How to Repair Washington: A Convention of States

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Let’s be clear about the chal­lenges facing Americans.

— Our nation’s fiscal op­erating debt currently stands at $22 trillion, with upwards of $215 trillion in unfunded lia­bilities. Everyone knows this is absolutely crazy and unsus­tainable. It will collapse at some point, and the only question is “When?”
— Our federal government employs 2 million employees, far more than needed. Please explain to me exactly what these millions of people do?
— States have lost their co-equal role in governing the nation. Bureaucrats act as de facto lawmakers, writing oner­ous rules and regulations. Ac­tivist judges make rulings based on their political beliefs rather than the original intent of the Constitution.

Every day government offi­cials go to work, “We The Peo­ple” lose a little more freedom.

Now let’s examine perhaps the wisest solution available to us. Wouldn’t you know — it comes straight from the U.S. Constitution.

The Founding Fathers put Article V in the Constitution because they knew the federal government would never relin­quish power willingly. They gave states ultimate power over the federal gov­ernment. Article V says that Congress, ”on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments …” Thus, if 34 states de­mand it, Congress must call a conven­tion for proposing amendments to the Constitution.

Based on this power delegated to the states by our Founders, I and many others are proposing that we save our republic by convening a Con­vention of States to consider amend­ments restoring meaningful limits to federal power and authority. The growing movement to call for an Arti­cle V Convention of States was started in 2013 by Mark Meckler and Michael Farris. It is endorsed by author and constitutional law expert Mark Levin, U.S. Senator Tom Cotton, commenta­tor Ben Shapiro, former congressman Ron Paul, conservative activist Charlie Kirk, Florida governor Ron DeSantis and former Housing and Urban De­velopment secretary (and acclaimed neurosurgeon) Ben Carson, to name a few.

How exactly does it work? Once 34 states call a convention, all 50 states send a delegate to represent their in­terests. Each state gets one vote on any constitutional amendment proposed. Amendments only pass to the states for ratification if a majority of the states vote in the affirmative. Congress has no say whatsoever over the out­come. It is completely in the hands of the states, which means it’s a whole lot closer to the hands of the people.

America has never amended the Constitution this way. That doesn’t mean we can’t. One objection to us­ing this constitutional tool, some say, is that it might open the door to re­writing the entire Constitution. An­tonin Scalia, the late Supreme Court Justice, acknowledged this risk but regarded it as a minimal and reason­able one. Why? Because to be ratified, a proposed amendment would need the approval of three-fourths — that is, 38 — states, as set forth in Article V. That’s a very high bar. Thirty-eight states probably would never agree to something radical such as, for exam­ple, abolishing free speech. In Scal­ia’s words, “[The Founders] knew the Congress would be unwilling to give attention to many issues … involving restrictions on the federal govern­ment’s own power … [so] they pro­vided the convention [of states] as a remedy.”

A remedy of this kind is exact­ly what we need. Today, politicians can turn our lives upside down on a whim (thinks me: vaccine passports). This is the kind of stuff King George III did in 1775. Being at the mercy of distant, disconnected rulers was why the American Revolution was fought in the first place. But today we don’t need a revolution; we have Article V.

The convention should limit itself to:
1) greatly limiting the size, scope and jurisdiction of the federal govern­ment,
2) imposing fiscal restraints on the federal government, and
3) creating term limits for elected public servants.

Other good ideas include a lim­it on taxes, spending and borrow­ing. And how about a constitutional amendment stating that Congress can’t exempt itself from laws it passes? Congress does this thousands of times in arenas from insider trading (yes, you heard me right) to Obamacare. How about We the People say simply, through a brief amendment, “What’s good for the goose is good for the gan­der”?

A Convention of States will not solve all of America’s problems, but the Founders put it in the Constitu­tion for a reason. They knew a time would come when Washington would become so big and intrusive that only We The People could cut it down to size. That time is now.

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