August 2022 Newsletter

 

Academy 3.0 

How Federalism Facilitates Peace

Shock Poll: Two-thirds of Likely Voters, Half of Democrats Support an Article V Convention

Arrington Files Call for First Article V Convention in US History 

More Article V News

Who Said It? 


 

Academy 3.0 

As you read this, the Article V Caucus/Path To Reform team is educating state legislators at Academy 3.0 and the NCSL Legislative Summit Exhibitor Hall! If you’re in Denver, please drop by Booth 806 to say hello! We’ll have a report on our activities next month. In the mean time, please enjoy our Article V Primer at the Path To Reform YouTube Channel. 


 

How Federalism Facilitates Peace

by Vickie Deppe 

Since the end of WWII, there have been dozens upon dozens of civil wars around the world. Some—like our own Civil War—were sparked by political issues, while others have been fought over ethnic or religious rivalries. 

At the close of the War for Independence, the states were on the brink of an armed conflict of their own: Congress could not retire its debt, much of which was owed to citizens who had fought for or provisioned the Continental Army; states were imposing usurious tariffs on one another (if they would allow interstate trade at all); they wouldn’t accept one another’s currency; and they experienced conflicts over borders and competition for natural resources. These problems, coupled with the threat of European predation, precipitated the Constitutional Convention. One of the delegates’ most pressing concerns was how the nascent union could overcome its internal rivalries and avoid the near-constant state of war that had ravaged Europe for centuries. 

Thanks to the Establishment Clause and the “no religious test” language of Article VI, the United States has never experienced a sectarian civil war, even though we have always had a religiously diverse population. Our Constitution has similarly facilitated the fight for minority rights without having to resort to armed conflict. 

While these constitutional principles have provided protections that thwart ethnic and religious wars, it is federalism—local control—that has facilitated the peaceful transition of power by reserving for the states the authority to control most functions of government. Instead of a series of conflicts over winner-take-all national policies, each state may set its own agenda and Americans are free to locate in states whose policies most align with their values. Americans have been self-sorting in this way since the colonial era around a variety of issues including religion, social safety net programs, drug policy, taxation, education, and law enforcement. 

In other nations, power shifts can be a winner-take-all proposition: the majority dictates from the capitol—sometimes violently—and the minority must conform. With a population of over 330 million, the United States is one of the world’s most populous nations and is consistently a top destination for immigrants. One-size-fits-all won’t work here, but local control has a proven track record in facilitating largely peaceful relations in a diverse society. And thanks to federalism, the states have constitutional tools at their disposal when Washington forgets that the powers not explicitly delegated to the federal government are reserved to the states and the people.


 

Shock Poll: Two-thirds of Likely Voters, Half of Democrats Support an Article V Convention 

Polling conducted by the Trafalgar Group and picked up by USA Today found that an overwhelming majority of the respondents support holding an Article V Convention to limit the authority of the federal government and establish spending controls and term limits on its officials. Only about 1 in 6 oppose the effort. The report is available here. 

Arrington Files Call for First Article V Convention in US History 

Texas Congressman Jodey Arrington has filed HR 8419, requiring that the Archivist of the United States maintain a count of Article V applications and notify Congress when the 2/3 threshold has been reached. He has also filed HCR 101, a resolution to call an Article V Convention based on the 34 or more applications for a Balanced Budget Amendment in force during the period 1979-2001 and again from 2015-2021. US Comptroller General Gene Dodaro says, “Without substantive changes to revenue and spending policy, the federal debt…is unsustainable.” Based on Congress’ past performance on both spending and Article V, some advocates expect the resolution to lack adequate support on Capitol Hill, forcing states to file a mandamus suit to compel Congress to call the Convention. 


 

More Article V News 

In Pennsylvania, the Convention of States Project application was removed from the table for the second time since it emerged from committee in February. In South Carolina, CoSP resolution SJR 133 did not receive a floor vote prior to adjournment. 

Wisconsin lawmakers are threatening legal action to compel Secretary of State Doug La Follette to notify Congress of the passage of the CoSP application AJR 9. Senators Kathy Bernier and Dan Knodl maintain that LaFollette has failed to respond to repeated requests for the status of the communiques. 

Former Montana State Senator and U.S. Term Limits State Chair Ed Walker published an opinion piece in the Valley Journal advocating for congressional term limits. “Let’s Talk About Term Limits” is available here. 


Who Said It? 

When the laws undertake…to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society–the farmers, mechanics, and laborers–who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their Government. 

Andrew Jackson 

July 10, 1832 

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