Many of those genuinely worried about the future of the American republic have vested hopes in a call for a new Constitutional Convention (aka Con Con) to fix perceived defects in contemporary political practice. Such advocates are overly optimistic about the prospects of a Con Con to deliver on such promises and have a misplaced hope that they will achieve through constitutional reform what has not been achieved through politics.

Those calling for a Con Con have legitimate grievances. There are serious problems with American constitutional practice relating to the erosion of the separation of powers, the self-effacement of congressional powers, and the practice of federalism. The advent of bureaucratic government, announced in principle during the progressive era and becoming the predominant mode whereby legislation becomes genuine law during the Great Society, has eroded public accountability and transformed Congress into an overseer of independent agencies more than a legislative or deliberative body. Many have written thoughtfully about these deep, serious, enduring, and seemingly intractable problems. A new constitution has, in effect, been grafted onto the old, compromising practice, undermining public trust, and exacerbating problems of consent. All is not well with the American Constitution.

Photo of Scott Yenor at StatehouseOn February 28, Dr. Yenor spoke at the Idaho State Capitol on the subject of “The American Founders on the Constitutional Convention.”

Nor is American political practice obviously healthy. Budget deficits and public debt are at record highs. Public confidence in government is at a nadir. It is not clear that our government agencies accomplish what they set out to do, nor are there serious consequences if they do not. The status quo is, one way or another, unsustainable. Change must come, one way or another, to our constitutional system.

In response to this, calls are made for a new constitutional Convention—an Article V Convention—to address our serious problems. A Con Con would begin with two-thirds of states calling for a constitutional Convention. Congress is then required to call the Convention, just as the government of the Articles of Confederation had called the original Convention in Philadelphia. The Convention would organize itself and make proposals for amendments, which would then be passed on to the states where three quarters must ratify them. They would then become part of an amended Constitution.

THE MOST OFTEN STATED REASON FOR OPPOSING A CON CON IS THE FEAR OF A “RUNAWAY CONVENTION”

Photo of signing of original constitution
A runaway convention, where those assembled exceed their limited mandate and offer more fundamental revisions to the Constitution, is not without precedent in American history. The Constitutional Convention itself found an inconsistency in its mandate and happily did more than just “revise” the Articles of Confederation. It proffered new principles and a wholly new Constitution—one that even bypassed the Articles’ normal ratifying process (which required unanimous vote of the states). James Madison acknowledges the somewhat extra-legal character of the Philadelphia Convention in Federalist 40, where he concludes by arguing that “considerations of duty” to their country moved the Philadelphia delegates in absence of “regular authority.”

The worry about runaways is sown into any proposal for a convention. One sees this clearly through revisiting how the amendment process arrived in the Constitution. A method of amendment that bypassed Congress was the first proposed in Philadelphia as part of the Virginia Plan (May 29). While a complete discussion was postponed, George Mason, Elbridge Gerry and Edmund Randolph all spoke about the propriety of a state-centered ratification process. Indeed, the Convention itself approved a state-initiated call for a constitutional Convention as the only means to amend the proposed Constitution on August 6. The case seemed closed.

More than a month later, on September 10, just over a week before the Convention broke up, two of the Convention’s major movers argued for the addition of another process—one whereby two-thirds of each house of Congress would propose specific amendments which would then go to the states for ratification. It was a one-two punch. Alexander Hamilton insisted on the propriety of involving the national legislature in proposing amendments as it would be the “first to perceive and will be most sensible to the necessity of amendments.”

James Madison seconded Hamilton’s conclusion with an argument against the Con Con proposal. Madison “remarked on the vagueness of the terms, ‘call a Convention for the purpose,’ as sufficient reason for reconsidering” the state-centered approach as the only approach. “How was a Convention to be formed? By what rule decide? What the force of its acts?” A few days later Madison repeated his criticism: “Difficulties might arise as to the form, the quorum &c which in Constitutional regulations ought to be as much as possible avoided.”

In what was hardly their last collaboration, Madison and Hamilton got the Congressional proposal added, and the rest is history. Theirs has been the only way whereby the Constitution has been amended.

Madison saw that constitutional conventions are informal assemblies, even when they are brought together under formal legal authority like Article V. Conventions are only subject to the limits of those within the convention can agree to and what those outside will consent to. Conventions experiment.   Perhaps they will yield only minor surgery. Perhaps major surgery. Those attending such a future convention might be given directions by their states (as had happened in the call for both the Annapolis and Philadelphia Conventions during the founding era), but those attending would be limited only by the bonds of honor: the would be free to propose what they will at a constitutional convention. Conventions are called because there might, in some desperate circumstances, be some need for a runaway convention.

In one sense, Madison’s worries about the legal processes of a future convention are rich with irony. Those in Philadelphia overcame questions of form, quorum, decision rules, and so forth. If the 56 in Philadelphia could overcome these problems, certainly future generations would also be able to come to agreement. Or so the argument goes.

Yet the irony is not that rich. The conditions that led to the successful convention in Philadelphia were quite unique—and hoping to get similar results in different conditions might lead to a ticklish multiplication of dangerous experiments. The Philadelphia Convention seemed like a miracle. Madison reflects deeply on what made the Constitutional Convention successful, and hence on what makes conventions successful.

Three conditions stand out from his discussion in Federalist 40. First, the delegates and the country was “deeply and unanimously impressed with the crisis.” A common understanding of the crisis prepares the way for some movement toward a solution. Such solutions do not, however, arise “spontaneously and universally from the people.” Instead, it is necessary for some “patriotic and respectable citizen, or number of citizens” to make “informal and unauthorized” proposals for the people to consider for an up or down vote. These leaders are patriotic (our second condition for a successful convention) and that the public respects these leaders and sees them to be patriots (our third). There was at the time of the Founding a collection of patriotic citizens tested by fire, whose disinterested love of country was plain for all to see. The citizens, who could not spontaneously arrive at such a proposal, could identify those patriotic citizens when they saw them and they were be inclined to defer to their genius.

Alexis de Tocqueville, the great French observer of America, shared Madison’s sense that the Constitutional Convention was a prodigy, and in much the same terms. As he wrote in Democracy in America,

The Federalists . . . in their ranks almost all of the great men the War of Independence had given birth to, and their moral power was very extensive. Moreover, circumstances were favorable to them. The ruin of the first confederation made the people fear they would fall into anarchy, and the Federalists profited from this passing disposition.

The people felt a more than a vague sense of what was wrong; there were “great men” possessing extensive “moral power” to effect a successful constitutional change, even though it went against the grain of American public opinion, perhaps. This is what is necessary for a wholesale constitutional change to work.

Let us apply these standards to the call for a Con Con today.

