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documents:answers:states_control-convention [2021/02/23 21:14]
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documents:answers:states_control-convention [2021/03/15 16:37] (current)
owolcott
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 {{tag>Runaway_convention Congress_control Ratification Necessary_and_Proper_Clause Article_1_Section_8_Clause_18 CRS JBS Eagle_Forum Trust}} {{tag>Runaway_convention Congress_control Ratification Necessary_and_Proper_Clause Article_1_Section_8_Clause_18 CRS JBS Eagle_Forum Trust}}
  
-Opponents of an [[historicaldocuments:constitution#article_v|Article V]] convention have been repeatedly defeated in their claims that an Article V convention would “run away” (([[documents:external:articlev-handbook#v_the_myth_of_a_runaway_convention|The runaway convention argument]] has long been touted by members of Eagle Forum and the John Birch Society. Constitutional attorney Michael Farris faced Andrew Schlafly, the son of Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly, in a critical debate in New Jersey. The debate can be viewed in full here: http://conventionofstates.com/michael-farris-debates-andy-schlafly-new-jersey-2/. Since the debate many of the leaders of Eagle Forum and the John Birch Society have backed down from their claims that an Article V convention will [[documents:external:articlev-handbook#v_the_myth_of_a_runaway_convention|“run away.”]])). The Framers of our Constitution were wiser than that, and placed numerous checks and balances to ensure the safety of such a convention. Opponents of a convention have since rallied around a new set of arguments claiming that Congress, not the states, will control any Article V convention. Robert Brown’s May 15th article entitled “The Article V Convention as Defined by Article V” is typical of the genre. This argument fares no better than the last. Like the runaway convention argument, it ignores history and substitutes fearful speculation for known fact.+Opponents of an [[historicaldocuments:constitution#article_v|Article V]] convention have been repeatedly defeated in their claims that an Article V convention would “run away” (([[documents:external:articlev-handbook#v_the_myth_of_a_runaway_convention|The runaway convention argument]] has long been touted by members of Eagle Forum and the John Birch Society. Constitutional attorney Michael Farris faced Andrew Schlafly, the son of Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly, in a critical debate in New Jersey. The debate can be viewed in full here: https://conventionofstates.com/news/michael-farris-debates-andy-schlafly-in-new-jersey-1. Since the debate many of the leaders of Eagle Forum and the John Birch Society have backed down from their claims that an Article V convention will [[documents:external:articlev-handbook#v_the_myth_of_a_runaway_convention|“run away.”]])). The Framers of our Constitution were wiser than that, and placed numerous checks and balances to ensure the safety of such a convention. Opponents of a convention have since rallied around a new set of arguments claiming that Congress, not the states, will control any Article V convention. Robert Brown’s May 15th article entitled “The Article V Convention as Defined by Article V” is typical of the genre. This argument fares no better than the last. Like the runaway convention argument, it ignores history and substitutes fearful speculation for known fact.
  
 Claims that Congress controls a convention show a basic ignorance of how laws, and particularly constitutions, are interpreted. For instance, Mr. Brown repeatedly asserts that “the plain text and clear meaning of Article V” give Congress power to set the rules for a convention. On the most basic level, this statement is demonstrably false. Article V says absolutely nothing about the rules for a convention and whether they are set by Congress or the states. According to ordinary rules of constitutional interpretation, when the text is silent, we must look to historical precedent and the intent of the lawmakers. Claims that Congress controls a convention show a basic ignorance of how laws, and particularly constitutions, are interpreted. For instance, Mr. Brown repeatedly asserts that “the plain text and clear meaning of Article V” give Congress power to set the rules for a convention. On the most basic level, this statement is demonstrably false. Article V says absolutely nothing about the rules for a convention and whether they are set by Congress or the states. According to ordinary rules of constitutional interpretation, when the text is silent, we must look to historical precedent and the intent of the lawmakers.
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 Stepping solidly outside the realm of plausibility, Mr. Brown then states that a third method of ratification is possible, where the convention unilaterally scraps the three-fourths ratification requirement and imposes some lower threshold of its own invention. His basis for this claim is that the Constitutional Convention of 1787 invented a [[documents:answers:answering_the_john_birch_society_questions_about_article_v_jbsqa#was_the_constitution_illegally_ratified|new method of ratification]] for the Constitution, so an Article V convention today could do the same. Stepping solidly outside the realm of plausibility, Mr. Brown then states that a third method of ratification is possible, where the convention unilaterally scraps the three-fourths ratification requirement and imposes some lower threshold of its own invention. His basis for this claim is that the Constitutional Convention of 1787 invented a [[documents:answers:answering_the_john_birch_society_questions_about_article_v_jbsqa#was_the_constitution_illegally_ratified|new method of ratification]] for the Constitution, so an Article V convention today could do the same.
  
