The Constitution: Article V Convention of the States

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Air Date: March 18, 2014

Host: Jim Schneider

Guest: Tom DeWeese

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Tom DeWeese is the President of the American Policy Center. Tom is one of the nation’s leading advocates of individual liberty, free enterprise, private property rights, personal privacy, back-to-basics education and American sovereignty and independence.

Article V allows for ways to amend the Constitution. One is by Congress passing an amendment that’s sent to the states to be ratified. The other way is to have two-thirds of the states pass legislation calling for a constitutional convention to discuss one or more issues. Once two-thirds or 34 states put in such a request, then according to Article V Congress is supposed to convene a constitutional convention.

One of the major concerns that Tom has with the idea of holding a constitutional convention is that once one is called, there is no controlling of what is discussed.

As Tom noted, our Constitution is the only governing document that says you have rights you are born with and it’s the job of government to protect those rights. That’s what makes us a republic, not a democracy. The reason this is a concern is because there are those who feel our Constitution is old, outdated and needs to be modernized. The people saying these kinds of things want to change our Constitution because they don’t like what it says. It’s restricting what they want to do and they want it out of the way. One of the ways that’s being used to do away with it is to simply ignore it.

Those who appreciate our Constitution see this taking place and the answer for some is to initiate an Article V convention. Tom doesn’t see how this solves anything any differently than a constitutional convention. You’re still bringing a group of people together, you have to decide how the delegates are chosen and there’s no way to control what happens once they convene.

The problem is, why does this have to be done in the first place? Again, it’s because those in power are ignoring the Constitution. Tom described a scenario where he imagined we had an Article V convention and we passed a balanced budget amendment, we made English the official language, stopped illegal immigration, etc., and now these things are in the Constitution. At that point, what changes? The people ignoring the Constitution are opposed to these things. What under an Article V convention model forces anyone to adhere to the Constitution? Under this scenario, just because the American public would have passed these things doesn’t force legislators to suddenly have to govern properly. He cited Obamacare as a classic example. 75% of the American public didn’t want it and it passed anyway.

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