  • Is there sufficient popular understanding of the problems of governance? NO.
  • Is there sufficient popular understanding of the solutions? NO.
  • Are there great, respectable leaders to lead a Con Con? NO
  • Would the people respect those leaders as such? NO

For these reasons, the Con Con is likely to be a waste of time and energy under our current conditions. There is no widely-perceived public ill aside from the sense that the country is headed in the wrong direction. There are scarcely widely recognized and respected public leaders who see beyond the technical fixes that afflict our policies. Efforts to find widely recognized, respected leaders are complicated through our quite polarized electorate: one side’s respected leader (e.g. Sen. Chuck Schumer or Ted Cruz) is the other side’s demon). We could use a man like Herbert Hoover again!

photo of Left to Right: James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York).

Left to Right: James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York). All images Wikimedia Commons.

FOCUS ON THE NORMAL PROCESSES IS MORE LIKELY TO LEAD TO SALUTARY RESULTS

A Con Con is indeed part of the US Constitution and Madison’s reflections on the first Constitutional Convention should guide calls for a Con Con today. Article V is truly the most informal, revolutionary vehicle for constitutional change within the four walls of the Constitution. It is irregular, unregulated, and open-ended. It is, I think, just short of exercising the people’s right “to alter or to abolish” their government and “to institute new governments.”

One can understand that well-meaning fellow citizens turn to such desperate measures at a time when their national institutions do not appear to change overmuch after elections and where the amendment process seems closed given the power of the “Washington Establishment.” Only a Con Con could do.

Here, where the advocates for a Con Con seem most reasonable, we find the lullaby that the Con Con advocates must sing to themselves. “The people,” they must think, “are on our side. They understand the demands of good government and embrace all the costs necessary to bring it about. The government currently betrays the people. If the people could but make the rules, everything would be better. Budgets balanced. Legislators would be public-spirited. Bureaucracies would be brought under enlightened, popular control.”

If the public were genuinely alive and enlightened to all the implications of improving government, no Con Con would be necessary. Constitutional conservatives do not get the needful reforms they call for because, truth be told, the people are not (yet!) on their side. Advocates assume the task of reforming government in our late republic is easier than it is. Focusing on their lullaby, they do not engage in the hard task of convincing the people of needful, workable reforms nor do they undertake a long-term project of reforming government through enlightening public opinion. There are no technical solutions to the problems of modern governance. They all presuppose an enlightened, vigilant people. The job of enlightening and enlivening should be front and center among those convinced that the Constitution itself is threatened.

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The views and opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of Boise State University, the Center for Idaho History and Politics, or the School of Public Service.

  • billwalker

    The professor makes several factual errors in his essay. Chief among them is the fact that he fails to mention the fact the states have already applied in sufficient numbers to cause 11 convention calls and that Congress is currently counting the applications and already arrived at its first set of states meaning a convention is mandated. You can read about this at http://www.foavc.org. As to his interpretation regarding the Development of Article V, he is wrong on several counts. Read the public record at http://www.foavc.org/Pages/Page_D.htm and then decide on the issue of a convention.

    • Shawn Meehan

      Bill Walker, it is you sir that publishes propaganda. The Professor makes valid points in his article. Your counting of resolutions neglects rescissions, which you wrongly find invalid. Your position has been soundly rebuked.

      • billwalker

        Soundly rebuked? By what–you saying it?! I get it. Shawn states therefore it must be true. All hail to Shawn! Listen Shawn, I use federal law and federal court rulings for the basis of my statements. Now everyone watch how this works because it never fails to ensure Shawn will never been heard from again challenging me or if he does will not, I repeat, will not do as requested. Instead he’ll come up with some snide or otherwise irrelevant comment. SHAWN PROVIDE THE EVIDENCE OF YOUR CLAIM THAT FEDERAL LAW AND COURT RULINGS WHICH SPECIFICALLY DEAL WITH LEGAL FICTION ARE INVALID. Moreover provide the evidence to refute the statement by the person who originated the idea of recissions in the JBS that legality was never considered, in other words, that even the JBS has no evidence of their legality. I capped the basic request so I was sure you would see it Shawn. In short Shawn provide either federal law or federal court rulings PROVING I’m wrong.

        • Shawn Meehan

          Bill Walker, your ad hominem attack aside, I’m not, nor have I ever been a member of JBS. That you and the other constitution re-writers persist in attacking an organization instead of using facts, says quite a lot.

          It is you that must provide the examples of how your assertions are legal. I have studied your propaganda on your website and throughout the web. Your arguments mostly do not hold water. How many of your lawsuits has the court agreed with you on?

          You make empty statements about this article, yet you provide no sources, references, etc. to rebuke the professor’s commentary. And then, yet, wait for it…..you demand I and others provide references to dispute your opinions, long proven invalid? That isn’t rational sir.

          Thank you for the engagement. I’m going to return to honoring my military oath to defend our Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic, which included the constitutional re-writers. I yield the remainder of my time back to the re-writers. The stage is yours.

          • billwalker

            I never said you were a member of the JBS. I only stated the JBS originated the idea of rescissions and the guy who came up with that idea admitted in writing JBS never considered with they were legal or not.
            As to agreeing with me, the government conceded I was correct in Walker v Members of Congress. I provided links to the FOAVC website where the evidence and references exist. If you insist I can attempt to download it all into your email if you’ll send it to me. It’s only about 34 GB. As to proving my statement invalid NOTICE AS I SAID SHAWN DOESN’T PROVIDE ANY PROOF DISPROVING MY STATEMENTS JUST LIKE I SAID. No court rulings, no federal law, not even a state law or a quote from a state constitution. Why? Because they don’t exist. On the other hand as stated, I do provide federal law, court rulings and so forth to prove the professor incorrect. As to re-writing the Constitution…show me Shawn where it states in the Constitution states can nullify federal records of any description. As I said Shawn will now disappear (don’t count on it; he’ll come back with another comment but again no evidence). Meantime I suggest all go to http://www.foavc.org, read the public record and learn the facts.

          • Shawn Meehan

            Quod erat demonstrandum. No response is needed.

          • billwalker

            To quote the dictionary, “QED” as it is usually referred to means “used to convey that a fact or situation demonstrates the truth of
            one’s theory or claim, especially to mark the conclusion of a formal
            proof.” As I am the only one to present formal proof (as you have presented no evidence to support your side) the use of the term by you means you have conceded it to be true. Thank you.

  • WetlinaWoman

    “Based on the recommendation of a prior convention in Annapolis, six state legislatures initially agreed to participate in the Constitutional Convention. As we can read in black-and-white in Farris’ article, the states told their commissioners that the purpose of the convention was the one stated in the Annapolis Convention resolution: ‘to render the constitution of the Federal Government adequate for the exigencies of the Union.’ As used at this time, ‘constitution’ did not refer to the Articles of Confederation, but to the system of government more broadly. (Convention scholar Robert Natelson provides the proof of this in one of his many enlightening articles).

