Third Party & Independents Archives

Does Larry Sabato Really Want A Constitutional Convention?

Why would a prominent professor supposedly in favor of having the second constitutional convention organize a symposium where the keynote speaker is dead set against a convention? And why pack the three subsequent panels with people against a convention? I kept asking myself these questions as I attended the recent symposium that Larry Sabato had the audacity to title “National Constitution Convention.”

When I first heard about the event I was troubled by how it was being marketed as, literally, a national constitutional convention – not a conference about a second convention, or the case for the first time use of the option in Article V of the Constitution to hold a convention of state delegates to consider making proposed amendments. Why sell the event as a national constitution convention? The answer became clear: to sell Larry Sabato’s latest book that sets forth a large number of constitutional amendments, most of which both the panelists and nearly everyone else examining them rejects.

This raised another troubling question: Why would someone who sincerely believes our nation needs another convention, rather than relying on Congress to propose amendments, purposefully set forth so many controversial amendments? History has shown that the many attempts to get an Article V convention failed because each of them was linked to advocacy for a specific amendment. When people opposed an amendment they automatically opposed an Article V convention. So here comes Larry Sabato who engineers a lot of public attention to over 20 amendments that many will oppose. True, it brings attention to amending the Constitution. But does he think that doing this will actually promote support for the nation’s first Article V convention? It certainly did not do that at his symposium. Consider these public positions given at the event:

Keynote speaker Geraldine Ferraro, former vice presidential nominee, could not have been more anti-convention. She said she was “not a fan of a second convention” and is “afraid of one.” While she articulated considerable fears about the damage a convention could do, she failed to even mention the safety net created by the Framers in Article V: the difficult ratification process where three-quarters of the states would have to approve every proposed amendment. Such an obvious bias cannot be overlooked when considering her perspective and comments – so typical of political establishment elites protecting the status quo.

The biggest event speaker was Supreme Court Justice Alito who said he was “skeptical” about the nation having the kind of talent for a second convention that was present at the first one. “I’m skeptical we’d be so fortunate if we tried it a second time,” he said. He seems to not understand that our current corrupt, dysfunctional political system has for some time not attracted the very best people. He also failed to mention the 2006 decision he supported with the rest of the Supreme Court to not consider a federal lawsuit, Walker vs. Members of Congress, that dealt specifically with the obligation of Congress to obey the Constitution and call an Article V Convention.

Several panelists took the position that Americans do not have sufficient civic literary or education to support having a convention, and that we could not do better than the original Framers, ignoring many of the subsequent amendments that have been extremely important because they improved upon the initial Constitution. Not one speaker recognized that there have been hundreds of state constitutional conventions, none of which wrecked state constitutions.

Lance Cargill, Oklahoma Speaker of the House, expressed concerns about a new convention causing political and economic instabilities. Could one expect anything more from the status quo political establishment? There was not one person on the symposium panels that could be considered a true activist advocating for an Article V convention as a critically need path to major political reforms.

One of the panelists noted that Sabato talks about “a new Constitution” and, of course, that rightfully frightens people. In fact, all an Article V convention can do is propose specific amendments to the current Constitution. It just feeds opposition to a convention to speak of a “new Constitution.” So why does Sabato do that?

Interestingly, one of Sabato's proposals for a balanced budget amendment received sufficient applications from the states to cause a convention call by Congress which it disregarded, which he should know and take a strong position on.

Let me give Sabato deserved thanks for pointing out a number of facts that theoretically should build public support for an Article V convention. He has correctly emphasized that the Founders gave us the Article V convention option because they “didn’t trust Congress.” And he has made it clear that Congress has refused to give Americans the convention option because they fear changing the political system by which they have gotten their jobs. “Congress is a burial ground for constitutional amendments,” he said. He has also made it abundantly clear that the Founders did not believe that the original Constitution was “perfect” and that, indeed, they “never intended it to be sacred and untouchable.” He has noted that the convention “was the Founders’ preferred method.” He likes quoting Thomas Jefferson who believed in periodic rebellions to safeguard American democracy. He should also quote Hamilton who stated a convention call was "peremptory" and that "Congress shall have no option" regarding a convention call.

In sum, on the one hand Sabato recognizes the need for constitutional amendments and that the route to getting important ones is through an Article V convention. On the other hand, however, nothing he is doing in his efforts promoting his latest book seem effective in actually building public support for the very difficult task of getting – after 220 years – the first Article V convention. How can we reconcile this dichotomy?

He expresses no sense of urgency despite recognizing the current political and government system is broken. “It will probably take a generation before anything happens, if it happens then,” he said – and a generation today means about 30 years. It would appear the professor is content simply to write a book about the issues, stir up a lot of negative feelings about a convention, but solve nothing regarding the problem.

He seems stuck in an academic mindset rather than proudly arguing for reform through a convention. He speaks promotes school mock constitutional conventions. In other words, he seems to have capitulated to a pretty negative perspective that despite having a big set of revolting conditions the country is not ready for soon having an Article V convention to reform and fix our broken system. Sabato knows that the Article V convention option was put into the Constitution because the Framers anticipated that the public might someday lose confidence in the federal government, and he surely knows that that day has arrived.

As a co-founder of Friends of the Article V Convention I welcome more explicit support for pressuring Congress to obey the Constitution and their oath of office by acknowledging that there have been over 500 applications from all 50 states for a convention. This more than satisfies the one and only requirement specified in Article V. And Sabato knows that Congress has never passed any law that in any way expands or re-interprets that single requirement that two-thirds of states ask for a convention, upon which Congress “shall” call a convention. It certainly would help the nation if Sabato would talk more about all of these circumstances than merely focus on a large set of contentious possible amendments which if a convention is never called will never come to pass.

Posted by Joel S. Hirschhorn at October 21, 2007 6:37 PM
Comments
Comment #236563

Whenever SOCTUS has issued a very controversal and not always popular decision, they have always fallen back on the arguement that the Constitution is a “living document” and that as our society evolves, The Constitution evolves with it.

Sounds rather vague to me.

Why not breathe some REAL life into it by articulating that evolution of our most important document.

Surely a lot that which was true in 1776 is not true now…or at least is couched in vagaries that gives SCOTUS way too much leeway…stretching the meaning of The Constitution to suit their particular political opinion de jour.

The real reason politicians are against a convention is that real people may just attempt to take real power from them and restore it to “we the people”.

Nothing scares a politician more than loss of power.

It’s time. It’s actually PAST time.

Posted by: Jim T at October 21, 2007 7:59 PM
Comment #236570

Who would control such a convention? The state legislatures, which (if nobody has noticed) are controlled by the same two major political parties that control the federal government. If you have a problem with the behavior of out major parties, then the last think I think you’d want is for them to sit around and rewrite the Constitution.

Actually, I can think of virtually no “reforms” that two thirds of them would agree about anyway except perhaps strengthening their own joint-domination of the political landscape. I think it’s a very good thing that the Constitution is extremely difficult—and extremely slow—to change.

What if we’d have a Constitutional Convention in the days or weeks after 9-11? Would civil liberties have been strengthened or weakened by such a convention? Think about it.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at October 21, 2007 8:43 PM
Comment #236571
History has shown that the many attempts to get an Article V convention failed because each of them was linked to advocacy for a specific amendment.

Isn’t this still a problem, and why none has been called? Yet you and the proponents of the convention keep claiming over 500 requests? Isn’t there a disconnect here?

Posted by: womanmarine at October 21, 2007 8:48 PM
Comment #236572

LO:

The scary thing for me is as you state. It depends on the “issues” of the day way too much, and who’s in power at the time.

I’m not even sure who I would want chosen as representatives to the convention. Wouldn’t politics as it exists now control that? That to me is the scariest part of all this.

And no one needs to repeat to me the “built in protection” of the difficulty of ratification. That, too is political, and I understand it. No need to repeat it to me ad nauseum. I get it.

Posted by: womanmarine at October 21, 2007 8:51 PM
Comment #236573

Whether Sabato wants a convention or not is not the point. Do we, the people, want one enough to do what it takes to get one?

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 21, 2007 8:55 PM
Comment #236581

Lee, right on.

womanmarine, the current parties are precisely the check and control against a runaway convention that attempted to go too far. Ratification can be defeated by only 13 states, therefore, any amendments that would be ratified would have to achieve bi-partisan support of the majority of states.

Loyal Opp, I believe certain campaign finance reforms and removal of wealthy special interest influence directly upon legislation would be possible and receive bipartisan support. The truth is, a majority of Congress persons don’t like the current campaign finance system as it tugs too hard at their legislative careers, and most don’t like the pressure of wealthy special interest influence when it comes time to vote on a bill. If given the opportunity to reform these, I think most delegates from the states would potentially be capable of bi-partisan reform. Ratification is by the states, not the Congress Representatives themselves, and that is the key to success.

Jim T, I think you are right, the Congressional party leadership fears a convention for the very reasons you define. And since they won’t control the ratification, it is even scarier. But, getting Congress to submit to an Article V convention is a simple matter of enough voters voting out incumbents until a convention becomes amenable to the incumbent replacements.

Joel, overall, I think Sabato’s efforts here are better than no mention of the option at all. Secondly, I agree with Sabato and some of the panelists that America needs to invest in Civics education in a HUGE way before a convention can become a reality, and that may take a generation if we begin education reform in the next couple years.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 21, 2007 9:30 PM
Comment #236588

Thanks David, for telling me what I already know. And I’m not sure the current parties are, in fact, any check. Surely one would be dominant? Who decides what is too far?

Posted by: womanmarine at October 21, 2007 10:14 PM
Comment #236589

The relevant axiom to a great deal of what I read here is “putting the cart before the horse”.

The whole point of the high thresholds set in the constitution was to make sure that we would be wasting our time on ideas for revision that had nowhere near the public support to guarantee their passage.

Of the Twenty-Seven amendments currently made to our constitution, only one failed to be ratified within four years of its proposal, and many saw passage within a year. The first amendment to take more than about two years was the 16th Amendment. The 27th, darling of many who advocate endless time for calls to gather is the exception that proves the rule. There’s about two centuries difference between the typical time it takes a proposed amendment to be ratified and what this one took. It’s an anomaly.

If you really think about it, the high threshold provides a sort of priming to the pump. There’s not that much difference between two-thirds and three-quarters. It’s a lot easier to get an Amendment ratified that has already got the overwhelming support when it’s proposed.

Which is what bugs me about this whole thing of this accumulation interpretation. Why deprive yourself of that generalized public approval for the convention? Why deprive so many of the states of their ability to express their current opinion about whether they want this or not?

The standard that one of the framers of this constitution can be expressed best in his own words.

It is this that the national rulers, whenever nine States concur, will have no option upon the subject. By the fifth article of the plan, the Congress will be obliged “on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the States (which at present amount to nine), to call a convention for proposing amendments, which shall be valid, to all intents and purposes, as part of the Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the States, or by conventions in three fourths thereof.” The words of this article are peremptory. The Congress “shall call a convention.” Nothing in this particular is left to the discretion of that body. And of consequence, all the declamation about the disinclination to a change vanishes in air. Nor however difficult it may be supposed to unite two thirds or three fourths of the State legislatures, in amendments which may affect local interests, can there be any room to apprehend any such difficulty in a union on points which are merely relative to the general liberty or security of the people. We may safely rely on the disposition of the State legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority.

I’ve emphasized certain phrases which I think show that this particular framer believed this was going to be worked in a unified, consensus building approach. I underlined terms that imply unified responses, and therefore contemperaneous by definition. While this doesn’t carry the legal weight of a court case, it does carry the thinking of one of the major shapers of the constitution into the debate.

Somewhere along the line in this debate, we’ve forgotten that this process was supposed to be built on common cause, rather than special interest and impatient dissatisfaction with a current government we haven’t even been trying to keep control of the past few years.

I am very much of the feeling that this country needs to heal, needs to settle down, and remember that we are all in this together.

Like the green creature from that movie once said, fear is the path to the darkside. We have to resist the impulse to run roughshod over others to get what we want.

I think Sabato’s impulse to keep this calm and academic is correct. This does not need to be a subject that we approach rashly.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 21, 2007 10:15 PM
Comment #236593
The truth is, a majority of Congress persons don’t like the current campaign finance system as it tugs too hard at their legislative careers, and most don’t like the pressure of wealthy special interest influence when it comes time to vote on a bill.

David, you’re somebody who has constantly sounded a drumbeat about how most of our current set of incumbents only have power in the first place (legislative careers) because they’re the bought-and-paid for stooges of moneyed interests, and that they’re so corrupt that they need to be voted out of office en masse.

But now you say that they don’t even like this arrangement whereby they keep and maintain power? If that’s how they feel, why don’t they change it NOW? Obviously because you’re wrong—they LIKE feeding at the trough. Why would the major parties take steps in a Constitutional Convention which they could much more easily take right now. And which further would threaten the ability of their members to be reelected?

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at October 21, 2007 10:38 PM
Comment #236595

Joel, Good question. Sabato introduced some amendments that may scare people.
Still, as David R. Remer noted, it’s still better than nothing.

But should people fear an Article V Convention?
If so, what does that say?
Does it mean we already waited too long?
Are we going to permanently waive our only means to amend the Constitution?
Congress has an obvious conflict of interest. Do you want to trust them to only determine what needs amended?
All 50 states have already subitted 523 amendment applications.
What does that mean?
Were the states aware all along that Congress was going to ignore it, or try to conveniently re-interpret Article V (something that is illegal).

However, it’s not a question of if it is good or bad. It is a matter of upholding the Constitution, and Congress is violating Article V.

Who would control such a convention? The state legislatures, which (if nobody has noticed) are controlled by the same two major political parties that control the federal government. If you have a problem with the behavior of out major parties, then the last think I think you’d want is for them to sit around and rewrite the Constitution.
Delegates. Not Congress. Congress does not control the Convention. The states do.
Stephen Daugherty wrote: The standard that one of the framers of this constitution can be expressed best in his own words.
“unite” does not equate “same-subject amendments” or “whenever contemporaneously”. There is nothing in Federalist #85 that supports a re-interpretation of “whenever” to “whenever contemporaneously”, or from “amendments” to “same-subject amendments”. Congress can not legally veto the literal meaning of Article V of the Constitution. Where is any Supreme Court ruling that states Congress can ignore Article V? The Supreme Court will continue to do nothing until another law suit is filed that only deals with one thing: Congress must call an Article V Convention. The conditions have been met. Even going by the same-subject requirement, the conditions have been met 4 times. But there is no “same-subject” requirement, and there is no “whereever contemporaneous” requirement in Ariticle V.

Besides, any re-interpretation is illegal.

To conveniently re-interpret Article V from “whenever” to “whenever contemporaneously” and/or “amendments” to “same-subject amendments” violate all of the following (below)
The Supreme Court has already (many times) dealt with cases in interpreting the Constitution and its provisions:

  • [#01] U.S. v. Classic, 313 U.S. 299 (1941): “Where there are several possible meanings of the words of the constitution, that meaning which will defeat rather than effectuate the constitutional purpose cannot rightly be preferred.”

  • [#02] Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee, 14 U.S. 304 (1816): “Where the text of the constitution is “clear and distinct”, no restriction on its plain and obvious import should be admitted unless the inference is irresistible.”

  • [#03] Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee, 14 U.S. 304 (1816): “Words of [the] Constitution are to be taken in natural and obvious sense, and not in sense unreasonably restricted or enlarged.”

  • [#04] U.S. v Sprague, 282 U.S. 716 (1931): “Where intention of words and phrases used in Constitution is clear, there is no room for construction and no excuse for interpolation.”

  • [#05] Ogden v. Saunders, 25 U.S. 213 (1827): “Where provision in United States Constitution is unambiguous and its meaning is entirely free from doubt, the intention of the framers of the constitution cannot be inquired into, and the supreme court is bound to give the provision full operation, whatever might be the views entertained of its expediency.”

  • [#06] Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee, 14 U.S. 304 (1816): “The government of the United States can claim no powers which are not granted to it by the Constitution.”

  • [#07] Jarrolt v. Moberly, 103 U.S. 580 (1880): “A constitutional provision should not be construed so as to defeat its evident purpose, but rather so as to give it effective operation and suppress the mischief at which it was aimed.”

  • [#08] Ullmann v. U.S., 350 U.S. 422 (1956): “Nothing new can be put into the constitution except through the amendatory process, and nothing old can be taken out without the same process.” .

Also, the Supreme Court has already ruled 4 times mandating a Convention call by Congress:

  • Dodge v. Woolsey, 59 U.S. 331 (1855)

  • Hawke v. Smith, 253 U.S. 221 (1920)

  • Dillon v. Gloss 256 U.S. 368 (1921)

  • United States v. Sprague, 282 U.S. 716 (1931)

And Coleman v Miller, 307 U.S. 433 (year 1939) did not rule that Congress can ignore Article V. While the decision did state the amendatory process was the “exclusive” province of Congress, no where in the ruling was there any mention of the amendatory convention nor was the language of Article V even quoted. It did not nullify Article V. Congress can not add new words or remove old words from the Constitution except through the amendatory process. There was no amendment put before the states to change the literal meaning of Article V.

What we should be fearful of is our government that is violating Article V.
Congress is violating Article V.
Congress can not add new words or remove old words from the Constitution without amending it first.
Congress can not re-interpret words that are “plain and obvious”.
Congress can not “defeat rather than effectuate the constitutional purpose cannot rightly be preferred”.
There is no need to fear an Article V Convention, because:

  • (01) It requires 3/4 of states to ratify any amendment. Delegates from the states are who is voting on the amendments.

  • (02) The states don’t want to give more power to a bloated, wasteful, corrupt, Do-Nothing Congress, Executive Branch, or Supreme Court. Especially with Congress’ approval ratings as low as 11%.

  • (03) The states have already given time and thought to 523 amemdment requests (many of those are same subject, since the so-called same-subject threshold has already been met too 4 times).

  • (04) The states do not want to give more power to other states. If anything, the state legislatures will be reducing the federal government’s power since it has abused it (perhaps introduce term-limits, balanced budget, one-purpose-per-bill, prohibit Gerrymandering, etc.).

  • (05) The main stream media will be watching.

  • (06) The bloggers will be watching, making it difficult for the Main Stream Media to spin it.

  • (07) The journalists will be watching.

  • (08) The people will be watching.

  • (09) Congress doesn’t control the convention.

  • (10) It will raise awareness. Something that can’t hurt. Even if no amendments are passed, it will help us preserve our right to an Article V Convention.
If we allow Congress to violate Article V, what’s next?
Will we forever forfeit our right to an Article V Covnention?
The framers suspected that the federal government may become so corrupt and bloated that the states would want to intervene to make amendments.
All 50 states have already submitted 523 amendments, and Congress is ignoring it.

That’s what you should be afraid of.
If Congress can ignore one part of the Constitution, it’s just a matter of time before others will follow.

But, if too many voters fail to exercise their rights, then they will have the government that they deserve. Do they like it the way it is?

Posted by: d.a.n at October 21, 2007 11:16 PM
Comment #236599

Dan-
If the original founders interpretated Article V as cumulative, were it recognized, we’d have seen no more than the required votes for that two thirds number, then a big court case or public controversy on the matter.

That there is no historical record of all this despite over two hundred years of history and five hundred calls (certainly a whole lot of opportunities for this controversy to arise), is evidence that your interpretation is more likely the flawed one.

As for your cases?
#1 The purpose of the high threshold was to make Amending the Constitution somewhat difficult. If you don’t like that, get an amendment proposed that makes it easier, if you can.

#2, #3 Clear and distinct, plain and obvious? Cart before the horse. You haven’t offered one bit of external evidence to support a cumulative interpretation of the law. Before you can lecture us on our inability to recognize what you do, you got to first convince us of that.

#4: The proportion of members of Congress in both houses required to propose amendments and the proportion of the states required to do the same in a convention are identical. What is there in the text that explicitly denies similar procedures for each method? Much similarity exists between the two, so why can’t we assume a similar sort of political unity required of each group? Nearly everything else is the same.

#5, #6, #7, and #8 all state some rather obvious points, so let me save space and restate my original point: your interpretation stretches the meaning of the original text beyond the obvious. Almost nobody has assumed what you have about its meaning. It may be obvious to you, but many preconceptions are obvious to the people who want them to be self-evident. When do we get past your perception to what the evidence speaks of.

As for the cases? the subject of Dodge Vs. Woolsey seems to regard a state being sued over a tax increase due to a change in the statue. It was in fact brought by a private citizen against the state. Hawke Vs. Smith, far from affirming some sort of convention call, basically says that a ratification by the state legislature of the 18th Amendment (prohibition) could not be overturned by public referendum.

In Dylan Vs. Gloss, the court ruled that the seven year time limit put on the amendment’s ratification was perfectly constitutional, so long as it didn’t interfere with Article V.

The last Case does deal with conventions, but not in the manner you think.

The court did not agree, however, ruling that the Constitution explicitly authorized Congress to determine the method used in ratifying amendments.

In short, the court said that Congress had the right to ratify an amendment by either convention or state legislatures, and could choose as it pleased.

None of these cases directly addresses convention calls of the type we’re speaking of. Only three of the four address Article V issues. None address the subject of our discussion.

What we would be looking for is an act of the courts compelling the calling of a constitutional convention on the basis of the fact that the requisite proportion of the states had made their calls. Anything less falls short.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 22, 2007 2:06 AM
Comment #236622


Rather than debating the pros and cons of a Constitional Convention, I would much prefer to see and debate the merits of actual Constitutional amendments. For instance, should we have a balanced budget amendment? Should it be written in such a manner that the government can not borrow and spend under any circumstances? What affect would a balanced budget amendment have on taxes and spending priorities?

Posted by: jlw at October 22, 2007 10:32 AM
Comment #236624
Stephen Daugherty wrote: d.a.n- If the original founders interpretated Article V as cumulative, were it recognized, we’d have seen no more than the required votes for that two thirds number, then a big court case or public controversy on the matter.
False. There have been two court cases.

They were dismissed on technicalities having nothing to do with Article V. The meaning if “whenever” is very clear. Previous Supreme Court cases support that fact that Congress is legally required to call a convention.

