Michigan’s Involvement in an Article V Convention of States – A Rebuttal to Norman Hughes

Michigan’s Involvement in an Article V Convention of States – A Rebuttal to Norman Hughes

My friend Jen posted this wonderful article on her site last week. I wanted to add it to my collection of COS articles. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out!

By Jen Kuznicki – Via JenKuznicki.com

Michigan’s Involvement in an Article V Convention of States – A Rebuttal to Norman Hughes-
I received an email last week from my good friend Norman Hughes. Norm is a conservative activist here in Michigan, and he is trying to stop Michigan’s proposal to become part of the Constitutional process called the Article V Convention of States.

While I agree that Michigan’s approach is wrong, I disagree vehemently with Norm’s misinterpretation of what the Convention of States offers the people. Instead of arguing simply against the Balanced Budget Amendment, which he does here, he feels the need to poison efforts toward an application outright. I find that to be unfortunate. Here is my rebuttal of his assertions.

Vote No on HJR CC, an application for an Article V Constitutional Convention of the States supposedly for a Balanced Budget Amendment. Article V does not limit a convention to one subject but states, “for proposing Amendments” in the plural. There is no way to limit an Article V Convention. Michigan gets 33.74% of its state budget from the Federal Government. If Michigan really wants the federal government to balance the federal budget then Michigan should send back all federal money coming into Michigan. Are you as a Legislator willing to refuse the federal money and mandates? Unless you are, an application for a Constitutional Convention for a balanced budget is a sham. (or write your own message)

While I agree that the way the Michigan Legislature is going about this is wrong, I strenuously object to the terms, hyperbole, and outright falsehoods that Norman uses here. First of all, my view of Michigan’s proposal, is that it tries to pick amendments before applying for a convention. Or rather, it picks one amendment, severely limiting Michigan’s involvement if a convention is called. For instance, if the convention is called because 34 states have applied, and Michigan sends its delegates to vote only on a Balanced Budget Amendment, it then becomes a spoiler for the rest of the states, who may want other issues discussed, like repealing the 16th and 17th amendments.

The whole brilliance of the Article V Convention of States, is that it is a mechanism to be used when the federal government becomes oppressive, surely, that is without question at this point. But my good friend Norman chooses to strike fear into the hearts and minds of everyone, rather than hash out the truth, and oddly, uses liberal rhetoric to convince lawmakers to do nothing. Asking, for instance, the legislators if they are willing to send back all the money they get from the federal government, should be a strange grouping of words coming from a conservative.

Article V of the U.S. Constitution: “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…”

Notice that Congress Calls the Convention and will set the rules…not the States.

Whoa. I can see the words, “shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments.” It does not say, as Norman says, “and will set the rules…not the States.”

Every time a critic of the Constitution puts words in it that are not in the Constitution, it shows they have not read the Constitution closely, shows they do not understand that words have specific meaning, and that the Framers were very cautious, spending the proper amount of time on the wording so as not to confuse. Norman chooses to throw in words, whether deliberate or not, to make a point that is moot, since the words are foreign to the Constitution.

Question: Why do we think that the Congress that ignores the Constitution now would be any more likely to abide by a new amendment to the Constitution?

If Norman is saying that amending the Constitution is useless because the Constitution is useless, it’s over isn’t it? This great nation is over and done if we cannot get Congress and future Presidents to obey the Constitution. But the key here is the word, “we.”

If Norman wasn’t so busy trying to stop a Convention of States instead of learning about it and realizing it is the only peaceful solution to our problems, he’d see that the alternative will likely lead to violence. If we spent our time, not trying to be the leader of some movement, but instead thoughtfully and methodically going over all the writings and discussions and resolutions and thought processes of the framing, the nation would be better off, because an informed public is quite possibly the only thing that can save our nation. Misinforming the public on this issue, is, in my view, robbing them of some really great news which can free their minds and soothe their soul.

The key to using the Convention of States prescription, is to begin the discussion, awareness, and education of the American public on why this nation was once free, and in doing so, dispelling myths about the founding of America. We the People are put in charge of this nation’s destiny, and if we do nothing, it will surely descend into violence, for there is no other route for a freedom-loving person who is forced, by government coercion, to do that which is unnatural.

