Concerns remain on calls for a "Convention of States" to restore the nation

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Monday, February 10, 2014

There is a Cuban proverb that reads: Dime con quien andas y te dire quien eres, which roughly translates: "Tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are." For those who have not studied the issues and ramifications of convening a Constitutional Convention, now referred to as "Convention of States" to make it more palatable to state rights conservatives, the Cuban refrain should ring bells of concern. The Left has brought forth this issue numerous times. Most memorable was the effort by liberal economics Professor Rexford Tugwell (1891-1979), an FDR "Brain Trust" member, suspected American communist, andU.S. Constitution internationalist known for his global planning strategies. Prof. Tugwell helped draft a new more statist, model constitution for the United States giving power to the federal government for economic planning. He hoped to bring about a Constitutional Convention to make his scheme a reality between 1945-1948. There was even a novel written featuring Tugwell being elected President of the United States after FDR! God help us!

More recently a Harvard Conference was convoked in 2011 calling for a Constitutional Convention to attract Tea Party conservatives to the movement. The fact the notoriously liberal Harvard Law School initiated this event should give us enough concern before we jump into the water. This Conference was hosted by Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig, not a constitutionalist conservative but a populist liberal who also supported Sen. Barack Obama in 2008. A moderator of the Conference was Richard Parker, a member of the 1960s radical organization, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). A Constitutional Convention has also been promoted since the 1970s by liberal California Governor Jerry Brown.

As far as Establishment Republicans who may lead the charge, consider the possibility of "reliable" Senators John McCain (Arizona), Orrin Hatch (Utah), and Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) — enough unreliability to cause us to give pause before we jump into the increasingly murky water!

Article V of the U.S. ConstitutionPropelled by Mark Levin's book, The Liberty Amendments (2013), a Mount Vernon Assembly was convened in December 2013 in which nearly 100 state legislators representing 32 states assembled to discuss the planning of a "Convention of States" in 2014. A Convention of States, as we have mentioned, is nothing but a Constitutional Convention with a euphemistic and more appealing title, a danger to the Republic, as I discussed in a previous article. As to the timing, which is the main reason that calls to convene a Convention are being made at this time when Republicans possess a majority of state legislatures — we should also give pause. Constitutional Conventions have been urged since the 1970s repeatedly based on a variety of issues, from a balanced budget to anti-flag burning, mostly "conservative” initiatives — who knows when it will be that enough states will sign up to seal the deal? Moreover, there is no unanimity as to what consensual stands will be taken between Republican moderates and Tea Party factions — who knows what side of the issues the moderate Republicans will take? Can GOP representatives in the guise of Senators McCain, Graham, Hatch, for example, be trusted by conservatives with this sacred trust — a new or revised Constitution for the United States of America? Do we naively believe for one moment that the representatives of both parties, addicted as they are to big government, can be trusted to abide by a new constitution better than the one that our Founding Fathers bequeathed to us?

I have written about this issue before in GOPUSA. In my own state of Georgia, fed up with Obama and the increasing dissipations of a run-away federal government, the idea of a Convention of States has gained support in the GOP-led legislature. Some conservatives, I suspect, go as far as hoping to include a proviso for voluntary secession of states as a last resort. RINO (“Republican in name only”) commentators have also expressed support for the idea for different reasons. I write this column with the hope that if the convocation of a Constitutional Convention takes hold throughout the nation and becomes a reality, conservatives at least will be advised of possible perilous pitfalls that must be recognized and avoided before wielding the double-edged sword they lately so ardently wished for!

Written by Dr. Miguel Faria

Miguel A. Faria Jr., M.D. is Associate Editor in Chief and World Affairs Editor of Surgical Neurology International. He is Clinical Professor of Surgery (Neurosurgery, ret.) and Adjunct Professor of Medical History (ret.), Mercer University School of Medicine. Dr. Faria is the author of Cuba in Revolution — Escape From a Lost Paradise (2002). This article is excerpted from and specific references may be found at a longer essay posted at the author’s website:

The photographs used to illustrate this article did not appear in GOPUSA, but were added here for the enjoyment of our readers at

Copyright ©2014 Miguel A. Faria, Jr., MD

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Comments on this post

Article V Convention!

Comments under the Macon Telegraph version of this article posted Feb 5, 2014:

Daisy Jonesing (5/7/14): Thank you Dr. Faria for such a well informed opinion. And my answer is of course "No" I do not TRUST any of the three you named — in the Republican Party any further than I trust ANY in the Liberal Democratic party.

And I trust NO ONE with our Constitution until they "PROVE" they are doing noting but Protecting it! Our Military goes to WAR to protect our Constitution; they DIE to protect our constitution~Therefore our constitution IMHO; Should always be Sacred to this country.

Every means possible has been made from the Oval Office alone to "amend and destroy" our Constitution. And yes indeed we 'are known by the friends and company we keep'..(Old Southern Proverb also :) ).

Thanks for a great article I just continue to wonder what is it going to take for people in our country to Wake Up!

Dr Faria: Daisy, the U.S. Constitution in Article V doesn't make a definite distinction between a "convention of states" or a "constitutional convention," as some citizens believe and claim, out of sheer desperation for the sorry state of affairs in the nation and runaway government. Article V simply states:

"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, also 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;..."

In fact, there is no precedent for a so-called "convention of states." The only precedent is the Constitutional Convention of Philadelphia in 1787, when the Articles of Confederation were overturned and the present constitution was drafted! Today we simply don't seem to possess the gifted and principled minds we had in the Founders at that time.

Lastly, if simply amendments are offered and proposed in such a convention, I fear that give the state of knowledge in civics and the increasingly dumbed-down public no one should be surprised if an amendment could and is approved to eliminate term limits for presidents to allow Obama to run for a third term, at the same time that a "compromise" is reach to pass term limits for members of Congress! Anything is possible given the political winds and the politics of triangulation! Anything is possible as we become more of a social democracy by the rule of man (i.e., a fickle majority led by demagoguery) than a Constitutional Republic by the rule of law! In any event, we distrust the present politicians in Washington so highly susceptible to the cheers of the liberal media and much of academia, where the bastion of Marxism (duly camouflaged as progressivism) is still to be found. While there is a chance a "Convention of States" may do some good with welcomed emendation, there is a greater chance of doing wrong and the unintended consequences of giving more power to the federal and the executive branches of government.

Willy Bee: Dr. Faria, Thank you for this informing editorial. Only fools rush into a trap to fix what is not broken. I regret to say that when I hear someone is a Constitutional Scholar I assume they've study it really hard only to try and circumvent it and that qualifies them to be a professor of law at major universities.

Like many Americans I certainly do not understand the Constitution in it's entirety but I do know the spirit of which it was written by my forefathers and I fully believe many of those law professors want that spirit to go away.