Stephen Daugherty wrote: That there is no historical record of all this despite over two hundred years of history and five hundred calls (certainly a whole lot of opportunities for this controversy to arise), is evidence that your interpretation is more likely the flawed one.
False. It’s not my interpretation. It is the “plain and obvious” words of Article V that indicate that Congress is violating Article V. There is no court ruling that permits Congress to ignore Article V. Just because Do-Nothing Congress is violating Article V and getting away with it thus far does not make it any less illegal.
Stephen Daugherty wrote: As for your cases? #1 The purpose of the high threshold was to make Amending the Constitution somewhat difficult. If you don’t like that, get an amendment proposed that makes it easier, if you can.
Don’t really need more amendments. There are already 523. What is needed is another law suit that can’t be dismissed on technicalities. The Supreme Court stated in [#01] U.S. v. Classic, 313 U.S. 299 (1941): “Where there are several possible meanings of the words of the constitution, that meaning which will defeat rather than effectuate the constitutional purpose cannot rightly be preferred.”


Stephen Daugherty wrote:
#2, #3 Clear and distinct, plain and obvious? Cart before the horse. You haven’t offered one bit of external evidence to support a cumulative interpretation of the law. Before you can lecture us on our inability to recognize what you do, you got to first convince us of that.

False. Lecture? Convince? Again, there’s no need to turn this into a personal issue. That simply demonstrates the weakness of your arguments.

It’s not about me. It’s the “plain and obvious” text; the literal meaning of the Constitution, backed up by many cases.
I listed over a dozen court cases that support the “plain and obvious” interpretations of the Constitution. The words “plain and obvious” come from [#02] Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee, 14 U.S. 304 (1816): “Where the text of the constitution is “clear and distinct”, no restriction on its plain and obvious import should be admitted unless the inference is irresistible.”

The Supreme Court stated in [#02] Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee, 14 U.S. 304 (1816): “Where the text of the constitution is “clear and distinct”, no restriction on its plain and obvious import should be admitted unless the inference is irresistible.”

The Supreme Court stated in [#03] Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee, 14 U.S. 304 (1816): “Words of [the] Constitution are to be taken in natural and obvious sense, and not in sense unreasonably restricted or enlarged.”

Stephen Daugherty wrote: #4: The proportion of members of Congress in both houses required to propose amendments and the proportion of the states required to do the same in a convention are identical. What is there in the text that explicitly denies similar procedures for each method? Much similarity exists between the two, so why can’t we assume a similar sort of political unity required of each group? Nearly everything else is the same.
Non sequitur. All that is required for Congress to call a convention is two-thirds of the states to submit amendment applications. The states have sumbitted 523 amendments, and 4 times there were also a sufficient number based on same-subject amendments.

The Supreme Court stated in [#04] U.S. v Sprague, 282 U.S. 716 (1931): “Where intention of words and phrases used in Constitution is clear, there is no room for construction and no excuse for interpolation.”

Stephen Daugherty wrote: #5, #6, #7, and #8 all state some rather obvious points, so let me save space and restate my original point: your interpretation stretches the meaning of the original text beyond the obvious. Almost nobody has assumed what you have about its meaning. It may be obvious to you, but many preconceptions are obvious to the people who want them to be self-evident. When do we get past your perception to what the evidence speaks of.
It’s not my perception. There’s no need to turn every debate into a personal issue.

The Supreme Court stated in:

  • [#05] Ogden v. Saunders, 25 U.S. 213 (1827): “Where provision in United States Constitution is unambiguous and its meaning is entirely free from doubt, the intention of the framers of the constitution cannot be inquired into, and the supreme court is bound to give the provision full operation, whatever might be the views entertained of its expediency.”

  • [#06] Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee, 14 U.S. 304 (1816): “The government of the United States can claim no powers which are not granted to it by the Constitution.”

  • [#07] Jarrolt v. Moberly, 103 U.S. 580 (1880): “A constitutional provision should not be construed so as to defeat its evident purpose, but rather so as to give it effective operation and suppress the mischief at which it was aimed.”

  • [#08] Ullmann v. U.S., 350 U.S. 422 (1956): “Nothing new can be put into the constitution except through the amendatory process, and nothing old can be taken out without the same process.” .

These all support the “plain and obvious” meaning of the words of the Constitution. Until Article V is amended, it should be obeyed. Congress is violating Article V.

There is no stretching by insisting on the literal and obvious meaning of the words of Article V.
The only stretching is the convenient and suspicious attempts to re-interpret (reconstruct) “whenever” to “whenever contemporaneously” and/or “amendments” to “same-subject amendments”.
The statements in the referenced cases (above in [#01], …,[#08]) support the “plain and obvious” meaning of provisions in the Constitution. It addresses ambiguities and double-meanings. Also, it states that reconstructions (re-interpretations) are not allowed. The language of Article V is very clear, and there are ample previous Supreme Court cases to support the interpretations of the Constitution. Congress can not ignore the “plain and obvious” language. The Congress can not add new or remove old parts of the Constitution without a amendment. The states were not presented with any amendment to change Article V.

Stephen Daugherty wrote: As for the cases? the subject of Dodge Vs. Woolsey seems to regard a state being sued over a tax increase due to a change in the statue. It was in fact brought by a private citizen against the state. Hawke Vs. Smith, far from affirming some sort of convention call, basically says that a ratification by the state legislature of the 18th Amendment (prohibition) could not be overturned by public referendum.
Non sequitur. Ratification is not the issue. The issue is Congress is violating Article V by not calling an Article V Convention.

The Supreme Court has already ruled 4 times mandating a Convention call by Congress:

  • Dodge v. Woolsey, 59 U.S. 331 (1855)

  • Hawke v. Smith, 253 U.S. 221 (1920)

  • Dillon v. Gloss 256 U.S. 368 (1921)

  • United States v. Sprague, 282 U.S. 716 (1931)

  • In Dodge v. Woolsey, 59 U.S. 331 (1855) stated: “The Court has specifically addressed the obligatory nature of the convention clause in Article V in case. The interpretation was always the same: Congress must call a convention. There has never been a single dissent on the Court in regards to this interpretation. In Dodge v. Woolsey the Court stated: “The departments of the government are leg-islative, executive and judicial. They are coordinate in degree to the extent of the powers delegated to each of them. Each, in the exercise of its powers, is independent of the other, but all, right-fully done by either, is binding upon the others. The constitution is supreme over all of them, because the people who ratified it have made it so; consequently, any thing which may be done unauthorized by it is unlawful. … It is supreme over the people of the United States, aggregately and in their separate sovereignties, because they have excluded themselves from any direct or immediate agency in making amendments to it, and have directed that amendments should be made repre-sentatively for them, by the congress of the United States, when two thirds of both houses shall propose them; or where the legislatures of two thirds of the several States shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, be-come valid, to all intents and purposes, as a part of the constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by conventions in three fourths of them, as one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by congress.”

  • So, it is very clear in Dodge v. Woolsey, 59 U.S. 331 (1855). “Congress must call a convention”.

  • In Hawke v. Smith, 253 U.S. 221 (1920), the Supreme Court stated: “The framers of the Constitution realized that it might in the progress of time and the de-velopment of new conditions require changes, and they intended to provide an orderly manner in which these could be accomplished; to that end they adopted the fifth article. This article makes provision for the proposal of amendments either by two-thirds of both houses of Congress or on application of the Legislatures of two-thirds of the states; thus securing deliberation and consideration before any change can be proposed. … The fifth article is a grant of authority by the people to Congress. The determination of the method of ratification is the exercise of a national power specifically granted by the Constitution; that power is conferred upon Congress, and is limited to two methods, by the action of the Legis-latures of three-fourths of the states, or conven-tions in a like number of states. The framers of the Constitution might have adopted a different method. Ratification might have been left to a vote of the people, or to some authority of gov-ernment other than that selected. The language of the article is plain, and admits no doubt in its interpretation.” It is not the function of courts or legislative bodies, national or state, to alter the method which the Constitution has fixed.”

  • Again, it is very clear in Hawke v. Smith, 253 U.S. 221 (1920) that “The language of the article [V] is plain and admits no doubt in its interpretation.”

  • In Dillon v. Gloss 256 U.S. 368 (1921), the Court reaffirmed its previous interpretations of Article V saying: “An examination of article 5 discloses that it is intended to invest Congress with a wide range of power in proposing amendments. Passing a provision long since expired, it subjects this power to only two restrictions: one that the proposal shall have the approval of two-thirds of both houses, and the other excluding any amendment which will deprive any state, without its consent, of its equal suffrage in the senate. A further mode of proposal—as yet never invoked—is provided, which is, that on the application of two thirds of the states Congress shall call a convention for the purpose.”

  • Again, the meaning of Article V is reaffirmed.

  • In United States v. Sprague, 282 U.S. 716 (1931), the final Supreme Court stated: “The United States asserts that article 5 is clear in statement and in meaning, contains no ambiguity, and calls for no resort to rules of construction. A mere reading demonstrates that this is true. It provides two methods for proposing amendments. Congress may propose them by a vote of two-thirds of both houses, or, on the ap-plication of the legislatures of two-thirds of the States, must call a convention to propose them.”

  • Again, the Supreme Court rules there is “no ambibuity”.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: In Dylan Vs. Gloss, the court ruled that the seven year time limit put on the amendment’s ratification was perfectly constitutional, so long as it didn’t interfere with Article V.
    Non sequitur. Ratification time limits are not the issue. The issue is Congress is violating Article V by not calling an Article V Convention. The courts have already ruled that Congress can, if specified, set time limits on ratificaiton. Amendment 27 was not ratified until 220 years later.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: The last Case does deal with conventions, but not in the manner you think.
    The last case, United States v. Sprague, 282 U.S. 716 (1931), the Supreme Court stated: “… that article 5 is clear in statement and in meaning, contains no ambiguity,…”
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: The court did not agree, however, ruling that the Constitution explicitly authorized Congress to determine the method used in ratifying amendments. In short, the court said that Congress had the right to ratify an amendment by either convention or state legislatures, and could choose as it pleased.
    Again, ratification is not the issue.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: What we would be looking for is an act of the courts compelling the calling of a constitutional convention on the basis of the fact that the requisite proportion of the states had made their calls. Anything less falls short.
    All 50 states have submitted 523 amendment applications. Congress is violating Article V. No part of the Constitution can be vetoed or ignored or conveniently re-interpreted. That’s the law. It is that simple.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: None of these cases directly addresses convention calls of the type we’re speaking of. Only three of the four address Article V issues. None address the subject of our discussion.
    False. All four cases (above) directly addressed Article V. The quotes above prove it.

    Stephen, What part (in all of these court cases) of “no ambiguity”, “plain and obvious”, and “any amendment”, “Congress must call a convention”, and “Congress shall call a convention” do you not understand?

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 22, 2007 10:35 AM
    Comment #236650

    Dan-
    Two Court Cases? Yeah, your founders I would guess. But those are fairly recent, and you miss my point if you’re just counting those.

    The states are the ones to complain about this, and they never have, not even in times close to that. If you examine the notes of the Consitutional convention, cumulative interpretations never show up, not as an issue. There’s nothing clear, distinct, obvious, or plain about a cumulative interpretation. It greatly complicates the meaning of a clause that would otherwise plainly create parity between amendments proposed by the states and those proposed by Congress, giving them the same weight in their proposal, the same backing of political consensus.

    As for your case? Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee was about the supremacy of Supreme Court interpretation over state. US v. Sprague was about Congress’s ability to specify the means under Article V which were used to ratify the amendment. They were trying to argue that the 18th Amendment (Prohibition) was invalid on the grounds that the amendment didn’t include both means. The Supremes said Congress could choose one or the other, that in fact this authority was explicit. Jarrolt v. Moberly seems to revolve, ironically enough, around a legal question concerning a state constitution, which barred the creation of debts without the assent of two-thirds of the qualified voters. It doesn’t look like anybody used an cumulative interpretation.

    Ullman deals with Fifth Amendment rights, as to whether somebody granted immunity could take the fifth if they fear incrimination. The notion presented was that the Fifth should not be whittled down by small traces, but rather fully and robustly upheld. Still, Ulmann lost, the sense being he had been granted immunity, and therefore had nothing to fear.

    My impression of this FOAVC movement is that it’s trying to whittle down the truly difficult threshold that Article V presents, for various reason.

    The other case you present… Well, I read them myself, and didn’t find a trace of this convention call you talk about. They don’t even address that issue. You quote the parts that reflect the obligatory nature of the convention, but nothing, nothing in the real meat of the case actually concerns a convention call. Dodge v. Woolsey is a tax case, part of which deals with some complex issue of federal jurisdiction. One thing for sure, there’s nothing there about an actual convention call being made at the time, nor in any of the other cases.

    In essence, your argument remains circular. You keep on coming back to Article V’s plain text without actually giving any case law or precedent which makes your view logically necessary, much less shows it demonstrated in practice.

    False. All four cases (above) directly addressed Article V. The quotes above prove it.

    Some address Article V, but none addresses an Article V Convention, or any circumstances regarding it. The questions that do deal with article five deal with the submission of individual amendments.

    None, none at all, mandate in their judgments that a convention be called. I don’t think you understand how the legal system works. It’s not merely a matter of them restating a part of the constitution, and you taking the meaning you want from that, it’s a matter of what the case was intended to deal with, and what the judgment was meant to remedy or deny. There is nothing here to suggest that Article V Conventions were a main subject of any of the cases, absolutely nothing there to indicate that states sought relief on the basis of all the necessary calls being made, and not one remedy ordered by the court moving such a convention forward.

    What I do not understand here is how you can claim obvious support or obvious interpretations where no evidence exists to support them. Whoever’s feeding you this stuff is cherrypicking and doing a piss-poor job of it in my opinion. Even I, not a lawyer by any means, can knock these down with a little research.

    This is a great deal of interpretation without a lot of clear logic or good evidence to support it. You’re failing to get your ducks in a line on the important questions, the important issues, and then are getting rather upset that people like me aren’t falling at your feet and begging pardon for our error.

    Too much of the approach you take to this and other political question depends on what you want, rather than what you can prove is right.

    To the others-
    What’s your view of these questions?

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 22, 2007 12:09 PM
    Comment #236668
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: d.a.n- Two Court Cases? Yeah, your founders I would guess. But those are fairly recent, and you miss my point if you’re just counting those.
    You stated:
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: “… case or public controversy on the matter …”
    There were two cases thus far. Both were dismissed on technicalities. Things were learned from it. I’m aware that no other suits exist yet. There will be.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: The states are the ones to complain about this, and they never have, not even in times close to that.
    False. Any American can complain about it. Any American can pursue it.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: If you examine the notes of the Consitutional convention, cumulative interpretations never show up, not as an issue.
    Immaterial. The burden of proof is not to defend the literal, “plain and obvious” text of Article V.

    The burden of proof is on anyone who chooses to re-interpret Article V from “whenever” to “whenever contemporaneously”, and/or “amendments” to “same-subject amendments”.
    As for the mention of Convention and Article V …

  • In Dillon v. Gloss 256 U.S. 368 (1921), the Court reaffirmed its previous interpretations of Article V saying: “An examination of article 5 discloses that it is intended to invest Congress with a wide range of power in proposing amendments. Passing a provision long since expired, it subjects this power to only two restrictions: one that the proposal shall have the approval of two-thirds of both houses, and the other excluding any amendment which will deprive any state, without its consent, of its equal suffrage in the senate. A further mode of proposal—as yet never invoked—is provided, which is, that on the application of two thirds of the states Congress shall call a convention for the purpose.”

  • In United States v. Sprague, 282 U.S. 716 (1931), the final Supreme Court stated: “The United States asserts that article 5 is clear in statement and in meaning, contains no ambiguity, and calls for no resort to rules of construction. A mere reading demonstrates that this is true. It provides two methods for proposing amendments. Congress may propose them by a vote of two-thirds of both houses, or, on the ap-plication of the legislatures of two-thirds of the States, must call a convention to propose them.”
  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: There’s nothing clear, distinct, obvious, or plain about a cumulative interpretation.
    False. There is the literal, plain, and obvious text of Article V. No re-interpretation is required.

    The re-interpretatios are by those that suspiciously choose to re-interpret “whenever” to “whenever contemporaneously” and/or “amendments” to “same-subject amendements”.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: It greatly complicates the meaning of a clause that would otherwise plainly create parity between amendments proposed by the states and those proposed by Congress, giving them the same weight in their proposal, the same backing of political consensus.
    False. The literal meaning is clear and many previous court rulings back it up. There is no ruling that states Article V can be ignored. Congress is violating Article V.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: As for your case? Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee was about the supremacy of Supreme Court interpretation over state. US v. Sprague was about Congress’s ability to specify the means under Article V which were used to ratify the amendment.
    Immaterial. What is important about Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee, 14 U.S. 304 (1816) is the Court stated: “Where the text of the constitution is clear and distinct, no restriction on its plain and obvious import should be admitted unless the inference is irresistible.”
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Ullman deals with Fifth Amendment rights, as to whether somebody granted immunity could take the fifth if they fear incrimination…
    Immaterial. What is important about Ullmann v. U.S., 350 U.S. 422 (1956) is the court stated: “Nothing new can be put into the constitution except through the amendatory process, and nothing old can be taken out without the same process.”
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: My impression of this FOAVC movement is that it’s trying to whittle down the truly difficult threshold that Article V presents, for various reason.
    False. It simply supports Article V and believes the Constitution should be upheld.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: The other case you present… Well, I read them myself, and didn’t find a trace of this convention call you talk about.
    Read it again. Some deal explicitly with Article V and some deal with interpetations of the Constition. Several contain the words “Article V” and/or “Convention”.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: They don’t even address that issue.
    False.
  • In Dillon v. Gloss 256 U.S. 368 (1921), the Court reaffirmed its previous interpretations of Article V saying: “An examination of article 5 discloses that it is intended to invest Congress with a wide range of power in proposing amendments. Passing a provision long since expired, it subjects this power to only two restrictions: one that the proposal shall have the approval of two-thirds of both houses, and the other excluding any amendment which will deprive any state, without its consent, of its equal suffrage in the senate. A further mode of proposal—as yet never invoked—is provided, which is, that on the application of two thirds of the states Congress shall call a convention for the purpose.”
  • In United States v. Sprague, 282 U.S. 716 (1931), the final Supreme Court stated: “The United States asserts that article 5 is clear in statement and in meaning, contains no ambiguity, and calls for no resort to rules of construction. A mere reading demonstrates that this is true. It provides two methods for proposing amendments. Congress may propose them by a vote of two-thirds of both houses, or, on the ap-plication of the legislatures of two-thirds of the States, must call a convention to propose them.”
  • Notice the words “article 5” and “convention” above?
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: You quote the parts that reflect the obligatory nature of the convention, but nothing, nothing in the real meat of the case actually concerns a convention call. Dodge v. Woolsey is a tax case, part of which deals with some complex issue of federal jurisdiction. One thing for sure, there’s nothing there about an actual convention call being made at the time, nor in any of the other cases.
    Wrong again.

  • In Dodge v. Woolsey, 59 U.S. 331 (1855) stated: “The Court has specifically addressed the obligatory nature of the convention clause in Article V in case. The interpretation was always the same: Congress must call a convention. There has never been a single dissent on the Court in regards to this interpretation. In Dodge v. Woolsey the Court stated: “The departments of the government are legislative, executive and judicial. They are coordinate in degree to the extent of the powers delegated to each of them. Each, in the exercise of its powers, is independent of the other, but all, right-fully done by either, is binding upon the others. The constitution is supreme over all of them, because the people who ratified it have made it so; consequently, any thing which may be done unauthorized by it is unlawful. … It is supreme over the people of the United States, aggregately and in their separate sovereignties, because they have excluded themselves from any direct or immediate agency in making amendments to it, and have directed that amendments should be made repre-sentatively for them, by the congress of the United States, when two thirds of both houses shall propose them; or where the legislatures of two thirds of the several States shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, become valid, to all intents and purposes, as a part of the constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by conventions in three fourths of them, as one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by congress.”

  • Notice the words “convention clause of Article V” and “Congress must call a convention” above stated by the court?

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: In essence, your argument remains circular.
    False. I offer evidence, court cases, and the text of Article V; not mere opinion.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: You keep on coming back to Article V’s plain text without actually giving any case law or precedent which makes your view logically necessary, much less shows it demonstrated in practice.
    That is all that is needed. The literal, “plain and obvious” text requires no re-interpretation. It’s not hard to shoot holes in all of the re-interpretation theories. Especially when there is no ruling by the Supreme Court that states Congress can ignore Article V.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Some address Article V, but none addresses an Article V Convention, or any circumstances regarding it. The questions that do deal with article five deal with the submission of individual amendments.
    False. Several cases above use the word “convention”. Notice the words “convention clause of Article V” and “Congress must call a convention” above stated by the court?
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: None, none at all, mandate in their judgments that a convention be called.
    False. In Dodge v. Woolsey, 59 U.S. 331 (1855), the court stated: “The Court has specifically addressed the obligatory nature of the convention clause in Article V in case. The interpretation was always the same: Congress must call a convention. And in United States v. Sprague, 282 U.S. 716 (1931), the final Supreme Court stated: “The United States asserts that article 5 is clear in statement and in meaning, contains no ambiguity, and calls for no resort to rules of construction. A mere reading demonstrates that this is true. It provides two methods for proposing amendments. Congress may propose them by a vote of two-thirds of both houses, or, on the ap-plication of the legislatures of two-thirds of the States, must call a convention to propose them.” Can you not read?
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: I don’t think you understand how the legal system works.
    Think so? I used to work at a law firm.

    And FOAVC has attorneys; one was a Chief Justice of the state of Michigan. Do you think you know more than they do?

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: It’s not merely a matter of them restating a part of the constitution, and you taking the meaning you want from that, it’s a matter of what the case was intended to deal with, and what the judgment was meant to remedy or deny.
    That literal, “plain and obvious” text is all that is required, and the source of your obvious frustration and inability to make any credible argument to refute it.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: There is nothing here to suggest that Article V Conventions were a main subject of any of the cases, absolutely nothing there to indicate that states sought relief on the basis of all the necessary calls being made, and not one remedy ordered by the court moving such a convention forward.
    False. “Article V” and the “convention” was referred to many times in many cases. Your many statements refuting the obvious facts and occurences of these words have no credibility.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: What I do not understand here is …
    Obviously.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: What I do not understand here is how you can claim obvious support or obvious interpretations where no evidence exists to support them.
  • (1) There is the literal, “plain and obvious” text of Article V. I do not need to re-interpret. Those opposed to Article V require re-interpretations.
  • (2) There are over a dozen cases listed above about Article V and interpretation of the Constitution.
  • (3) There is no ruling that permits Congress to ignore Article V. Congress is violating Article V.
  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: Whoever’s feeding you this stuff is cherrypicking and doing a piss-poor job of it in my opinion.
    Nonsense. It is all public record. Feel free to try and disprove any of it, rather than pushing mere opinion.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Even I, not a lawyer by any means,
    That’s obvious.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Even I, not a lawyer by any means, can knock these down with a little research.
    You have not knocked down anything.

