the states.” 1 ANNALS OF CONG. 258–59 (J. Gales ed., 1834) (H.R., May 5, 1789) (reproducing Virginia’s 1788 application for a convention). New York used the same term in the second application less than a year later. H.R. JOURNAL, 1st Cong., 1st Sess. 29–30 (1789) (reproducing New York’s application for a convention).

5. Smith v. Union Bank, 30 U.S. (5 Pet.) 518, 528 (1831).

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Thank you Oren,

These things have all been said and written before; (you've posted similar ideas before) we have to keep repeating them until it gets enough traction to hold a convention.

THANX OREN AND TRIPTOLEMUS U BOTH HAVE IT RIGHT

Bonnie, Rich, Oren, and all of the others who support this - Thanks for understanding the situation and thanks for your patriotism. There are more of us than there are of them.

THIS HAS TAKEN TO LONG AND IT IS TO LATE FOR ANY GOOD OUT COME FROM THIS.

I'm an advocate of utilizing Article V and agree congress doesn't make the rules or control a COS.

BUT - the present COS has officially put the parties in charge, making the rules and controlling the proceedings. is that better - or even different?

The point is that there NO control of convention once convened. It can do anything it wants, just as the first SO-CALLED constitutional convention broke all the rules and wrote a constitution, which was completely outside the mandate.  George Soros is already buying his delegates to the convention. The elites and mainstream media will turn it into an Occupy Washington circus.   This is all well-intentioned but totally naive and misguided.  We should instead be following the advice of Jefferson and Madison and demanding strict enforcement of the existing Constitution by the exercise of state authority under the Constitution to nullify unconstitutional Federal tyranny.

Good work!  Only fault I find:  Past tense of FORECAST is FORECAST.  Just as the past tense of BROADCAST is BROADCAST.  No 'ed'.  

Oren,

You're so right about an Article V Convention NOT being free to do what it wants. As  Article V states, "...or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof..."

As for Soros, he's supporting what can be called a Constitutional Convention which would set up an entirely new constitution, a socialist one.

Bob

"In the century leading up to the ratification of the Constitution, the Founders held at least 32 multi-state conventions (1). The function of a convention and the rules that would govern it were well understood by the Founders. This is no doubt part of the reason for the brevity of Article V. The rules for these conventions were not set by Congress or any other national body, but by the convention delegates themselves, subject always to the instructions issued by their respective states."  BS

In the first place ... in the century leading up to the Constitution, there were no States or Constitutional document for governing the Republic.  The 32 multi-state conventions were not state conventions and did not always have the full attendance of the Colonies. The rules for these conventions were generally established by long held rules of order applied to all meetings and everything under the sun often came up for debate and proposal.  Any efforts to bring a consensus out of the 50 States on the rules of order or limits to the convention before convening the convention... would be open for modification by the conventions leadership... after convening.  Modifications to the rules are possible, there are no laws or legally binding and established rules for the convention. 

Evidently the author is unaware of the now infamous words of Rep. Alcee Hastings, Dem. Florida... 'Rules,  what rules, we make them up as we go'.  That is the mind set of the politicians who will be the DELIGATES to any Article V Convention.  Given the dishonest and untrustworthy nature of the current generation of politicians anything is possible. Least we forget: Sen. Harry Reid's statement... By any means necessary, or Rep. Nancy Pelosi's famous words: 'You have to vote for it to find out what's in it'.

I personally am sick of those who suggest that the works of our forefather's have an impact on those now in office... they are all miscreants of the worst sort and not worthy of our trust.  Hence, they should never be given access to amend or restructure our Constitution... by convention.  If we need to Amend the Constitution do it using the Congressional method... Congress proposes and the State legislatures ratify.  Anyone can contact their members of Congress to recommend that they act to propose various Amendments... one can even send them 'draft amendments' for their consideration.

Calling a State's Convention opens up the entire Constitution for any number of Amendments to be proposed... and then ratified in conventions by 3/4ths of the States... Per Article V of the Constitution.

Sadly, MANY people really believe what the CONgress has been spewing for too long; that THEY have the final say over any action regarding our Constitution, and other things they have no business entering.  But if you think about it, the Founders would have been idiots to give the CONgress that kind of power, since it is THIS we are trying to overcome.  Someone said, "Power Corrupts, and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely".  

The government is out of our control, which the Founders realized was possible.  They have provided us with a way out.  We need to take it!  They will scream, pleade, cajoll, threaten and rattle their sabres.  We need to use every tool the Founders provided us with, and that is NOT simply the balot box, which is  only available on a 2 to 6 year cycle.  

We must remember that they will try very hard to find something in the 14th amendment that will thwart our efforts.  We must NOT allow them to be successful, since the 14th is NOT and WAS NOT a legal and proper amendment to our Constitution.  Its intent seems to have been to sieze control, and it has been moderately successful.  We MUST wrest that control from a horribly corrupt federal government, and replace that government with people who will work for The People, and not for the government.  We MUST do whatever is needed to prevent the re-growth of that evil weed.  An Article V Convention of States is a good place to start.  Perhaps in future, there could be a STANDING CONVENTION, available on VERY short notice to take out treasonous actions of the 'new' CONgress?

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ALERT ALERT

Angry Dem Impeachment ‘Witness’: Pam Karlan Donated Thousands To Hillary And Was On Clinton’s List For Potential SCOTUS Nomination

Image result for Pam Karlan

The House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. Jerrold Nadler, kicked off its first impeachment circus Wednesday morning.

The four ‘witnesses’ testifying have never actually witnessed any of Trump’s dealings with Ukraine firsthand — the four witnesses are law professors offering legal analysis.

One of the witnesses the Dems rolled out is an angry Hillary Clinton donor who was on Crooked’s list for a potential Supreme Court nomination.

No wonder why this unhinged, dowdy woman is so pissed off!

“Professor Pam Karlan donated thousands of dollars to Democrats and was on Hillary Clinton’s list for a potential Supreme Court nomination. So she certainly has no vendetta against President Trump,” GOP Rep. Mark Walker said.

Congressman Walker also pointed out that Noah Feldman, the Dems first partisan witness in Wednesday’s hearing tweeted about impeaching Trump right after he was sworn in.

Rep. Mark Walker   RepMarkWalker

Meet Noah Feldman, House Democrats first partisan witness.

Look at the date of this tweet. He has been trying to get @realDonaldTrump impeached since 46 days into his presidency.

His reason? Trump criticized President Obama.

This is a sham impeachment with sham witnesses. https://twitter.com/NoahRFeldman/status/839185127494254592 

Noah Feldman @NoahRFeldman

Trump's wiretap tweets raise risk of impeachment http://bv.ms/2mY1ueX  via @BV

Rep. Mark Walker   RepMarkWalker
 

The next witness, Karlan, has donated thousands to Democrats and was on Hillary Clinton’s list for a potential Supreme Court nomination.

So she certainly has no vendetta against @realDonaldTrump.

These witnesses are as serious as House Democrats impeachment case: not at all.

The entire sham show trial is stacked with partisan hacks who have wanted to impeach Trump from the moment he won in November of 2016.

Norm Eisen, the Democrats’ counsel who is blasting Trump and questioning witnesses in Wednesday’s show trial, tweeted about impeaching Trump before Donald Trump was even sworn into office!

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