A Convention of States or State Nullification?

Questions: Is the sole remedy for restoring constitutional order a "Convention of States" whose dual purpose is to fashion new amendments to curtail a runaway federal government as well as to clarify core constitutional principles which have been so terribly misconstrued over the years? Or is the vigorous State nullification of unconstitutional federal acts alone the way to go? 

With these critical questions in mind, my biggest concern with an Art V Convention of States (COS) process alone is the length of time it will require--up to 20 yrs, this according to Mark Levin, a leading COS proponent--during which time much more federal mischief can be perpetrated against the States, the People and the Constitution--perhaps irremediably. 

Other concerns about COS: Why should we believe that the feds will faithfully uphold new amendments created by COS any more faithfully than they have upheld current amendments or the original meaning and intent of core Constitutional principles? Who can feel assured that there are a sufficient number of reliable constitutionalists in State governments to ensure a prudent and responsible COS amendment process and outcome? And who of us is reasonably confident that the insidious influence of self-serving lobbyists will not corrupt the faithfulness of COS participants and the integrity of their handiwork? These questions inexorably lead to this critical question: Can any conscious patriot possibly believe that a COS process alone can save the Republic? 

To my way of thinking, our pressing for assertive State nullification/anti-commandeering actions while concurrently monitoring a well-focused and untainted Convention of States process is, very likely, the most efficacious and prudent way forward. After all, we should be able to walk and chew gum at the same time.

It is encouraging to note that the number of State anti-commandeering and nullification actions are increasing. (Check the 10th Amendment Center site for updated info on those actions.) Coupled with a growing number of States approving a COS, it clearly appears that many thoughtful Americans in State leadership positions are finally awakening to the threat of Progressive tyranny and finally committing themselves to remedial actions. 

To further encourage the advancement of this two-pronged remedial strategy to restoring constitutional order, I believe the "Operation American Spring" occupation of DC beginning May 16th and the significant uptick in nullification/anti-commandeering activities already sweeping the country may well throttle  the ruthless Progressive assault on our political system and way of life. The blockbuster combo of nullification already in play and a successful "Operation American Spring" occupation of DC will, I believe, constitute the death knell of big-government Progressivism and restore constitutional order in these united States. 

With so much frustration, defiance and resistance taking place at both the grassroots and State levels today, the political elites know that the fecal matter is about to hit the proverbial fan, and that the unstoppable force of millions will simply be too much for them to ignore or to easily sweep aside. 

In truth, and for the first time, I believe America's ruling class and its corporate enablers are genuinely scared and, like cornered rats, are prepared to either appease the People's demands or, in their desperation, to suicidally confront an increasingly determined throng of American patriots. Either way, my sense is that stalwart American patriots will carry the day. I have to believe this, or accept the awful prospect of tyranny's triumph.

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Comment by Mike Richmond on April 27, 2014 at 1:30pm

Louise -- I agree. And that's the key to the whole Article V Convention of States approach. It'll codify principles and (hopefully) articulate amendments in such clear, concise language that they cannot be misconstrued.  

Comment by Louise Strauss on April 26, 2014 at 12:50pm

Ronald Regan stabilized our country and those that followed destroyed what had been accomplished.  The same would be true with this proposal.  Once the dust settles it will be back to corrupt business as usual.  We need a permanent fix such as the Article V Convention.  How long it takes is not the concern.  We need a permanent fix so that we will never have a runaway government and the people are the power.

Comment by Mike Richmond on April 22, 2014 at 7:33pm

Jim -- I hadn't heard that about Madison and Hamilton, but what you say doesn't surprise me. I'm no big fan of either. I think I'll dig into some history about that matter. Regarding the Article V Convention of States, I do think we're going to get there. Just within the last 24 hours, Alaska and Florida got their resolutions through their legislatures, and they now join Georgia as the first three -- on our way to 34 (or more). When we get there, yes, it'll be important to monitor the proceedings and make sure wording of amendments is pure and impervious to misapplication (unlike the terms "general welfare" and "necessary and proper" in the Constitution). Keep up the fight!  