    In fact, you are serving to strengthen all of the arguments for Article V of the U.S. Constitution.
    Thank you.
    All of your arguements were easily refuted with court cases, but mostly by the literal, “plain and obvius” text of Article V. Also, there is no court ruling that allows Article V to be violated.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: This is a great deal of interpretation without a lot of clear logic or good evidence to support it.
    False. There is no need for a great deal of interpretation.

    The literal, clear, “plain and obvious” text of Article V does not require re-interpretation.
    It is not complicated.
    The difficulty in re-interpretation lies with those that try to re-interpret the literal meaning to something else (e.g. from “whenever” to “contemporaneously”, and from “amendments” to “same-subject amendments”).

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: You’re failing to get your ducks in a line on the important questions, the important issues, and then are getting rather upset that people like me aren’t falling at your feet and begging pardon for our error.
    Nonsense. You are simply giving me a venue to demonstrate to everyone how lame your arguments are, and educate others about Article V. Thank you.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Too much of the approach you take to this and other political question depends on what you want, rather than what you can prove is right.
    Not true. Again, you want to make a personal issue of this, instead of debating the facts. Resoring to personal attacks simply demontrates that your arguments have no credibility.

    I’ve presented ample evidence, dozens of court cases on Article V, Court interpretations of the Constitution, the literal, “plain and obvious” text of Article V, and the fact that no ruling exists that allows Congress to ignore Article V, nor any part of the Constitution without first amending it. No such amendment was submitted to the states for ratification.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: To the others- What’s your view of these questions?
    Yes, please join in. For those that would like to research this issue, see: FOAVC.ORG
  • Posted by: d.a.n at October 22, 2007 2:01 PM
    Comment #236672
    Rather than debating the pros and cons of a Constitional Convention, I would much prefer to see and debate the merits of actual Constitutional amendments.
    Yes, there are many issues. Each one could consume a thread by itself. Sabato’s 23:
    • (01) Expand the Senate to 136 members to be more representative: Grant the 10 most populous states 2 additional Senators, the 15 next most populous states 1 additional Senator, and the District of Columbia 1 Senator.
    • (02) Appoint all former Presidents and Vice Presidents to the new office of “National Senator.”
    • (03) Mandate non-partisan redistricting for House elections to enhance electoral competition.
    • (04) Lengthen House terms to 3 years (from 2) and set Senate terms to coincide with all Presidential elections, so the entire House and Senate would be elected at the same time as the President.
    • (05) Expand the size of the House to approximately 1,000 members (from current 435), so House members can be closer to their constituents, and to level the playing field in House elections.
    • (06) Establish term limits in the House and Senate to restore the Founders’ principle of frequent rotation in office.
    • (07) Add a Balanced Budget Amendment to encourage fiscal fairness to future generations.
    • (08) Create a Continuity of Government procedure to provide for replacement Senators and Congresspeople in the event of extensive deaths or incapacitation.
    • (09) Establish a new 6-year, 1-time Presidential term with the option for the President to seek 2 additional years in an up/down referendum of the American people.
    • (10) Limit some Presidential war-making powers and expand Congress’s oversight of war-making.
    • (11) Give the President a line-item veto.
    • (12) Allow men and women not born in the U.S. to run for President or Vice President after having been a citizen for 20 years.
    • (13) Eliminate lifetime tenure for federal judges in favor of non-renewable 15-year terms for all federal judges.
    • (14) Grant Congress the power to set a mandatory retirement age for all federal judges.
    • (15) Expand the size of the Supreme Court from 9 to 12 to be more representative.
    • (16) Give federal judges guaranteed cost of living increases so pay is never an issue.
    • (17) Write a new constitutional article specifically for the politics of the American system.
    • (18) Adopt a regional, staggered lottery system, over 4 months, for Presidential party nominations to avoid the destructive front-loading of primaries.
    • (19) Mend the Electoral College by granting more populated states additional electors, to preserve the benefits of the College while minimizing the chances a President will win without a majority of the popular vote.
    • (20) Reform campaign financing by preventing wealthy candidates from financing their campaigns, and by mandating partial public financing for House and Senate campaigns.
    • (21) Adopt an automatic registration system for all qualified American citizens to guarantee their right to vote is not abridged by bureaucratic requirements.
    • (22) Create a Constitutional requirement that all able-bodied young Americans devote at least 2 years of their lives in service to the country.
    • (23) Convene a new Constitutional Convention using the state-based mechanism left to us by the Framers in the current Constitution.
    Posted by: d.a.n at October 22, 2007 2:14 PM
    Comment #236689

    Stephen,

    I’ll be blunt since I can’t get you to respond to my posts on this matter otherwise. There is far more legal precedence for the accumulation standard than not. The Child Labor Ammenment was specifically tested on the grounds of consent not being contemporaneous, and the SC ruled that unless Congress authorized a time limit, then the ammendment can be promulgated.

    The option whether to do so or not is up to Congress based on the standard of whether or not it is too stale to make any legal difference. There are six ammendments that are currently before the States for ratification all from the 19th or early 20th century. All but one would probably not be promulgated since they would be stale.

    However, the SC has also decided that the calling of Conventions is a matter for the political arm of the government, and that they do not have the standing to rule on the matter. They have expressly left the operating details and the timing of a convention to Congress. Your argument for contemporaneous call jibs with what Congress’ understanding seems to be. I doubt that will change; however, it could. There is nothing binding or legal that states that Congress has to use either standard.

    Posted by: Rob at October 22, 2007 4:53 PM
    Comment #236697

    Dan-
    Proponents of a cumulative interpretation point to original intent and the plain and obvious meaning of the text. Logically speaking, proving original intent requires that one weigh in with evidence supporting the notion that this was the original position. In short, somebody has to talk about it in a matter germane to the interpretation they’re supposed to have. I went through the minutes of the constitutional convention, and didn’t find one mention of it. My objections on the subject of Alexander Hamilton’s commentary are well known. He spoke of unions, of uniting, of concurring, all activities that do not happen piecemeal, or by unrelated accumulation.

    As far as case law would go, there is a valid legal question of standing, as to who they can represent. In previous arguments, the point about these cases was also made regarding what kind of cases would be of interest: those close to the beginning of American history on the constitution, so as to test the theory that this was the original method considered.

    Repetition of principles of strict construction and restatings of the words of Article V in case law are irrelevant to such a test of the theory unless it is clear that a cumulative interpretation is clear and obvious to the people in question, or the states themselves file suit to get that convention, and the court grants them that right in the face of congressional resistance.

    Such legal actions would be the functional linchpins of the argument that the original interpretation of the law was cumulative, and the intervening years have brought a corrupted interpretation in their stead.

    More recent lawsuits by private citizens presuming to speak for the states do not count, and not for arbitrary reasons.

    1) The decision of the court went against them. In real terms, the plaintiff’s arguments have not been made law, and therefore are irrelevant for the most part to discussions of what is legally proper at this time. A person may site this as their opinion and disagree with the Supreme Court, but their opinion will carry no legal weight.

    2) They have no standing to argue the case, If I’m not mistaken. A person can’t sue an automaker for a defect in a car if they never drove that car. One must be affected by the defendant’s behavior in terms of the legal controversy to actually sue. The states would be the wronged party here, and it would be their call, their right to sue if they didn’t think a proper interpretation was made by Congress.

    3) The point is to seek out evidence that the cumulative interpretation was in actual use during the early history of the United States, to find evidence that the states felt slighted, protested the issue, and then fell silent. Modern cases would not be relevant to proving or disproving that question.

    As for the cases?

    What they are actually about is far from immaterial. Arguments like this are constructed towards a purpose. If the case doesn’t touch upon conventions in its substance, and all a person has cited is Constitutional quotations or general statements about construction of legal arugments, that’s not good enough. We must look at the controversy, the argument made to settle it, and the rulings and decisions that were born of that. Otherwise, the relevance to the issue at hand will be poor at best, merely coincidental at worst.

    My brother is a lawyer. I have heard him talk about how dumb some lawyer’s arguments are. Not everybody who is in practice actually knows what they’re doing. Just the claim of a profession does not amount to expertise in that particular field, and people in that line of work are no stranger to biases, especially when they’re arguing on behalf of a client. As for judges? Well, I think plenty of folks are familiar with people in such positions. a Judgeship does not necessarily correspond to expertise in the law. There is no examination required to become a judge, no special legal training in our country that’s required. One can be elected a judge without a law degree, and be appointed one in the same way.

    None of the cases cited have a Constitutional convention as their subject. Only one deals with conventions, and that’s state conventions to ratify the amendment. None of the cases, so far as I can tell, even addresses a convention, much less decides between a cumulative interpretation and a concurrent interpretation. Nor do any of them build on law purposed to such a distinction.

    Everything that’s cited seems purposed in your argument towards emphasizing proper interpretation. Nothing speaks to what makes that interpretations proper, or yields evdience of what the standard applied was. The argument simply goes in circles asserting it’s conclusion, but continually committing the fallacy of petitio principii, begging the question of what makes it the proper interepretation. No history has been offered, whether legal or academic, to demonstrate the usage of the cumulative standard. No framers arguments clearly referring to a standard where convention calls just pile up has been found. No legal argumentation points to any such opinion. The only thing that this particular argument relies on is boundless faith that the framers intended the counting of the calls to be an indefinite affair, rather than being counted concurrently.

    Boundless faith is no foundation for law. Skepticism is. We cannot simply assume things. Whether we strictly construe or intepret more liberally, we cannot rest on our interpretations without testing their logic effectively

    What makes me sad here is the care you put into trying to style this into some sort of jaunty verbal fencing match. You go for style and you cherrypick cases for restatements of the phrases you use to support your own opinion. You don’t realize it, but you’re focusing your efforts in the wrong places. The real crux here is whether anybody has ever used, much less defended or fought for this suppposedly original standard. If not, we have no reason to consider the modern concurrent standard as an aberration, and every reason to disregard an argument that itself seems to be built on a technicality of language.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 22, 2007 5:30 PM
    Comment #236702

    Rob-
    The only Amendment to take more than four years to be ratified was the 27th, and that was so anamolous to even the states themselves that a)many of the votes were rather recent, date-wise, and b)many states that voted for it some time ago felt the need to reiterate their votes

    We’re not talking about ratification here, but proposal. Since every proposal was an act of Congress, every proposal was consented two by both houses of congress contemperaneously. They thereby reflected the greater part of the political consensus.

    The question is, why would we enable the states to propose Amendments with any less of a political consensus?

    Moreover, why would we take a clause that is meant to give the states more potential say in the government, and create a system that could potentially strip many of them of the immediate choice of whether to convene a convention? It would be like going in and letting Congress propose Amendments on simple majorities, or outright minorities. The consensus ensures that a critical number of states are on board, instead of having them be dragged unwillingly into it.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 22, 2007 7:07 PM
    Comment #236711
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: d.a.n- Proponents of a cumulative interpretation point to original intent and the plain and obvious meaning of the text. Logically speaking, proving original intent requires that one weigh in with evidence supporting the notion that this was the original position.
    False. Congress can not disobey the Constitution. It can not add new or remove old words from it without an amendment.
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: In short, somebody has to talk about it in a matter germane to the interpretation they’re supposed to have.
    The only re-interpretations being attempted are by the opponents to Article V.
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: I went through the minutes of the constitutional convention, and didn’t find one mention of it. My objections on the subject of Alexander Hamilton’s commentary are well known. He spoke of unions, of uniting, of concurring, all activities that do not happen piecemeal, or by unrelated accumulation.
    There is nothing in the Federalist papers that equate “unite”, “union”, or “concurring” to “contemporanouesly” or “same-subject”. Such assertions are reaching and re-intertpretations.
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: As far as case law would go, there is a valid legal question of standing, as to who they can represent. In previous arguments, the point about these cases was also made regarding what kind of cases would be of interest: those close to the beginning of American history on the constitution, so as to test the theory that this was the original method considered.
    Look above. Over a dozen cases listed above deal with Article V and interpretations of the Constitution.
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: Repetition of principles of strict construction and restatings of the words of Article V in case law are irrelevant to such a test of the theory unless it is clear that a cumulative interpretation is clear and obvious to the people in question, or the states themselves file suit to get that convention, and the court grants them that right in the face of congressional resistance.
    There is no question about the clear, “plain and obvious” meaning of Article V. That is supported in United States v. Sprague, 282 U.S. 716 (1931) where the Supreme Court stated: “The United States asserts that article 5 is clear in statement and in meaning, contains no ambiguity, and calls for no resort to rules of construction. A mere reading demonstrates that this is true. It provides two methods for proposing amendments. Congress may propose them by a vote of two-thirds of both houses, or, on the ap-plication of the legislatures of two-thirds of the States, must call a convention to propose them.”

    Notice the words: article 5 clear in statement and in meaning, and “A mere reading demonstrates that this is true”.

    Stephen Daugherry wrote: Such legal actions would be the functional linchpins of the argument that the original interpretation of the law was cumulative, and the intervening years have brought a corrupted interpretation in their stead.
    The only corrupted interpretations come from opponents of Article V that try to re-interpret “whenever” to “contemporaneously” and/or “amendments” to “same-subject amendments”. It’s obviously reaching and hard to deny.
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: More recent lawsuits by private citizens presuming to speak for the states do not count, and not for arbitrary reasons.
    False. Any citizen can file a law suit with regard to the Constitution. The two cases submitted by Walker were dismissed on technicalities that had nothing to do with Article V. There was no ruling that Congress can legally violate Article V. If so, show it to us.
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: 1) The decision of the court went against them. In real terms, the plaintiff’s arguments have not been made law, and therefore are irrelevant for the most part to discussions of what is legally proper at this time. A person may site this as their opinion and disagree with the Supreme Court, but their opinion will carry no legal weight.
    The recent cases were dismissed for reasons that had nothing to do with Article V. But they are not unimportant or insignificant. All it proves is that the Supreme Court has not yet been forced to deal with the question of why Congress has not yet called an Article V Convention.
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: One must be affected by the defendant’s behavior in terms of the legal controversy to actually sue. The states would be the wronged party here, and it would be their call, their right to sue if they didn’t think a proper interpretation was made by Congress.
    Congress can be sued. The Supreme Court, if forced to do so, will have to make a ruling on Article V and whether Congress is in violation of it.
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: 3) The point is to seek out evidence that the cumulative interpretation was in actual use during the early history of the United States, to find evidence that the states felt slighted, protested the issue, and then fell silent. Modern cases would not be relevant to proving or disproving that question.
    Evidence of accumulation is not needed. The literal, “plain and obvious” text of Article V is all that is required. The Constitution must be obeyed, and Congress can not add new words, or remove old words without an amendment. No such amendment was submitted to the states to modify Article V.
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: As for the cases? What they are actually about is far from immaterial.
    False. What is important about the cases are what they explicitly state about “article 5”, “conventions”, and interpretations of the Constitution.
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: Arguments like this are constructed towards a purpose. If the case doesn’t touch upon conventions in its substance, and all a person has cited is Constitutional quotations or general statements about construction of legal arugments, that’s not good enough.
    False. Several statesments from those cases explicitly refer to “article 5” and “convention”. There is nothing general about that. They are public record.
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: We must look at the controversy, the argument made to settle it, and the rulings and decisions that were born of that. Otherwise, the relevance to the issue at hand will be poor at best, merely coincidental at worst.
    False. The statements by the court are very specific, and explicityly reference “article 5” and an Article V “convention”.
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: My brother is a lawyer. I have heard him talk about how dumb some lawyer’s arguments are. Not everybody who is in practice actually knows what they’re doing. Just the claim of a profession does not amount to expertise in that particular field, and people in that line of work are no stranger to biases, especially when they’re arguing on behalf of a client. As for judges? Well, I think plenty of folks are familiar with people in such positions. a Judgeship does not necessarily correspond to expertise in the law. There is no examination required to become a judge, no special legal training in our country that’s required. One can be elected a judge without a law degree, and be appointed one in the same way.
    Yeah right … of course, everyone else is wrong.

    Never mind the literal, “plain and obvious” text of Article V and United States v. Sprague, 282 U.S. 716 (1931) in which the court stated: “The United States asserts that article 5 is clear in statement and in meaning, contains no ambiguity, and calls for no resort to rules of construction. A mere reading demonstrates that this is true. It provides two methods for proposing amendments. Congress may propose them by a vote of two-thirds of both houses, or, on the ap-plication of the legislatures of two-thirds of the States, must call a convention to propose them.”

    Notice the words “article 5 is clear in statement and in meaning, and contains no ambiguity,”?
    Notice the words “must call a convention”?

    Stephen Daugherry wrote: None of the cases cited have a Constitutional convention as their subject.
    Nonsense. They explicitly reference “Article V” and the “conventions”.
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: Only one deals with conventions, and that’s state conventions to ratify the amendment. None of the cases, so far as I can tell, even addresses a convention, much less decides between a cumulative interpretation and a concurrent interpretation. Nor do any of them build on law purposed to such a distinction.
    That is immaterial. What is important are the courts rulings and statements that explicity refer to “Article V” and “conventions”.
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: Everything that’s cited seems purposed in your argument towards emphasizing proper interpretation.
    Nonsense. It’s public record. Feel free to disprove it. The court’s many statements are very specific and explicitly reference “Article V” and “convenitons” and there are numerous examples of the Supreme Court’s statements with regard to interpretations.
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: Nothing speaks to what makes that interpretations proper, or yields evdience of what the standard applied was.
    There is little to interpret with the literal, “plain and simple” meaning of Article V.

    Re-interpretations are the tactic of those that oppose Article V. That is what frustrates opponents ot Article V. There is no ruling that allows Congress to violate Article V.

    Stephen Daugherry wrote: The argument simply goes in circles asserting it’s conclusion,
    The arguments in opposition to the literal, “plain and obvious” meaning of Article V are what truly go in circles. Where’s this mountain of evidence that supports any re-interpretation of Article V? Good luck. It does not exist.
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: … but continually committing the fallacy of petitio principii, begging the question of what makes it the proper interepretation.
    The only fallacy here is trying to refute the literal, “plain and obvious” meaning of Article V. I’ve shown dozens of cases directly referencing “article 5”, “conventions”, and interpretations of the Constitution.
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: No history has been offered, whether legal or academic, to demonstrate the usage of the cumulative standard.
    No history is required. The literal, “plain and obvious” text of Article V is all that is needed. But I also listed dozens of cases directly referencing “article 5”, “conventions”, and interpretations of the Constitution.
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: No framers arguments clearly referring to a standard where convention calls just pile up has been found.
    False. The Federalist #85 supports Article V. There is nothing in Federalist #85 to allow an re-interpretation of “whenever” ot “whenever contemporaneously”, and/or “amendments” to “same-subject amemdments”. Besides, there have already been 4 instances when two-thirds of the states submitted same-subject amendment applications.
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: No legal argumentation points to any such opinion.
    False. Article V by itself is sufficient, but I listed dozens of cases directly referencing “article 5”, “conventions”, and interpretations of the Constitution.
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: The only thing that this particular argument relies on is boundless faith that the framers intended the counting of the calls to be an indefinite affair, rather than being counted concurrently.
    False. Article V by itself is sufficient, but I listed dozens of cases directly referencing “article 5”, “conventions”, and interpretations of the Constitution. For example, in Dodge v. Woolsey, 59 U.S. 331 (1855), the court stated: “The Court has specifically addressed the obligatory nature of the convention clause in Article V in case. The interpretation was always the same: Congress must call a convention. And in United States v. Sprague, 282 U.S. 716 (1931), the final Supreme Court stated: “The United States asserts that article 5 is clear in statement and in meaning, contains no ambiguity, and calls for no resort to rules of construction. A mere reading demonstrates that this is true. It provides two methods for proposing amendments. Congress may propose them by a vote of two-thirds of both houses, or, on the ap-plication of the legislatures of two-thirds of the States, must call a convention to propose them.”
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: Boundless faith is no foundation for law.
    Don’t need blind faith. All a person needs is to know how to read.
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: Skepticism is. We cannot simply assume things. Whether we strictly construe or intepret more liberally, we cannot rest on our interpretations without testing their logic effectively
    False. There is no re-interpretation required when the literal, “plain and obvious” text makes it very clear and the Supreme Court has confirmed the meaning of Article V several times (see list above).
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: What makes me sad here …
    Sad? Yeah right.
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: What makes me sad here is the care you put into trying to style this into some sort of jaunty verbal fencing match.
    False. All I’ve done is present the facts.

    You’ve had ample opportunity to disprove those facts and have not.
    Perhaps your sadness is the frustration with the weakness of your argument?

    Verbal fencing match?
    It’s a debate. Nothing more.
    There is no reason to resort to personal attacks.
    Resorting to personal attacks simply demonstrates that your statements are weak and/or have no credibility.

    Stephen Daugherry wrote: You go for style and you cherrypick cases for restatements of the phrases you use to support your own opinion.
    False. I simply listed many relevant court cases, and the literal, “plain and obvious” text of Article V.

    Those are not my opinion.
    Those are statements from the Supreme Court. Not mine.

    Stephen Daugherry wrote: You don’t realize it, but you’re focusing your efforts in the wrong places.
    False. Others and myself are working on getting an Article V Convention. That may require another lawsuit that does not muddy the goal with other disqualifying goals that can lead to dismissal on a technicality. Much was learned from the first two cases.
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: The real crux here is whether anybody has ever used, much less defended or fought for this suppposedly original standard. If not, we have no reason to consider the modern concurrent standard as an aberration, and every reason to disregard an argument that itself seems to be built on a technicality of language.
    False. There are plenty of people that understand Article V perfectly, including the Supreme Court which stated in United States v. Sprague, 282 U.S. 716 (1931): “The United States asserts that article 5 is clear in statement and in meaning, contains no ambiguity, and calls for no resort to rules of construction. A mere reading demonstrates that this is true. It provides two methods for proposing amendments. Congress may propose them by a vote of two-thirds of both houses, or, on the ap-plication of the legislatures of two-thirds of the States, must call a convention to propose them.”

    That seems pretty clear, eh?

