Faria: A Constitutional Convention — Not the Way to Amend the U.S. Constitution!

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Recently, Bill Ferguson, a local columnist in The Macon Telegraph, opined it is "time to call for a new constitutional convention." To make his points, he tells us about the public's general dissatisfaction with the state of affairs in our nation, and then tries to scare us to death with the frightening scenarios of a government shutdown, the U.S. defaulting on the national debt, and the gridlock in Congress, so that "these once-unthinkable situations could come to pass."(1)
President Barack Obama
No blame is placed on President Barack Obama (photo, right), who is at the helm of the ship of state navigating the "unchartered waters." But that is not all: "The stock market could collapse. Your cash and investments could become virtually worthless overnight. Government benefits like Social Security and Medicaid might be dramatically scaled back or not paid at all." And so Mr. Ferguson writes, "I think it’s fair to say that our government is fundamentally broken at this point, and I don’t see it getting any better unless we somehow shake things up and change the status quo. But how could we do that?" His solution is to call for a constitutional convention to set things right. That idea, of course, is a very bad one.

Why? Because there is no "consensus" as to whether a convention of the states can be limited to a single or a few subjects (e.g., a balanced budget or term limit amendments). There is considerable writing expounding on this subject, and most authorities fear instead of a single or a few subjects on the table, a convention would not be limited. In fact, an all powerful constitutional convention could convene that would abrogate the entire U.S. Constitution and a new form of government created, as in fact it happened in Philadelphia in 1787.

A little history is helpful. The Founding Fathers convened a national convention in Annapolis in 1786 to discuss interstate commerce among the states under the Articles of Confederation. It was ineffective but was used as a sounding board for another convention on the same subject a year later. And instead of limiting the discussion to interstate commerce, James Madison immediately seized the opportunity to overturn the Articles of Confederation, which Founding Fathers at the Constitutional Convention of 1787he thought completely inadequate for an effective federal government. Led by Madison, the founders then framed a completely new constitution, which was not what was originally intended!  Thus the Convention of the States in Philadelphia became, in fact, the path blazing Constitutional Convention of 1787 (photo, left) that completely altered our form of government.  Obviously, that was for the better at the time, given the talent, erudition and wisdom of the founders.(2)

But in today's flagging educational establishment and the rudderless political climate, as Mr. Ferguson has himself described, imagine the outcome of a new convention! So let's be serious. Presently, we have but few statesmen of the caliber of the founders, the intellectual giants of 1787 who framed our Constitution. Where are the principled men of firm convictions and possessed of moral compasses ready to navigate the treacherous and unchartered waters? Where are we going to find men and women of the caliber of James Madison (photo, below), John Adams, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton (photo, below), Gouvernor Morris, Benjamin Franklin, George Mason, Richard Henry Lee? What kind of constitution would the modern politicians draft? Our founders were well read, and they based our founding Alexander Hamilton and James Madisondocuments on historical precedents of government, the classical political philosophy of the enlightenment, and natural rights theory. Today's politicians, urged on by the progressive academicians and the biased liberal media, would write a "living" constitution — likely authoritarian, oligarchical and collectivist, or a travesty of a "consensual" document not worth the paper it is printed on!

Mr. Ferguson writes: "We need to make the same sort of radical change. It’s time for the states that make up this union to call for another constitutional convention. I would not suggest throwing out our current Constitution as I think it is a worthy foundation to build a government on." Frankly, I think that last statement is a red herring evincing the possibility that Ferguson wants to have it both ways. Nevertheless I will extend him the benefit of the doubt and sincerity when he says he says he doesn't want to "throw out our current Constitution." Mr. Ferguson continues, the U.S. Constitution "has loopholes that our representatives have exploited much to the nation’s detriment, and those loopholes need to be closed."  He then lists three amendments he would suggest: First, a balanced budget; second, term limitation; and third, an amendment reiterating congressional power to declare war and only "when our national security is under threat or one of our allies has been attacked." I disagree with the "loopholes" bit, but I agree with those specific proposals and particularly support Ferguson's last limitation in his third proposal: "No more 'nation building' or 'peace keeping' exercises at a president’s discretion." Indeed! But convening a constitutional convention is not the answer.

U.S. ConstitutionThese three sound principles of governments proposed would have been de facto accomplished, if our progressive politicians and consensual representatives had followed and obeyed the Constitution as it stands.

