By Mark Wachtler
February 7, 2015. Spokane Valley, WA. (ONN) Last month, we reported how the movement to call a national Constitutional Convention was growing by leaps and bounds lately. Dozens of State Representatives and State Senators have just joined with grassroots organizations and even some US Congressmen to make it a reality. But our good friends at the Constitution Party have stepped up to voice their opposition to a Con-Con. The Party issued a dire warning which explains their well-founded fears.
The call for a Constitutional Convention to rein in the federal government is growing. So is opposition to it. Image courtesy of CBPP.org.
The below is from yesterday’s edition of Whiteout Press’ sister publication Opposition News.
Ever since the US Constitution was ratified two and a quarter centuries ago, there have been those who want to add to it, fix it or change it. The first successful attempt has been the bane of despots and the pride of patriots for 200 years - the Bill of Rights. Today, a movement is growing to hold another Constitutional Convention to stop the transgression from Republic to Empire and President to Dictator. But America’s guardians of the Constitution - the Constitution Party - say no.
Your author has been in the middle of this debate for over 20 years. It’s not new, just getting closer to reality. On one hand, most Americans are unaware or in denial of the fact that their rights and the US Constitution that guarantees them were suspended 14 years ago by an act of Congress and the signature of the President. The courts have repeatedly affirmed it, often ruling that in the state of war that America is currently in, all rights are superseded by national security.
Additionally, passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) officially declared US soil a war zone, further solidifying Executive Branch authority over the whole of America. For those reasons, and a host of others, state legislators from across the country have joined longtime grassroots activists in launching an official organization dedicated to holding a Constitutional Convention with the stated intention of reining in the ever-growing power of the country’s Executive Branch.
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Convention of the States
Two weeks ago, Opposition News’ sister publication Whiteout Press published a report detailing the efforts of a coalition of elected State Representatives and State Senators from around the country, along with various grassroots political organizations, that have been pushing the idea of a Constitutional Convention. Titled ‘Convention of the States Idea spreading’, the account details the recent non-profit Incorporation of an organization called Assembly of State Legislatures.
Having met this past summer in Indiana, the group’s most recent meeting this winter in Virginia saw them file Articles of Incorporation and recognize 75 members - all elected state legislators. The meeting was even televised on C-SPAN. Elected to the leadership posts of the Assembly of State Legislatures at the gathering in Valley Forge were State Senator Jason Holsman (D-MO) and State Representative Chris Kapenga (R-WI).
To give readers a sense of just how widespread the movement has become, the organization already has members and representatives in 4,412 of America’s 4,681 local legislative districts. Their 75 elected officials out of 4,681 represent only 1.5% of the nation. But the way the idea and the movement are spreading, that number is sure to grow. The movement isn’t without allies in the US Congress either. At the same time the organization was officially launched only weeks ago, US Rep. Steven Stiver (R-OH) attached an Amendment to the US House Rules that finally creates a working system for collecting petitions for a Constitutional Convention and other Article V related causes.
The Assembly of State Legislatures’ stated purpose is, ‘to draft and define rules and procedures for and to conduct a convention of The States pursuant to Article V of The Constitution of the United States of America and to consider and act upon all other matters of relevance for such a convention.’
Opposing a Con-Con
There is no shortage of opponents to a Constitutional Convention to amend the US Constitution. Their arguments against it almost universally center on one well-founded fear - that the United States is so corrupt and so infiltrated by soulless profiteers, tyrants and criminals that they would surely use the opportunity to further solidify the power of the state, not rein it in. In reality, nobody knows for sure what would happen.
Readers must decide for themselves if local elected Democrats and Republicans have the courage and desire to upend their own national Party leaders. Or would they simply fall in line and continue to obey the Party’s orders and not the will of the citizens who elected them. This author fears those local officials aren’t even sure themselves.
Among the most vocal and reputable of the Constitutional Convention opponents is none other than one of America’s most dedicated guardians of the Constitution - the Constitution Party. In response to the growing and vocal call for a Con-Con, the Constitution Party reiterated its staunch opposition to such an endeavor. The Party’s statement reads, ‘We oppose any attempt to call for a Constitutional convention, for any purpose whatsoever, because it cannot be limited to any single issue, and such convention could seriously erode our Constitutionally protected unalienable rights.’