    Stephen Daugherry wrote: We’re not talking about ratification here, but proposal. Since every proposal was an act of Congress, every proposal was consented two by both houses of congress contemperaneously. They thereby reflected the greater part of the political consensus.
    Funny! I could have sworn someone tried to use the ratification angle above to argue against the meaning of “whenever”. Never mind the 27th Amendment took 220 years to ratify.
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: Moreover, why would we take a clause that is meant to give the states more potential say in the government, and create a system that could potentially strip many of them of the immediate choice of whether to convene a convention?
    Nonsense. Opposing Article V is what strips power from the states, despite the 523 amendemnt applications by all 50 states.
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: It would be like going in and letting Congress propose Amendments on simple majorities, or outright minorities. The consensus ensures that a critical number of states are on board, instead of having them be dragged unwillingly into it.
    Nonsense. It takes three-fourths of the states to ratify any amendment. That is not a minority. Such a statement has no credibility.

    It’s not that complicated.
    But mounting a successful legal case is not easy.
    There are many rules and roadblocks (such as the length of the original breif, which had to be reduced from 876 pages to 781 pages).

    If you’d like to learn more about it, visit FOAVC.ORG or ARTICLE5.ORG.
    Here’s the F.A.Q.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 22, 2007 8:32 PM
    Comment #236730
    False. Congress can not disobey the Constitution. It can not add new or remove old words from it without an amendment.
    Before disobedience can be established, it must first be determined whether the Cumulative interpretation has ever compelled obedience to begin with.
    The only re-interpretations being attempted are by the opponents to Article V.
    The question of what is interpretation and reinterpretation is primary here. Nobody has voiced opposition to Article V. That’s a strawman argument.
    There is nothing in the Federalist papers that equate “unite”, “union”, or “concurring” to “contemporanouesly” or “same-subject”. Such assertions are reaching and re-intertpretations.
    If the bride leaves the groom at the altar, one can hardly say they are united in Matrimony. Nor could we call ourselves the United States if our nation was composed of a shifting alliance between independent states. To be united is to be together at once. Unions are not unions if they don’t act together. As for Concurrence?

    To Concur:

    1: to act together to a common end or single effect
    2 a: approve b: to express agreement
    3obsolete : to come together : meet
    4: to happen together : coincide

    Look above. Over a dozen cases listed above deal with Article V and interpretations of the Constitution.

    None deal with cases where somebody is claiming that the calls have been made, much less cite the cumulative interpretation as the only true reading of the application clause.

    Evidence of an interpretation would be the follow of that interpretation to its logical end. First, the case would probably have to be mostly about this issue, if not all the way about it. The Supreme Court has no patience for rulings that present no clear questions of law. The states or their appointed representative would have to sue Congress for relief on the issue, the courts would have to take it up, the cumulative interpretation would have to be weighed on its merits, and found to be the proper interpretation. Then, the Supreme Court would have to order that Congress carry it out.

    Then and only then, could you say that yours is the right interpretation. The further back in time one found this, the better. The point would be that somebody had decided that the constitutiona law meant what you had say.

    Without such evidence, you cannot truthfully accuse Congress of breaking the law, because nothing sets your interpretation as law. There’s overwhelming evidence for the concurrent standard, in how the states have made their calls, and what they have not asked of the Courts or Congress in the meantime.

    False. Any citizen can file a law suit with regard to the Constitution. The two cases submitted by Walker were dismissed on technicalities that had nothing to do with Article V. There was no ruling that Congress can legally violate Article V. If so, show it to us.
    Yeah, and any judge can dismiss the case as frivolous if they don’t have any real complaint or greivance, or standing in the case. If the states are complaining, Walker doesn’t get to do the complaining for them.
    The recent cases were dismissed for reasons that had nothing to do with Article V. But they are not unimportant or insignificant. All it proves is that the Supreme Court has not yet been forced to deal with the question of why Congress has not yet called an Article V Convention.
    Why has nobody done this up to now, if your interpretation was the original? If the concurrent intepretation were that controversial, that poorly founded, we’d have seen challenges early on.

    Interpretations like this would hardly have been ignored if they were the original, but all the evidence seems to point to that.

    Evidence means more than the most fervent belief. Lawyers and judges are not granted infallibility by their position or profession it is an inappropriate appeal to authority to say your interpretation is sound and valid because of the profession of those submitting it.

    History is necessary because the law and the constitution remain meaningless until put into practice. How these laws are carried out and understood is crucial to determiming just what is considered law.

    Funny! I could have sworn someone tried to use the ratification angle above to argue against the meaning of “whenever”. Never mind the 27th Amendment took 220 years to ratify.
    The 27th Amendment is the exception that proves the rule. As follows:
    Two years to ratify the bill of rights One year to ratify the 11th Amendment One year to ratify the 12th Amendment Less than a year to ratify the 13th Amendment Two years to ratify 14th Amendment One year to ratify 15th Amendment Four years to ratify 16th One year to ratify the 17th Two years to ratify the 18th One year to ratify the 20th Less than a year to ratify the 21st Four years to ratify the 22nd Amendment One year to ratify the 23rd Two years to ratify the 24th Two years to ratify the 25th Less than a year to ratify the 26th. 203 years to ratify the 27th

    The 27th is an anomaly, not a typical example. And yes I can that because I’ve listed every other amendment, more or less, and presented the time it took to ratifiy it.

    Nonsense. Opposing Article V is what strips power from the states, despite the 523 amendemnt applications by all 50 states.
    You unfortunately see this in terms of the power wielded by the states that make the call. But what about those who don’t, at that time? What about the states that don’t want the convention called. The constitution is built to protect the states from each other’s use of centralized power. Situations where potential concentrations of power loom are defused by the requirements that the constitution puts on state and federal governments.

    As for mounting a successful case, I think you should take a step back and ask yourself just why somebody needs 876 to 781 pages to convince anybody of something that’s supposed to be self evident.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 22, 2007 10:45 PM
    Comment #236732

    I apologize, the list of amendments got screwed up. It is as follows:

    Two years to ratify the bill of rights.

    One year to ratify the 11th Amendment.

    One year to ratify the 12th Amendment.

    Less than a year to ratify the 13th Amendment.

    Two years to ratify 14th Amendment.

    One year to ratify 15th Amendment.

    Four years to ratify 16th.

    One year to ratify the 17th.

    Two years to ratify the 18th.

    One year to ratify the 20th.

    Less than a year to ratify the 21st.

    Four years to ratify the 22nd Amendment.

    One year to ratify the 23rd.

    Two years to ratify the 24th.

    Two years to ratify the 25th.

    Less than a year to ratify the 26th.

    203 years to ratify the 27th.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 22, 2007 10:50 PM
    Comment #236754
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: Before disobedience can be established, it must first be determined whether the Cumulative interpretation has ever compelled obedience to begin with.
    False. All tha that is required is to show that Article V is being violated. It is. Two law suits have been filed. More will follow. The states which have already filed 523 amendment requests will finally understand that Congress is violating Article V.
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: The question of what is interpretation and reinterpretation is primary here. Nobody has voiced opposition to Article V. That’s a strawman argument.
    False. Hundreds of persons at FOAVC.ORG would disagree. Sabato would disagree. How does that equate to “nobody”?
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: If the bride leaves the groom at the altar, one can hardly say they are united in Matrimony. Nor could we call ourselves the United States if our nation was composed of a shifting alliance between independent states. To be united is to be together at once. Unions are not unions if they don’t act together. As for Concurrence? To Concur: 1: to act together to a common end or single effect 2 a: approve b: to express agreement 3obsolete : to come together : meet 4: to happen together : coincide
    “united”, nor “unions”, nor “act together” does not equates to “whenever” or “same-subject”. That is reaching and stretching. The Supreme Court already stated in United States v. Sprague, 282 U.S. 716 (1931), the final Supreme Court stated: “The United States asserts that article 5 is clear in statement and in meaning, contains no ambiguity, and calls for no resort to rules of construction. A mere reading demonstrates that this is true. It provides two methods for proposing amendments. Congress may propose them by a vote of two-thirds of both houses, or, on the ap-plication of the legislatures of two-thirds of the States, must call a convention to propose them.”
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: None deal with cases where somebody is claiming that the calls have been made, much less cite the cumulative interpretation as the only true reading of the application clause.
    Nonsense. They clearly and explicity referenece “article 5”, “convention”, and other statements that reject reaching statements.
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: Evidence of an interpretation would be the follow of that interpretation to its logical end. First, the case would probably have to be mostly about this issue, if not all the way about it. The Supreme Court has no patience for rulings that present no clear questions of law. The states or their appointed representative would have to sue Congress for relief on the issue, the courts would have to take it up, the cumulative interpretation would have to be weighed on its merits, and found to be the proper interpretation. Then, the Supreme Court would have to order that Congress carry it out.
    Where is this evidence of a re-interpretation?
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: Then and only then, could you say that yours is the right interpretation.
    You keep trying to turn this into a personal issue. That is a sure sign of a weak/lame argument.

    It’s not my interpretation. It’s just the simple, literal, “plain and obvious” text of Article V.

    Stephen Daugherry wrote: The further back in time one found this, the better. The point would be that somebody had decided that the constitutiona law meant what you had say.
    More grasping at straws.
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: Without such evidence, you cannot truthfully accuse Congress of breaking the law,
    I most certainly can.

    Congress is violating Article V of the U.S. Constitution.
    And they can’t do a damn thing about it because they know it is true.
    They know they are violating Article V.
    They can’t even get in-synch on the reason.

    Stephen Daugherry wrote: … because nothing sets your interpretation as law.
    The Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land.
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: There’s overwhelming evidence for the concurrent standard, in how the states have made their calls, and what they have not asked of the Courts or Congress in the meantime.
    False. There is ZERO evidence. If it existed, you would have presented it instead of your lame opinions without any cases to substantiate it.
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: Yeah, and any judge can dismiss the case as frivolous if they don’t have any real complaint or greivance, or standing in the case. If the states are complaining, Walker doesn’t get to do the complaining for them.
    False. Anyone can sue Congress. Look it up if you don’t believe it.
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: Why has nobody done this up to now, if your interpretation was the original?
    Because the “clear and distinct”, “plain and obvious”, literal text of Article V does not require much interpetation. It is very clear. In United States v. Sprague, 282 U.S. 716 (1931), the final Supreme Court stated: “The United States asserts that article 5 is clear in statement and in meaning, contains no ambiguity, and calls for no resort to rules of construction. A mere reading demonstrates that this is true. It provides two methods for proposing amendments. Congress may propose them by a vote of two-thirds of both houses, or, on the application of the legislatures of two-thirds of the States, must call a convention to propose them.” What part of the statements by the Supreme Court (i.e. “no ambiguity” and “clear in statement and meaning”) do you not understand?
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: If the concurrent intepretation were that controversial, that poorly founded, we’d have seen challenges early on. Interpretations like this would hardly have been ignored if they were the original, but all the evidence seems to point to that.
    False. Like slavery existed for almost a century after the first convention?

    That argument is full of holes. Crimes and violations often exist for a long time before they are finally confronted and dealt with.

    Stephen Daugherry wrote: Evidence means more than the most fervent belief.
    Those are good words. People should practice they preach.

    Where is this mountain of evidence that you keep speaking of?

    Stephen Daugherry wrote: Lawyers and judges are not granted infallibility by their position or profession it is an inappropriate appeal to authority to say your interpretation is sound and valid because of the profession of those submitting it. History is necessary because the law and the constitution remain meaningless until put into practice. How these laws are carried out and understood is crucial to determiming just what is considered law.
    Whatever. It’s not my interpretation. An 12 year old could understand the literal text of Article V.

    So, where is this so-called mountain of evidence that you speak of. Show us the ruling that allows Article V to be disobeyed. Show us the ruling.

    Stephen Daugherry wrote: 203 years to ratify the 27th. The 27th is an anomaly, not a typical example. And yes I can that because I’ve listed every other amendment, more or less, and presented the time it took to ratifiy it.
    Immaterial. I’ll use your own words
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: We’re not talking about ratification here, but proposal.
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: You unfortunately see this in terms of the power wielded by the states that make the call.
    It’s not my interpretation.

    It is quite simply the “clear and distinct” and “plain and obvious” meaning of Article V that gives states the right to submit applications.
    It is a check/balance against a corrupt federal government.
    That is reaffirmed in the Federalist papers and many Supreme Court statements.

    Stephen Daugherry wrote: But what about those who don’t, at that time? What about the states that don’t want the convention called.
    The states were not aware that Congress would violate Article V. Many are only now realizing the violation. It will go to the Supreme Court again.
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: The constitution is built to protect the states from each other’s use of centralized power.
    Then why oppose Article V which allows the states the right to amend the Constitution if three fourths of the states ratify it?

    If you’d like to learn more about it, visit FOAVC.ORG or ARTICLE5.ORG.
    Here’s the F.A.Q.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 23, 2007 12:39 AM
    Comment #236780

    Stephen,

    I don’t disagree with your feeling. I disagree with your facts. The facts based on the current Supreme Court case law that I have found has made this solely the decision of Congress.

    I believe that they will continue to use the contemporaneous standard, but they could use another if they desired. If they did so, I would imagine that it would be challenged, but based on precedence, I’m not sure that it would be given cert.

    For what it’s worth, I think your argument equating the proposing time period for Congress with that of the States is a stretch. Congress is operated under parliamanentarian rules that require contemporaneous action. The States do not.

    In the last thread, I suggested an ammendment that would clarify the whole thing by making the calling of an Article V convention by the states operate under the same Parliamentarian rules by making either the Senate or the Congress vote as directed by the States. I think that this would solve the whole problem (but it is a small enough problem that it is probably not worth the time and effort to solve it).

    This whole debate reminds of the old saw about academic politics, “they are so vicious because so little is at stake”. There is so little chance of this happening that it makes for a great debate because there is very little supporting facts for either argument and those that are there are difficult to find.

    Posted by: Rob at October 23, 2007 11:51 AM
    Comment #236784

    Rob-
    What makes me doubtful about non-concurrent standards is that nobody has ever dealt with it that way. What I keep on telling Dan is that you can’t call something an original interpretation unless it’s there at the beginning.

    Moreover, I think the spirit of the law is important here. Under a non-concurrent system, you will almost always, by definition, have fewer than two thirds of the states actually voting to trigger a convention. Think about it this way: inevitably, the first set of calls falls short. Then, subsequently, the next set of calls does one of three things:

    1) It falls short, closing the margin. That means that any state that wants to have a convention has the power to do so despite what might be even greater opposition by the other states to the idea.

    2) It hits the mark exactly, in which case fewer than two thirds of the states at a timer are needed to call the convention.

    3) There are more than enough calls, which means the other calls carry over into closing the mark on the next convention, which is essentially 2) leading to 1) all over again.

    The only alternative to these three scenarios is for there to be exactly 34 votes. Any more and we have a fifth scenario to deal with, where the additional votes go into calling the next convention after that.

    Anybody who thinks this is simple way to call a convention must have experience with some pretty fricking byzantine operations, because this just strikes me as excessively complicated way to meet the two-thirds margin.

    If we simply assume that the states are taking the place of the Congress and acting in their stead, what we will have is something far simpler, where the power of each vote is equal, and no state will be dragged into something except by the overwhelming consensus of the states. Thirty four votes or more, and a convention is called. Less, and it is not. No carrying to the next column, no handing a few states the ability to call a convention against the will of the many, no confusion as to the legitimacy of the proceedings, and perfect synchrony with the other method, paralleling the language of Article V.

    Moreover, it’s a lot easier to argue that this has always been the accepted means of calling a convention, and that the states are fine with this. The only people who aren’t are the political activists who obviously are impatient to get whatever they want. Impatience for power, in my view has been one of the most harmful political vices of the last generation. People forget that this is not a government by dictate, but by agreement, and the stronger the ability of the parties to gain agreement between themselves, within themselves, and with the vast majority of the American people, the better off they will be.

    The Concurrent interpretation allows the intended purpose of the threshold to do its work, to make sure no Amendments proposed do so without a great deal of consensus behind them giving them legitimacy, and a good headstart on being ratified. The underlying reason these folks want to forgo the gathering of that consensus is that they don’t believe they can gather that much support. They don’t trust their fellow Americans to do what’s right. Otherwise, they’d trust in the methods in their simplest possible interpretation.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 23, 2007 1:31 PM
    Comment #236805
    Rob wrote: there is very little supporting facts for either argument and those that are there are difficult to find.
    Somewhat, since we’ve never yet been allowed an Article V Convention. Especially since Congress has been able to ignore Article V for 96 years. However, in favor of support of the literal meaning of Article V, there are more arguments for it than against it, such as:
    • (1) the literal text of Article V itself, and in Hawke v. Smith, 253 U.S. 221 (1920), the Supreme Court stated: “… The language of the article is plain, and admits no doubt in its interpretation …” ?
    • (2) and in United States v. Sprague, 282 U.S. 716 (1931), where the Supreme Court stated: “The United States asserts that article 5 is clear in statement and in meaning, contains no ambiguity and calls for no resort to rules of construction.” ?
    • (3) and these other statements by the court with regard to interpreting the Constitution?
    Rob wrote: The facts based on the current Supreme Court case law that I have found has made this solely the decision of Congress.
    Perhaps. If so, it directly contradicts what literal meaning of Article V. The problem arose when in a single case, in Coleman v. Miller (307 U.S. 433) 1939, which stated:
    “The Constitution grants Congress exclusive power to control submission of constitutional amendments. …”
    Does that mean Congress can ignore Article V? No law is supposed to be able to trump the Constitution. Some jumped on it to argue that Article V can be re-interpreted from “whenever” to “whenever contemporaneously”, and some re-interpreted it to mean Congress has exclusive control of amendment sumbissions. However, as you stated
    Rob wrote: … equating the proposing time period for Congress with that of the States is a stretch. Congress is operated under parliamanentarian rules that require contemporaneous action. The States do not.

    And for it to be in exclusive control of Congress over submissions has a direct conflict with Article V, since it states that Congress “shall call a convention”. It is peremptory. Even in Federalist # 85, it states:

    The words of this article are peremptory. The Congress “shall call a convention.” Nothing in this particular is left to the discretion of that body.

    If the text of Article V allows no other interpretation because there is (as stated above) “no ambiguity” and “article 5 is clear”, then, Congress can not refuse Article V without first amending it, and no such amendment to redefine Article V has been submitted to the states.

    Thus, The Supreme Court can not (via Coleman vs. Miller) grant exclusive power to Congress to control submission of amendments because it is in direct conflict with the not only the literal text of Article V, but the many previous cases and statements by the Supreme Court about interpretations of Article V and the Constitution. That is, the Supreme Court should not be able to grant permission to Congress to violate the Constitution.

    I think it is just a matter of time before this re-interpretation of “whenever” to “whenever contemporaneously” and the idea that “The Constitution grants Congress exclusive power to control submission of constitutional amendments” will be challenged. It’s a weak case that is being allowed to trump the literal text of Article V, the Supreme Law of the Land. That is because Congress has a clear and obvious conflict of interest. And the Supreme Court is complicit.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: What makes me doubtful about non-concurrent standards is that nobody has ever dealt with it that way. What I keep on telling d.a.n is that you can’t call something an original interpretation unless it’s there at the beginning.
    Non sequitur. There’s a first time for everything.

    How can there be a beginning if Congress blocks it?
    Just because Congress has refused to call a convention does not mean it is legal not to.

    Also, there is no re-interpretation required for Article V (i.e. in Hawke v. Smith, 253 U.S. 221 (1920), where the Supreme Court stated: “… The language of the article is plain, and admits no doubt in its interpretation, and in United States v. Sprague, 282 U.S. 716 (1931), where the Supreme Court stated: “The United States asserts that article 5 is clear in statement and in meaning, contains no ambiguity).

    The words “plain”, “no doubt in its interpretation”, “clear in statement and in meaning”, and “contains no ambiguity” make a strong case for the literal meaning. Not any suspicious re-interpretations of “whenever” to “whenever contemporaneously” and/or “amendments” as “same-subject amendments”? The framers understood that if two-thirds of the states submitted amendments, there was probably a good reason for it. Now look … there are 523 amendment applications from all 50 states, and Congress still refuses to obey the Constitution. But, Congress has grown so corrupt and arrogant, it is really no surprise, and they deserve the dismal 11% to 18% approval ratings (which have probably already fallen to single digit numbers as I speak).

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Moreover, I think the spirit of the law is important here.
    Yes. The spirit of the law is indicated by the literal text of Article V. Note the words: “plain”, “no doubt in its interpretation”, “clear in statement and in meaning”, and “contains no ambiguity”.

    It is especially important now, with Do-Nothing Congress and government so bloated, corrupt, and incompetent that it now has a dismal 11% to 18% approval rating.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Under a non-concurrent system, you will almost always, by definition, have fewer than two thirds of the states actually voting to trigger a convention. Think about it this way: inevitably, the first set of calls falls short. Then, subsequently, the next set of calls does one of three things:
    False. It is simply two-thirds. The literal meaning is very clear, and the courts have made many statements to support the fact that the meaning of Article V is “plain”, “no doubt in its interpretation”, “clear in statement and in meaning”, and “contains no ambiguity”. These statements by the court make it quite clear. In fact, in:
      United States v. Sprague, 282 U.S. 716 (1931), the Supreme Court stated: “The United States asserts that article 5 is clear in statement and in meaning, contains no ambiguity,
    and calls for no resort to rules of construction. A mere reading demonstrates that this is true. Notice the words “article 5 is clear in statement and in meaning … A mere reading demonstrates this is true.”
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: 1) It falls short, closing the margin. That means that any state that wants to have a convention has the power to do so despite what might be even greater opposition by the other states to the idea.
    False. It requires amendments from two thirds of all states to force Congress to call a peremptory convention, and it requires three fourths of the states to ratify any amendment.

    Even if it was same-subject, that condition has been met 4 times since 1911.
    And it then requires three-fourths of the states to ratify any amendment.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: 2) It hits the mark exactly, in which case fewer than two thirds of the states at a timer are needed to call the convention.
    False. It requires amendments from at least two-thirds of the states to call a convention. No less. It requires three fourths of the states to ratify any amendment. This is clearly stated in Article V.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: 3) There are more than enough calls, which means the other calls carry over into closing the mark on the next convention, which is essentially 2) leading to 1) all over again.
    There are enough appliations already.

