The drive to call a constitutional convention to save the American republic hit an important milestone this month as two more states joined the movement, thereby reaching the halfway point in the campaign.
Wisconsin and Nebraska passed resolutions last week calling for a convention of states, with Nebraska coming in as the 17th state to make such a call for a convention to offer amendments to the U.S. Constitution, according to The Associated Press.
For such a gathering to convene, two-thirds of the states (34) must formally support a convention to be called, as the Convention of States Action website noted. And the addition of Nebraska puts the required number at the halfway point.
In Nebraska, the resolution’s author, state Sen. Steve Halloran, said that the out-of-control national debt spurred him to push for the measure. He also said that he feels states have lost too much power to Washington.
“Functionally, the founding fathers intended for the states to have equal footing with Congress,” the Republican said. “To me, that’s important. I think it’s a state sovereignty issue.”
“The states need to exercise their constitutional authority by proposing amendments through an Article V convention of states to restrain the federal government from driving our country into insolvency,” Halloran told Newsweek.
The resolution only passed after a sunset provision was added. Support for a convention of states in Nebraska will expire in February 2027 unless a convention is formally called before that time.
Wisconsin passed its own resolution on Jan. 25, three days before Nebraska’s.
There are only two ways to make changes to the U.S. Constitution, according to Article V of the law of the land. One way is for Congress to propose amendments for the states to consider. The second way is triggered when two-thirds of state legislatures come together to call a convention during which amendments can be proposed, whether Congress agrees or not.
“The fundamental question facing the country isn’t what we should do but who decides,” explained Mark Meckler, president of COS, according to Just the News. “Most decisions are made at the federal level outside the control of the American people. Our primary goal is to bring power back to states and the people.”
Meckler added that calling for a convention of states to address the problems in Washington is an effort that could go a long way to drain the swamp. “We have a structural problem in Washington, D.C., not a personnel problem,” Meckler said.
The Convention of States co-founder also addressed those who have complained that the process is taking too long since the effort was launched in 2013.
“It’s taking a long time because that’s how the founders intended the process to work,” he said. “They didn’t want us to be able to change the Constitution easily, because people would change it to go with the fads of their time. The founders wanted changes to be thoughtful and about building consensus over many years. That was the founders’ vision.”
Nebraska and Wisconsin have now joined Mississippi, Georgia, Alaska, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Indiana, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arizona, North Dakota, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas and Utah in passing resolutions supporting a convention of states.
Still, some have expressed worries that if such a constitutional convention were to be convened, the effort would run wildly out of control and the amendments adopted would make massive and sudden changes, altering the U.S. as we know it. Meckler dismisses that criticism by noting that the changes would still have to be ratified by three-fourths (38) of the states.
“The convention itself has zero authority beyond making suggestions,” Meckler explained. “The only measures that could win the support of 38 state legislatures are ones that have wide support, such as term limits and a balanced budget amendment. Things that are controversial and partisan won’t have the support.
Even if the required number of states call for such a convention, it won’t be an easy road to its convening. As The Western Journal’s Abby Liebing noted last year, “Once a call for convention was actually approved by enough states, Congress would then probably get to set the rules, since Article V does not lay out a specific outline for how the convention is to be run.” The rules would be controversial all on their own because “there is no real precedent for how a convention should be run. In 1787, the first and only Constitutional Convention, there was not even adherence to the rules.”
“Congress can purport to make whatever rules it wants for the convention. The convention can then throw them in the trash, which is certainly what the convention in Philadelphia did in 1787,” David Super, a constitutional law expert at Georgetown Law, told The Hill in December. “There’s no guarantee that they will follow the ratification procedures. The only precedent we do have [is that] they didn’t follow the ratification procedures.”
However, some are warming to the idea in the wake of the abuses of authority the left has perpetrated using the COVID-19 crisis as an excuse.
In an Op-Ed published by The Western Journal last April, columnist Cal Thomas noted that he has been “on the side of the cautious” in the call for a constitutional convention, then added, “but as I see President Biden issuing record numbers of executive orders, bypassing the authority of Congress, and Congress on a spending binge that is driving the debt to record and unsustainable levels, perhaps threatening our very survival, I have come to the conclusion that nothing but a carefully organized and controlled constitutional convention can return power to where the Founders intended it to reside — with the people.”
“The reason government has become so dysfunctional and unwieldy is that it has for too long exceeded the boundaries originally set for it,” Thomas added. “The Founders wanted government to be limited, so the people would be mostly unlimited in their pursuit of happiness, accompanied by individual responsibility and accountability.”
“Today’s federal government has achieved the opposite. It has grown ever larger and limited freedoms we once took for granted. This has caused serious consequences, including too many people believing that government is their primary source for all things,” he said.
As government — especially at the federal level — continues to take more power unto itself, perhaps this convention of states will find the wind at its back and the people will rise up and once again call for serious limits to be placed on the power of government, so we can return to the roadmap the founders provided.
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