Comment by Jim Delaney on April 22, 2014 at 9:50am

I agree with most of what you have stated here, Mike. However, from a strictly historical standpoint,  it's important to note that Madison and Hamilton did mislead  the States into believing that the convention they were championing was limited "to amending the Articles of Confederation", clearly a ruse. Monarchists by disposition, they were actually aiming to fashion a top-down system of government modeled after that of England's.In short, their intention from the get-go was to fashion a new form of government altogether.. Once the ruse was discovered, some States vociferously objected to the proceeding. That said, as it turns out, and with the able guidance of Washington and other key framers, the end result was a stellar success and a constitutional republic was ushered in.

And, yes, what Art V calls for is a Convention of States, not a constitutional convention, this to propose amendments, not to form a new system of government. I would merely caution folks to carefully monitor Art V proceedings and the wording of amendments being proposed, this to ensure that original meaning and intent is restored and not surreptitiously undermined.

Man is innately corruptible--and there are many me-first lobbyists and opportunists out there who couldnt' care a whit about the constitution. This is why I strongly support State Nullification/Interposition concurrently with a carefully monitored Art V process. If the purpose is to restore original constitutional concepts, then there is a need for Art V if for no other reason than to repeal particularly odious amendments which undermine the sanctity of republican governance.

Comment by Mike Richmond on April 22, 2014 at 7:02am

A convention of states is not a constitutional convention or a "con con." Let's please remove that belittling term from the conversation. An Article V Convention of States is merely a gathering to propose amendments to the Constitution. It historically false that the Constitution was adopted as the result of an illegal, runaway convention. This argument was invented by the enemies of the Constitution. It is a myth, and it lives on like an urban legend. Here are the facts: Congress (the one operating under the Articles of Confederation) was the agency that called the convention for the “sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation." Later, it was this same Congress that approved of the convention’s work and sent it (the draft Constitution) out to the states for ratification. And they did so unanimously. Clearly, Congress saw no problem with what the convention had done. If the convention had exceeded the authority granted to it from Congress, then Congress would have rejected the document. It’s irresponsibly presumptuous of people two-plus centuries later to second-guess the fruits of the convention when the very Congress that called for the creation of the document didn’t have a problem with it. Again, they approved of the convention’s work unanimously. Had they felt the convention had exceeded its authority, this surely would not have happened. Another point is this: The convention’s marching orders from Congress never restricted how many changes (to the Articles of Confederation) could be made – one or a thousand. Nor was there a prohibition to a name change. It is not at all uncommon for the name of a law to be changed. Plus, the name of a law does not have any legal weight. It is not part of the law. (Consider the Affordable Care Act. Ain’t nothing “affordable” about it. And a whole lotta “care” is not happening because of it.) There is no legal consequence to the name change. Consider also that many matters of substance in the Articles of Confederation did not change in the Constitution. Article I of the Articles of Confederation named the nation the United States of America. This did not change in the Constitution. Article II very much stayed the same – stating that the states retained all power not specifically delegated to the federal government. (The 10th Amendment was added later to underscore this.) Article III talked about a mutual defense compact among the states, and the Constitution merely changed somewhat the operation of the military, but the idea of mutual defense of the nation did not change. And Article IV codified the principle of citizens moving from state to state and retaining their citizenship, and this idea shows up in the Constitution’s Article IV with only minor changes. People, we must evaluate the relative safety of the two choices before us: One, we can continue to allow Washington, D.C., to abuse the Constitution while we wish and hope the people there will change their rotten behavior, or two, we can call a convention of states and trust the appointed delegates (appointed by the states, by the way, not the Feds) to bring forth proper remedies. I will place my faith and trust in the delegates -- not in the D.C. crowd. Regarding nullification... YES! Let's do that, too. But in order for that to be the sole solution, we have to nullify -- what? -- dozens, hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of laws to set things right? Plus, without Constitutional fixes (amendments from the Convention of States), the bad laws will just keep coming, which will require never-ending nullification actions throughout the states. Another result: a patchwork of laws among the states, as some will nullify this law, some will nullify that law but not the other one, etc. This is why I advocate a two-headed approach: nullification and Convention of States.