    “On Feb. 21, 1787, Congress passed a resolution to endorse this Constitutional Convention already set in motion by six states. Congress recommended that the Convention solely revise the Articles of Confederation – thus later giving rise to the claim that the Founding Fathers exceeded their authority. But the fact is, Congress was powerless to dictate the terms of the Convention to the states participating in it.

    “Indeed, James Madison explained this in Federalist 40: the states’ instructions – not those of Congress – defined the scope of the Constitutional Convention. They told their delegates to render the federal government adequate for the needs of the Union, and that is exactly what they did.

    “Those who disavow the legitimacy of the Constitution and the merits of its Article V convention process underestimate the power of the states on both counts. At an Article V convention, just as at the Constitutional Convention, the states choose, instruct and control their delegates – and history proves that state-selected delegates obey their instructions.” (Rita Dunaway, April 10, 2017, Worth Net Daily)

    Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2017/04/dispelling-the-illegitimate-constitution-myth/#82cQr5tzrFHY1kTl.99

    And this: “I do not think we are more inspired, have more wisdom, or possess more virtue, than those who will come after us. The power under the Constitution will always be in the People.” George Washington, November 10, 1787

    • Shawn Meehan

      Rita Dunaway isn’t credible on this topic in my opinion. She participated in twisting the words of Thomas Jefferson of this topic to an audience of 137 state legislators from around the nation. I don’t see how anyone can support her or her COSP organization with any integrity.

      http://www.guardtheconstitution.com/2016/10/04/convention-of-states-falsifies-thomas-jeffersons-advice/7645

      Of course, the above comments are my opinions, which sadly I feel I must say so I don’t get sued in abusive litigation by yet another COS person to try and shut me up.

      The important parts of Federalist 40, which COS robots purposely leave out, because COS doesn’t share the information with them and they do not do any homework:

      “…for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation, and reporting to Congress and the several legislatures such alterations and provisions therein, as shall, when agreed to in Congress, and confirmed by the States…”
      OOOPS, that didn’t happen

      “…Suppose, then, that the expressions defining the authority of the convention were irreconcilably at variance with each other; that a national and adequate government could not possibly, in the judgment of the convention, be affected by alterations and provisions in the Articles of Confederation…”

      HERE IS WHERE MADISON CLEARLY ADMITTED the 1787 Convention exceeded their authority:

      “…(Para 13) In one particular it is admitted that the convention have departed from the tenor of their commission. Instead of reporting a plan requiring the confirmation [of the legislatures] of all the states, they have reported a plan which is to be confirmed [by the people,] and may be carried into effect by nine States only….”

      • WetlinaWoman

        In the end, all commissioners–each one granted by his sovereign state to work in the state’s behalf–agreed with the need for a new and federal system of government. The Confederacy was only a grouping of those states in order to get certain work accomplished and stand in the world of nations as a force to be reckoned with; as it turned out, it wasn’t vigorous enough to do the job. At first not all states agreed with this assessment; but eventually they all did, and they ALL signed on.

        Dunaway and Natleson and Farris don’t twist the words but make the case based on how history turned out. The differences of opinion among commissioners was eventually won over in favor of the federation. No “OOOPS!” at all. http://www.conventionofstates.com

        • Shawn Meehan

          Thank you for proving you are just about pushing your position and not an informed debate. Dunaway, Rep. Ken Ivory, and COS PR person Tamara Colbert each participated in twisting the words of Jefferson as has been documented. They did not tell the truth to the 137 legislators at the fake COS convention.

          Thank you also for confirming that any Article V will be a runaway. You did this by jumping from my proof above that convention delegates in 1787 admitted exceeding their authority and then you jump to how all eventually were pressured to sign on to the result which makes it OK, which also shows you ignoring your false statement that the convention didn’t run away in 1787.

          Bottom line, 1787 did run away and a future constitutional convention will run away and the billionaires will supply enough marketing pressure to ensure everything passes, no matter how bad it is for America, how totally not needed it is, and no matter that it will all be hype, no logic involved.

          I find the entire movement of constitution re-writers dishonest and disrespectful to American history and the nearly 1.4 million of my fellow troops that gave the ultimate sacrifice to defend Liberty.

          • WetlinaWoman

            I didn’t do any of those things you say I did, but you can runaway with that if you want to, Shawn… Plenty of COSP veterans have paid their own prices to allow you to do so, right or wrong.
            http://www.conventionofstates.com

          • Shawn Meehan

            Of course you did, as I explained in your deceptive presentation.

            COSP is misleading my fellow Veterans, but that is OK, we’re doing well properly educating them on the deceptions.

            I have a serious question. Do you even consider the possibility that COS doesn’t tell supporters the truth and / or that they are wrong as to the original purpose for Article V as debated in 1787 and finally codified in the Constitution? Is it possible they are wrong and / or not telling you and others the truth?

          • Lynette

            Agreed Shawn. Why are Robert Natelson, Michael Farris and Mark Meckler considered omnipotent to some? I have found many people who do not realize the Convention of States Project is a well funded lobbying organization.

          • WetlinaWoman

            There’s no shame in being “well funded” nor in “lobbying”.

            Omnipotence? Naw, just smart and well read. Reasonably educated people should be able to read the same histories and contracts and all the literature, themselves, and make sense of what’s there. No need for me nor anyone else to canonize Constitutional scholars; but it’s an ignorant stand to take to say they have nothing to offer anyone from their expertise. I believe them because I can understand what they point out for me to read in the same way as they do. You don’t. We get it. Ad nauseam. http://www.conventionofstates.com

          • billwalker

            People are going to find out very soon how well funded COS is and just how much money is being shoveled to a few select individuals. All will be published on the FOAVC website (www.foavc.org) soon. To give you some idea–one million dollars to the legal firm representing COS. Nearly a quarter million dollars to Meckler plus another $75,000 to his wife. A one million dollar profit just last tax year. Like you said WetlinaWoman, well funded.

          • WetlinaWoman

            I have to take the position that you, also, could understand what the Founders wrote in the same way as they meant it to be understood. I could be wrong about this, but who knows? I know the COS Project scholars aren’t wrong. They’ve paid the price to present the information accurately. I’ve studied it for four years now and see the facts in the same way. You won’t accept what’s available for all to learn. It’s as simple as 2+2=4 in base 10. There’s no further information out there they’re not telling us. We can all read it and make up our own minds. I’ve done so. For you to imply there’s a hidden agenda in the historical documents that they’re covering up is silly and terribly ineffective except among those who won’t put their minds to work on the subject. Mob intellectual rule works on absurdity pumped up by emotionally-charged sound bites. You and your compatriots never tell the rest of the story. At least not accurately. Why should I or anyone else believe you? I don’t notice anyone trying to elevate you and Bill Walker to the status of Royal Smart Persons of the World. Your arguments sound ridiculous the more you keep promulgating them, especially as we keep chiming in to point out the weaknesses in your ideology. http://www.conventionofstates.com

          • billwalker

            Shawn and I are having our differences but on this one I have to ride with Shawn. COS is not telling the people the truth. For example, COS has yet to publish the fact Congress is counting the applications and already arrived at its first set. Consider this Shawn when you rip into me. At least FOAVC tells the truth based on public record. Shawn may not agree with all stated but at least he knows when he reads FOAVC he’s getting the truth because we back up the statements made with public record he can check himself.