First, term limits can take place at every election by simply voting the ineffectual or corrupt representatives out by an informed and vigilant electorate, prerequisites for effective self-government. Amendments may be necessary only as a last resort. The Founders presupposed the informed and vigilant citizenry would elect men of character and integrity as their chosen representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives, in the state legislatures, and as presidential electors.(3)(4)(5)

Second, as it regards a balanced budget, for example, consider Article I, Section 9, paragraph 7 of the Constitution that reads: "No money should be drawn from the Treasury, but in consequence of Appropriations made by law; and a regular statement and account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public money shall be published from time to time." Moreover, it is fiscally responsible and common sense that a budget should be balanced, whether Thomas Jeffersonspecifically mandated by the Constitution or not. Thomas Jefferson (photo, right) opined: "To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude...And the fore-horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression...I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them."(6) And for many years the founder's advice was followed, and the United States prospered and did not incur a persistently climbing and crushing national debt — until the federal government transcended its constitutional limitations and became a completely unrestrained leviathan with the advent of LBJ's Great Society.

And third, as it pertains to waging war: Article I, Section 8, paragraph 11 of the Constitution already authorizes Congress "to declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisals...." Needless to say, our founders and their successors, until the 20th century, believed in the concept of just and defensive wars. Let's return to the concept of peace, unless our national security, or that of our allies, is threatened or we are attacked. And if common sense and the existing constitutional constraints are not enough to fix the problems, the present Constitution already has a simpler Article V of the U.S. Constitutionmechanism in place for amendment, a process which has already been used successfully 27 times. Article V reads: "The Congress, whenever two-thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, should propose Amendments to this Constitution... which should be valid to all Intents and Purposes as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by three fourths of the several states." The other method of amending the Constitution requires convening a constitutional convention, which as we have stated may not be limited to a single or a few subjects, and can therefore be a dangerous double-edged sword.

Granted, there is much insanity in Washington, but President Obama is at the helm, and much of the fiscal profligacy, economic mayhem, and irresponsible misuse of military power, as in Libya, has emanated from the White House supported mostly by his Democratic Party. Let us not tamper with the U.S. Constitution but elect legislators who will abide by the venerable document — and vote out those who don't! There is still time to save and keep our Republic!

See my subsequent article on this topic: "Concerns remain on calls for a 'Convention of States' to restore the nation."


1. Ferguson B. Time to call for a new constitutional convention. The Macon Telegraph, September 20, 2013.

2. The authoritative 753-page biography of James Madison by Ralph Ketcham (1990; University of Virginia Press) is an imposing tome, but well-worth the read for those interested in the life of the Master Builder of the U.S. Constitution, the forging of the document, and the mechanism involved in convening a constitutional convention.

3. Madison J. and Hamilton A. The Federalist Papers, #57 and #68.

4. Faria MA.  The Electoral College in the U.S. Constitutional Republic. GOPUSA, August 24, 2011.

5. Faria MA.  The Political Spectrum (Part II) —  The Center:  A Democracy or a Constitutional Republic? GOPUSA, October 14, 2011.

6. Jefferson T. Letter to Samuel Kervechal, June 12, 1816.

Written by Dr. Miguel Faria

Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D. is Clinical Professor of Surgery (Neurosurgery, ret.) and Adjunct Professor of Medical History (ret.) Mercer University School of Medicine. He is an Associate Editor in Chief and World Affairs Editor of Surgical Neurology International (SNI), and an Ex-member of the Injury Research Grant Review Committee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 2002-05; Former Editor-in-Chief of the Medical Sentinel (1996-2002). Author, Vandals at the Gates of Medicine (1995); Medical Warrior: Fighting Corporate Socialized Medicine (1997); and Cuba in Revolution — Escape From a Lost Paradise (2002). His website is http://www.haciendapub.com.

Copyright ©2013 Miguel A. Faria, Jr., MD

The images used to illustrate this commentary came from a variety of sources and did not appear in the original versions published either in GOPUSA on September 23, 2013 or in the Macon Telegraph on October 18, 2013. They were added here for the enjoyment of our readers at HaciendaPublishing.com.

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Comments on this post

Great article and video.

Great article, and great video in the video archive with Randall Savage. We don't need the sort of "radical change" from our current constitutional framework for which Mr. Ferguson advocates, and it's scary to think what could happen if a convention of the states was called to order. Again, great article and interview explaining why a convention of the states is exactly what we do not need.

Angry Democrats!