Comment by Jim Delaney on April 21, 2014 at 11:53am


A sobering, thoughtful and balanced comment. To maintain our security and viability as a republic dictates that we all keep an open mind about this crucially important issue. In a real sense a COS is uncharted territory. That's why, hands down, I'd feel MUCH more comfortable with Nullification/Interposition to stop federal excesses and to restore constitutional order. If only more State leaders would understand their enormous 10th Amendment authority and assert that authority. But, alas, federal pay-outs to States has made the States squishy at best.

Comment by Karen Ruff on April 21, 2014 at 11:43am

People spend a lot of effort calling others fear mongers and so forth and very little actually addressing the real concerns in any way other than to repeat the talking points that are supposed to quell every fear and address every question--which they do not, Where have you addressed the words of James Madison:

"Having witnessed the difficulties and dangers experienced by the first Convention which assembled under every propitious circumstance, I should ramble for the result of a Second, meeting in the presnet temper of American and under all the disadvantages I have mentioned..."Or the warning of Chief Justice Warren Burger:

"Should we have another Constitutional Convention? There may be one coming up soon, theoreticaly limited to certain subjects like a debt limit. There is no way, any more than the Continental Congress could control the convention in Piliadelphia, to put a muzzle on a Constitutional Convention. Once it meets, it will do whatever the majority wants to do. I would not favor it. "Dr Edwin Vieira:

But if it did turn out to be a "runaway" convention, prposed all sorts of amendments wholly inconsistent with any rational conception of liberty , and some or all of these amendments were eventually ratified, would the courts as they are no constituted declare those amendments invalid because of the runaway nature of the convention? Very unlikely. How long have people tried to bring to te Supreme Court the Question of the invalidity of the supposed ratification of the 16th Amendment without any result, notwithstanding the significant body of evidence in support of that conclusion? 

More in a different article, also by Dr. Vieira's, can be found here: http://newswithviews.com/Vieira/edwin262.htm

Or Jackie Patru, in http://www.sweetliberty.org/issues/concon/effort2dismantle.htm

Those who insist there's nothing to fear from a con-con maintain that even if it were to get out of control it would take three-fourths of the states to ratify it. They ask, "Would 38 states ratify a bad amendment?" At first glance, it seems unlikely... but three facts are never mentioned by con-con advocates, and these are crucially important points: The convenetion could abolish or change the rules for ratification. (It happened in the first one). Article V authorizes the states only to apply for a convention. Once underway the convention makes its own rules and culd reject any and all restrictions on its actifity and assert its supreme power by virtue of its direct authority from the Constitution.

There is much more if people are truly concerned about saving the country rather than about doing something "new' just because it hasn't been tried, and they somehow think they will make history.They'll make it all right. If America's Constitution is up for grabs--and it will be--it will mean worldwide chaos.

Also in the mix is "Move to Amend," an organization that says its singular goal is to "end cooporate personhood," and publicly fund all elections. Move to Amend is a socialist organization. Go to WolfPac.org and you will see that wolfpac--another radical group linked with Move to Amend is saying that the best way to achieve their "ultimate goal" is to call for an Article V Convention. Code Pink and hundreds of other organizations, some claiming to be conservative have endorsed MovetoAmend. Here is the list of their endorsing organizations. https://movetoamend.org/organizations

As Dr Vieira has asked, what has been done--thoroughly done to fix Washington? His article "Enforcement, not Amendment, is the answer, and is a reasoned and cogent argument. He demands to know, why we are attempting to take the most dangerous possible route to fix Washington, when it is not the Constitution that is flawed, but rather the people who are supposed to be abiding by it. He questions, how, when politicians find ways to circumvent the Constitution now, will new amendments be able to force them to abide by it? No one seems to have an answer to that question.