      • billwalker

        Shawn have to correct you on this one. Congress voted on the question of the convention exceeding its authority on September 27, 1787 and determined it had not. Under the terms of the Articles of Confederation, the vote was conclusive and final.

        • Shawn Meehan

          Congress did not vote on such. In fact, they debated aggressively that the 1787 Convention exceeded their authority. They also then voted to keep such debate secret. That you are either unaware of this raises questions as to your motives regarding the Article V movement:

          Federalists did not want it publicly known that this debate occurred, and the record of it does not appear in the journals of Congress.
          https://www.nyhistory.org/web/crossroads/gallery/all/melancton_smith_minutes_on_constitution_s4.html

          26-27 September 1787, in Congress, they debated censuring the delegates for exceeding their authority. Further, in a deceptive political move to manipulate the perception by the people, Congress voted to not enter the debate upon the Journal of Congress.
          http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/v1ch6s12.html

          In Federalist 40, Madison clearly admits the 1787 Convention exceeded its authority:

          “(Para 13) In one particular it is admitted that the convention have departed from the tenor of their commission. Instead of reporting a plan requiring the confirmation [of the legislatures] of all the states, they have reported a plan which is to be confirmed [by the people,] and may be carried into effect by nine States only.”

          • billwalker

            The vote is in the journal. There is no record of a vote to strike it even though it is crossed out for some reason. It can be viewed in full at http://www.foavc.org/Pages/Page_Six_B.htm . As to your Madison comment, typical. You report out of context as is typical with anti-convention critics. Here is the full paragraph.

            “The truth is, that the great principles of the Constitution proposed by
            the convention may be considered less as absolutely new, than as the
            expansion of principles which are found in the articles of
            Confederation. The misfortune under the latter system has been, that
            these principles are so feeble and confined as to justify all the
            charges of inefficiency which have been urged against it, and to require a degree of enlargement which gives to the new system the aspect of an entire transformation of the old. In one particular it is admitted that the convention have departed from the tenor of their commission. Instead of reporting a plan requiring the confirmation OF THE LEGISLATURES OF ALL THE STATES, they have reported a plan which is to be confirmed by the PEOPLE, and may be carried into effect by NINE STATES ONLY. It is worthy of remark that this objection, though the most plausible, has been the least urged in the publications which have swarmed against the convention. The forbearance can only have proceeded from an irresistible
            conviction of the absurdity of subjecting the fate of twelve States to
            the perverseness or corruption of a thirteenth; from the example of
            inflexible opposition given by a MAJORITY of one sixtieth of the people of America to a measure approved and called for by the voice of twelve States, comprising fifty-nine sixtieths of the people an example still fresh in the memory and indignation of every citizen who has felt for the wounded honor and prosperity of his country. As this objection, therefore, has been in a manner waived by those who have criticised the powers of the convention, I dismiss it without further observation.”

            In other words, because of the state of Rhode Island and its constant veto which is why the convention was held (and this is mentioned more than once during the convention itself) the convention chose a plan of ratification that would ensure that the state of Rhode Island would not decide the question itself plus the fact the convention adamantly believed the people had the legal right to decide on a new form of government, not the state legislatures because only the people had the right of alter or abolish.

            Please try Shawn to at least be accurate. If you cannot be accurate, please at least be fair and publish the entire content of something before taking it out of context and holding it up for evidence when, your example, placed in context proves otherwise. And finally, unless you intend to suggest you know more than James Madison I would say as Madison (and ultimately the entire nation) dismissed your argument we can also dismiss the argument of Shawn 230 years AFTER the matter was resolved by the American people.

            Also for the record it was the CONVENTION that voted to keep its proceedings secret, not Congress as evidenced by the fact the votes and so forth can still be read in the record to this day. Again there is no vote to keep the matter secret in Congress. If there were then logically we would have no record whatsoever in the record because it was secret and therefore would not be published in any form including being crossed out.

          • Shawn Meehan

            I’m quite accurate as the linked references I provided above indicate. I have reviewed your propaganda page foavc.org numerous times and it is not credible as an original reference. Each time you link to it, you lose more credibility. Even the serious Article V promoters ignore you. The courts and Congress ignore you.

            My argument wasn’t dismissed at all. The statement was made and because of politics (just as will happen at any con con) the results were twisted around, just like COS did to Jefferson’s words.

            You’ve proven you’re irrational and biased. Without disputing references and comments I made above, you go into some big attempt to rationalize the runaway so it wasn’t a runaway.

            You’re funny. It’s like a father walking out to a kid and telling them “you banged up the car last night” and without the kid (you’re the kid in this scenario) starts describing how cool the party was last night and how they had 3 beers kegs instead of 2. All dad is concerned about is how the car got messed up, yet Bill, ooops, the kid, keeps coming back and describing, “well yeah Dad, but I got to go to a cool party.”

            I’m done wasting time with you. Readers can see the facts for themselves.

          • billwalker

            Don’t worry folks, Shawn will be back I guarantee it. He says the convention was a “runaway” and the vote by Congress didn’t settle the issue. Okay let’s see where this takes us. Please Shawn show one vote by any state legislature since that states the convention was a “runaway” meaning the federal act in question had no authority. If you are correct there should be hundreds of examples in the public record.

            Present one court case where such an argument was used and the court accepted the fact the convention which created the Constitution was a “runaway” and therefore the Constitution itself was invalid. Again if you are correct there should be hundreds of examples.

            Shawn cites Federalist 40 with a quote taken out of context and says this proves the convention was a “runaway.” Alright then I will take the time to go through what the public record of the STATE legislatures of the time each did AFTER Congress sent them the proposed Constitution and you decide if the states believed it was a “runaway.”

            Each state legislature received the proposed Constitution from Congress. Each state legislature could have, at that time, determined the decision by Congress (and remember Richard Henry Lee was well known throughout the country so he could easily have gotten his point out even if Congress, as Shawn falsely states, made the matter “secret”) opposed by Lee was incorrect because Congress lacked the authority to issue the call and the convention did not do as instructed. No state legislature took this position and there is no record of such an action by Lee. Instead, officially, the next day Lee along with everyone else in Congress voted in favor of the proposed Constitution.

            All state legislatures, having accepted the determination of Congress voted in the laws to hold the convention. They financed the convention, made laws to hold the elections, tabulated the votes for delegates and received the results after the convention. In North Carolina this was done TWICE as the proposal was defeated the first time around. Now if that state believed the convention was a “runaway” then certainly it would not have held two subsequent conventions. But the state did. You can read the official ratification documents on our site at http://www.foavc.org/Pages/Page_Twelve.htm . All, in one form or another refer to the convention AND the state laws which created the ratification convention. In short, if the convention was a “runaway” not one state legislature believed this.

