Tennessee Eagle Forum Newsletter
 August 30, 2013
Inside this issue
  ....An Article V Constitutional Convention is STILL a BAD Idea!!  

By Phyllis Schlafly

Attacks on the U.S. Constitution are coming from all sides. The New York Times opened its op-ed page to several liberal professors of government: one calls our Constitution “imbecilic,” another claims it contains “archaic” and “evil provisions,” and a third urges us to “rewrite the Second Amendment.”

Out of exasperation with the flouting of the Constitution by Barack Obama and his acolytes, and the way Congress is letting them get by with these violations, several conservative authors and pundits are promoting the calling of a national convention to propose amendments to the Constitution. They believe a series of amendments can put our country on a wiser path.

The authority for such a procedure is Article V of our Constitution, so they are calling their plan of action an Article V convention. However, they are fooling themselves when they suggest that Article V creates a path to bypass Congress with a “convention of states.”

The only power the states have under Article V is the opportunity to submit an “application” (petition) humbly beseeching Congress to call a convention. Hundreds of such applications have been submitted over the years, with widely different purposes and wording, many applications were later rescinded, and some purport to make the application valid for only a particular amendment such as a federal balanced budget or congressional term limits.

Article V states that Congress “shall” call a convention on the application of two-thirds of state legislatures (34), but how will Congress count valid applications? We don’t know, and so far Congress has ignored them anyway.

If Congress ever decides to act, Article V gives Congress exclusive power to issue the “Call” for a convention to propose “amendments” (note the plural). The Call is the governing document which determines all the basic rules such as where and when a convention will be held, who is eligible to be a delegate (will current office-holders be eligible?), how delegates will be apportioned, how expenses will be paid, and who will be the chairman.

Article V also gives Congress the power to determine whether the three-fourths of the states required for ratification of amendments can ratify by the state legislature’s action or by state conventions.

The most important question to which there is no answer is how will convention delegates be apportioned? Will each state have one vote (no matter how many delegates it sends), which was the rule in the 1787 Philadelphia convention, or will the convention be apportioned according to population (like Congress or the Electoral College)?

Nothing in Article V gives the states any power to make this fundamental decision. If apportionment is by population, the big states will control the outcome.

Article V doesn’t give any power to the states to propose constitutional amendments, or to decide which amendments will be considered by the convention. Article V doesn’t give any power to the courts to correct what does or does not happen.

Now imagine Democratic and Republican conventions meeting in the same hall and trying to agree on constitutional changes. Imagine the gridlock in drafting a constitutional plank by caucuses led by Sarah Palin and Al Sharpton.

Everything else about how an Article V Convention would function, including its agenda, is anybody’s guess. Advocates of an Article V convention can hope and predict, but they cannot assure us that any of their plans will come true.

If we follow the model of the 1787 Convention, will the deliberations be secret? Are you kidding? Nothing is secret any more. What are the plans to deal with protesters: the gun-control lobby, the gay lobby, the abortion lobby, the green lobby, plus experienced protestors trained by Obama’s Organizing for Action, at what would surely be the biggest media event of the year, if not of the century.

There is no proof that the VIPs promoting an Article V convention have any first-hand knowledge of the politics or procedures of a contested national convention. Don’t they realize that the convention will set its own agenda and that states will have no sayso over which amendments are considered?

A recent example of how a convention chairman wielding the gavel can manipulate what happens is the way the 2012 Democratic National Convention chairman ruthlessly called the vote wrong when a delegate tried to add a reference to God in the party platform. The chairman got by with declaring the amendment passed even though we all saw on television that the “Noes” won the vote.

The whole process is a prescription for political chaos, controversy and confrontation. Alas, I don’t see any George Washingtons, James Madisons, Ben Franklins or Alexander Hamiltons around today who could do as good a job as the Founding Fathers, and I’m worried about the men who think they can. Source here.



  Beware Constitutional Convention  
  NOTE:  Please remember that Phyllis is an attorney and Constitutional expert.



  Who opposes an Article V Consitutional Convention??  
In 2010, the Tennessee General Assembly passed a resolution with overwhelming bipartisan support to rescind the three 'calls' for a Constitutional Convention that were passed in the 1970s. We do not need to open that debate again.

In April 1990, Tennessee Attorney General Charles Burson opined [OP No. 90-47] “…it is the opinion of this office that such a rescission would probably be valid.” He also stated that “it is unclear whether a constitutional convention may be limited...” and went to include a quote from Walter Dellinger indicating that Article V does not provide for a ‘limited’ convention.
Many national organizations from all across the political spectrum oppose calling a Constitution Convention. These include the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Eagle Forum, Daughters of the American Revolution, Sons of the American Revolution, Gun Owners of America, National Rifle Association, The Conservative Caucus, John Birch Society, General Conference of Seventh Day Adventists, AFL-CIO, National Education Association, American Association of University Women, American Civil Liberties Union, People for the American Way, and American Association of Retired Persons. Our great Constitution is for all Americans, regardless of political opinion and in today's political climate, to open it up to 'who knows what' is a not a risk that should not be taken.
"Resolved, By The American Legion in National Convention assembled in San Antonio, Texas, August 25, 26, 27, 1987, That it states its opposition to efforts to convene a Constitutional Convention for any purpose and specifically opposes the rewriting of the United States Constitution."
"Resolved, by the 85th National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, that we oppose any attempt to call a Constitutional Convention, as this would give our enemies from within and without the opportunity to destroy our Nation." Resolution No. 449, Adopted by the 85th National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States held in Chicago, Illinois, August 17-24, 1984.
"Resolved, That members of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution oppose efforts to rewrite the Constitution by Constitutional Convention." Adopted by the DAR Continental Congress, April 1986, Washington, D.C.
"Resolved, By the eligible voting members at the 1992 Annual Meeting of the National Rifle Association of America held in Salt Lake City on the 25th of April, 1992, that we oppose any attempt to call for a Constitutional Convention for any purpose whatsoever because it cannot be limited to a single issue and that our right to keep and bear arms can be seriously eroded."


