October 2021 Newsletter

  • Exploring Federalism

  • Knox County Mayor Advocates for Term Limits

  • Let’s Fix Five

  • Article V News

  • Who Said It?

 

 

Exploring Federalism

Deseret News is in the process of publishing a series inspired by principles found in our Constitution: popular sovereignty, separation of powers, federalism, individual rights, and the rule of law. Professor Justin Collings of Brigham Young University Law School contributed an essay exploring the history and importance of federalism. He writes:

When power is devolved to the government units closest to questions of concern and most capable of resolving them, Americans receive an unparalleled, experiential education in the art of self-government. And the ties that bind us together as a union will be stronger if we don’t strain or snap them in the quixotic pursuit of ideological purity and national conformity. Within proper limits, federalism makes for better governance, calmer national politics, and brighter prospects for government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

The entire article may be accessed at https://www.deseret.com/opinion/2021/9/18/22653133/opinion-what-rights-do-the-states-really-have-under-the-constitution.

Knox County Mayor Advocates for Term Limits

Mayor Glenn Jacobs (aka WWE Superstar Kane) joined Lars Larson to discuss the advantages of congressional term limits and the Tennessee legislature’s progress on an application for an Article V Convention to propose a term limits amendment. Listen at https://www.larslarson.com/should-there-be-term-limits-for-member-of-congress/.

Let’s Fix Five by Mark Guyer

Here is a way we can move forward on constitutional amendments. If the groups that want an Article V Convention work together, we will be a much stronger political force. Convention of States Project, Wolf-Pac, BBA Task Force, the Center for State-led National Debt Solutions, and US Term Limits supporters can and should unite our efforts around a common goal: to reform Article V itself. Article V has not worked. Currently, it is possible that Congress might find some reason not to call a convention, even when 34 states have constitutionally called for one. In more than two centuries of experience, and despite over 400 applications by states for an amending convention, there has never been a convention. The process is broken. Let’s Fix Five.

This approach will appeal to state legislators in both red and blue states. These legislators should have what the Constitution promised: the right to propose amendments to the Constitution. The states created the Constitution. Reform is essential. We, as Americans, believe in federalism, limited government, and checks and balances. State legislators must have a role in determining what our nation should be and do. For a few persons in Washington D.C. to have absolute power is both extreme and unwise.

The convention process and the “runaway convention” scare tactic are problems. So let’s eliminate the convention or substantially restructure it. Possible solutions include mandating that the convention can only address one subject, allowing the states to draft amendments using communication and collaboration technology in lieu of a convention, or allowing a few or even just one of the state legislatures to propose an amendment for consideration by the others (just as any one member of Congress may do at any time). What are your thoughts on possible revisions?

The convention was controversial when first written into the Constitution, and does not help our nation today. We have to use the existing Article V process, but just once, to propose a new amendment that eliminates convention and congressional roadblocks.

With a functional Article V, we can move directly into ratification of amendments. Ratification by three-fourths of the states could stay the same. To drop the convention requirement is both reasonable and non-partisan. There would still be extensive nationwide deliberation (lasting years) about any potential amendment. Only a very good amendment can possibly gain the support required for ratification.

Ten states have previously called for a convention to change Article V. Not all the applications are similar enough to aggregate. Most state legislators who have studied Article V believe it has problems of one sort or another.

 

Vickie Deppe wrote in the last Caucus Newsletter: “Many advocates think they must first convert someone to their political ideology before they’ll be able to convince them to support an Article V Convention, but that’s not true. The key isn’t to make them care about what you care about: it’s finding out what they care about and showing them how an Article V Convention can help them get it.”

Let’s combine our organizational resources to Fix Five, and then get into seriously debating what amendments our country really needs. Can you think of an amendment? How can we pass your proposed amendment? First, we must Fix Five.

Mark Guyer has been active for over ten years in the Article V movement for a federal debt limitation amendment. He has participated in many political campaigns, and has served on Capitol Hill as a legislative assistant for a Congressman.

Article V News

Texas Rep. Cody Vasut has filed HJR 5, applying for an Article V Convention to propose an amendment to the Constitution to prohibit abortion, euthanasia, and certain other acts. Additional information on this resolution is available at https://legiscan.com/TX/bill/HJR5/2021/X3.

In Wisconsin, Joint Resolutions AJR 77 and SJR 58 were filed with over a dozen sponsors, and call for a convention to propose an amendment to set the number of Supreme Court Justices at nine. These resolutions can be followed at https://legiscan.com/WI/text/AJR77/id/2430787 and https://legiscan.com/WI/text/SJR58/id/2428280, respectively. A corresponding effort to propose and pass the amendment in Congress is being coordinated by KeepNine.org and has substantial bipartisan support from members of Congress and other political leaders.

Wisconsin is also moving legislation for a convention to propose amendments restraining abuses of power by the federal government. It passed the House in May and awaits action in the Senate. Readers may follow SJR 8 at https://legiscan.com/WI/votes/SJR8/2021.

Who Said It?

“…earlier attempts to create a perfect society made the fundamental error of trying to change human nature.”

David Hume
Idea of a Perfect Commonwealth
1777

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