            Now, all of these state laws were of course subject to veto by the state governors. None were vetoed on the basis of the convention being a “runaway” because Congress had resolved that issue.

            Now after the conventions had voted they reported back to the state legislatures who were, at any time, free to reject the vote of the convention. Instead all state legislatures forwarded that vote as the vote of the state (and all of this occurred of course as resolutions in the legislatures, votes on the laws and so forth meaning all was official acts of the states) back to Congress which then tabulated the votes as they came in and in July, 1788, a little less than a year after the convention ended, based on official state records sent them by the state legislatures approved by those legislatures.

            So Shawn if all of this law is incorrect, please provide the references proving it and stop trying to divert us with you “Dad” story. You provided a reference from Federalist 40 (a rarity I admit because most people like you don’t even do that much of providing a single reference). The reference itself disproves your claim. You then say I haven’t disputed your “evidence.” I didn’t have to; Madison did it for me.

            The bottom line is this: people like Shawn have their opinions and they will always jump into a conversation like this and state them. To make them go away (eventually but never forever) simply have them provide their references. Shawn is one of the few who has ever at least attempted to provide a reference. It was disproved by simply publishing his taken out of context statement in full context. FOAVC publishes the full public record. Shawn labels that propaganda but is it not. It is the facts of public record and that scares people like Shawn. The truth always does.

          • rinohunter

            Shawn is correct. Madison admitted that the convention “exceeded the tenor of their commission”.

            However, Bill Walker is incorrectly equating the fact that the convention “exceeded the tenor of their commission”, with meaning “therefore the Constitution itself was invalid”.

            Madison indisputably admitted they had overstepped the limits of power regarding the ratification process. Article XIII of the existing constitution required any changes to be approved by Congress, and confirmed by the legislatures of every state. In addition to being a constitutional requirement, 9 states made reference to this requirement in their delegate commissions.

            In bypassing this requirement, Madison pointed to the highest authority in the land as the authority by which they ignored their state commissions and the constitutional requirement. They appealed to the “supreme authority” of the people themselves, to “abolish or alter their government”.

            The Constitution was not illegally adopted. But its adoption bypassed the authority (and limits of power) of the State, Congress, and the existing constitution. That is what I am referring to when I say the 1787 convention “ran away”.

          • billwalker

            Rhino–Congress voted on September 28, 1787 to approve the alteration. Let’s be accurate. The Articles allowed for “an alteration” to them. That is exactly what wad done. And by the way, the term “runaway” was never applied to the convention until the JBS came along. There is no history of scholars, politicians or anyone else in the time of the ratification (after Lee brought it up and it was voted on) saying the convention was a “runaway.”

            As to exceeding the limits, the Articles place no limit on what may be contained in the “alteration” only that it can be done once; “an alteration” rather than “alterations.” So how many alterations did the convention submit to Congress (as required by the Articles) one.

            Finally, this was discussed and ruled on by the Supreme Court and again it was found it was constitutional. As to any “legality” as I’ve already pointed out (and admitted above) laws were passed which were subject to veto and court review. They were not vetoed nor did a court find against them.

            And finally, it was Congress, not the convention that proposed the constitution under the articles. Congress by its vote determined it did have the authority and exercised it. And one more thing. In Article 9 was the court system for the federal government of that time. If the Constitution was “illegal” there was a means to deal with it. No state brought such an appeal. Therefore all states (including Rhode Island which one would expect to do so) believed the matter was “legal.”

          • Shawn Meehan

            Congress FORWARDED the Constitution to the states, it did NOT vote to approve it. FACTS: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/ressub02.asp

            Mr. Walker has several inaccurate views of the historical record.

            Further, Article 13 of the Articles of Confederation required Congress and all the state LEGISLATURES to approve any changes. Congress, as documented above, FORWARDED it to the states as requested by the Convention, it did NOT vote to approve. Also, Article 13 required state legislatures approve, NOT ratification conventions in each state as is what took place and what the Convention requested.

            The 1787 Convention CLEARLY exceeded their authority and the Constitution was ultimately properly ratified. Mr. Walker does a GREAT service to us all as Mr. Russell Caplan did in his book and that is to point out the reality of human drama and emotions versus law, highlighting how things really play out and how advocates rationalize those actions after the fact.

            It matters not when the term “runaway” began use, nor who used it. Delegates from 9 states had commissions that required Article 13 of the Articles of this Confederation to be followed with any product from the Convention. Those limits were not followed, period.

            Article 13 is CLEAR: And the Articles of this Confederation shall be inviolably observed by every State, and the Union shall be perpetual; nor shall any alteration at any time hereafter be made in any of them; unless such alteration be agreed to in a Congress of the United States, and be afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of every State.
            http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/artconf.asp

            The 1787 Convention knew they exceeded their authority and therefore appealed to the highest authority in the land, the people. The Constitution usurped to Articles of this Confederation to be properly ratified itself.

            THE IMPORTANT LESSONS from this thread: 1) There is a clear history in America that even honorable men are human and fall to their emotional urge to fix things as they see the need without regard to being authorized to do so. 2) Unauthorized acts can always be approved under the high authority of the people, driven by mobocracy and drama. This key when considering the lack of honorable Founder-like personalities to populate a convention called under Article V.

            The paramount point is that the Founders absolutely did NOT devise Article V to contain the federal government. The entire Constitution is for that. Article V advocates like Mr. Walker will continue their inaccurate, manipulative, and dishonest propaganda to try and convince Americans that changing a piece of paper that is being ignored will make the piece of paper be obeyed. huh? Article V is to fix DEFECTS when the federal government refused to allow for the fixing of them. Currently there are no defects needing fixed. In other words, simplified, the speed limit isn’t wrong, it just isn’t being followed.

            Thomas Jefferson wrote to Archibald Stuart, December 23, 1791, clearly highlighting that we must not change the Constitution, but rather to strengthen state governments. “Then it is important to strengthen the state governments: and as this cannot be done by any change in the federal constitution, (for the preservation of that is all we need contend for,) it must be done by the states themselves, erecting such barriers at the constitutional line as cannot be surmounted either by themselves or by the general government. The only barrier in their power is a wise government….”

            Jefferson clearly meant informing and educating state legislators on Article 6 of the Constitution and their duty to hold the federal government accountable to following the Constitution. Everyone agrees that if the Constitution, as written, without any changes, was followed, everything would be great. So, ask yourself, why, really, do these people want to change it? The Founders, including George Mason, were intelligent and amazing men. Do you really think they designed Article V to change a parchment barrier thinking a changed piece of paper would be stronger than the not changed piece of paper?