-Leaving aside the historical inaccuracies behind this argument, ((As constitutional attorney Michael Farris notes, all 13 state legislatures approved the new ratification process for the Constitution, therefore the unanimity requirement of the Articles of Confederation was satisfied. Mr. Farris’s article is available here: \\  [[documents:answers:can_we_trust_the_constitution|(Wiki) Can We Trust the Constituton ]] \\ and here: http://conventionofstates.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Can-We-Trust-the-Constitution-2.01.pdf.(PDF) )) it ignores a fundamental difference between the Constitutional Convention and an Article V convention. The Constitutional Convention was not called under the Articles of Confederation. The Articles made no provision for such a convention ((No provision in the Articles of Confederation says anything about a convention. Moreover, the Articles explicitly disclaimed the idea of implied powers. [[historicaldocuments:articlesofconfederation#art_ii|ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION, art. II]]. As the result, the only possible legal basis for the Constitutional Convention and other conventions of the time was the reserved sovereign authority of the states.)). Rather the Constitutional Convention was called under the reserved sovereign authority of the states. Therefore, it could do anything which the states allowed it to, up to and including choosing a method of ratification for its own proposals. By contrast, an Article V convention is, by definition, called under the authority given in the Constitution. Therefore it is subject to the procedures and forms laid down in the Constitution, like those for ratification. Mr. Brown and other opponents of a convention gloss over this critical distinction, and consequently err in their analysis.+Leaving aside the historical inaccuracies behind this argument, ((As constitutional attorney Michael Farris notes, all 13 state legislatures approved the new ratification process for the Constitution, therefore the unanimity requirement of the Articles of Confederation was satisfied. Mr. Farris’s article is available here: \\  [[documents:answers:can_we_trust_the_constitution|(Wiki) Can We Trust the Constituton ]] \\ and here: https://conventionofstates.com/files/article-3-can-we-trust-the-constitution-answering-the-runaway-convention-myth/download.(PDF) )) it ignores a fundamental difference between the Constitutional Convention and an Article V convention. The Constitutional Convention was not called under the Articles of Confederation. The Articles made no provision for such a convention ((No provision in the Articles of Confederation says anything about a convention. Moreover, the Articles explicitly disclaimed the idea of implied powers. [[historicaldocuments:articlesofconfederation#art_ii|ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION, art. II]]. As the result, the only possible legal basis for the Constitutional Convention and other conventions of the time was the reserved sovereign authority of the states.)). Rather the Constitutional Convention was called under the reserved sovereign authority of the states. Therefore, it could do anything which the states allowed it to, up to and including choosing a method of ratification for its own proposals. By contrast, an Article V convention is, by definition, called under the authority given in the Constitution. Therefore it is subject to the procedures and forms laid down in the Constitution, like those for ratification. Mr. Brown and other opponents of a convention gloss over this critical distinction, and consequently err in their analysis.
  
 Oddly enough, just a few paragraphs later Mr. Brown undercuts his own argument. According to Mr. Brown, conventions not called under Article V “do not set any precedent for an Article V convention.” Of course, if that were true, he could not rely on the Constitutional Convention as valid precedent for ratification. Oddly enough, just a few paragraphs later Mr. Brown undercuts his own argument. According to Mr. Brown, conventions not called under Article V “do not set any precedent for an Article V convention.” Of course, if that were true, he could not rely on the Constitutional Convention as valid precedent for ratification.
documents/answers/states_control-convention.txt · Last modified: 2021/03/15 16:37 by owolcott