The angry Democrats and their scorched-earth strategy
By Washington Times (DC) January 28, 2014

On Thursday, the FBI indicted Dinesh D'Souza, maker of the hit documentary "2016: Obama's America," in what appears to be a Hugo Chavez-style payback.

Mr. D'Souza is accused of making illegal campaign contributions to a U.S. Senate candidate in New York. Also in New York, conservative activist James O'Keefe reports that Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration, of which he has been critical, is targeting his Veritas group with subpoenas.

In Hollywood, Fox News is reporting that the Internal Revenue Service has targeted a conservative group, Friends of Abe, whose members stay anonymous because of liberal blacklisting. Texas Tea Party leader Catherine Engelbrecht, her husband and their company have been subjected to 28 audits, investigations and inquiries from the IRS and other federal agencies since she founded True the Vote...

Under a proposed new rule, the IRS would redefine the tax-exempt activities of 501(c)(4) nonprofits to sabotage the same groups that the IRS got caught targeting earlier. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, Michigan Republican, said the rule, whose comment period ends on Feb. 27, is clearly aimed at putting "Tea Party groups out of business."
Protected by a "mainstream" media as partisan as the White House public-relations shop, the Obama administration is addressing its own criminal IRS abuses by creating a way to silence the Tea Parties once and for all...

Meanwhile, unions - the largest collective Democratic donors - are not covered by the rule. For good measure, the administration is easing immigration enforcement while Attorney General Eric Holder Jr.'s Justice Department attacks state voter-ID laws enacted to ensure honest elections.

Does anyone see a pattern here? It's diabolically brilliant.
Whether Virginia is a bellwether for November or a much-needed wake-up call depends on whether the Republicans come to understand that those criminalizing dissent and pushing the GOP leftward want desperately to keep that house divided.

Robert Knight is senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a columnist for The Washington Times.

Con Con III

Since our electorate is broken, the solution is voter education, not a constitutional convention.

"But I go on this great republican principle, that the people will have virtue and intelligence to select men of virtue and wisdom. Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks — no form of government can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea. If there be sufficient virtue and intelligence in the community, it will be exercised in the selection of these men [to Congress]. So that we do not depend on their virtue, or put confidence in our rulers, but in the people who are to choose them."
                        — James Madison, Speech on June 20, 1788, at the Virginia Ratifying Convention

In the above quote James Madison was telling the Virginia Ratifying Convention that under the new Constitution we would not be putting our confidence in those elected to Congress to secure our liberty or happiness, but rather we would depend on the virtue and intelligence of the voters who would be selecting the members of Congress. Furthermore, he is saying that beyond this, no theoretical check and no form of government can render us secure.

from "Our Electorate Is Broken: Bad Time for a Con-Con" — Larry Greenly 10/17/2013

Constitutional Convention Debate

Constitutional Convention comments

GOPUSA 9-23-13

NY Graham: I have not read Ferguson’s proposal, but I am very familiar with Mark Levin’s. He proposes to use a State convention for the proposal of amendments (not a Constitutional convention), a process described in Article V.
Several amendments would be immediately obvious and popular, including a balanced budget amendment. Of course, any proposed amendment would have to be ratified by three fourths of the States. This prevents any unpopular or foolish amendments from making it through, and would provide a check against statist/progressive meddling.

Washington described the creation of the Constitution as “little short of a miracle”. It must have been Divine intervention that brought together such a group of intelligent, thoughtful, well-read and moral men to create that document. It is hard to believe that such a group even exists today, and the chance of bringing them together in one place seems small. There were ideological differences between the Republicans and the Federalists, but all believed in the Sovereignty of the States and the importance of limiting the Federal government. Even the most ardent Federalists (Madison and Hamilton) knew that the Federal government must limit its role to dealings with foreign nations and regulating activities among the states to promote commerce.

There is no real need for a new Constitution; all that is needed is for people to follow the Constitution as it was originally written. It is clear in the original text that the role of the Federal government is limited and well defined. Its role of regulating commerce among the States was meant simply as what we would understand today to be a Free Trade Agreement. It did not mean the government had the authority to regulate any product sold in the States. Its role in promoting the general welfare of the United States was clear; it can engage in activities that are for the good of the country (or for all the States), NOT for individual citizens or specific states or regions.