    523 by all 50 states.
    Once any amendment is submitted for ratification, it is no longer relevant as a new application.
    It is already awaiting ratification.
    Congress can set time-limits on ratification (e.g. 7 years). But it is not required. As was demonstrated with the 27th Amendment. Other cases have already established that.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: The only alternative to these three scenarios is for there to be exactly 34 votes. Any more and we have a fifth scenario to deal with, where the additional votes go into calling the next convention after that.
    False. Once amendments are submitted for ratification, those amendments are no longer relevant as an amendment, and can serve no one any purpose. They are all awaiting ratification (which may or may never occur).
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Anybody who thinks this is simple way to call a convention must have experience with some pretty fricking byzantine operations,
    It’s only complicated to those that wish to over-complicate it for nefarious reasons. It’s really quite simple.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: … because this just strikes me as excessively complicated way to meet the two-thirds margin.
    What’s so complicated about two-thirds?

    We currently have 50 states. Thus, that requires amendment applications from at least 34 states (34/50 = 0.68).

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: If we simply assume that the states are taking the place of the Congress and acting in their stead, what we will have is something far simpler, where the power of each vote is equal, and no state will be dragged into something except by the overwhelming consensus of the states. Thirty four votes or more, and a convention is called. Less, and it is not. No carrying to the next column, no handing a few states the ability to call a convention against the will of the many, no confusion as to the legitimacy of the proceedings, and perfect synchrony with the other method, paralleling the language of Article V.
    You are over-complicating something that is very simple.

    After 34 states submit amendment applications, Congress “shall call a convention”.
    The application applies for a convention call by Congress. The language of Article V is explicit and clear (from Article V): “…or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, [Congress] shall call a convention for proposing amendments…”. Therefore, the action that the applications clearly cause is for Congress to call for a convention, and do not have anything to do with any amendment actually proposed at a convention.
    Because the action of the application by the states is for a convention call rather than a specific amendment, the subject matter of any amendment proposal contained in the application is constitutionally irrelevant to the purpose of the application (the purpose being: to cause Congress to call an Article V Convention). The reason that applications are a trigger for a convention call, rather than a specific amendment subject, is because: if the application were for a specific same-subject amendment only, it would mean that the states could actually ratify an amendment subject before the written language was finalized (assuming that three-fourths of them “applied” for the same amendment subject). There then is essentially no need for both steps. But that is unlikely that two-thirds of the states will word their amendment applications the same way. There must exist a phase for the states to all work on the final wording of each amendment before being submitted for ratification. That is the purpose of the convention, and the reason the same-subject requirement makes no sense. Otherwise, Congress would then be put in the position of calling a convention to propose an amendment which the states were essentially already prepared to ratify. That means that the convention would have the power to add language into the Constitution without anyone having the authority to review it, which is what the purpose of ratification. The Framers of the Constitution clearly intended that all amendment proposals, whether proposed by Congress or convention, must be ratified before taking effect (i.e. as stated in Article V: “…which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states…”). So, it is clear that the application language of Article V cannot refer to a same-subject amendment, since the language of each subject can vary greatly. The language is hammered out in the convention. Not before the convention.
    Further proof of the fact that the applications are for a convention call rather than a specific same-subject amendment is that the above scenario currently exists. The record shows that 39 states have applied for the repeal of the 16th Amendment which authorizes Congress to tax and collect income tax. If, as many suggest, the applications are same subject, then it follows that even without writing the amendment, federal income tax has already been repealed. That is, enough same-subject amendments already exist. If “same-subject” is the correct interpretation as to how applications should be counted, the IRS has not gotten the message, since it continues to collect income tax despite having no constitutional authority to do.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Moreover, it’s a lot easier to argue that this has always been the accepted means of calling a convention,
    Congress has not ever allowed it, so stating “this has always been the accepted means of calling a convention” makes no sense.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: … and that the states are fine with this.
    No they are not. The states are only now becoming aware of the fact that Congress is violating Article V. Even if it was OK with the states, it does not justify violation of the Constitution. All of your reasons are lame. Your argument is basically: since Congress hasn’t called a convention, it shouldn’t have to.

    (a) That does not make the “plain and obvious” language of Article V go away.
    (b) Nor is there any law that trumps Article V.
    Not even Coleman vs. Miller (307 U.S. 433) (1939) can trump Article V.
    Congress is violating Article V.
    Write your Congress persons and ask them why an Article V Convention has not been called yet?

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: The only people who aren’t are the political activists who obviously are impatient to get whatever they want.
    Wanting the Constitution is not merely being activist. Everyone should want the Constitution upheld.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Impatience for power, in my view has been one of the most harmful political vices of the last generation.
    Blind partisan loyalties to protect the status quo and preserve power are equally, if not more harmful.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: People forget that this is not a government by dictate, but by agreement, and the stronger the ability of the parties to gain agreement between themselves, within themselves, and with the vast majority of the American people, the better off they will be.
    Upholding the Constitution should be something all citizens want. Promoting the violation of one part threatens all parts.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: The Concurrent interpretation allows the intended purpose of the threshold to do its work,
    False. The intended purpose of Article V has been stated many times in clear and concise language. The words “plain”, “no doubt in its interpretation”, “clear in statement and in meaning”, and “contains no ambiguity” make a strong case for the literal meaning. Not any suspicious re-interpretations of “whenever” to “whenever contemporaneously” and/or “amendments” as “same-subject amendments”? Your argument requires re-interpretation of simple words into more and different words. The intended purpose is the literal meaning. There is no law or ruling to refute that. Congress is violating Article V.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: … to make sure no Amendments proposed do so without a great deal of consensus behind them giving them legitimacy, and a good headstart on being ratified.
    Nonsense. Ratification is after the convention has settled on the language of amendments. The final language can not exist prior to the convention.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: The underlying reason these folks want to forgo the gathering of that consensus is that they don’t believe they can gather that much support. They don’t trust their fellow Americans to do what’s right. Otherwise, they’d trust in the methods in their simplest possible interpretation.
    Nonsese. The underlying reason why some folks oppose an Article V Convention is because they like the status quo. Perhaps their party is now the IN-PARTY and they want to keep it that way. The clearly have little respect for the Constitution, and have a clear problem with understanding simple words like “plain”, “no doubt in its interpretation”, “clear in statement and in meaning”, and “contains no ambiguity”. And some their following Americans and change. These fears are unfounded, since it takes three-fourths of all states to ratify any amendment.

    So, is it possible that a bias exists? … like these statements which seem to indicate a partisan bias?

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: … as I don’t like to hear people get down on my party, …

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: The most important part of the Democratic party is it’s approach to problems, not the platforms or issues.

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: The parties exists to serve our interests.

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: They [voters] should be allying with us [Democrats].

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: In my opinion, the proper people to run this party are the voters who elect Democrats.

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: It shouldn’t seem funny to you that I come to my party’s defense,…

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: If I’m not willing to take political power even from my enemies, …

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: How many people curse the green party for George W. Bush getting elected?

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: If third parties can’t win offices, what good are they to the voter?

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: If you want to badmouth us [Democrats] …

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: I’ve been rather cross about your tendency to call the new congress a do-nothing congress …

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: The Republicans have the choice, which I gladly let them have, of doing scuzzy things so they can make the Democrats look bad …
  • Do those statements seem anti-anything-Democrat ?

    Doug Langworthy wrote: … Minus his anti-anything-Democrat musings, Stephen [Daugherty] is …

    And with some people, the underlying problem is superhero worship. They like THEIR politicians and THEIR party, and everything else takes a back seat to winning seats for THEIR party.
    Could that be a reason for a bias?

    Lee Jamison wrote: Stephen, … You are not “reading intent into” Hamilton’s words as even a wishful legal scholar might. You are making things up as a child might make up powers for his favorite superhero… The members of Congress who would stand in the way of this process are also making up powers for their favorite superheroes who, unfortunately, are themselves.

    At any rate, I wish Hamilton was here today to see what the Do-Nothing Congress has become, because I think he would confirm that “whenever” was not supposed to be interpreted as “whenever contemporaneously”, and/or “amendments” was not supposed to be interpreted as “same-subject amendments”. These are very convenient and reaching interpretations that require new words for clarification and drastically change the literal meaning of the words.

    Perhaps Article V will get more visibility with the assistance of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, 1996 presidential nominee Bob Dole and 1984 vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro, University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato in holding a mock Constitutional convention starting 19-Oct-2007.

    What was the purpose of Article V?
    The framers knew the federal government might grow so corrupt as to deny amendments due to an obvius conflict of interest, so they created Article V.
    Now look at Congress and the federal government.
    Look at the 7 wars since 1914 (not all necessary), massive $9 Trillion National debt, $12.8 Trillion borrowed and spent from Social Security, hundreds of billions of unfunded Medicare liabilities, waste, pork-barrel, corporate welfare, regressive taxation, inflation and excessive money creation, etc., etc., etc.
    Congress has record low approval ratings (11% to 18%), yet it gave itself its 9th raise in 10 years while our troops risk life and limb, go without body armor, medical, promised benefits, on their 2nd, 3rd, and 4th (or more) tours in Iraq and/or Afghanistan.
    Even if caught or indicted for a felony, they stand a good chance to get a pardon (like the 546 felons pardoned by Clinton; 140 on his last day in office).
    And no one can name 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, or even 268 (half of 535) in Congress that are responsible and accountable.
    Government is FOR-SALE, and a tiny 0.15% of all 200 million eligible voters make 83$ of all federal campaign donations of $200 (or more) while most of the remaining 99.85% of voters reward incumbent politicians with 95% re-election rates (usually the candidate the spends the most; usually the incumbent).

    The purpose of Article V was to curb corruption, which is always trying to find a foot hold somewhere.
    An Article V Convention is long overdue and the first convention should have been called in 1911 based on same-subject amendments (if not sooner based on total amendments).
    But Congress refuses to do so.
    All states should resubmit all of their applications simultaneously to detroy the “contemporaneous” excuse, and then pass an amendent that makes it explicitly clear that Article V is not subject to “contemporaneous” or “same-subject” amendments and make it damn clear that Congress does not have exclusive control over submissions of amendments.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 23, 2007 6:47 PM
    Comment #236818

    Dan-
    Why do you have to convince the states at all?

    The thing is, 500+ applications over the history of the country with no called convention is a clear sign of the acceptance of the Concurrence interpretation among the states. They would not waste their time repeating this, with no convention called if they already believed at any point that one could have been called.

    Where are the incidents in history, the noticeable controversies, where the states failed to get Congress to heed this Cumulative interpretation? Where is the record of their complaints, the lawsuits filed in the hopes of forcing the matter by means of the courts?

    The absence of that kind of trouble, those kinds of legal tussles, in my view, is one of the most glaring flaws in your argument.

    If we surmise that original interpretations would at least shape through precedent and custom the future course of the behavior of state and federal goverments, we could not have this Cumulative interpretation be the obvious, literal, or plain interpretation of the constitution without having somebody make an issue out of it when these calls piled up in sufficient numbers. With the power struggles that marked early America’s history, somebody would have taken advantage of it.

    If, that is, they felt it was there to take advantage of. If this obvious, literal, plain interpretation did not occur to them, then we are left with a rather absurd question: why not? Were our forebears just not the sharpest tools in the box? Or were they of equivalent intelligence to us, but not of the same opinion as you?

    Of course, you response to much of this criticism is to imply and outright state that your opponents are against the proper expression of Article V. A reasonable person, though, I think should make a distinction between a person holding a view which is wrong, and a person advocating the opposite of the good view we hold. As much as you decry partisan warfare, you have not shaken your former party’s habit of ad hominem strawman characterizations of your opponents. Its a tendency you’d probably do well without.

    The quote you take from the Sprague case does not say what you believe it does. In proper context, the quotationSprague can easily be seen to concern the claim by the defendants that the 18th Amendment was not properly ratified. The courts were not referring to the clause we’re discussing, but the part of Article V that concerns the methods by which Congress can have the states ratify Amendments. The courts ruled, with the point you quoted targeted at that specific clause in Article V, that constitution plainly gave Congress the authority to chose the methods of ratification.

    In looking at Hawke v. Smith, we must also put that in the context, and not leave out this crucial paragraph:

    The only question really for determination is: What did the framers of the Constitution mean in requiring ratification by ‘legislatures’? That was not a term of uncertain meaning when incorporated into the Constitution. What it meant when adopted it still means for the purpose of interpretation. A Legislature was then the representative body which made the laws of the people. The term is often used in the Constitution with this evident meaning. Article 1, section 2, prescribes the qualifications of electors of Congressmen as those ‘requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state Legislature.’ Article 1, section 3, provided that Senators shall be chosen in each state by the Legislature thereof, and this was the method of choosing senators until the adoption of the Seventeenth Amendment, which made provision for the election of Senators by vote of the people, the electors to have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state Legislature. That Congress and the states understood that this election by the people was entirely distinct from legislative action is shown by the provision of the amendment giving the Legislature of any state the power to authorize the executive to make temporary appointments until the people shall fill the vacancies by election. It was never suggested, so far as we are aware, that the purpose of making the office of Senator elective by the people could be accomplished by a referendum vote. The necessity of the amendment to accomplish the purpose of popular election is shown in the adoption of the amendment. In article 4 the United States is required to protect every state against domestic violence upon application of the Legislature, or of the executive when the Legislature cannot be convened. Article 6 requires the members of the several Legislatures to be bound by oath, or affirmation, to support the Constitution of the United States. By article 1, section 8, Congress is given exclusive jurisdiction over all places purchased by the consent of the Legislature of the state in which the same shall be. Article 4, section 3, provides that no new states shall be carved out of old states without the consent of the Legislatures of the states concerned.

    There can be no question that the framers of the Constitution clearly understood and carefully used the terms in which that instrument referred to the action of the Legislatures of the states. When they intended that direct action by the people should be had they were no less accurate in the use of apt phraseology to carry out such purpose. The members of the House of Representatives were required to be chosen by the people of the several states. Article 1, section 2.

    In short, if we’re trying to discern what the plain meaning of any part of the constitution is, then we must understand in the terms of the folks writing it. So how does Alexander Hamilton, one of the framers, understand the two thirds majority? He understands it in terms of states concurring, which as I already defined in a previous comment, explicitly means that it is done together, not piecemeal and a part. Furthermore, he talks of states uniting to reach what he terms a “difficult” threshold, and defends this rather high standard against much the same kind of argument you’ve previously made against doing things according to a concurrent standard. From what we can discern of Hamilton’s defense of Article V, the strict construction of the convention calls is for them to be made together, not piecemeal.

    The trick, Hawke vs. Smith says, is that to properly interpret the plain language of the constitution, it must be plainly interpreted as the folks who wrote it understood it.

    If you cannot demonstrate that the framers or their heirs understood the principle as you do, you cannot call it the plain meaning. That’s essentially been my point in asking you for evidence of what the framers believed about the Article.

    The subject of Coleman v. Miller is fairly interesting, both apart from our discussion, and within it. One of the major issues there was whether the people suing had standing to sue. If the person suing had just been a private citizen, the case would have been kicked out on its keister. It wasn’t because the people involved were state legislators, people whose duties and actions were quite germane to the constitutional question at hand.

    The general rule on standing is that a person does not have the standing to bring a case on behalf of a third party.

    You have to have a dog in that fight. Any dispute about Convention calls would be between the states and Congress. The states would have standing because they’re the folks Article V would ostensibly hand the power to kick off the convention.

    I look at a lot of this talk about trumping or ignoring or vetoing Article V, and I just shake my head. You haven’t proved anything, really, to the rest of the world. Having failed to do that, talk of violations and trumpings and everything else are pure fantasy.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 24, 2007 12:15 AM
    Comment #236830
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: d.a.n- Why do you have to convince the states at all?
    The states do not collude, so they are unlikely to come up with the same language for amendments. The states did not anticipate that Congress would violate Article V. Now more people will learn about it, with the assistance of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, 1996 presidential nominee Bob Dole and 1984 vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro, University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato in holding a mock Constitutional convention.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: The thing is, 500+ applications over the history of the country with no called convention is a clear sign of the acceptance of the Concurrence interpretation among the states. They would not waste their time repeating this, with no convention called if they already believed at any point that one could have been called.
    False. Just because a law is violated does not suddenly make breaking it OK. Congress is violating Article V, and the Supreme Court is weaseling out in enforcing Article V. They both have a clear conflict of interest, because they know there will be amendments about term-limits, and other amendments that will strip away some of the powers they currently abuse. An Article V convention is long overdue.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Where are the incidents in history, the noticeable controversies, where the states failed to get Congress to heed this Cumulative interpretation? Where is the record of their complaints, the lawsuits filed in the hopes of forcing the matter by means of the courts?
    Where is the law that trumps the literal, “plain and obvious” meaning of Article V and the many other statements by the court?
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: The absence of that kind of trouble, those kinds of legal tussles, in my view, is one of the most glaring flaws in your argument.
    Not true. There have been two law suits, but the Supreme Court dismissed them on technicalities. Congress is violating Article V. Nothing can trump the Constitution. It’s that simple. The flaw in your argument is that the law is meaningless since no one challenges it. But it has been challenged, and it will be challenged some more.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: If we surmise that original interpretations would at least shape through precedent and custom the future course of the behavior of state and federal goverments, we could not have this Cumulative interpretation be the obvious, literal, or plain interpretation of the constitution without having somebody make an issue out of it when these calls piled up in sufficient numbers. With the power struggles that marked early America’s history, somebody would have taken advantage of it.
    There is nothing anywhere that trumps Article V. The Supreme Court has made many statements with regard to Article V, and other interpretations of the Constitution. The Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land, and nothing trumps it. That is, unless Congress violates it (as it is), and the Supreme Court allows it (which is has).
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: If, that is, they felt it was there to take advantage of. If this obvious, literal, plain interpretation did not occur to them, then we are left with a rather absurd question: why not? Were our forebears just not the sharpest tools in the box? Or were they of equivalent intelligence to us, but not of the same opinion as you?
    They are now learning that. Again, the fallacy of your argument (because states have not protested in the violation of Article V, the law is not violated) does not make Article V go away.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Of course, your response to much of this criticism is to imply and outright state that your opponents are against the proper expression of Article V.
    That’s right. What part of the statements by the Supreme Court (i.e. “no ambiguity” and “clear in statement and meaning”) do you not understand?

    Where’s the law that trumps Article V?
    No excuses can make the language and numerous previous court statements on the interpretation of Article V and the Constitution go away.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: A reasonable person, though, I think should make a distinction between a person holding a view which is wrong, and a person advocating the opposite of the good view we hold.
    A reasonable person would agree that the meaning of Article V is quite clear, and that nothing trumps the Constitution.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: As much as you decry partisan warfare, you have not shaken your former party’s habit of ad hominem strawman characterizations of your opponents.
    Bashing the OTHER party is a favorite pastime for some people. They love to wallow in the partisan-warfare.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Its a tendency you’d probably do well without.
    I don’t need “ad hominem strawman characterizations”. Just the facts, and the “plain and obvious” language of Article V. Nothing trumps the Constitution.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: The quote you take from the Sprague case does not say what you believe it does.
    False. In U.S. v Sprague, 282 U.S. 716 (1931), the court stated: “Where intention of words and phrases used in Constitution is clear, there is no room for construction and no excuse for interpolation.”

    Notice the words “U.S. v Sprague”, “Constitution is clear”, “no excuse for interpolation” ?

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: In proper context, the quotation Sprague can easily be seen to concern the claim by the defendants that the 18th Amendment was not properly ratified. The courts were not referring to the clause we’re discussing.
    It is a general statement about the interpreation of the U.S. Constitution. That’s all that is important. There are many such statements by the Supreme Court to support the “plain and obvious” meanings and language, and disdain for interpolation (i.e. convenient re-interpretations).
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: In short, if we’re trying to discern what the plain meaning of any part of the constitution is, then we must understand in the terms of the folks writing it.
    True. And the Federalist papers help. There is nothing in the Federalist papers to re-interpet “whenever” to “whenever contemporaneously” and/or “amendments” to “same-subject amendments”. Any such re-interpretations are reaching and stretching for nefarious reasons; not a mere misunderstanding of the many statements by the court:
  • In United States v. Sprague, 282 U.S. 716 (1931), the final Supreme Court stated: “The United States asserts that article 5 is clear in statement and in meaning, contains no ambiguity, and calls for no resort to rules of construction. A mere reading demonstrates that this is true. It provides two methods for proposing amendments. Congress may propose them by a vote of two-thirds of both houses, or, on the application of the legislatures of two-thirds of the States, must call a convention to propose them.”
  • Again, the Supreme Court rules there is “no ambibuity”. Notice the words “article 5 is clear in statement and in meaning, contains no ambiguity,”, and “must call a convention”, and these many other statements? Can’t you read?

