by Robert Arvay, Contributing Writer
In August of 2009 I marched in the TEA Party rally in Washington DC. Aerial photographs of the event show that it was the largest of its kind ever. In the following national elections, Republicans took over the House of Representatives, and made gains in the Senate. Sadly, in 2012, Obama was reelected to a second term.
During that time, he has accelerated his destruction of the Republic.
One must wonder how this happened. The common wisdom is that large numbers of conservatives sat out the election, apparently preferring a radical leftist to a Republican who was not “conservative enough.”
To make matters even more confusing, in 2014 the Republicans once again made large gains in the House of Representatives, and even took control of the Senate. If only this vigor had expressed itself in the polls two years earlier!
What can explain this seemingly irrational swing of the pendulum?
There is an old saying that I just made up, which is that the morning after the revolution, people have to go to work. Intense emotions propel people to go to marches for a day, but those emotions soon return to their daily levels, while those in power barely take notice.
Now a new revolution seems to be on the horizon, and this time, it is not a march of the people in the streets, but a march of the state legislatures. Article V of the United States Constitution provides for something commonly called a “Convention of the States,” or a “Constitutional Convention,” whereby the state legislatures may compel Congress to propose amendments to the Constitution.
At first glance, this seems to be a straightforward way of reforming the federal government to comply with the intent of the Constitution, namely, that the federal government should be subordinate to the states, not their overlord.
However, a reading of Article V quickly throws doubt on any hopes that the states can, or will, recapture their authority from a runaway central government.
The chief problem is that the wording of the Amendment is not sufficiently precise to prevent every courtroom trick in the book from delaying or frustrating the intent of the states. Here is Article V in all its arcanity, should you choose to plow through it:
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, 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 the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.
The first thing that stands out to me is that Article V includes Congress in the process. The problem with this is that the Congress is a major part of the problem. While Article V says that “whenever” the states deem it necessary, there is otherwise no specific time frame. It requires Congress to “propose amendments,” but again, no specific rules or definitions. The Framers left it to the Congress to make those decisions.
Despite all this, Article V gives the states a very strong hand, indeed one so strong that some critics have warned that the states could call a “runaway convention” that could entirely abolish the Constitution and replace it with one abhorrent to the American people.
That, as Mark Levin has pointed out, is nonsense, but it is nonsense that threatens to undermine hopes that the states will take back their power. It is nonsense because, for one thing, state governments are much more beholden to their voters than is the federal government.
Another thing is that the federal government is already the runaway power bloc that is in effect abolishing major parts of the Constitution and replacing them with executive orders, unlawful regulations, and outright violations of the Constitution.
If there is ever to be a political solution that reforms our out-of-control federal government, that solution must come from the state legislatures and the people.
The question then becomes one of courage. Are there enough state legislatures (34 are needed) to invoke Article V? Will they demand an immediate response from Congress? If Congress chooses to obstruct, will those states take the next and necessary step, which is to call their own convention?
This would be a true revolution, because it would pit the states against the Congress. At that point, the showdown would become as historic as the American Civil War. In the extreme, 34 states could actually declare independence and form their own sovereign government, abolishing the Congress and replacing it with their own federal authority.
While this would be an extreme and potentially destructive measure, we are already on that course. Our borders no longer mean much, our Congress is inaccessible to we the people (just try to get a meeting with your senator), and our laws are routinely flouted by the president. The Supreme Court has on more than one occasion rewritten laws, and then upheld policies that the American people clearly oppose.
If the will is not there now, then what degree of loss of our freedoms will it take for the American people to invoke Article VIII of the US Constitution? Oh but, you say, there are only seven articles to the US Constitution.
I think you get my point.