It seems to me that the original goals of the Constitution could be achieved through: 1) a Free Trade Agreement among the states that also defines import duties on goods of foreign origin; 2) a non-aggression pact among the States that also includes a commitment to defend neighboring states from foreign aggressors; 3) a commitment to use a common currency based on gold (or silver) standard; 4) an agreement to allow citizens of individual States to move freely among the various States. Is anything else performed by the Federal government even necessary (that is, cannot be performed at the state level)? Provided the rights spelled out in the Constitution and Bill of Rights are incorporated into State Constitutions, is the Federal government even necessary? Just as the USSR broke apart, smothered by its unmanageable size, is it time to break apart the Union? Can we create a system of independent sovereign States held together by agreements, similar to the European Union?

How do we reverse the current trend towards a more powerful Federal Government of Central Planners, resulting in diminished freedom? Do we return to the Constitution as originally intended (a near impossible task at this point)? Or do we remove the Federal Government altogether?

Jordans: Conservatives need to stop fearing the most effective tool they have for limiting the runaway federal government. The Founders gave us Article V for a reason. They felt it was a critical element that would allow the states to protect themselves against a tyrannical federal government. As we have seen in so many other areas, their actions in giving us Article V show us their wisdom and seeming prescience. If the Framers were here today, and we told them of our woes, they would surely ask, “Have you exercised the power we reserved for you in Article V?” No doubt they would be horrified at the notion that some think we should cower in fear at the idea of using the power they gave us for just the circumstances in which we find ourselves. We’ll never get this off the ground if conservatives are divided on this issue!

The 1787 convention provides no precedent for a runaway convention. The Founders followed the rules to the letter. And the convention could be limited to a single subject. Prof. Rob Natelson, leading expert on Article V, proves as much in his articles. If the convention were call for the purpose of “limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government,” only amendments that fall under that category could be discussed.

Finally, we should always keep in mind that a Convention of States can only recommend amendments. Thirty-eight states must ratify those amendments before they become law! This will keep any amendments from passing unless they reflect the will of the American people.

Roint: I beg to differ with you Jordans… There is an old saying that fits beautifully here… DON’T THROW THE BABY OUT WITH THE WASH. I suspect you are a liberal democrat who thinks this ruling part along with some treacherous republicans think you can hoodwink the American public into thinking you can better our form of government by changing the Constitution that has served us well for over 200 years. The problem lies with elected officials circumventing the law of the land, professing something to be correct and then an ignorant public allowing it to go unchallenged. The problem is not the wording of our Constitution but poor education of the Law of this land in our schools.

Government classes and Constitutional studies are sadly missing in today’s classrooms. This is by design and is furthered in this Common Core Curriculum being shove down our educational throats by the “Race to the top” propaganda coming out of DC and the Department of Education.
Be that as it may, the bottom line is we need to have an aware public in this country holding government to the letter of the Law. No new constitution could begin to change the ills that exist in our three branches of government… and they are ill. The bottom line, Dr. Faria is completely correct in saying that a Con Con would open the doors to changing the entire constitution because nothing would stop the members from doing it, contrary to what your quoted professor has to say. The problem lies in the enforcement of what we have for nothing would be made better by writing anew. Simple amendments will suffice if we need to add wholesome thoughts to our Law. We are the envy of the world the way it is right now. — Sincerely, Roint, a retired educator

davebnm: This is what we would get for the 2nd Amendment according to the progressives which is being introduced in their new textbooks: "Keep and bear arms in a state militia.” No thanks! The existing Constitution is working fine and we need to start following it again.

The Guardian: A close look at the legal arguments used under the LBJ and past admin.’s will reveal that lawyers changed the meaning of words in the constitution ignoring the narrow meaning as stated by the founders in the Federalist Papers. Most notability is the Commerce clause which Congress uses as justification for most of their actions when ever they are challenged. The Tea Party groups should stop using their sites for email and fax protest and start using the courts to file challenges. Individuals could even file suit against their local Congressmen for violating their oath to “uphold and protect the Constitution.”

dstr: (1) Term limits are needed as much for Congress as they were when the presidency was limited to 2 terms. We cannot depend on the power of incumbency to give leeway for citizens to vote to change their representatives regularly! This is needed as much as the need to (2) make it mandatory that members of Congress be subject to the laws & regulations they impose on the public to include a means of controlling the retirement & raises they give themselves which has proven to be reprehensible. Payment & benefits for their services should end when their term ends rather than for life! There must be no way allowed to circumvent this by a president or by any other means!(3) Limits on the years that a member can serve on the Supreme Court are a necessity since any life appointment in any position leads to irresponsibility & slackness in the performance of one’s duties. There should be a way to (4) prevent a president from using reckless executive privilege, as has Obama, and circumvent Congress as he has done numerous times thereby making the separation of powers in our Constitution almost meaningless. It is further needed to have (5) a requirement that a bill cannot become law without it being read, deliberated on & debated as was Obamacare when Pelosi wanted Congress to pass it & then find what was in it which, which they did, resulting in a horrible bill becoming law! These items need to be a part of our Constitution & observed without fail!