    Try as you might, you can not make Article V and these many Supreme Court statements explicitly about Article V go away. The case for Article V is very strong. The case agaisnt it is very weak.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: So how does Alexander Hamilton, one of the framers, understand the two thirds majority?
    Simple. At that time, it was 9 of the 13 states. Now it is 34 of 50 states. Note: 9/13=0.6923 which is greater than 2/3 (i.e. 0.6667). And 34/50=0.6800 which is greater than 2/3 (i.e 0.6667).
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: He understands it in terms of states concurring, which as I already defined in a previous comment, explicitly means that it is done together, not piecemeal and a part.
    False. There is no such proof of that. Nowhere is “whenever” explained as “contemporaneously”.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Furthermore, he talks of states uniting to reach what he terms a “difficult” threshold,
    Yes. That threshold is clearly stated in Article V and Federalist #85 as 2/3 (i.e. 0.6667) to trigger a convention, and 3/4 to ratify any amendment.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: … and defends this rather high standard against much the same kind of argument you’ve previously made against doing things according to a concurrent standard. From what we can discern of Hamilton’s defense of Article V, the strict construction of the convention calls is for them to be made together, not piecemeal.
    False. 2/3 is the standard. It’s that simple. Article V states “whenever”. Not “whenever contemporaneously”. And the Supreme Court has many times stated that there is “no ambiguity” about Article V, and even if there was an ambiguity, “that meaning which will defeat rather than effectuate the constitutional purpose cannot rightly be preferred.”
    • #01 U.S. v. Classic, 313 U.S. 299 (1941): “Where there are several possible meanings of the words of the constitution, that meaning which will defeat rather than effectuate the constitutional purpose cannot rightly be preferred.”
    • #02 Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee, 14 U.S. 304 (1816): “Where the text of the constitution is clear and distinct, no restriction on its plain and obvious import should be admitted unless the inference is irresistible.”
    • #03 Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee, 14 U.S. 304 (1816): “Words of [the] Constitution are to be taken in natural and obvious sense, and not in sense unreasonably restricted or enlarged.”
    • #04 U.S. v Sprague, 282 U.S. 716 (1931): “Where intention of words and phrases used in Constitution is clear, there is no room for construction [re-interpretation] and no excuse for interpolation.”
    • #05 Ogden v. Saunders, 25 U.S. 213 (1827): “Where provision in United States Constitution is unambiguous and its meaning is entirely free from doubt, the intention of the framers of the constitution cannot be inquired into, and the supreme court is bound to give the provision full operation, whatever might be the views entertained of its expediency.”
    • #06 Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee, 14 U.S. 304 (1816): “The government of the United States can claim no powers which are not granted to it by the Constitution.”
    • #07 Jarrolt v. Moberly, 103 U.S. 580 (1880): “A constitutional provision should not be construed so as to defeat its evident purpose, but rather so as to give it effective operation and suppress the mischief at which it was aimed.”
    • #08 Ullmann v. U.S., 350 U.S. 422 (1956): “Nothing new can be put into the constitution except through the amendatory process, and nothing old can be taken out without the same process”.
    • #09 In Dodge v. Woolsey, 59 U.S. 331 (1855): “The departments of the government are legislative, executive and judicial. They are coordinate in degree to the extent of the powers delegated to each of them. Each, in the exercise of its powers, is independent of the other, but all, right-fully done by either, is binding upon the others. The constitution is supreme over all of them, because the people who ratified it have made it so; consequently, any thing which may be done unauthorized by it is unlawful… . It is supreme over the people of the United States, aggregately and in their separate sovereignties, because they have excluded themselves from any direct or immediate agency in making amendments to it, and have directed that amendments should be made representatively for them, by the congress of the United States, when two thirds of both houses shall propose them; or where the legislatures of two thirds of the several States shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, be-come valid, to all intents and purposes, as a part of the constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by conventions in three fourths of them, as one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by congress.”
    • #10 In Hawke v. Smith, 253 U.S. 221 (1920): “The framers of the Constitution realized that it might in the progress of time and the development of new conditions require changes, and they intended to provide an orderly manner in which these could be accomplished; to that end they adopted the fifth article. This article makes provision for the proposal of amendments either by two-thirds of both houses of Congress or on application of the Legislatures of two-thirds of the states; thus securing deliberation and consideration before any change can be proposed… . The fifth article is a grant of authority by the people to Congress. The determination of the method of ratification is the exercise of a national power specifically granted by the Constitution; that power is conferred upon Congress, and is limited to two methods, by the action of the Legislatures of three-fourths of the states, or conventions in a like number of states. The framers of the Constitution might have adopted a different method. Ratification might have been left to a vote of the people, or to some authority of government other than that selected. The language of the article is plain, and admits no doubt in its interpretation. It is not the function of courts or legislative bodies, national or state, to alter the method which the Constitution has fixed.”
    • #11 In Dillon v. Gloss 256 U.S. 368 (1921), the Court reaffirmed its previous interpretations of Article V saying: “An examination of article 5 discloses that it is intended to invest Congress with a wide range of power in proposing amendments. Passing a provision long since expired it subjects this power to only two restrictions: one that the proposal shall have the approval of two-thirds of both houses, and the other excluding any amendment which will deprive any state, without its consent, of its equal suffrage in the senate. A further mode of proposal—as yet never invoked—is provided, which is, that on the application of two thirds of the states Congress shall call a convention for the purpose.”
    • #12 In United States v. Sprague, 282 U.S. 716 (1931), the Supreme Court stated: “The United States asserts that article 5 is clear in statement and in meaning, contains no ambiguity and calls for no resort to rules of construction. A mere reading demonstrates that this is true. It provides two methods for proposing amendments. Congress may propose them by a vote of two-thirds of both houses, or, on the application of the legislatures of two-thirds of the States, must call a convention to propose them.”
    • #13 In Wright v. U.S., 302 U.S. 583 (1938): “In expounding the Constitution, every word must have its due force and appropriate meaning.”
    • #14 In Prigg v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 41 U.S. 539 (1842): “[The] Court may not construe Constitution so as to defeat its obvious ends when another construction, equally accordant with the words and sense thereof, will enforce and protect them.”
    • #15 In Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803): “It cannot be presumed that any clause in the constitution is intended to be without effect.”
    • #16 In Ullmann v. U.S., 350 U.S. 422 (1956): “As no constitutional guarantee enjoys preference, so none should suffer subordination or deletion.”
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: The trick, Hawke vs. Smith says, is that to properly interpret the plain language of the constitution, it must be plainly interpreted as the folks who wrote it understood it.
    No tricks are needed.

    The Supreme Court stated “The language of the article is plain, and admits no doubt in its interpretation”

    • #10 In Hawke v. Smith, 253 U.S. 221 (1920): “The framers of the Constitution realized that it might in the progress of time and the development of new conditions require changes, and they intended to provide an orderly manner in which these could be accomplished; to that end they adopted the fifth article. This article makes provision for the proposal of amendments either by two-thirds of both houses of Congress or on application of the Legislatures of two-thirds of the states; thus securing deliberation and consideration before any change can be proposed… . The fifth article is a grant of authority by the people to Congress. The determination of the method of ratification is the exercise of a national power specifically granted by the Constitution; that power is conferred upon Congress, and is limited to two methods, by the action of the Legislatures of three-fourths of the states, or conventions in a like number of states. The framers of the Constitution might have adopted a different method. Ratification might have been left to a vote of the people, or to some authority of government other than that selected. The language of the article is plain, and admits no doubt in its interpretation. It is not the function of courts or legislative bodies, national or state, to alter the method which the Constitution has fixed.”

      • So, the meaning is clear. That means Congress is currently violating Article V.

    And In United States v. Sprague, 282 U.S. 716 (1931), the Supreme Court stated:

    • “The United States asserts that article 5 is clear in statement and in meaning, contains no ambiguity and calls for no resort to rules of construction. A mere reading demonstrates that this is true. It provides two methods for proposing amendments. Congress may propose them by a vote of two-thirds of both houses, or, on the application of the legislatures of two-thirds of the States, must call a convention to propose them.”

    Notice the words article 5 is clear in statement and in meaning, contains no ambiguity , and A mere reading demonstrates that this is true, and must call a convention ?

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: If you cannot demonstrate that the framers or their heirs understood the principle as you do, you cannot call it the plain meaning. That’s essentially been my point in asking you for evidence of what the framers believed about the Article.
    That statement has ZERO credibility. There is ample evidence, Supreme Court cases, the Federalist papers, and the literal text of Article V, and the Supreme Court’s statments about the “plain and obvious” interpretations, and the many repeated statements that “shall call a convention”. The evidence is overwhelming. Anyone that can read should be able to understand it. As stated by the Supreme Court in United States v. Sprague, 282 U.S. 716 (1931), the Supreme Court stated:
  • “The United States asserts that article 5 is clear in statement and in meaning, contains no ambiguity and calls for no resort to rules of construction. A mere reading demonstrates that this is true.
  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: The subject of Coleman v. Miller is fairly interesting, both apart from our discussion, and within it. One of the major issues there was whether the people suing had standing to sue. If the person suing had just been a private citizen, the case would have been kicked out on its keister. It wasn’t because the people involved were state legislators, people whose duties and actions were quite germane to the constitutional question at hand.
    In Coleman v. Miller (307 U.S. 433) 1939, which stated:
    “The Constitution grants Congress exclusive power to control submission of constitutional amendments. …”
    Does that mean Congress can ignore Article V?

    No. No law or case can trump the Constitution.
    Some jumped on this single case to argue that Article V can be re-interpreted from “whenever” to “whenever contemporaneously”, and some re-interpreted it to mean Congress has exclusive control of amendment sumbissions, or that cases can simply be dismissed becasue they have “no standing”. It’s a dodge. The Supreme Court is weaseling out by using the “no standing” excuse, and/or the “political question doctrine”. Funny how the Supreme Court had no trouble discarding the “political question doctrine” in the 2000 Presidential election. The Supreme Court is on shaky ground with anything that attempts to trump (or ignore) the Constitution.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: The general rule on standing is that a person does not have the standing to bring a case on behalf of a third party.
    That third-party argument is true in most cases.

    However, no citizen of the United States is a mere third party. Any citizen is a primary party and subject to the Constitution.

    The Supreme Court used a single case (Coleman v. Miller (307 U.S. 433) 1939) to violate Article V. Nothing can legally trump the Constitution. It’s that simple.
    The Supreme Court is weaseling out by using the “the case has no standing” excuse.
    The Supreme Court is not always right. Abuse of eminent domain laws upheld by the Supreme Court is another good example of the Supreme Court being wrong.
    Just because the law is violated does not make it legal thereafter.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: You have to have a dog in that fight. Any dispute about Convention calls would be between the states and Congress. The states would have standing because they’re the folks Article V would ostensibly hand the power to kick off the convention.
    That would help, and that will probably happen.

    But citizens of the United States can fight it too. The “third party” excuse is not the reason the Walker cases were dismissed. The lawsuits were dismissed because the Supreme Court used the “political question doctrine” to say Congress has “The Constitution grants Congress exclusive power to control submission of constitutional amendments.” That is completely wrong and in direct conflict with the language of Article V, which gives states the right to make amendments.

    The Supreme Court avoids cases by simply stating there is “no standing”.

    Unlike all other law which is written down, including court rules and the rules of evidence, “standing” is a common excuse to dismiss cases. It’s an abuse of power by the Court and judges.

    That is the Supreme Court’s technique to dismiss any case they don’t want to hear.
    And if it weren’t that excuse, they’d invent another.
    The Supreme Court and Congress are both corrupt, and ignoring the Constitution.
    Not just Article V.
    The abuse of eminent domain laws is further evidence of it.
    And once we start allowing corruption in the Supreme Court, it will get worse.

    • It takes a lot of degeneration before a country falls into dictatorship, but we should avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings. ; Sandra Day O’Connor

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: I look at a lot of this talk about trumping or ignoring or vetoing Article V, and I just shake my head.
    That is because you do not respect the literal text of Article V of the U.S. Constitition.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: You haven’t proved anything, really, to the rest of the world.
    False. The evidence I have presented is substantial. FOAVC has almost 700 members (in only a few months) and is growing fast. Many people don’t have any trouble understanding the “plain and obvious” meaning of Article V and that it is the Supreme Law of the Land; that nothing legally trumps the Constititution. Anything and anyone that does is violating the law. Congress is violating Article V and the Supreme Court is complicit by weaseling out using clever “no standing” and “political question doctrines” and other nonsense.

    The best evidence is the literal meaning of Article V of the U.S. Constitution.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Having failed to do that, talk of violations and trumpings and everything else are pure fantasy.
    What is pure fantasy is the twisting, reaching, stretching, and contorted re-interpretations, rationalizations and out-right ignoring the literal text of Article V of the Constitution.

    And there are ample statements and other opinions that show a clear bias …
    Do those statements seem anti-anything-Democrat ?

    Doug Langworthy wrote: … Minus his anti-anything-Democrat musings, Stephen [Daugherty] is …

    And with some people, the underlying problem is superhero worship. They like THEIR politicians and THEIR party, and everything else takes a back seat to winning seats for THEIR party.
    Could that be a reason for a bias?
    Lee Jamison wrote: Stephen, … You are not “reading intent into” Hamilton’s words as even a wishful legal scholar might. You are making things up as a child might make up powers for his favorite superhero… The members of Congress who would stand in the way of this process are also making up powers for their favorite superheroes who, unfortunately, are themselves.

    Watching the twisting, reaching, contorting, and reaching rationaliztions to stubbornly insist on something that is so clearly unsustainable is comical, when the language (based on many Supreme Court cases) of article 5 is clear in statement and in meaning, contains no ambiguity, (that’s from In United States v. Sprague, 282 U.S. 716 (1931)).

    There are many valid reasons why Do-Nothing Congress has a dismal 11% to 18% approval rating.
    Violating Article V is just one of many.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 24, 2007 11:49 AM
    Comment #236833

    Stephen,

    So, under what case law do you think that the SC would prevent Congress from establishing a convention based on the standard of their choosing?

    I get your argument. You have repeated it many times. What I don’t get is any kind of legal authority that backs it up. I have offered a different opinion based on case law, you have disputed mine based on rhetoric and some academic filings. Do you have the legal precedent on your side to back your argument?

    Please provide me the cites if you can. I’ve done some pretty extensive research from a relatively unbiased stance, and I can’t find legal precedence on your side. Common sensewise, I agree your argument passes that test. But from a legal precedent, I just can’t find it. Provide it to me, and I will research and if I agree with your interpretation, back you in your argument.

    Posted by: Rob at October 24, 2007 12:22 PM
    Comment #236874

    Rob-
    They can’t choose just any standard, and they can’t make just any interpretation of the Article. If the Framers understood two thirds to mean two-thirds together, then by Hawke v. Smith, Congress doesn’t have a choice as to how to interpret it.

    You’ll have to understand that I my legal arguments are amateur at best. I have a brother who’s a lawyer, and through him I’ve learned something about the way the law does operate. But I can’t give any guarantees about how the law works, and nor should most anybody else here who’s not a lawyer.

    That said, here’s my best guess: the FOAVC suits fail for two reasons: wrong plaintiff, and even with the right one, the wrong question. Bill Walker is not a state. The law in question doesn’t affect him. I don’t even think he’s able to get the tax issue looked into for that reason, because according to that article I linked, there is no general standing for taxpayers concerning the use of their money

    Additionally, even if he did have standing, he’s taking the wrong approach, critiquing the method by which they count the votes, which I think is what allows the courts to respond that it is a political question. I think the logic would go that as long as Congress makes a good faith effort to carry out its constitutional duty, the means and standards by which it does so are up to Congress.

    The states do not disagree with Congress on what that method is. Between the two, accepted practice is the concurrent method. If, using that method, they failed to carry out their duty, then the states could come back and make a case to the courts, because then it would be plain that it was no longer a political question, but instead a constitutional one.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 24, 2007 6:06 PM
    Comment #236882

    Stephen,

    I agree with the your critique on the FOAVC to large degree. I don’t think I understand how Hawke v Smith supports your argument. It appears to be a method of ratification question, not a question of a political vs. constitutional quesiton. Can you expound on this?

    “The states do not disagree with Congress on what that method is. Between the two, accepted practice is the concurrent method. If, using that method, they failed to carry out their duty, then the states could come back and make a case to the courts, because then it would be plain that it was no longer a political question, but instead a constitutional one.
    (emphasis mine).

    My question/ understanding is that when the SC used the term political, they were saying that it was a decision solely for the legislation to make. Why would this fact change it? Really trying to understand here.

    Second quesiton. If a state, say South Carolina, decided that the standard should be accumulative would they have similar standing?


    Posted by: Rob at October 24, 2007 7:23 PM
    Comment #236888
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Rob- They can’t choose just any standard, and they can’t make just any interpretation of the Article.
    That’s right. They must choose the literal, “plain and obvious” meaning.

    The Supreme Court explicitly stated with regard to Article V that it was “clear in statement and in meaning, contains no ambiguity” and also states that “A mere reading demonstrates that this is true.” and then ends with “must call a convention”

  • In United States v. Sprague, 282 U.S. 716 (1931), the final Supreme Court stated: “The United States asserts that article 5 is clear in statement and in meaning, contains no ambiguity, and calls for no resort to rules of construction. A mere reading demonstrates that this is true. It provides two methods for proposing amendments. Congress may propose them by a vote of two-thirds of both houses, or, on the application of the legislatures of two-thirds of the States, must call a convention to propose them.”
  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: If the Framers understood two thirds to mean two-thirds together, then by Hawke v. Smith, Congress doesn’t have a choice as to how to interpret it.
    Correct.

    In Hawke v. Smith, 253 U.S. 221 (1920), the Supreme Court stated specifically with regard to Article V:

      “The framers of the Constitution realized that it might in the progress of time and the de-velopment of new conditions require changes, and they intended to provide an orderly manner in which these could be accomplished; to that end they adopted the fifth article. This article makes provision for the proposal of amendments either by two-thirds of both houses of Congress or on application of the Legislatures of two-thirds of the states; thus securing deliberation and consideration before any change can be proposed. … The fifth article is a grant of authority by the people to Congress. The determination of the method of ratification is the exercise of a national power specifically granted by the Constitution; that power is conferred upon Congress, and is limited to two methods, by the action of the Legis-latures of three-fourths of the states, or conven-tions in a like number of states. The framers of the Constitution might have adopted a different method. Ratification might have been left to a vote of the people, or to some authority of government other than that selected. The language of the article is plain, and admits no doubt in its interpretation.” It is not the function of courts or legislative bodies, national or state, to alter the method which the Constitution has fixed.”

    Note the words: “The language of the article is plain, and admits no doubt in its interpretation.”
    That makes it pretty clear about the literal meaning.
    No where in the Constitution or the Federalist papers does it ever support the re-interpretation of “whenever” to “contemporaneously” or “amendments” to “same-subject amendments”.
    The same-subject theory makes no sense, since that would require the states to collude to get the wording correct to qualify as same-subject.
    Also, the convention is where the wording is supposed to be hammered out.
    After the convention is called. Not before.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: You’ll have to understand that I my legal arguments are amateur at best.
    You don’t need to be a lawyer to understand this. Quantum Physics is complicated. Not Article V.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: I have a brother who’s a lawyer, and through him I’ve learned something about the way the law does operate. But I can’t give any guarantees about how the law works, and nor should most anybody else here who’s not a lawyer.
    I’m not a lawyer, but I worked at a law firm, supported attorneys’ cases, worked to find, process, and analyze evidence. I also did it as an independent consultant for another person’s law suits dealing with software piracy. I also know Bill Walker, who filed the two law suits in Walker vs. the United States and Walker vs. Members of Congress. Bill Walker also is not a lawyer, but he did a great job. Many things were learned from it. Other law suits will hopefully not make the same (or any other) mistakes.

    Oh, and the son of the 2nd husband of my wife’s mother is a lawyer too! ! !

    Besides, you don’t have to be a lawyer to understand the following:

    • (1) The Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land. Nothing else trumps it.

    • (2) The Supreme Court has stated many times that no creative interpolation and re-interpretation of the Constitution is allowed. Not just other parts of the Constitution, but explicitly with regard to Article V

    • (3) The literal text of Article V is quite simple. There is nothing in the Constitution, previous cases, or the Federalist papers to support anything but the literal meaning.

    • (4) The literal meaning is also supported by several explicit statements about Article V by the Supreme Court.

    • (5) The Same-subject amendments theory makes no sense, because states can not write same-subject amendments with the same language. That can only happen after two thirds of the states have submitted amendments and Congress calls a convention to hammer out the language of the amendnents. Not before the convention is called. That makes no sense. After the states submit the amendments, it requires three fourths of the states to ratify any amemdment. That is why it does not matter that two thirds of amendment applications submitted must be same-subject, because it still takes three fourths of the states to ratify any amendment.

    • (6) There is no law, case, document, or anything to refute the literal text of Article V. None.

    • (7) Congress and the Supreme Court have an obvious conflict of interest, because they both know a term-limit amendment is likely to be proposed. Congress can ignore Article V as long as the Supreme Court is complicit, and the people don’t demand that all three branches of government uphold that Constitution as they pledged an oath to protect. This pledge is important and must be taken seriously. Once all three branches of government are complicit in violating the Constitution, it is dimimished, and more violations will surely follow.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: That said, here’s my best guess: the FOAVC suits fail for two reasons: wrong plaintiff,
    True the fisrt time in Walker vs. the United States. The “United States” is too broad.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: … and even with the right one, the wrong question. Bill Walker is not a state.
    Any person can sue Congress (if Congress is the correct party). The tax issue was a bad idea to include with the suit.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: The law in question doesn’t affect him.
    Not true. The Supreme Law of the Land affects all of its citizens.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: I don’t even think he’s able to get the tax issue looked into for that reason, because according to that article I linked, there is no general standing for taxpayers concerning the use of their money
    The tax issue didn’t help and created a “mixed issues” problem.

    So the Supreme Court used that technicality to say Walker had “no standing”.
    But the Supreme Court did not say Congress can violate Article V.
    The Supreme Court did not say amendments must be contemporaneous.
    The Supreme Court did not say amendments must be same-subject.
    And the theory that the court’s statement in Coleman v. Miller (307 U.S. 433) 1939, which stated:

    “The Constitution grants Congress exclusive power to control submission of constitutional amendments. …”
    can’t stand, because no law or court ruling can trump the Constitution. The Constitution must be changed before it can take effect. So all of these theories about the “contemporaneous” and “same-subject” re-interpretations are false.

    The fact is, the real law suit that needs to happen has not yet happened.
    The Supreme Court has not yet been forced to make a ruling on Article V.
    All that is required is a new law suit vs Members of Congress that only deals with one thing: Article V of the U.S. Constitution.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Additionally, even if he did have standing, he’s taking the wrong approach, critiquing the method by which they count the votes,
    Again, the “same-subject” and “contemporaneous” theories are unsubtantiated and explicitiy refuted in many ways.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: which I think is what allows the courts to respond that it is a political question.
    The “political question doctrine” can’t be a valid reason for not ruling on Article V. If the Supreme Court refuses dismisses a case that is only about Article V, then it is complicit in violating Article V.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: I think the logic would go that as long as Congress makes a good faith effort to carry out its constitutional duty, the means and standards by which it does so are up to Congress.
    “Are up to Congress”?

    Are you kidding?
    Seriously?
    Just leave it “up to Congress” alone to interpet the Constitution?
    That statement does not demonstrate a strong understanding of the three branches of government and the way they should operate.
    All three branches of the government have a duty to keep each in check.
    Didn’t they teach that where you went to school?
    More evidence that our education system is failing our youth.
    Congress, alone, can not interpret the Constitution.
    That is what Congress is trying to do now by ignoring Article V, and that is a violation of the Constitution.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: The states do not disagree with Congress on what that method is.
    Not all states were aware that Article V was being violated. It’s still not widely known. I saw an E-Mail from one state legislator that thought Article V of the Constitution had something to do with taxation. They are learning. The states did not anticipate that Congress would violate Article V. And some Congress persons have been spreading lies that applications must be “contemporaneous” and/or “same-subject”. They can’t even get their story straght, which is quite revealing in itself. You would think they would know. Now more people will learn about it, with the assistance of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, 1996 presidential nominee Bob Dole and 1984 vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro, University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato in holding a mock Constitutional convention.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Between the two, accepted practice is the concurrent method.
    False. There is no accepted practice for something that has never occurred. Just because a law has been violated does not mean it is OK to continue violating it.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: If, using that method, they failed to carry out their duty, then the states could come back and make a case to the courts, because then it would be plain that it was no longer a political question, but instead a constitutional one.
    It is a constitutional issue.

