Save the Constitution by Rescinding Article V Convention Applications

We The People“The essence of our concern and why Oklahoma defeated the Article V convention this year [was] that this would be a runaway convention.”

— Oklahoma State Rep. Mike Ritze, May 12, 2015

After a fierce and drawn-out battle in the Oklahoma state legislature last spring, legislators rejected an application for an Article V convention for proposing a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA), as well as an application for an Article V convention to impose other restraints on the federal government.

Meanwhile, the Texas legislature was having its own fierce battle over several Article V convention applications. On May 12, 2015, three Oklahoma state legislators created a video to help persuade Texas legislators to defeat the Article V convention agenda in their state. The Texas legislature did go on to reject all Article V convention applications in its 2015 session.

The quote above by Oklahoma State Representative Mike Ritze is from that video. It is featured in this article to emphasize that the enduring reason given by state legislators for rejecting Article V convention applications is their concern that such a convention would become a runaway convention.

The purpose of this article is to discuss how the reinvigorated BBA Article V convention movement is a threat to the Constitution, to discuss why the Constitution is so valuable, and to propose a reinvigorated movement to rescind state applications for all types of Article V conventions in order to save the Constitution.

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What Is an Article V Convention?

Article V of the U.S. Constitution authorizes two methods for amending the Constitution: (1) The congressional method, in which Congress proposes an amendment by a two-thirds vote of each house and sends it to the states for ratification (three-fourths of the states are required); and (2) the convention method, whereby, if two-thirds of the state legislatures (34 states) apply to Congress to call a convention for proposing amendments (commonly referred to as an Article V convention, a constitutional convention, a Con-Con, or a convention of states), Congress shall call such a convention. Congress would send any amendments proposed by the convention to the states for ratification (three-fourths of the states are required).

In either of the two methods for proposing amendments, Congress has the option of sending the proposed amendments to either the state legislatures or to special state conventions for ratification.

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Drawbacks to Amending the Constitution

During the entire 227 years since the Constitution went into effect, 27 amendments have been added via the congressional method and none by the convention method. The first 10 of those amendments are known as the Bill of Rights. Of the other 17 amendments, several are widely regarded by constitutionalists as disasters. For example, the 16th Amendment (1913), supported by the progressives, enabled the federal government to tax personal incomes directly and has led to the present-day tyrannical IRS. As another example, the 17th Amendment (1913), also supported by progressives, brought about the direct election of senators to Congress in place of the original appointment of senators by state legislatures. Present-day constitutionalists see the 17th Amendment as very damaging to the original constitutional balance of powers between the state and federal governments.

The 16th and 17th Amendments are revealing examples of just how easily the Constitution can be damaged and just how bad the results can be from seemingly benign amendments.

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