CITIZEN’S POCKET GUIDE
Overcoming Objections from Anti-Constitutionalists
7. Overcoming Objections from Anti-Constitutionalists
Objection #1: What happens if a Convention of State becomes a “runaway convention” and takes away our hard won liberties?
Answer: Despite a common myth promoted by liberal groups beginning in the 1960s, there is absolutely no precedent for a “runaway convention.” There have been over 25 multi-state conventions in American history and not a single one has “run away.”
Our Founders were masters of checks and balances and they put numerous safeguards in place to ensure that a convention would never run away. The most important of these safeguards is the requirement that 38 states ratify any proposal coming out of the convention before any change is made to the Constitution. It is politically impossible for any change to be made to our Constitution that does not enjoy the overwhelming support of the American people. As respected constitutional scholar Professor Robert Natelson has pointed out, “There are far more checks on a runaway convention than on a runaway Congress.”
Objection #2: Didn’t the original Constitutional Convention run away?
Answer: No, this is another myth that has been spread to justify judicial activism and other unconstitutional changes to our system of government. The entire claim that the Constitutional Convention ran away is based on the false idea that Congress called the Constitutional Convention for the sole purpose of amending the Articles of Confederation. But that’s not true. In fact, under the Articles of Confederation, Congress had no authority to call a Convention. If you look at the historical records, it was actually Virginia that called the Constitutional Convention in October 1786. Virginia called the convention for the purpose of “render[ing] the Federal Constitution [system of government] adequate to the Exigencies of the Union,” an instruction that certainly included proposing a new Constitution. Congress didn’t enter the picture until months later when, in February 1787, it passed a resolution recommending that the convention only amend the Articles of Confederation. In the end, all but two of states attending the convention (New York and Massachusetts) ignored Congress’s recommendation and gave their delegates instructions broad enough to allow them to propose a new constitution.
Objection #3: I like our Constitution the way it is—short, simple, and fairly easy to understand. Why should we change it?
Answer: While many Americans now own a “Pocket Constitution,” the truth is that the Constitution we live by today—the supreme law of the land governing all American citizens and states—actually fills a book weighing ten-pounds and running over 2,700 pages! That’s because, for more than a century, a “runaway constitutional convention” has been going on in the Supreme Court. The results are printed by our federal government in The Constitution of the United States Annotated Edition. Everything from abortion, to same-sex marriage, to ObamaCare, and more are now “the law of the land.” An Article V Convention, which the Framers provided, is the only way to reign in our activist judiciary, reduce the federal government, and restore our Constitution—back to its original pocket size and its original intent.
Objection #4: The Constitution isn’t the problem; federal officials are. How will amending the Constitution help?
Answer: Most of the problems our country is facing are the result of constitutional interpretations that capitalize on ambiguities in the wording of certain phrases (i.e., the General Welfare Clause being interpreted as unlimited power to spend). We can restore the federal government to its proper, limited place only by clarifying the original meaning of those phrases through constitutional amendments—effectively overturning the bad Supreme Court precedents that have eviscerated our federal system. In short, the main goal of the convention is to say to the federal government, “We meant the plain meaning of the Constitution the first time.” Unfortunately, due to manipulation and expansion of federal government power by the Supreme Court, “We the People” must use a convention to put the federal government back into the constitutional straight jacket originally created by the Founders.
Objection #5: Article V says Congress “calls” the convention. Doesn’t this mean Congress will control the convention?
Answer: No. Congress’ role is limited to issuing the “call” which sets the date, time, and location of the meeting, once it receives 34 applications for a convention on the same topic. In legal terms, this is referred to as a “ministerial” or “secretarial” role. In this role, Congress is acting in a limited administrative capacity on behalf of the states. It has no authority beyond that specified, including no control over the delegates. The states alone control the Convention of States process from beginning to end.
Objection #6: At a time of extreme gerrymandering and in an environment of unlimited political spending, wouldn’t a Convention of States open up the Constitution and our system of government to being rewritten by special interest groups and the wealthy?
Answer: No. Over 400 applications for a Convention of States have been filed, but we have never had one because there have never been 34 applications seeking a convention for the same purpose. This demonstrates that the purpose or scope specified in the applications does matter! States can instruct their respective delegates to entertain a more narrow scope than what is within the aggregated application, but they cannot broaden the topic beyond that identified in the 34 passed applications.
Objection #7: Why would the federal government adhere to the newly ratified amendments when they don’t adhere to the Constitution now?
Answer: The federal government is following the Constitution—just not the Constitution as originally written. Instead they are following the Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court, which has misinterpreted our Constitution so significantly over the years that the American people no longer recognize it. To get the Constitution back to where it belongs, we must get rid of all those erroneous Supreme Court decisions. And that is exactly what new amendments can do. For example, the Eleventh, Fourteenth, and Twenty-Sixth Amendments were all adopted to overturn bad Supreme Court decisions, and all of them are interpreted correctly today. History proves that amendments work.
Objection #8: Why is there opposition to a Convention of States issuing dire warnings about its potential for national disaster?
Answer: Nearly all opposition comes from the hard Left, as was revealed in April of 2017. Led by socialist George Soros-funded Common Cause, 230 organizations comprising virtually every radical, anti-Constitution activist group in America announced their united opposition to this constitutional solution. The 230 signers include the AFL-CIO, Planned Parenthood, Greenpeace, La Raza, the NAACP, and Clinton-founded groups like MoveOn.org. Every one of the 230 groups depend on a corrupt, runaway federal government to preserve their power, fill their coffers with taxpayer dollars, and advance their radical agendas. This kind of organized opposition means one thing: We are right above the target and the power source, and they know it. These organizations share one goal: Keep the disastrous status quo of our federal government unchanged. A Convention of States is the only way to stop them.
Read more about the opposition on page 17, and see the full list of 230 organizations at conventionofstates.com/opposition.