Con Con II

Sumitch: I share the same thoughts about a constitutional convention. Our constitution as written has provided for amendments as a way to modify the original document as needed; by the people, not the Congress or any gathering of politicians elected or not and certainly not by unelected bureaucrats. I fear that a constitutional congress would turn loose the politicians to make changes benefiting themselves and/or their parties rather than the people they supposedly represent and rarely for the good of the country. I may be cynical (OK, I’m cynical with a capital C), but imagining turning over the constitution to the same mob that has given themselves the money, power and post retirement benefits brings to my mind a horror that even I cannot fully imagine, but what I can scares me senseless. Ratification by the people by some percent sounds good, but “the people” are the ones that have given us the existing political mafia we have. We need changes to reflect our current society, but other than having a group brought together that had the same motivation and honor as the founding fathers (which we do not have and I doubt could be honestly assembled) I don’t know how it could be safely done. Maybe it would take years of consideration with adequate time for “the people” to read, mull over and agree to every period, paragraph or page to get it done, I’m not sure that isn’t the way it should be.

Congress has already more power than originally intended and the executive branch is totally out of control, largely thanks to the inactivity of Congress. Or are all three of the branches out of control? Add to this the fact that politicians and bureaucrats have learned over the several years how to subvert or completely ignore the constitution. I don’t buy into the “we already have term limits” via elections. Elections are too far apart and too controlled by the political parties to have any real “term limits”. Look at the damage that Obama did during his initial four years. While not being very familiar with the system in England and the “no confidence” policy, there should be some way for us to end a politicians term without waiting two or four years to remove them from office by the will of the people, not the politicians. The part of the “media” is unsatisfactory as we have it now. There’s too much biased or outright false reporting. Freedom of speech is as it should be but I do not believe that gives the freedom to lie or misrepresent as we have just seen her nibness Feinstein do concerning the killings at the Navy base. I’m referring to her constant calling the AR15 an assault weapon as an example. She knows it isn’t but will use inflammatory words to get what she wants without regard to facts and the truth. The President has taken misrepresenting and lying to a new art form. Not knowing is understandable, but not as a crutch of an easy way to misrepresent facts.

Dido: Experts can argue one way or the other but there are only two separate ways to amend the Constitution. You can not have a mixture of the two. This is how Article V reads:
“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 not 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.”
Conservatives who think they can limit a Constitutional Convention are playing with fire, particularly with a biased liberal media exerting pressure in one direction. As you have mentioned, Dr. Faria, the last time it was tried we ended up with new Constitution with increased federal powers. The next time it will kill the Republic and turns US into a social democracy!

freedomfighter: There is concern that the Constitution as written, is null and void, as this Proxident end runs around it, and does pretty much what he pleases without us having any say. We are stuck in a rut, as he is ruling our Country in complete disregard for our founding document. We seem to be powerless to stop his obvious circumvention of that document, and unable to vote out the vermin who destroy our Country, and shred the Constitution. We could not even vote Nobama out in the last election, due to the fact of the Illegal vote by millions of bodies, and likely tainted voting machines. They, voting poll officials, were notified by many all over the Country, that their votes were not being counted for the marked candidate, but were switched to another by the computer. As long as this evil stays in our Presidents seat, and controls the votes and the majority of voters, we (Conservatives, Republicans,) have little to no say in how our Country is run. Not only was there cause to believe that the vote was fixed, it does not matter how the vote finalizes, as long as we have no control over who is doing the counting/tabulating of the votes.

Last election, all too conveniently, all of the Military votes were lost in transit from our troops on foreign soil. That bulk of votes could have, and probably would have, made all the difference in the final count, at least if the count is in fact sanctioned and watched over by both parties, to keep it as honest as possible. It seems we have been pushed into a very deep hole from which we cannot climb, by the opposing multitudes, up to and including our Courts, and Supreme Court. It seems that the Left is absolutely brain washed into believing that this man who is destroying our Country, IS destroying our Country. They are all cushy, with their voted benefits, and exclusions from the monster, Nobamacare, so it is easy for them to fiddle as our Constitution is burned by the Commandant-N-Chief. It needs to be proven by someone with the power, that he is not a legal holder of the office of President, He then needs to be arrested, and charged with treason. It appears, though, that either no one has the power, or they will not use it against him, even if they did have it.

