- 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.
Now where we find a diversion in understanding is use of the term “Constitutional Convention”, or the abbreviated form “Con-Con”. A Constitutional Convention is simply a convention to create a new constitution as was done originally at the Philadelphia Convention which took place from May 25 to September 17, 1787.
However Article V does not allow for a Constitutional Convention. Instead the text is clear, it is:
“a convention for proposing amendments”
There is no legitimate reason to confuse the two. It is much like the redefining of “marriage” and “gay” in the previous post on this site. Yet some groups and individuals are on a mission to “Stop the Con-Con” or other similar statements. If indeed that it their intention, then by the actual meaning of the phrase, their work is done because there is no credible movement for a Constitutional Convention. Whether their confusion is intentional or a misunderstanding is not clear and does not matter. It serves to divide the strength of the Article V movement.
The same opposition to the Article V conventions are invariably proponents of the theory of Nullification to stop a runaway government. While there are some who think that both could be used simultaneously, the majority of Nullification proponents are strident in their opposition to Article V conventions. Two of the “conservative” groups opposed to Article V conventions are the John Birch Society and the Eagle Forum. I have not investigated the Eagle Forum in depth but have investigated the John Birch Society enough to know I can't align with it even though I might agree with many of their thoughts.
The problem with the John Birch Society (JBS) is that they are against virtually anyone or group but themselves. They are against most if not all talk show hosts, conservatives, and more. What I noticed immediately on research was this fact, and that it included General and President Eisenhower. Eisenhower of course, headed the Allied invasion and victory over the Nazis in WWII. He commanded Operation Overlord for the invasion of France, designed for a quick end to the war as possible.
Eisenhower was also noted for his opposition to the industrial-military lobby, as noted in his quote:
Military-Industrial Complex Speech, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961
And yet JBS is far off the track on Eisenhower. JBS seems to take a conflicting [very] long term track restoring their view of conservatism yet insist on a short term tool such as Nullification and disdain Article V conventions because it would take too long in their view.
Because both JBS and Eagle Forum are so ingrained in their views on Nullification and Article V conventions I do not see a meeting of the minds with them on these two topics.
I am highly in favor of the Article V conventions because it is distinctly a part of the Constitution. If someone sides against it, then they also give leeway for any other of the Constitution to be questioned. That would include any or all of the Bill of Rights. Ironically, the JBS and the Eagle Forum side with progressive liberals in their opposition to Article V conventions. The progressives would take that lead even farther and destroy all of the Constitution in time.
I view the Article V convention process as the true long term fix as it could make law the changes needed to repair our government. Nullification cannot provide that as it is in essence a complaint to the same government officials that invoked the tyranny we despise. These officials knew what they were doing at the time they did it, and probably benefit from their actions in some way. They will not repair the government in any significant way. They must be replaced. And an amendment for Term Limits would accomplish that. For instance, both Joe Donnelly and Dan Coats would be replaced with the Term Limits amendment proposed by Mark Levin. Elections are still controlled by the States and term limits would lessen the impact of lobbyists and crony-capitalists to control and direct the outcomes.
But Nullification could serve as an activist action similar to the French Resistance in WWII. It was not possible that the French Resistance could win WWII. But it did serve to annoy and distract the Nazi's while Eisenhower's Operation Overlord was preparing to invade France. And so Operation Overlord could be compared to the Article V convention process as both were the more powerful and permanent solution to their respective problems.
Instead perhaps even these or any conventions might be a problem with the two groups. I love their passion and energy. But it is misplaced.