    And even if it was either a “political question doctrine” and/or Coleman v. Miller ((307 U.S. 433) 1939), neither can legally trump the Constitution.
    If all three branches of government continue to be complicit in ignoring the Article V, then we have a constitutional problem.
    It’s not the first time either.
    But the more times we allow it, the more it will be abused.
    This is more important than some past cases, because if Congress alone controls the amendment process, then they control the Constitution.
    That most certainly was not the intentions of the Framers.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 24, 2007 8:57 PM
    Comment #236890

    BTW, this issue of standing is something that is abused and allows no recourse. It is too easy for courts to say “no standing” and dismiss it.

    States have a clear “standing”.
    But so does any individual.
    Article V is not just a state/federal issue, since we are all subject to the Supreme Law of the Land.

    The issue of standing is one that some say must include damages. The problem with that excuse is that the damages of violating Article V is hard to measure.

    But, since you raise the issue of whether a citizen of the United States can sue Congress, what would help circumvent that would be for at least one state to file the case.

    But it’s a sad situation when the court rules are so persnickety that they allow the Constition to continue to be violated and even make it difficult (or impossible) to address without jumping through a bunch of hoops.

  • Also, is it not interesting that no one knows exactly why Congress has not called an Article V Convention?

  • Is it not interesting that Congress persons are giving different reasons (e.g. “same-subject” and/or “contemporaneously”)?

  • Is it not interesting that none can show a law, case, Federalist paper, or anything that explains away the many previous statements about Article V and it’s “plain”, “obvious”, “clear”, and “unambiguous” meaning?

  • Is it not strange that there is no firm argument anywhere to support these “same-subject” and/or “contemporaneously” myths. Even if they existed, it still doesn’t make Article V go away. And the Constitution is the law until it is amended first. What about that?

  • Is it not strange that most Congress persons refuse to address this issue? Ask them anything and you’ll get a response. Ask them about Article V and see what happens.
  • Eventually, someone is going to have to explain exactly why an Article V Convention has not been called yet. It could be one of the persons behind it is someone you’d like to see impeached?

    Don’t you think this Article V thing has been discussed in Congress, the White House, and the Supreme Court?
    Aren’t you curious about those questions above?

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 24, 2007 9:24 PM
    Comment #236972

    Dan-
    Did you know that Wright v. United States actually argues against taking literal interpretations where they contradict the original intentions of the constitution? Or that Hawke v. Smith makes it plain that the original intentions of the framers, what they originally thought it meant themselves, is more important than what we interpret it to mean now?

    You keep on going about literal interpretations, grabbing quotes like this at random. Under normal circumstances I don’t like to use legal cases to make my political argument. I like to read through the cases to make sure that I’m not merely talking out of my hat on the issue.

    You’ve ignored what these cases were about, what the original aims of the writers were in these quotations. You still quote Sprague as if what was said related to Conventions, when the text of that decision makes it crystal clear that the part in reference was that which concerns the means by which Congress can have the states ratify the Amendments. If you read through the case, you would know that it was a challenge to the 18th Amendment based on the fact that the states were not given the option of ratifying by convention. The Court argued in its decision, with the words you insist on quoting out of context, that the meaning of Article V on that subject is clear and without ambiguity. And it is, Congress can pick whichever method it wants.

    Making a legal argument is not just grabbing quotes that sound like they support you. That’s just rhetoric and argumentation dressed up with legal language. It’s critical that you read the cases before you use them to back your argument, because a case is built on more than quotes, it’s built on what legal question the decision actually deals with, what support it in turn derives from other cases.

    Usually, I avoid trying to use court cases to prove political points, in no small part because I’m not a lawyer. You aren’t one either. You’re either being fed these cases by somebody who really has a poor grasp of legal logic, or you’re feeding search terms into google, hoping to get support. Either way, you’re not looking very authoritative, for my money.

    Revelling in legal martyrdom won’t help things either. The standing argument is pretty solid, and its no mere technicality in this case. Lawsuits are torts, they work to redress grievances that one person might have of another.

    If you’re only tangentially involved, the courts are not going to consider the case.

    Article V, in its application clause, gives power to the states on this issue, and any failures to fully honor that part of the constitution would be a legal problem for the States and the Federal Government to resolve. Private Citizens could not raise the issue for either of the two. It is up to the states to sue, if they’re feeling deprived of their rights.

    The real question here is how you can claim violations of a law as if it were real, when your own cases were rejected? The law might come around to your point of view at some point, but until then, the law rests on cases as they have already been decided.

    In short, you can claim violations, but none actually exist at this point. You can claim your point of view is right, but only that: claim. The courts, the interpreters of the law ar not in agreement. You claim this is yet another example of corruption on the part of the government, but have not considered that you might just be supporting somebody who’s got more confidence in their claims than they have substance to back them up.

    You completely miss the central disagreement between you and many of the people here. You assume that people are just trying to ignore the opinion you consider right, out of some fear of what it might lose them. You fail to consider that annoyance and not fear is what you’re being brushed off with. You fail to consider that some folks might just consider this guy’s opinion on Article V to be as unworthy of serious attention as creation science might be to a cosmologist, or Intelligent design to a biologist.

    Of course, that may not be the biggest ego booster in the world, but the world is not mean to salve the egos of those who recognize no authority but their own.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 25, 2007 9:47 PM
    Comment #237022
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: d.a.n- Did you know that Wright v. United States actually argues against taking literal interpretations where they contradict the original intentions of the constitution?
    Still trying to twist things around, eh?
      FROM: U.S. Supreme Court, WRIGHT v. UNITED STATES, 302 U.S. 583,588 (1938), … apprciate its plain significance. The reference to the Congress is manifestly to the entire legislative body consisting of both Houses. Nowhere in the Constitution are the words ‘the Congress’ used to describe a single House.

      To disregard such a deliberate choice of words and their natural meaning would be a departure from the first principle of constitutional interpretation. ‘In expounding the Constitution of the United States,’ said Chief Justice Taney in Holmes v. Jennison, 14 Pet. 540, 570, 571, 614, ‘every word must have its due force, and appropriate meaning; for it is evident from the whole instrument, that no word was unnecessarily used, or needlessly added. The many discussions which have taken place upon the construction of the constitution, have proved the correctness of this proposition; and shown the high talent, the caution, and the foresight of the illustrious men who framed it. Every word appears to have been weighed with the utmost deliberation, and its force and effect to have been fully understood.’ See, also, Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee, 1 Wheat. 304, 333, 334; Ogden v. Saunders, 12 Wheat. 213, 316; Myers v. United States, 272 U.S. 52, 151, 47 S.Ct. 21, 37; Williams v. United States, 289 U.S. 553, 572, 573 S., 53 S.Ct. 751, 757.

    As can clearly be seen above in WRIGHT v. UNITED STATES, 302 U.S. 583,588 (1938), it was referencing Chief Justice Taney in Holmes v. Jennison, 14 Pet. 540, 570, 571, 614.

    There is nothing there that proves Article V is to be interpreted where “whenever” means “whenever contemporaneously” and/or “amendments” means “same-subject amendments”.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Or that Hawke v. Smith makes it plain that the original intentions of the framers, what they originally thought it meant themselves, is more important than what we interpret it to mean now?
    Another famous twisting and stretching to defend the indefensible?

  • In Hawke v. Smith, 253 U.S. 221 (1920): “The framers of the Constitution realized that it might in the progress of time and the development of new conditions require changes, and they intended to provide an orderly manner in which these could be accomplished; to that end they adopted the fifth article. This article makes provision for the proposal of amendments either by two-thirds of both houses of Congress or on application of the Legislatures of two-thirds of the states; thus securing deliberation and consideration before any change can be proposed… . The fifth article is a grant of authority by the people to Congress. The determination of the method of ratification is the exercise of a national power specifically granted by the Constitution; that power is conferred upon Congress, and is limited to two methods, by the action of the Legislatures of three-fourths of the states, or conventions in a like number of states. The framers of the Constitution might have adopted a different method. Ratification might have been left to a vote of the people, or to some authority of government other than that selected. The language of the article is plain, and admits no doubt in its interpretation. It is not the function of courts or legislative bodies, national or state, to alter the method which the Constitution has fixed.”

  • There is nothing there that proves Article V is to be interpreted where “whenever” means “whenever contemporaneously” and/or “amendments” means “same-subject amendments”.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: You keep on going about literal interpretations, grabbing quotes like this at random. Under normal circumstances I don’t like to use legal cases to make my political argument. I like to read through the cases to make sure that I’m not merely talking out of my hat on the issue.
    It’s not my intermpretation. It’s the literal, and “plain and obvious”

    The literal meaning is very clear and it explicity references Artcile V too. Not just other parts of the Constitution.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: You’ve ignored what these cases were about, what the original aims of the writers were in these quotations.
    False. There is nothing in those cases that proves Article V is to be interpreted where “whenever” means “whenever contemporaneously” and/or “amendments” means “same-subject amendments”.

    All of those cases support interpretations of Article V or other parts of the Constitution, and there is nothing anywhere to prove otherwise.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: You still quote Sprague as if what was said related to Conventions, when the text of that decision makes it crystal clear that the part in reference was that which concerns the means by which Congress can have the states ratify the Amendments.
    The meaning is crystal clear. Notice the word “Convention”, “fifth article”, and “article 5”?
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: If you read through the case, you would know that it was a challenge to the 18th Amendment based on the fact that the states were not given the option of ratifying by convention. The Court argued in its decision, with the words you insist on quoting out of context, that the meaning of Article V on that subject is clear and without ambiguity. And it is, Congress can pick whichever method it wants.
    False. Ratification is not the issue. Calling a convention is the issue. When it comes to ratification, Congress does have some control of the process (within the limits of the Constitution). Your argument is baseless and attempting to confuse issues about ratification with calling a convention.

    Congress can not pick any meaning it wants. Such a statement is as ridiculous as this previous statement …

    Stephen Daugherty wrote:
    I think the logic would go that as long as Congress makes a good faith effort to carry out its constitutional duty, the means and standards by which it does so are up to Congress.
    “Are up to Congress”?

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Making a legal argument is not just grabbing quotes that sound like they support you.
    Nonsense. Many Supreme Court cases specifically address “article 5”, “Convention”, and “fifth article” and other interpretations of the Constitution.

    All of the twisting and re-interpretations does not make the literal text of Article V go away, much less the statements by the Supreme Court with regard to the Constitution.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: That’s just rhetoric and argumentation dressed up with legal language.
    Nonsense. Your statements are mere “rhetoric and argumentation dressed up” with circular logic, gobbledygook, twisting the truth, facts, and what ever it takes to defennd a weak position; incapable of ever admitting a mistake.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: It’s critical that you read the cases before you use them to back your argument, because a case is built on more than quotes, it’s built on what legal question the decision actually deals with, what support it in turn derives from other cases.
    I have, and nothing you say disproves anything with regard to Article V. If there was proof, you would have shown it already. Instead, you merely try to substitute twisted opinions for facts.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Usually, I avoid trying to use court cases to prove political points, in no small part because I’m not a lawyer.
    Gee, but you told us your brother is a lawyer. When’s the last time you discussed this topic with him (if ever)?

    Not having a law degree is not the problem. Continued twisting and re-interpretations is the flaw in your arguments, and it is building a reputation too.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: You aren’t one either.
    No, I’m not a lawyer, but I have much more experience than you. I worked at a law firm with offices in three cities, supported attorneys’ cases, worked to find, process, and analyze evidence. I also did it as an independent consultant for another person’s law suits dealing with software piracy. I also know Bill Walker, who filed the two law suits in Walker vs. the United States and Walker vs. Members of Congress. Bill Walker also is not a lawyer, but he did a great job. Many things were learned from it. What experience do you have?
    Stephen Daugherry wrote: My brother is a lawyer. I have heard him talk about how dumb some lawyer’s arguments are.
    His words obviously were ignored?

    Oh!, and the son of the 2nd husband of my wife’s mother is a lawyer too! ! !

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: You’re either being fed these cases by somebody who really has a poor grasp of legal logic, or you’re feeding search terms into google, hoping to get support. Either way, you’re not looking very authoritative, for my money.
    Nonsense. The facts are clear. Why not instead concentrate on showing some evidence to support your weak and twisted arguments?
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Revelling in legal martyrdom won’t help things either.
    Martyrdom? Where do you get these strange conclusions? A martyr chooses to suffer. That is far different from working to uphold the Constitution. You clearly do not understand the meaning of some of the words you use. Yet you accuse others of randomly using things to support there arguments?
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: The standing argument is pretty solid, and its no mere technicality in this case.
    False. There is no standing argument or case the refutes the clear, literal, “plain and obvious” text of Article V.

    Your argument is flawed, because it asserts that: since the law is violated, it must be OK.
    Slavery existed for hundreds of years.
    Civil rights were violated for hundreds of years.
    So to argue that something is solid because it is being violated and it has not been challenged is an empty argument. It further demonstrates the use of any argument, no matter how lame, to support a weak position that is indefensible. None of it makes the text of Article V go away.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: If you’re only tangentially involved, the courts are not going to consider the case.
    Standing is required. The Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land. All subject to it have standing.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Article V, in its application clause, gives power to the states on this issue, and any failures to fully honor that part of the constitution would be a legal problem for the States and the Federal Government to resolve. Private Citizens could not raise the issue for either of the two. It is up to the states to sue, if they’re feeling deprived of their rights.
    False. Any individual can sue Congress if they have standing. Walker was not dismissed because he is a single citizen, and not a state. States can sue too.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: The real question here is how you can claim violations of a law as if it were real, when your own cases were rejected?
    False. And it was not my case. I found out about them after the fact.

    The violation is clear. Article V is being violated by Congress. The Supreme Court has not yet been forced to deal with it.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: The law might come around to your point of view at some point, but until then, the law rests on cases as they have already been decided.
    False. There has yet been no case heard that deals with Article V being violated. The two cases submitted to date were dismissed due to technicalities.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: In short, you can claim violations, but none actually exist at this point.
    Nonsense. That type of logic is truly ridiculous. That’s like saying a murder didn’t happen because the murderer can’t be found. Why did slavery exist for hundreds of years? Just because laws are allowed to be violated does not mean they are not violated. I’d be ashamed to make such nonsensical, circular, twisted, and ridiculous arguments.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: You can claim your point of view is right, but only that: claim.
    Nonsense. You keep trying to turn it into a personal issue. More proof of frustration with a weak argument.

    You are ignoring thousands (and growing) of Americans that read Article V and have no questions about its meaning. Many Americans justifiably see it the same way. Many were not aware of it until recently. That’s why Article V is now getting more visibility with the assistance of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, 1996 presidential nominee Bob Dole and 1984 vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro, University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato in holding a mock Constitutional convention starting 19-Oct-2007.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: The courts, the interpreters of the law ar not in agreement.
    The Supreme Court has not yet been forced to deal with Article V and Congress’ duty: “Congress shall call a convention”. What part of that did you not understand?

    Again, it is not merely my interpretation.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: You claim this is yet another example of corruption on the part of the government, but have not considered that you might just be supporting somebody who’s got more confidence in their claims than they have substance to back them up.
    The substance is Article V, and many Supreme Court statements.

    Also, a person has to be blind not to see that Congress and the Supreme Court have an obvious conflict of interest.
    But the Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land.
    You have shown nothing to refute Article V, except to say it must be OK since it isn’t being challenged. Well, it is being challenged, and more law suits will follow that will eventually force the Supreme Court to deal with it. The Supreme Court and Congress can ignore Article V without amending it first. It’s not complicated. Those that oppose it merely try to make it complicated; a common tactic of cheaters.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: You completely miss the central disagreement between you and many of the people here.
    False. I have heard no one but you trying to refute the clear, “plain and obvious” meaning of Article V.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: You assume that people are just trying to ignore the opinion you consider right, out of some fear of what it might lose them.
    Nonsense. It’s not just my opinion. You are ignoring thousands (and growing) of Americans that read Article V and have no questions about its meaning. Many Americans justifiably see it the same way. Many were not aware of it until recently. That’s why Article V is now getting more visibility with the assistance of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, 1996 presidential nominee Bob Dole and 1984 vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro, University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato in holding a mock Article V Convention starting 19-Oct-2007. So your statement is simply false.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: You fail to consider that annoyance and not fear is what you’re being brushed off with.
    Very few (aside from yourself) are brushing it off.

    If they do not care or believe that their Constitution is being violated, that’s their choice.
    There are many people that do care.
    And some have expressed fears of an Article V Convention because they forget that it takes three fourts of the states to ratify any amendment.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: You fail to consider that some folks might just consider this guy’s opinion on Article V to be as unworthy of serious attention as creation science might be to a cosmologist, or Intelligent design to a biologist.
    People can believe what ever they like. It doesn’t change the facts.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Of course, that may not be the biggest ego booster in the world, but the world is not mean to salve the egos of those who recognize no authority but their own.
    Snotty comments and personal attacks simply prove the weakness your failing arguments.

    You may think it bothers me, but it confirms the weakness of your failing arguments and frustration arising from it.
    Some people think their words only apply to others, when ironically, they themselves need most of all to comprehend their own words.

    So where is this mountain of evidence.
    So far, I have not seen anyone else running to your defense.

    In fact, others have stated the following:

    • Rob wrote: Stephen … I get your argument. You have repeated it many times. What I don’t get is any kind of legal authority that backs it up.

    • David R Remer wrote: Stephen, slavery existed for a century before it was vanquished. Civil Rights for Black Americans took another century. Which indicates that your argument that because so much time has passed means Article V precedent has not been met, is bogus. Just because a wrong exists for a century or more DOES NOT mean it is right. Due process was ignored by police for 2 centuries before habeas corpus and Miranda were implemented. Time does make a wrong right. Time does not make your argument valid. The language of the Constitution trumps the absence of acting on it by any legal standard.

    • Rob wrote: Stephen, I’ll be blunt since I can’t get you to respond to my posts on this matter otherwise. There is far more legal precedence for the accumulation standard than not.

    • Steve Moyer wrote: We need a convention

    • Lee Jamison wrote: So Stephen, on the basis of the actual words of the person most responsible for the wording used in the Constitution (Hamilton was the chairman of the Styles Comittee which was charged with putting the intent of the convention into clear language.) the call for a convention can not be said to be tied to subject, and there is no mention of time.

    • Lee Jamison wrote: The members of Congress who would stand in the way of this process are also making up powers for their favorite superheroes who, unfortunately, are themselves.

    • Lee Jamison wrote: Stephen, … You are not “reading intent into” Hamilton’s words as even a wishful legal scholar might. You are making things up as a child might make up powers for his favorite superhero… The members of Congress who would stand in the way of this process are also making up powers for their favorite superheroes who, unfortunately, are themselves.

    • Gerrold wrote: This [Constitutional Convention Begins October 19] is just the kind of thing C-Span loves, so I’d say there is a good chance it’ll cover it.

    • David R. Remer wrote: Today, a generation is more like 30 years. Hence, Jefferson would today call for a Constitutional Convention to be held every 30 years whether changes were agreed upon or not, as part of the process of keeping the process alive and invigorated for each generation. There is much wisdom in this line of reasoning.

    • With the assistance of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, 1996 presidential nominee Bob Dole and 1984 vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro, University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato in holding a mock Constitutional convention starting 19-Oct-2007… . and the following are co-Founders of FOAVC.ORG

    • Byron De Lear wrote: Thank you for the spreading the news about Article V of the US Constitution, providing for two methods for amending our Supreme Law — Congress or the amendatory convention.

    • Joel Hirschhorn wrote: We need more public support to get the nation’s first Article V convention. More people need to understand why many groups on the political left and right oppose a convention: they want to preserve their power to maintain the corruption of our current dysfunctional political system.

    • Not to mention almost 700 members of FOAVC.ORG
    So, you may believe as you wish about Article V, but it doesn’t change the facts, and your comment
    Stephen Daugherty wrote:
    Nobody is seriously arguing that the standard for votes in Congress to propose an amendment is accumulative.
    and other arguments lack credibility which try to re-interpret “whenever” to “whenever contemporaneously” and/or “amendemnts” to “same-subject amendments” in Article V.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 26, 2007 2:18 PM
    Comment #237072

    Dan-
    Twisting around? Look, you’re saying literal interpretations rule. The judge here says, no, the meaning as originally worked out rules, and if the literal interpretation gets in the way of that, it’s the literal interpretation that gets dropped in the wastebasket.

    Original interpretations are important, if only as a starting point. What Hawke v. Smith adds is that we can’t simply interpret things according to grammatical modern senses of things, that we must consider what these people were referring to in their time.

    There’s an underlying logic to what they’re saying: the spirit of the law and the letter of the law are two different things, and the priority in making an appropriately strict construction of the constitution is not to simply get the current literal interpretation, but rather to appropriately derive what the intent of the framers was, and then stick to that well, whether that means appreciating the nonambiguous nature of the grant to Congress of the power to decided what processes are available to the states to ratify amendments, or understanding that not every word of the Constitution is taken word for word literally.

    It is entirely possible, according to those decisions to use the literal language of the constitution to come to an interpretation that defeats the original purpose of the measure. I can argue from positive (that is extant) documentary evidence that the Framers intended the Convention calls to be done concurrently, a political effort taken together to push back centralized federal power, and that they intended the two thirds majority to be a solid one, not scraped across the passage of years like too little butter.

    But still, you insist on your literal interpretation. You borrow lines from court decisions about strict construction and second hand quotes of the constitution with them, thinking that the mere reference to these ideas is enough. It’s not.

    Do you even care what the cases were about? Article V Conventions were not even a real issue in any of them. None of them dealt with a situation that had anything to do with that. Some dealt with Article V, but we should not forget that Article V is more than just the Application Clause. Regular Amendments and their construction are the operative controversies in most of these cases. Conventions of the states to propose Amendments were not a part of any of these cases. Nobody dealt with facts concerning calls for Conventions, nobody dealt with a remedy that would have forced Congress to fulfill that duty, the judgment having been made that the States had been shortsheeted by the government.

    Yes, Article V is quoted, but not to support a Convention-based case. Yes, talk is made about proper construction and plain meanings, but not with the accent of the argument upon the convention part of the Article.