The Constitution Party’s opposition to a Constitutional Convention isn’t new. The Party passed a resolution in 2009 making it their official stance. The 2009 resolution reads in part, ‘Whereas, a Constitutional Convention has the potential to undo the protections of our unalienable rights and limits on government defined by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights enumerated in the first 10 Amendments; Therefore be it Resolved, the Constitution Party National Committee calls upon all Americans to defend the Constitution by opposing calls for a Constitutional Convention.’
Explaining their opposition
In response to the rapid gains various conservatives, libertarians, Constitutionalists and Tea Partiers have made in their effort to hold a Constitutional Convention, the Constitution Party’s Washington State Chair Robert Peck penned an essay last month explaining the Party’s opposition. This author thinks America’s political opposition as a whole would agree with his premise.
“Our Constitutional form of government is in peril,” the Constitution Party’s Peck begins, “The intent of the framers of the US Constitution is ignored with impunity. The concept of liberty through limited government is lost on nearly all that we send to DC. The national debt spirals out of control. The powers reserved to the states and the people are usurped as though the 10th Amendment has somehow been repealed.”
He explains the Constitution Party’s break from their fellow freedom fighters and liberty lovers however when he goes on to concede, “While conservative, TEA Party, Liberty movement and Constitutional types may all agree as to the need to rein in an unruly federal government, the method being proposed is a point of serious contention.”
The Constitution Party’s State Chair from Washington continues his argument and persuasively explains the current disagreement with some in America’s pro-Constitution movement over a Constitutional Convention. It ends with the CP spokesman calling the possibility of the US Constitution falling under the unchallenged control of the two current establishment political parties, “downright alarming.” Opposition News readers would probably universally agree.
Robert Peck explains, “The fact that educated, scholarly and well respected conservative leaders disagree as to whether a convention could with certainty be limited to a single purpose, is reason for concern. But the convention would not be called and run by these respected conservative leaders who are currently debating what limits, if any, could be placed on the convention. A convention of states, if called, would instead be in the hands of the sum of the state legislatures and that’s cause for outright alarm.”
He goes on to say, “Herein lies my greatest concern with an Article V convention of states - the character and caliber of the representatives to whom a Constitutional Convention and the ratifying of proposed amendments would be entrusted. If our state legislatures were filled with men possessing the wisdom and integrity of our nation’s founders, then I would be much more inclined to entrust them with the task of opening up the supreme law of our land and correcting any deficiencies they might find. However, if our legislative assemblies were filled with men of the Founding Father’s caliber, then we wouldn’t be having this discussion.”
Peck asks how many of these state legislatures have ever stood up to the federal government before, and what makes anyone think they would suddenly find the courage to do it at a Constitutional Convention. He gives numerous recent examples such as federal education mandates, Obamacare, EPA regulations, and even their own debt-ridden and bloated state governments. He illustrates his point asking, “How many have stood up on their hind legs and said “NO” to the rules, regulations or mandates of even one of the federal agencies or programs not enumerated in Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution?”
Words of wisdom - does the rest of the opposition agree?
This author is going to go out on a limb and suggest that most, if not all, of our 15 opposition parties would agree with the Constitution Party’s stance against a Constitutional Convention. If not, consider Peck’s final thought. We at Opposition News believe his words are as wise as they are prophetic, and they beautifully illustrate one of the unifying principals that all of us agree on - that both the Democrats and Republicans are too corrupt to be trusted.
“Between the 25 states run by the red team and 13 by the blue, I’m hard pressed to find a significant difference between them or anything indicating that they would run things in a manner substantially different than what Congress does,” the Constitution Party’s Robert Peck argues, “What exactly causes us to hope that a convention of states would produce the government-restraining, liberty-preserving amendments that would save us from an out-of-control federal government when the convention would be run by delegates from state legislatures that are effectively miniature replicas of Congress?”
As is often the case, the Constitution Party didn’t mince words and was one of the first and most vocal of America’s opposition political parties to take a public stand on the issue. And if the rest of America’s political opposition doesn’t have an official position on the call for a Constitutional Convention, they may want to come up with one fast. There’s an ever-growing coalition of Republicans and Democrats getting closer and closer to making it happen.
Be sure to check out the latest edition of the Constitution Party’s monthly newsletter The Constitutionist. And check out all of the Constitution Party of Washington State’s news and announcements streaming live 24/7 on the Washington page in the Opposition News States section. Or visit the Constitution Party of Washington directly at CPofWA.org.
The above was reprinted from yesterday’s edition of Whiteout Press’ sister publication Opposition News.