The Folly of Article V

Lately, many of my political friends have been talking about something called Article V.  For those unfamiliar with the term, it is a call for a constitutional convention to amend the U.S. Constitution.  Article V reads as follows:

“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; 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.”

Photo from Mark Levin's Facebook page
Photo from Mark Levin’s Facebook page

This idea had been promoted by a number of conservative pundits, especially Mark Levin who has written a book entitled The Liberty Amendments.  However, it should be noted that the states have never called for a constitutional convention under Article V.

The more I read about this idea, the greater my opposition to it grows.  What if the nation held a constitutional convention?  Would the result be more liberty and a more constitutionally bound federal government as people like Levin suggest?  Or would it serve as an opportunity to expand power even further in Washington?

The outcome is uncertain and one that would be nearly impossible to correct should the process go awry.

Do we really need any “liberty amendments”?  It seems to me that the federal government has already done a pretty good job ignoring its limitations already spelled out quite clearly in the 9th and 10th Amendments.

In case you’ve forgotten, the 9th Amendment reads,

“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

And the 10th Amendment states,

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Friends, the Constitution already lists what powers the federal government rightfully ought to have.  Therefore, I’d much rather see my legislators in Richmond invoke these amendments to protect the people of this state as opposed to opening Pandora’s box of a constitutional convention where the outcome will almost certainly erode our freedoms further.

Now, I won’t claim to be an expert on this subject and all of us have been wrong before.  But, at this point, I think all Americans, especially those claiming to be either conservatives or libertarians, should be exceedingly wary of invoking Article V.

3 Replies to “The Folly of Article V”

  1. I absolutely agree with you. There is no longer the widespread debate on the proper role of government in society that there was in the early days of the Constitution. The horse has left the barn. With half of the American population receiving more bennies from the government than they pay for, the outcome cannot be in doubt.

    I believe all change absolutely must come from a wholesale change in basic attitudes. Education is the only way to get that change in attitudes. Government cannot be truly reformed until it’s mostly made irrelevant to most people’s lives.

    1. A good point Marc.

      One of my Facebook friends pointed out that the purpose of the constitutional convention hundreds of years ago was to fix the Articles of Confederation. What they got instead was a greatly expanded federal government under the Constitution. What will come of another constitutional convention? Other expansion of federal power?

  2. Nice article!

    But your pen name doesn’t suit your content. Rousseau was not a friend to anything right, true and good. Look him up and read his philosophy.

    Montesquieu or Algernon Sidney were two of the political philosophers our Framers actually admired and studied. Sidney was an English aristocrat who lost his head for his writings on political philosophy. Honor him – not that degenerate Rousseau.

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