            #Article6Not5

          • billwalker

            As they say, let the facts speak for themselves. Here is the actual resolution unanimously sent by Congress on September 28, 1787:

            “Resolved Unanimously that the said Report with the resolutions and letter accompanying the same be transmitted to the several legislatures in Order to be submitted to a convention of Delegates chosen in each state by the people thereof in conformity to the resolves of the Convention made and provided in that case.”

            Now maybe I’m missing something but I don’t see where it was just “forwarded” as it states “unanimously” which not only implies but mandates a vote. In other words Congress “agreed” with the resolution. Shawn as usual is attempting to rewrite historic public record. Again if the states believed the Articles had not been obeyed, objections would have been raised by someone. AND THERE IS NO SUCH RECORD OF ANYONE DOING THIS.

            Now I’ve already explained what happened in each state legislature. You can believe Shawn or the public record. The fact is public laws were passed by the states in order to allow for ratification by convention as called for in the Constitution. Again, by their acts (not to mention the state legislatures at the end of the process voted I repeated VOTED to transmit the vote of the convention back to Congress meaning they also APPROVED it. Again if anyone in the states believed the Articles were not obeyed, THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN A RECORD OF IT AND THERE IS NO SUCH RECORD.

            I have to admit Shawn is pulling out all the stops. He argues the Constitution ratification is somehow wrong then admits the people have the right to do so meaning if they do so as they did in convention it must be therefore legal. Yet he says no, Article V was not devised to hold the government accountable. Instead the states (not the people) are to use Article VI to limit the government.

            Here’s the text of Article VI:
            “All debts contracted and engagements entered into, before the adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

            This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.

            The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

            I don’t see any language authorizing the states to “control” the federal government. I see language which says all members of the government of the states and nation shall take an oath. I see that the laws and treaties are law of the land. I see that debts from the Articles are assumed by the new government. But nope, don’t see anything that says, “state legislators in Article 6 of the Constitution have a duty to hold the federal government accountable to following the Constitution.” Nope, don’t see that language; perhaps Shawn is referring to another Article 6 in another Constitution.

            As to Jefferson’s letter, Shawn again doesn’t tell everything. Jefferson was referring to changing the VIRGINIA STATE CONSTITUTION not the federal constitution and clearly states this in his opening sentence of the letter reprinted in full below. I could go on but I think publication of the full letter suffices to prove Shawn again wrong and more importantly demonstrate that whatever “evidence” he presents will be bias as he pulls things out of context and then on this makes his statement. The letter:

            To Archibald Stuart

            Philadelphia Dec. 23. 1791.

            Dear Sir

            I received duly your favor of Octob. 22. and should have answered it
            by the gentleman who delivered it, but that he left town before I knew of it.

            That it is really important to provide a constitution for our state
            cannot be doubted: as little can it be doubted that the ordinance called by that name has important defects. But before we attempt it, we should endeavor to be as certain as is practicable that in the attempt we should not make bad worse. I have understood that Mr. Henry has always been opposed to this undertaking: and I confess that I consider his talents and influence such as that, were it decided that we should call a Convention for the purpose of amending, I should fear he might induce that convention either to fix the thing as at present, or change it for the worse. Would it not therefore be well that means should be adopted for coming at his ideas of the changes he would agree to, and for communicating to him those which we should propose? Perhaps he might find ours not so distant from his but that some mutual sacrifices might bring them together.

            I shall hazard my own ideas to you as hastily as my business obliges me. I wish to preserve the line drawn by the federal constitution between the general and particular governments as it stands at present and to take every prudent means of preventing either from stepping over it. Tho’ the experiment has not yet had a long enough course to shew us from which quarter incroachments are most to be feared, yet it is easy to foresee from the nature of things that the incroachments of the state governments will tend to an excess of liberty which will correct itself (as in the late instance) while those of the general government will tend to monarchy, which will fortify itself from day to day, instead of working it’s own cure, as all experience shews. I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies1attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it. Then it is important to strengthen the state governments: and as this cannot be done by any change in the federal constitution, (for the preservation of that is all we need contend for,) it must be done by the states themselves, erecting such barriers at the constitutional line as cannot be surmounted either by themselves or by the general government.

            The only barrier in their power, is a wise2 government. A weak one will lose ground in every contest. To obtain a wise and an able government, I consider the following changes as important. Render the legislature a desireable station by lessening the number of representatives (say to 100) and lengthening somewhat their
            term, and proportion them equally among the electors: adopt also a
            better mode of appointing Senators. Render the Executive a more
            desireable post to men of abilities by making [him] more independant of the legislature. To wit, let him be chosen by other electors, for a longer time, and ineligible for ever after. Responsibility is a tremendous engine in a free government. Let him feel the whole weight of it then by taking away the shelter3 of his executive council. Experience both ways has already established the superiority of this measure. Render the Judiciary respectable by every possible means, to wit, firm tenure in office, competent salaries,
            and reduction of their numbers. Men of high learning and abilities are few in every country; and by taking in those who are not so, the able part of the body have their hands tied by the unable. This branch of government will have the weight of the conflict on their hands, because they will be the last appeal of reason.—These are my general ideas of amendments. But, preserving the ends, I should be flexible and conciliatory as to the means. You ask whether Mr. Madison and myself could attend on a convention which should be called? Mr. Madison’s engagements as a member of Congress will
            probably be from October to March or April in every year. Mine are
            constant while I hold my office, and my attendance would. be very
            unimportant. Were it otherwise, my office should not stand in the way of it. I am with great & sincere esteem Dr. Sir, your friend &
            servt,
            Th: Jefferson

          • Shawn Meehan

            Excellent! Mr. Walker continues to prove my point. Congress did not approve, only forwarded the Constitution. That Mr. Walker continues to harp on changing the meaning of that is emphasized here:

            The record of debate in Congress is clear. Congress voted to send the Constitution without agreeing to it. Thank you Mr. Walker for documenting your ignorance of and bias about history:

            “Abraham Clark: The motion by Mr. Lee for amendments will do injury by coming on the Journal, and therefore the House, upon cool reflection, will think it best to agree to send it [the Constitution] out WITHOUT AGREEING.”
            http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/v1ch6s12.html

            Apparently Mr. Walker hasn’t read all available documentation:
            “On 28 September Congress reached a compromise. It resolved “unanimously” that the Constitution and the resolutions and the letter of the Convention be sent to the states with only a suggestion that the states call conventions to consider the Constitution. This compromise followed the recommendation of the Convention.”
            See, Mr. Walker wrongly holds that the unanimous vote was to approve the Constitution when the record is clear they only forwarded it and that Congress clearly discussed a difference.
            http://csac.history.wisc.edu/confederation_1.pdf

            Here is but one account of how Congress debated hiding the full debate from the record. Thankfully some members recorded their own notes:
            https://www.nyhistory.org/web/crossroads/gallery/all/melancton_smith_minutes_on_constitution_s4.html

            The saddest testiment of Mr. Walker is his attempt, just like Rep. Ivory of Utah did, to focus on the purpose only of Jefferson’s letter. Yes, purpose and context are important. However, let us let the readers see very clearly what is written even within the overall context. It is VERY clear that Jefferson is stating no change in the FEDERAL Constitution must be made for adherence of the line between federal and state, only what is required in the state:

            Excerpt: “Thomas Jefferson to Archibald Stuart, December 23, 1791: “Then it is important to strengthen the state governments: and as this CANNOT BE DONE BY ANY CHANGE IN THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION, (for the preservation of that is all we need contend for,) it must be done by the states themselves, erecting such barriers at the constitutional line as cannot be surmounted either by themselves or by the general government. The only barrier in their power is a wise government….”
            Source: https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/01-22-02-0410

            Mr. Walker either continues to lie or is incompetent on this topic. Perhaps cognitive dissonance prevents him from researching documentation which defeats his longly-held invalid beliefs.