  From Breitbart Facebook page  
Breitbart - One Voice Silenced, Millions Awakened

Some people will do anything to sell a book. Because I disagree with the subject matter, I’ll not list names here. I don’t think you should buy any book that encourages an Article V Convention. It is tempting with the relentless usurpation of authority in Washington DC to consider this. But instead of taking the advice of attorneys, talk show hosts, and others in the intelligentsia, why don’t you do your own research and go read The Constitution and The Federalist Papers. See what you can find out for yourself about such a convention.

I did and here is what I discovered:

First, there are no rules in The Constitution that will regulate such a convention. We only know that “Amendments” (yes, it is plural) will be considered. There is no means to regulate which “Amendments” will be considered. In other words, well-meaning people enter the Con-Con (Constitutional Convention) believing that only their amendments will be brought up for consideration, but extremist groups from either side could bring others as well. There will be nothing to prevent this as there are no written rules in The Constitution.

Second, who will be the delegates? Will they be political leaders? That won’t work! They are already in office and we don’t like them. Will they be leaders from our favorite special interest groups? I know who my favorites are, and I’m certain the ACLU, the Communist Party USA, labor unions, and other groups have their delegates in mind as well.

But who gets to pick them? There is no mention of the delegate selection process written in The Constitution. Will these delegates be selected by Congress? Great, that’s what we need! I’m sure Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and John Boehner will do us proud. <insert note of sarcasm here> Perhaps each state should select their own delegates, but how many should they select? Does each state get one vote, as was the case in the original Constitutional Convention? Or should it be delegated by population, in which case, the larger states will have all the votes and smaller states will be irrelevant?

Once these delegates perform their duties at the convention, they will never have to run for re-election. This is a short term and one time job. Therefore, there is no accountability for these delegates. They could go and vote however they chose to vote, being completely disengaged from those they profess to represent.

Now, let’s just say we have these delegates together to pass “Amendments” on topics known but to God. According to our Constitution, when an Amendment is considered by Congress, it must pass through both houses before it can even leave the building to be considered by the several states. Either one of the two houses (made up of members who enjoy being re-elected a great deal and would do just about anything to make sure they are, including voting like the majority of their constituents tell them) can stop it if there are not enough votes. We the people can call our legislators and make this happen – we have on many occasions! Will we be able to do this in a single-chambered Con-Con? Anything they will vote on is done before we will know about it.

According to The Constitution, in order to ratify a Constitutional Amendment that has been passed by both houses of Congress, 38 of the 50 states must vote to approve it. In other words, it can still be stopped if it is a bad law. Since a Con-Con is not regulated, what is to prevent it from reducing this Article V requirement? We the people may very well have turned over all of our authority to nefarious powers. These delegates at a Con-Con are worse than Congress!

This is not an exhaustive list of problems with a Con-Con, but it will provide enough information for the better students among you to get started with your research. Don’t take my word for it. Do your own homework! Here are links.

~Temerity Dowell


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Letter to Phyllis about a Con-Con from
Former Chief Supreme Court Justice Warren Burger

The Effort to Dismantle Our Constitution

JUST A NOTE:  Although this was written some time ago, it is one of the best overviews of the issue I have found. I would note that at least 13 states have rescinded their calls
James Madison's Warning

    “You wish to know my sentiments on the project of another general Convention as suggested by New York. I shall give them to you with great frankness . . .

    3. If a General Convention were to take place for the avowed and sole purpose of revising the Constitution, it would naturally consider itself as having a greater latitude than the Congress appointed to administer and support as well as to amend the system; it would consequently give greater agitation to the public mind; an election into it would be courted by the most violent partizans on both sides; it wd. probably consist of the most heterogeneous characters; would be the very focus of that flame which has already too much heated men of all parties; would no doubt contain individuals of insidious views, who under the mask of seeking alterations popular in some parts but inadmissible in other parts of the Union might have a dangerous opportunity of sapping the very foundations of the fabric. Under all these circumstances it seems scarcely to be presumeable that the deliberations of the body could be conducted in harmony, or terminate in the general good. Having witnessed the difficulties and dangers experienced by the first Convention which assembled under every propitious circumstance, I should tremble for the result of a Second, meeting in the present temper of America, and under all the disadvantages I have mentioned. . . .

    I am Dr. Sir, Yours Js. Madison Jr”

    James Madison letter to George Turberville, 2 November 1788