The most chilling statement of all comes from Gore Vidal who was quoted in San Francisco as saying "It is a nice irony that the far right--disguised as conservatives--can take credit for so fundamental and radical an upheavle. In order to balance the budget by law, to put prayer to God and Mammon in the schools, to forgid abortion, pornography and drugs, they have set in motion the great engine that will overthrow the very Constitution that they insist be so strictly sonstructed. I can view with a certain serenity the restructuring of our politicl institutions. After all, such a Conventious could--and probably would--supercede Congress.'

Don't call those people "fear mongers" and dismiss them with foolish notions until you have Constitutional answers for their concerns. You don't have it because it doesn't exist. Too many people, determined to have a Convention, are not looking at the facts--at exactly what the Constitution does say rather than at what they hope it says or what some lawyer assures them that it says without ever proving his point.

And one additional question remains: What part of the Constitution is flawed? What problem in our country would NOT be solved if people were forced to abide by the Constitution we have? I remain--it is not the Constitution that needs amended; The mud needs to be swept out of Congress, and American people need to return to having an active, direct role in their government rather than blindly assuming the next celebrity must be correct.



Comment by Jim Delaney on April 18, 2014 at 7:52pm


Both nullification and anti-commandeering actions are flourishing throughout the union. Check the 10th Amendment Center which provides updates on a host of successful nullification actions taken by the States in opposition to a host of invasive federal actions. Like said, in parallel both the Art V and State Nullification approach is most likely a winning combo for us all.

Comment by Mike Richmond on April 18, 2014 at 8:50am

Jim Delany -- Thank you for the reply. I don't disagree with a word of it. I love the idea of nullification. I love the idea of states thumbing their noses at clearly unconstitutional fecal matter flowing out of D.C. (Obamacare, anyone?) I see nullification as large-scale civil disobedience. And I'd love states to get at it. Problem is, I don't see it happening. I do see happening the Article V movement, however. We need to mash these movements together. I do see one movement lending momentum to the other. As Article V grows, I suspect states might become emboldened to nullify stuff. And as nullifications happen, that might just embolden states to jump on board the Article V bandwagon. Sure hope so.  

Comment by Mike Richmond on April 18, 2014 at 8:39am

Another rebuttal to Karen Ruff: On the matter of Code Pink, George Soros, et al, favoring an Article V convention... Supposedly a whole raft of Leftist organizations aspire to an Article V convention of states. But go to Code Pink's Website and look for any mention of Article V. Won't find it. Go to Moveon.org and do the same. No mention there, either. Same for Wolfpac. Same for Council on Foreign Relations. Same for the Alliance for Democracy. Same for Media and Democracy. Same for the Independent Progressive Politics Movement. So, if these organizations are planning something, they're doing it in the dark... which means they CAN'T get it done. An effort like this requires sunshine. Big, blazing, out-in-the-open, sunshine on the grassroots. Besides, there is no way any of those groups could possibly organize 34 state legislatures to pass left-leaning resolutions of the type they would put forth. Not a chance. There is only one group out there (a conservative group) proposing an approach that will work, and that's the Convention of States project being run by the Citizens for Self Governance. Their plan will work because its single-minded purpose to draft amendments that limit, shrink, rein in the power of the federal government. "We the People" will support this; "We the People" will NOT support the type of government-expansion amendments the Code Pinks of the world would put forth. Code Pink WISHES it could pull off an Article V convention. And I wish a pot of gold would fall out of the sky and land in my driveway. Moreover, if Leftists should somehow sneak into a legitimate Article V convention, any amendments they would propose would be dead on arrival, for they would violate the convention's charter to exclusively produce amendments that limit the power of the federal government. PLEASE, people... get the facts before fearmongering.  

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