            Mr. Walker, nearly 1.4 million troops have DIED defending our Constitution. I’m done wasting time with you and your obsession whether I’ll return or not. I’ve clearly demonstrated you proceed from either a delusion or dishonest pursuit of the topic, choosing to focus on harassing me and spreading untruths. Most of your posts here contain no references and the references you post are incomplete or invalid.

            I work to honor my brothers and sisters that died in combat to defend our Constitution. I’m sure you’ll continue your disinformation obsession with me, but know that talking untruths behind someone’s back once they have moved on is something easily understood by the readers.

          • billwalker

            And now, by popular demand, (his own) here’s SHAWN! Is this the third or the fourth time Shawn has said he’s leaving only to return again? I hope when he was “defending” the country he was a lot more consistent than he demonstrates here. Says one thing, does another.

            Now he says I’m spreading untruths. He makes a statement out of context. I report the full statement and it in turn disproves him. Somehow in his mind that is “spreading untruths.” Hmmmmm. Interesting.

            As to Jefferson’s letter, it is what it is. Jefferson says he’s discussing the state constitution. Shawn says no Jefferson was discussing the federal constitution. Simple choice. Either believe what Jefferson wrote or believe Shawn.

            Now as to his references. They are all the same–the Melancton notes, just various copies of them. He tries to make it sound like several sets of notes were kept but in fact there is only one set. Technical point. As to the comment of agreeing he cites, AGAIN when read in context rather than pulled out of context it shows the single member of Congress expressing his opinion AND NOT the proceedings of Congress.

            So what have we learned about this? Shawn believes history is best learned by those who quote out of context to prove a point the full record disproves. The full record of Congress shows an official vote by Congress sending the constitution to the states. The vote was unanimous. What Shawn and Rhino and the rest have yet to explain is how a unanimous vote on a matter can be anything BUT an agreement.

            The Articles didn’t specify HOW Congress was to agree; only that it did. Congress did so. You can read the references to it in the state ratification documents. See: http://www.foavc.org/Pages/Page_Twelve.htm#Table_14 . In each instance the resolution was sent to the state legislature. The legislature then by law created the convention in the states and the rest you know. Sorry Shawn but the truth is the truth.

            Those who want to rewrite history waste a lot of time doing so because no matter how much they try they just never succeed. Somehow what has been just seems to always remain what has been.

          • Shawn Meehan

            I’m quite happy to rest on my previous comments.

          • billwalker

            Right. Glad to see that Rino and you have settled the question of American sovereignty. I know I’ll sleep better knowing people like you are not in charge of this nation. BTW just as a final note. Congress is counting the applications and already arrived at its first two sets of applications. So despite the fact you two have decided against a convention it’s still going to happen. But I’ll pass along to my contacts in Congress that you two disapprove of Congress obeying the Constitution. I’m sure that will stop them dead in their tracks.

          • rinohunter

            Bill, the wording in Jefferson’s letter says, “this cannot be done by any change in the FEDERAL constitution”. What part of federal don’t you understand?

            Yes, the letter is about potential changes to their state constitution. And in the midst of that discussion, he says they have no need for changes to the FEDERAL constitution.

            Clearly, Shawn is correct on this.

            And a unanimous vote to transmit is clearly not the same thing as a unanimous vote to approve. Shawn has provided historical evidence of this, and you have countered with zero counter evidence. Yes, the historical record is clear, despite your efforts to explain it away.

          • rinohunter

            Bill Walker stated, “Lets be accurate.”

            What a great idea. According to an eye-witness account, Congress voted to “transmit it merely, without approving or disapproving”. They did not approve it.

            And why do you keep bringing up the claim that the constitution was illegal? I’ve never made that claim. (Straw man fallacy, anyone?)

            They bypassed the limits of power imposed by the state legislatures and the existing constitution, by appealing to the “supreme authority” of the people themselves. Therefore, the actions of the 1787 convention was authoritative, despite exceeding their commissions.

            I’ve already covered this, but you are ignoring it, because it doesn’t fit your narrative.

          • billwalker

            Because Rhino you are whether you realize it or not. The convention was called by Congress which was authorized to do so under the Articles. Article 13 clearly allows Congress to decide any question placed before it. Congress decided it was time to “render” the Constitution adequate the problems of the government that day. According to the call the convention made a recommendation which was submitted to Congress. Congress proposed it.

            Now if I’m wrong then the Constitution was proposed illegally. If the convention was supreme to the Congress then the Articles of Confederation were illegal. But none of this is so. Simple conclusion: what the Congress and did then was legal and constitutional according to the Articles.

            As to submitting to the people as observed by the Supreme Court, obviously it had to be because the people, not the states, have the right of alter or abolish.

            I love how many people just want to point out something they don’t even consider. If the Constitution was illegally proposed or ratified then it follows everything else since was and is illegal. Obviously this is nonsense because sooner or later you come to something that you believe is legal because you support it. The right to bear arms usually is what cited by people who hold the Constitution was illegally proposed, ratified or whatever. But that right is part of an illegal document so ONLY if the document itself is legal is your right to bear arms legal. Or any other right you care to insert in the example.

            The point is the legality of the Constitution has been accepted by everyone except people like Shawn and Rhino who for whatever reason want to dredge up something long since settled. Believe me, given our history, if they were right, this would have been brought up long before they were even born.

          • rinohunter

            Wow, Bill, you are desperate to cling to your straw-man argument.

            I agree with Madison. The convention exceeded their commission, yet did so authoritatively, by appealing to a higher power. I agree with Richard Henry Lee, a member of Congress in 1787, whose account tells us that Congress recognized they did not have the authority to approve or disapprove the new constitution, and thus merely transmitted it to the states. The record which you provided also merely says that Congress transmitted it. Thanks for the supporting evidence.

            Since you can’t refute our real argument, you keep returning to the ridiculous straw-man argument which no one is making.

            Apparently, without a straw-man argument, you have no argument at all.