Dido: We need to start supplementing our children’s education. We cannot depend on the public schools, even some private schools, to educate our children, teach them civics and government, and immunize them against the inane and asinine popular culture that engulf us — and which has led to collectivism and this insanity!


ceecee: First let me tell you my back ground. I have a master degree as a Constitutional Historian. When the founding father’s wrote the Constitution they feared that one day the government would become it’s own worse enemy. That is why they gave the states and the people a way of stopping it by a Constitution Convention. The problem we have right now is that not only is congress misusing the constitution but the executive and courts no longer upholding their obligation to uphold the constitution. This started back under President Lincoln. I am not saying that slavery was correct but the southern states were right that slavery was a state issue not a federal one. If the founding father had thought so they would have ban it back when they wrote the constitution. Instead they left it up to the states. Then when the income tax amendment was added in the 1910′s the Supreme Court should have ruled it unconstitutional. When FDR expanded the federal government under the New Deal he through what was left of the Constitution out the window. The only powers that federal government has under the Constitution is to defense and commerce. That all the right is up to the states. All Dr. Faria is stating that we get back to the original Constitution that served well. At this point the states only have two choices and convention or secede from the union.

paoldguy to ceecee: The Constitution was a compromise between some who wanted a stronger federal government and those who wanted a less strong (but stronger than under the Articles of Confederation) federal government. Slavery was an issue back then but it was obvious that outlawing slavery would not have resulted in a united federal government. Instead there was a prohibition on the importation of slaves into the country after 1808 Article I, Section 9 and the 3/5 Compromise Article I, Section 3 and the fugitive slave clause forbidding free states from freeing escaped slaves Article IV section 3. You may not like the interpretations but there is a well developed body of law putting very few limitations on Congress when exercising the Commerce Clause. Obviously the 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th Amendments gave significant additional powers to the federal government. I think the question of secession was settled in 1865 but obviously states could be cut loose by Constitutional Amendment

And from The Macon Telegraph:

Scott Silver: There is no need for a Constitutional Convention. What we need is for the States, for Congress and the President to abide by and enforce the Constitution. If they aren't willing to do that, what good will come from a Constitutional Convention?


Bob Farquhar: As for those war loopholes, you'd better plan on voiding the National Security Act of 1947 along with the National Security Council and National Security Adviser.

Marcus Harvey: Congress proposing amendments to the Constitution under Article V is no better or worse than the States convening and proposing amendments under Article V. The difference is simply who does the drafting of the amendments. A convention for proposing amendments to the existing Constitution is not the same as a constitutional convention drafting a constitution de novo, as occurred in Philadelphia in 1787. A constitutional convention is no longer necessary, as it was in 1787, because we now have a Constitution and national government. That did not exist under the Articles of Confederation, which were really of treaty between sovereign states, and the Continental Congress at the time was more like the League of Nations or the United Nations, and proved just as ineffectual.

I don't fear constitutional amendments drafted by the States any more than I fear those drafted by Congress. Indeed, the States may draft better amendments, or at least the kinds of amendments that Congress won't draft, such as term limits on itself, and the kinds it has been unable to pass, like a balanced budget amendment.

This "runaway" convention argument is a scarecrow that is brought out every time a convention of states to propose amendments is suggested, and it is simply fear-mongering that is used against a legitimate, Constitutionally-prescribed method of amending the Constitution. If it were dangerous, the Founders would not have included in the Constitution, would they have? The final blow to any scare-tactics like this should be the realization that 3/4th of the States have to ratify any proposed amendments, which is the same threshold that has to be met if the amendments were proposed by Congress. This means that a mere 13 states could block any "dangerous" proposed changes (and even beneficial ones). Equating a convention of states to propose amendments to the Constitution with the Constitutional Convention of 1787 is simply a misunderstanding of Article V of the Constitution.

Anisa Abd El Fattah: I think it's very strange that anyone would even dream that Congress or the executive branch is capable or interested in any type of serious government reform. They passed and signed the laws that have ruined the country. I think a Constitutional Convention consisting of non politicians, delegates selected by the state governments to represent the interest of the states in a discussion on the crisis facing our country is not only needed, but also appropriate. The states have the right to convene such a gathering and to decide to either force reforms on the federal level or take other measures to bring our federal branch back into compliance with the Constitution.