A Convention cannot be Limited: Former Chief Justice Warren Burger stated: “I have also repeatedly given my opinion that there is no effective way to limit or muzzle the actions of a Constitutional Convention. The Convention could mike its own rules and set its own agenda. Congress might try to limit the Convention to one amendment or to one issue, but there is no way to assure that the Convention would obey. After a Convention is convened, it will be too late to stop the convention if we don’t like its agenda…”

I disagree with Chief Justice Burger. Let’s say that Michigan dropped its insistence on limiting Michigan’s involvement in an Article V Convention of States to a Balanced Budget Amendment, and simply applied. Like any convention, rules and proposals are always voted upon when the convention begins. Before the convention, it would be normal business to be in contact with other parties, in this case, states, on the regular order, the expectation of process, this all remains to be seen, but I disagree that if a state disagrees strenuously with the agenda of the convention, that it has no recourse to stop it. These rules are to be set beforehand. It will take 34 states to ultimately vote in favor of an agenda, and then 38 to ratify and that high bar is there to make it difficult to do. Surely, all will fail if the people are ill-informed or misinformed. Remember, we are being ruled by minority thought. People do not by and large identify as progressives or liberals, they identify with conservatism and tradition, God and country. It is imperative that we work with diligence to inform people of the Constitution and the meanings of words within it, rather than nastily denounce the framers who have given us the gift of freeing ourselves from an oppressive government in a peaceful way. This work is not to take place overnight, it is to be taken seriously, to inform the public and educate those whose knee-jerk assumptions do not hold to historical fact.

I object to the article Norm has passed around by Janine Hansen & Gayle Ruzicka, because it makes wild assumptions about our standing as free citizens. Looking to modern groupthink, these authors believe there must be an involvement of the court or of Congress on how the states handle the Convention of States. If a state, at this point, cannot make legislative decisions on its own without asking daddy judge or papa Congress, this nation is done for. Repeating the mantra that Congress makes the rules doesn’t make it so. The Constitution says that, “Congress shall call,” it doesn’t say, “and make all the rules so that in the end there is no reason that the framers put this method in the constitution because when congress becomes oppressive we have to ask them permission to be free,” does it? That line of argument is a smoke-screen, it relies on ignorance of the people to be effective in closing minds to the facts. Worse than that, it treats the framers as if they were a bunch of imbeciles, just willy-nilly putting words together to fill space in a document to form a nation. Hogwash. The article appears at Eagle Forum, and I respect and defend Phyllis Schlafly for a host of reasons, but on this topic she is ill-informed.

But the article goes on to say that author Mark Levin has proposed ten amendments, showing that they did not read the book, since he proposed eleven, but aside from that, their fear is that the left will propose ten amendments as well. Perhaps there will be dozens of proposals, but again, 34 and 38 must carry through. I choose to believe that only when there is significant information, can this move forward, and it takes all of us to read and not close our minds because of fear. Fear of what is unknown becomes less scary when we take the time to inform ourselves, rather than remaining ignorant and stubborn.

Also, this is not an overnight fix-it-all. In my view, it will naturally come to contention and words and argument and spirited debate, probably extreme passion as well, but we are talking about turning back one hundred years of progressivist oppression, and we hold the keys to do so only when we remain calm and immerse ourselves in the thinking of the founding.

Too often, I read arguments from people who say things like, “I love my Constitution, and I don’t think it should be changed.” But I believe they mean that the original Constitution with the Bill of Rights, and certain other amendments are what they love. Can you honestly say you love the 16th amendment? How about the 17th, which changed entirely the function of the Senate and its relationship with the States? We are all at odds because one hundred years ago, we had a fever hit this nation that sought to limit our freedoms forever. Do we deny that?

People also say that the government doesn’t pay attention to the Constitution now, so what does it matter if we add amendments? This is an extremely cynical view, but it is also off-target. When a government official refuses to follow the Constitution, there are methods to extract him or her from government. The will to do so usually falls upon other legislators, but it ultimately falls on the people. I believe a robust debate on all issues pertaining to the Constitution can help the nation in many ways, and improve people’s lives through the diligent study of their privileges and obligations as citizens. When more and more realize that the nation depends on the citizens to fix it, the Article V Convention of States process will be better understood.

In my view, there is little recourse for today’s ills. We have become so used to asking permission and filling out forms and requests before action of any kind, while at the same time, fear of litigation and the IRS and the NSA and street cams and all the ways in which we are controlled by our federal government, that the argument must be made for freedom by reversing the course of the nation, through the Article V Convention of States. We cannot rely on the federal government, which now depends on the equivalent of unicorn blood to survive, to stop taking property and liberty from us.

We are our nation’s only hope.

Read more at Convention of States – A Project of the Citizens for Self-Governance

Click here for a huge selection of articles and videos about an Article V convention of the states. Learn all about it!

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