          • billwalker

            Gee I’m glad you agree with Madison. After all he was there, you were not. As to Richard Henry Lee he was wrong. Congress most certainly had the authority to alter the Constitution if they wanted to. The convention was a committee of Congress and while we from this distance believe otherwise at that time it was viewed as nothing more than that. Fortunately for all concerned they did not.

            As to supporting evidence, again the Articles only say Congress had to agree. It did not describe the form of such agreement. Simply put by transmitting the proposal as opposed to refusing to do so, Congress agreed. By the same token by the state legislatures holding the conventions and transmitting back the results, they obviously also agreed. Remember this was the only time the Articles were ever altered. So both states and Congress were free to write the rules as they went along.

            You say they didn’t agree; the Supreme Court disagrees. There is no straw man argument here. To accept your premise is to accept the entire process was illegal which it was not. Therefore it must be legal and therefore the process that was enacted was legal. Hence, transmission signaled agreement.

          • Shawn Meehan

            Mr. Walker maintains that Article V petition rescissions from states are invalid as there has been no presentation of proof they are valid. This is obviously backwards. Constitutionality is assumed until proven otherwise. Further, the Freeman court held that rescissions of ratification under Article V are valid, so it is quite reasonable to assume Article V convention petitions by states would also be valid to be subject to rescission by the same state that passed one. This view is enforced in that the House of Representatives has directed the U.S Archivist to record records of valid submissions in their files and archives. They are including rescissions.

            As Rinohunter spells out below, the Constitution was adopted by exceeding the authority of the delegates where NINE states clearly restated the Article 13 requirements of the Articles of Confederation. Congress never approved the Constitution, it merely voted to forward it to each state. States did not ratify it, rather, the people within each state held ratification conventions.

            Russell Caplan describes the reality of human nature at convention which also transpired at the 1787 Convention as evidenced by Madison admitting in Federalist 40 they exceeded their authority and then going on to rationalize it.

            “When delegates are presented with a choice of writing a new constitution or submitting a number of amendments to the existing document, they have exhibited a desire to become part of history by framing a new constitution.”
            – Dr. Russell Caplan in “Constitutional Brinkmanship”

            The problem is not The Constitution. The problem is we do not follow The Constitution. We must defend, not amend our Constitution.

            I find it offensive that people like Mr. Walker behave so arrogantly and flippantly on this, the most important topic in our nation, preservation and adherence fo the Constitution. Nearly 1.4 million troops have died to defend the Constitution and rather than have a mature intellectual discussion with credible references, Mr. Walker continues to traffic in his discredited propaganda. Alas, I’m sure he’ll continue to sue in the Supreme Court until they jail him or they do what he wants them to do.

            The rest of us will be educating about the Constitution to honor the gift given us by those which came before us.

          • billwalker

            Thought you said you wouldn’t be back Shawn. Now you see I told you he’d return. He loses on one point so he attempts to grab another and does the same tactics. An assumption on which he then bases his presumption.

            Let’s take his first paragraph printed below and count the errors.

            “Mr. Walker maintains that Article V petition rescissions from states are
            invalid as there has been no presentation of proof they are valid. This
            is obviously backwards. Constitutionality is assumed until proven
            otherwise. Further, the Freeman court held that rescissions of
            ratification under Article V are valid, so it is quite reasonable to
            assume Article V convention petitions by states would also be valid to
            be subject to rescission by the same state that passed one. This view is
            enforced in that the House of Representatives has directed the U.S
            Archivist to record records of valid submissions in their files and
            archives. They are including rescissions.”

            Error 1. It is not “obviously backwards” when the law requires proof in order to act as is required by federal law (cited on the site so I’m going to skip reference here)

            Error 2. Constitutionality is not “assumed” but under our form of government (limited) must exist in the provisions of the document which do not include the authority of states to rescind federal record. Shawn, who for all his bluster about the Constitution, obviously does not understand the document very well. The government is limited by the Constitution. Shawn, whether he realizes it or not, advocates a dictatorship where the constitutionality of any act is presumed valid leaving the proof it till later. That’s not how it works in this country.

            Error 3. He cites the “Freeman Court.” I researched the term and the only thing I could find even remotely related to his theory was a fringe element in England and Canada: https://skeptoid.com/blog/2013/10/14/the-legal-gibberish-of-freeman-on-the-land/ which has completely rejected in those countries. I can find no record of a “Freeman Court” ruling that he speaks of nor any reference in the federal court system of such a ruling.

            Error 4. If he’d bother to read the material on FOAVC and clearly he hasn’t he’d realize Congress is NOT ordering the archivist to gather the applications because the archivist has refused to do so. A committee of Congress is doing it. Yes, all records are being gathered just as all records are shown on the FOAVC website.

            Error 5. Shawn does not address the two federal laws cited nor provide evidence (required by law) that rescissions are not legal fiction.

            Error 6. Shawn doesn’t mention that even the JBS has admitted (shown on the site) the rescissions are not legal. Nor has explained how already established court rulings are somehow invalid or inapplicable. In short, no proof.

            THEN FINALLY AFTER ALL THESE COMMENTS WE GET TO THE GUT OF THE MATTER. Shawn doesn’t want to “amend” the Constitution, he wants to “preserve” it. So he opposes amendments. Listen Shawn, the Constitution AS WRITTEN IN 1787 wouldn’t have lasted five minutes if it were not for amendments. The Constitution, AS AMENDED, is what has lasted so long. You say you value the Constitution and say it must be obeyed and preserved. Then you immediately suggest its provisions should be disobeyed and ignored. Typical. The amendment process is part of the Constitution and therefore by your logic, should be obeyed and preserved. BUT NO, SHAWN SAYS OBEY THE CONSTITUTION EXCEPT FOR THIS PART. That’s not how it works Shawn. The states have applied, the Constitution demands conventions. Time to make up your mind Shawn–if you really believe the Constitution must be obeyed (and obviously you have issues with its legality so I can understand if you don’t believe in the final analysis that it should be) then you have no choice but to support amending it when and if the process is obeyed to do so.

            At least be consist Shawn–which is it, obey it, or not obey it?

    • billwalker

      For the actual public record on this see http://www.foavc.org/Pages/Page_Five_B.htm .

  • Lynette

    Thank you for hitting the nail on the head with the bullet points highlighting the fact that we have a people problem; a problem with those in office and those of us out of office who don’t know the rules, are not demanding they are followed, and not holding the violators accountable. If those seeking to use the Art V convention and change the Constitution would spend their time and money exposing the issues and educating the electorate, we would all be aligned and much further along. It would be completely safe, 100% transparent and immediate.

  • Donald J. Sutton
  • This is a link to the 1979 Senate Judiciary Hearings on an Article V Convention chaired by Orin Hatch who favored an Article V Convention: https://www.scribd.com/document/211906341/Article-V-Constitutional-Convention-Procedures-1979-Senate-Committee-on-the-Constitution Note that the term “Constitutional Convention” was used to describe a Article V Convention.