    I generally try to avoid making legal arguments like yours, first because legal argumentation is a specialized field, and second because it takes real training to understand the law. What I have learned from my brother is an understanding of the analytical side of the law. You seem to understand process, but I don’t think you understand case law, nothing personal. I think you believe that it’s about finding statements that support your argument, just as you would in any argument.

    However, I was taught differently. My brother taught me the importance of the history and the language of the law. In citing precedents, it’s important to understand what people were arguing, because the cases, laws and principles they cite are focused on that purpose.

    The real question that I pose is this: if the original interpretation is the guidepost of how to interpret the plain meaning of the constitution, and what little evidence we have between the two of us talks about states uniting, about their concurrence, and a literal argument doesn’t necessarily apply when it violates the original spirt of the document, can’t we say that your interpretation is on rather thin ice?

    Re: martyrdom. You keep on going on about how the courts screwed you, about how they essentially have let Congress get away with murder on the Article. This, rather than accept that your non-lawyer friend doesn’t know how to put together a legal case properly. It’s appeal to the emotions, based on two cases where the guy didn’t even really have the right to sue on the matter.

    Standing is required. The Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land. All subject to it have standing.

    Ask some of your lawyer friends about that. I posted a link in this or the other thread on this matter. You ever see those commercials from law firms asking people whether they used such and such a product, such and such a drug, or were exposed to this or that harmful substance?

    The whole reason they do that is because of the existence of the issue of standing. In the case of a class action, the injured parties represent a class of plaintiffs, rather than just one person. So how do they determine that the person has the right to sue? By the likelihood of injury, whether they’ve been affected. If you didn’t work around asbestos, and haven’t been diagnosed with a disorder relating to it, you wouldn’t be included. If you didn’t take a certain drug, you wouldn’t be included.

    If you look at Coleman v. Miller, you see the same issue. If we were talking an official from the treasury office from the state, he couldn’t be involved, because it’s the legislature that’s covered by the Constitutional matter in dispute; they have a dog in that fight.

    As for violations? Without law, there is no violation. Which is not to say that there is no Article V. Quite obviously, it exists. Or to say that if the States come together with more than 34 votes together, it wouldn’t be a violation for Congress to refuse to honor that. No I would say that it would be.

    But law must be interpreted, and what intepretations are not backed by the authority of the courts are not law. You accuse them of violating Article V, but other than that accusation, you don’t have anything.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 26, 2007 11:38 PM
    Comment #237083
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: d.a.n- Twisting around? Look, you’re saying literal interpretations rule. The judge here says, no, the meaning as originally worked out rules, and if the literal interpretation gets in the way of that, it’s the literal interpretation that gets dropped in the wastebasket.
    Article V is very clear, “plain and obvious”.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Original interpretations are important, if only as a starting point. What Hawke v. Smith adds is that we can’t simply interpret things according to grammatical modern senses of things, that we must consider what these people were referring to in their time.
    Your constant twisting and re-interpretations will not change the facts. Can you not surmise that from the MANY statments by other people?

    In Hawke v. Smith, 253 U.S. 221 (1920), the Supreme Court stated specifically with regard to Article V:

      “The framers of the Constitution realized that it might in the progress of time and the de-velopment of new conditions require changes, and they intended to provide an orderly manner in which these could be accomplished; to that end they adopted the fifth article. This article makes provision for the proposal of amendments either by two-thirds of both houses of Congress or on application of the Legislatures of two-thirds of the states; thus securing deliberation and consideration before any change can be proposed. … The fifth article is a grant of authority by the people to Congress. The determination of the method of ratification is the exercise of a national power specifically granted by the Constitution; that power is conferred upon Congress, and is limited to two methods, by the action of the Legis-latures of three-fourths of the states, or conven-tions in a like number of states. The framers of the Constitution might have adopted a different method. Ratification might have been left to a vote of the people, or to some authority of government other than that selected. The language of the article is plain, and admits no doubt in its interpretation.” It is not the function of courts or legislative bodies, national or state, to alter the method which the Constitution has fixed.”

    Note the words: “The language of the article is plain, and admits no doubt in its interpretation.”
    That makes it pretty clear about the literal meaning.
    No where in the Constitution or the Federalist papers does it ever support the re-interpretation of “whenever” to “contemporaneously” or “amendments” to “same-subject amendments”.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: There’s an underlying logic to what they’re saying: the spirit of the law and the letter of the law are two different things, and the priority in making an appropriately strict construction of the constitution is not to simply get the current literal interpretation, but rather to appropriately derive what the intent of the framers was, and then stick to that well, whether that means appreciating the nonambiguous nature of the grant to Congress of the power to decided what processes are available to the states to ratify amendments, or understanding that not every word of the Constitution is taken word for word literally.
    I can’t believe what I am reading. You wrote: There’s an underlying logic to what they’re saying …

    Yet that does not stop the continued twisting, contorting, interpolating, and convenient re-interpolations.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: It is entirely possible, according to those decisions to use the literal language of the constitution to come to an interpretation that defeats the original purpose of the measure.
    What? That a real work of gobbledygook. Funny! ! !
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: I can argue from positive (that is extant) documentary evidence that …
    Of that, I have no doubt. However, arguments need facts and logic.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: I can argue from positive (that is extant) documentary evidence that the Framers intended the Convention calls to be done concurrently, a political effort taken together to push back centralized federal power, and that they intended the two thirds majority to be a solid one, not scraped across the passage of years like too little butter.
    Excuses, excuses, excuses. Two-thirds means two-thirds.

    It does not mean “whenever” means “whenever contemporanoeously”, or “amendments” mean “same-subject amendments”.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: But still, you insist on your literal interpretation.
    Again, it’s not just my interpretation. The Supreme Court already stated …
  • in United States v. Sprague, 282 U.S. 716 (1931), the final Supreme Court stated: “The United States asserts that article 5 is clear in statement and in meaning, contains no ambiguity, and calls for no resort to rules of construction. A mere reading demonstrates that this is true. It provides two methods for proposing amendments. Congress may propose them by a vote of two-thirds of both houses, or, on the ap-plication of the legislatures of two-thirds of the States, must call a convention to propose them.”
  • … and many others have stated the following:

    • Rob wrote: Stephen … I get your argument. You have repeated it many times. What I don’t get is any kind of legal authority that backs it up.

    • David R Remer wrote: Stephen, slavery existed for a century before it was vanquished. Civil Rights for Black Americans took another century. Which indicates that your argument that because so much time has passed means Article V precedent has not been met, is bogus. Just because a wrong exists for a century or more DOES NOT mean it is right. Due process was ignored by police for 2 centuries before habeas corpus and Miranda were implemented. Time does make a wrong right. Time does not make your argument valid. The language of the Constitution trumps the absence of acting on it by any legal standard.

    • Rob wrote: Stephen, I’ll be blunt since I can’t get you to respond to my posts on this matter otherwise. There is far more legal precedence for the accumulation standard than not.

    • Steve Moyer wrote: We need a convention

    • Lee Jamison wrote: So Stephen, on the basis of the actual words of the person most responsible for the wording used in the Constitution (Hamilton was the chairman of the Styles Comittee which was charged with putting the intent of the convention into clear language.) the call for a convention can not be said to be tied to subject, and there is no mention of time.

    • Lee Jamison wrote: The members of Congress who would stand in the way of this process are also making up powers for their favorite superheroes who, unfortunately, are themselves.

    • Lee Jamison wrote: Stephen, … You are not “reading intent into” Hamilton’s words as even a wishful legal scholar might. You are making things up as a child might make up powers for his favorite superhero… The members of Congress who would stand in the way of this process are also making up powers for their favorite superheroes who, unfortunately, are themselves.

    • Gerrold wrote: This [Constitutional Convention Begins October 19] is just the kind of thing C-Span loves, so I’d say there is a good chance it’ll cover it.

    • David R. Remer wrote: Today, a generation is more like 30 years. Hence, Jefferson would today call for a Constitutional Convention to be held every 30 years whether changes were agreed upon or not, as part of the process of keeping the process alive and invigorated for each generation. There is much wisdom in this line of reasoning.

    • With the assistance of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, 1996 presidential nominee Bob Dole and 1984 vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro, University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato in holding a mock Constitutional convention starting 19-Oct-2007

    • … . and the following are co-Founders of FOAVC.ORG

    • Byron De Lear wrote: Thank you for the spreading the news about Article V of the US Constitution, providing for two methods for amending our Supreme Law — Congress or the amendatory convention.

    • Joel Hirschhorn wrote: We need more public support to get the nation’s first Article V convention. More people need to understand why many groups on the political left and right oppose a convention: they want to preserve their power to maintain the corruption of our current dysfunctional political system.

    • Not to mention almost 700 members of FOAVC.ORG
    So, you may believe as you wish about Article V, but it doesn’t change the facts, and your comment
    Stephen Daugherty wrote:
    Nobody is seriously arguing that the standard for votes in Congress to propose an amendment is accumulative.
    and other arguments lack credibility (based on list of people above) which try to re-interpret “whenever” to “whenever contemporaneously” and/or “amendemnts” to “same-subject amendments” in Article V.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: You borrow lines from court decisions about strict construction and second hand quotes of the constitution with them, thinking that the mere reference to these ideas is enough. It’s not.
    Nonsense. Can’t you read?

  • In Dillon v. Gloss 256 U.S. 368 (1921), the Court reaffirmed its previous interpretations of Article V saying: “An examination of article 5 discloses that it is intended to invest Congress with a wide range of power in proposing amendments. Passing a provision long since expired, it subjects this power to only two restrictions: one that the proposal shall have the approval of two-thirds of both houses, and the other excluding any amendment which will deprive any state, without its consent, of its equal suffrage in the senate. A further mode of proposal—as yet never invoked—is provided, which is, that on the application of two thirds of the states Congress shall call a convention for the purpose.”

  • In United States v. Sprague, 282 U.S. 716 (1931), the final Supreme Court stated: “The United States asserts that article 5 is clear in statement and in meaning, contains no ambiguity, and calls for no resort to rules of construction. A mere reading demonstrates that this is true. It provides two methods for proposing amendments. Congress may propose them by a vote of two-thirds of both houses, or, on the ap-plication of the legislatures of two-thirds of the States, must call a convention to propose them.”

  • Notice the words “article 5”, “shall call a convention”, “must call a convention”.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Do you even care what the cases were about?
    Don’t you? You are the one that is refuting the clear, literal, “plain and obvious” meaning.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Article V Conventions were not even a real issue in any of them.
    Nonsense. Did you not notice the words above: “article 5”, “must call a convention”, “shall call a convention”.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: None of them dealt with a situation that had anything to do with that.
    While the cases were about various things, it does not diminish the statements and refererences to Article V and interpretation of the Constitution. Did you not notice the words “article 5”, “shall call a convention”, etc. Can’t you read?
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Some dealt with Article V, but …
    What? You just wrote …
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: None of them dealt with a situation that had anything to do with that.

    You contradict yourself. The constant contradictions and circular logic is getting quite ridiculous.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: … we should not forget that Article V is more than just the Application Clause. Regular Amendments and their construction are the operative controversies in most of these cases. Conventions of the states to propose Amendments were not a part of any of these cases. Nobody dealt with facts concerning calls for Conventions, nobody dealt with a remedy that would have forced Congress to fulfill that duty, the judgment having been made that the States had been shortsheeted by the government.
    The point is that Aritcle V was referenced, and the Supreme Court made statements specifically about Article V.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Yes, Article V is quoted, but not to support a Convention-based case. Yes, talk is made about proper construction and plain meanings, but not with the accent of the argument upon the convention part of the Article.
    False. Many statements by the Supreme Court (and Article V) state “shall call a convention”, “must call a convention”.

    Just because Congress if violating Article V does not make it legal.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: I generally try to avoid making legal arguments like yours,
    Nonsense. The literal, “plain and obvious” meaning is there for all to see.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: … first because legal argumentation is a specialized field,
    Excuses, excuses, excuses. Besides, you are and said that your brother is a lawyer.

    Anyway, you don’t have to be a lawyer to understand the “clear and distinct” and “plain and obvious” langauge of Article V.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: and second because it takes real training to understand the law.
    Then why are you arguing against the “clear and distinct” and “plain and obvious” language of Article V? Because your brother is a lawyer?

    The son of the 2nd husband of my wife’s mother is a lawyer too! ! !

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: What I have learned from my brother is an understanding of the analytical side of the law.
    Obviously not.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: You seem to understand process, but I don’t think you understand case law, nothing personal. I think you believe that it’s about finding statements that support your argument, just as you would in any argument.
    Supreme Court statements have weight. Especially when they specifically state “article 5”, “must call a convention”, “shall call a convention”, etc.

    I’m not a lawyer, but I have much more experience than you. I worked at a law firm with offices in three cities, supported attorneys’ cases, worked to find, process, and analyze evidence. I also did it as an independent consultant for another person’s law suits dealing with software piracy. I also know Bill Walker, who filed the two law suits in Walker vs. the United States and Walker vs. Members of Congress. Bill Walker also is not a lawyer, but he did a great job. Many things were learned from it. What experience do you have? Your brother is a lawyer? And you think that makes you an authority?

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: However, I was taught differently. My brother taught me the importance of the history and the language of the law.
    Yes, we know … just like …
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Technology is a big subject for me, and I know all about it.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: In citing precedents, it’s important to understand what people were arguing, because the cases, laws and principles they cite are focused on that purpose.
    You are conveniently ignoring the fact that the Supreme Court specifically addressed Article V …
  • In Dillon v. Gloss 256 U.S. 368 (1921), the Court reaffirmed its previous interpretations of Article V saying: “An examination of article 5 discloses that it is intended to invest Congress with a wide range of power in proposing amendments. Passing a provision long since expired, it subjects this power to only two restrictions: one that the proposal shall have the approval of two-thirds of both houses, and the other excluding any amendment which will deprive any state, without its consent, of its equal suffrage in the senate. A further mode of proposal—as yet never invoked—is provided, which is, that on the application of two thirds of the states Congress shall call a convention for the purpose.”
  • In United States v. Sprague, 282 U.S. 716 (1931), the final Supreme Court stated: “The United States asserts that article 5 is clear in statement and in meaning, contains no ambiguity, and calls for no resort to rules of construction. A mere reading demonstrates that this is true. It provides two methods for proposing amendments. Congress may propose them by a vote of two-thirds of both houses, or, on the ap-plication of the legislatures of two-thirds of the States, must call a convention to propose them.”
  • Notice the words “article 5” and “convention” above? Can’t you read?
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: The real question that I pose is this: if the original interpretation is the guidepost of how to interpret the plain meaning of the constitution, and what little evidence we have between the two of us talks about states uniting, about their concurrence, and a literal argument doesn’t necessarily apply when it violates the original spirt of the document, can’t we say that your interpretation is on rather thin ice?
    No. Your argument is on thin ice. Very thin ice.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Re: martyrdom. You keep on going on about how the courts screwed you,
    Nonsense. I did not file the law suit.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: But law must be interpreted, and what intepretations are not backed by the authority of the courts are not law. You accuse them of violating Article V, but other than that accusation, you don’t have anything.
    Nothing trumps the Constitution.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: You accuse them of violating Article V, but other than that accusation, you don’t have anything.
    Do-Nothing Congress is violating Article V. There is no court case or law that trumps Article V. And the “clear and distinct” and “plain and obvious” text of Article V makes it very obvious. It’s that simple. Article V is very clear and there are many cases (and several that explicitly reference Article V) that support the literal interpretation of Article V. Article V states “whenever”. Not “whenever contemporaneously”. And the Supreme Court has many times stated that there is “no ambiguity” about Article V, and even if there was an ambiguity, “that meaning which will defeat rather than effectuate the constitutional purpose cannot rightly be preferred.”
    • #01 U.S. v. Classic, 313 U.S. 299 (1941): “Where there are several possible meanings of the words of the constitution, that meaning which will defeat rather than effectuate the constitutional purpose cannot rightly be preferred.”
    • #02 Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee, 14 U.S. 304 (1816): “Where the text of the constitution is clear and distinct, no restriction on its plain and obvious import should be admitted unless the inference is irresistible.”
    • #03 Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee, 14 U.S. 304 (1816): “Words of [the] Constitution are to be taken in natural and obvious sense, and not in sense unreasonably restricted or enlarged.”
    • #04 U.S. v Sprague, 282 U.S. 716 (1931): “Where intention of words and phrases used in Constitution is clear, there is no room for construction [re-interpretation] and no excuse for interpolation.”
    • #05 Ogden v. Saunders, 25 U.S. 213 (1827): “Where provision in United States Constitution is unambiguous and its meaning is entirely free from doubt, the intention of the framers of the constitution cannot be inquired into, and the supreme court is bound to give the provision full operation, whatever might be the views entertained of its expediency.”
    • #06 Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee, 14 U.S. 304 (1816): “The government of the United States can claim no powers which are not granted to it by the Constitution.”
    • #07 Jarrolt v. Moberly, 103 U.S. 580 (1880): “A constitutional provision should not be construed so as to defeat its evident purpose, but rather so as to give it effective operation and suppress the mischief at which it was aimed.”
    • #08 Ullmann v. U.S., 350 U.S. 422 (1956): “Nothing new can be put into the constitution except through the amendatory process, and nothing old can be taken out without the same process”.
    • #09 In Dodge v. Woolsey, 59 U.S. 331 (1855): “The departments of the government are legislative, executive and judicial. They are coordinate in degree to the extent of the powers delegated to each of them. Each, in the exercise of its powers, is independent of the other, but all, right-fully done by either, is binding upon the others. The constitution is supreme over all of them, because the people who ratified it have made it so; consequently, any thing which may be done unauthorized by it is unlawful… . It is supreme over the people of the United States, aggregately and in their separate sovereignties, because they have excluded themselves from any direct or immediate agency in making amendments to it, and have directed that amendments should be made representatively for them, by the congress of the United States, when two thirds of both houses shall propose them; or where the legislatures of two thirds of the several States shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, be-come valid, to all intents and purposes, as a part of the constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by conventions in three fourths of them, as one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by congress.”
    • #10 In Hawke v. Smith, 253 U.S. 221 (1920): “The framers of the Constitution realized that it might in the progress of time and the development of new conditions require changes, and they intended to provide an orderly manner in which these could be accomplished; to that end they adopted the fifth article. This article makes provision for the proposal of amendments either by two-thirds of both houses of Congress or on application of the Legislatures of two-thirds of the states; thus securing deliberation and consideration before any change can be proposed… . The fifth article is a grant of authority by the people to Congress. The determination of the method of ratification is the exercise of a national power specifically granted by the Constitution; that power is conferred upon Congress, and is limited to two methods, by the action of the Legislatures of three-fourths of the states, or conventions in a like number of states. The framers of the Constitution might have adopted a different method. Ratification might have been left to a vote of the people, or to some authority of government other than that selected. The language of the article is plain, and admits no doubt in its interpretation. It is not the function of courts or legislative bodies, national or state, to alter the method which the Constitution has fixed.”
    • #11 In Dillon v. Gloss 256 U.S. 368 (1921), the Court reaffirmed its previous interpretations of Article V saying: “An examination of article 5 discloses that it is intended to invest Congress with a wide range of power in proposing amendments. Passing a provision long since expired it subjects this power to only two restrictions: one that the proposal shall have the approval of two-thirds of both houses, and the other excluding any amendment which will deprive any state, without its consent, of its equal suffrage in the senate. A further mode of proposal—as yet never invoked—is provided, which is, that on the application of two thirds of the states Congress shall call a convention for the purpose.”
    • #12 In United States v. Sprague, 282 U.S. 716 (1931), the Supreme Court stated: “The United States asserts that article 5 is clear in statement and in meaning, contains no ambiguity and calls for no resort to rules of construction. A mere reading demonstrates that this is true. It provides two methods for proposing amendments. Congress may propose them by a vote of two-thirds of both houses, or, on the application of the legislatures of two-thirds of the States, must call a convention to propose them.”
    • #13 In Wright v. U.S., 302 U.S. 583 (1938): “In expounding the Constitution, every word must have its due force and appropriate meaning.”
    • #14 In Prigg v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 41 U.S. 539 (1842): “[The] Court may not construe Constitution so as to defeat its obvious ends when another construction, equally accordant with the words and sense thereof, will enforce and protect them.”
    • #15 In Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803): “It cannot be presumed that any clause in the constitution is intended to be without effect.”
    • #16 In Ullmann v. U.S., 350 U.S. 422 (1956): “As no constitutional guarantee enjoys preference, so none should suffer subordination or deletion.”

    Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Executive Branch have an obvious conflict of interest.
    Whoever controls the amendment process controls the Constitution.
    All branches of the government are violating Article V.
    And none of them are going to try to make anyone stop saying it, because they would then have to prove that they aren’t violating Article V. And they don’t want to do that.
    For more information, see: F.A.Q.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 27, 2007 1:35 AM
    Comment #237174

    Dan-
    You call your intepretation plain and obvious. What’s so plain and obvious about your intepretation, if you’re having to explain it to everybody, including the states who would have been making this arguement many decades ago, had it been so plain and obvious. I’m not calling you self-centered as a person, but your idea of plain and obvious in this case seems to be self-centered; that is, centered around what you and your fellow FOAVC supporters consider obvious.

    So let’s talk about obvious. Let’s try that Hawke v. Smith was about. Well, it’s right there in the decision:

    The question for our consideration is: Whether the provision of the Ohio Constitution, adopted at the general election, November, 1918, extending the referendum to the ratification by the General Assembly of proposed amendments to the federal Constitution is in conflict with article 5 of the Constitution of the United States. […]
    Plainly and obviously, the subject of an Article V Convention is not brought up, outside of its quotation with the rest of the article.

    This subject is reiterated with the next quote:

    The determination of the method of ratification is the exercise of a national power specifically granted by the Constitution; that power is conferred upon Congress, and is limited to two methods, by action of the Legislatures of three-fourths of the states, or conventions in a like number of states.

    It is in this context, of this controversy that we get this:

    The language of the article is plain, and admits of no doubt in its interpretation. It is not the function of courts or legislative bodies, national or state, to alter the method which the Constitution has fixed.

    Let’s step back from this one, and expand the quote to include the full paragraph. In writing it never does to simply pull quotes without context. Meaning is often interdependent.

    The fifth article is a grant of authority by the people to Congress. The determination of the method of ratification is the exercise of a national power specifically granted by the Constitution; that power is conferred upon Congress, and is limited to two methods, by action of the Legislatures of three-fourths of the states, or conventions in a like number of states. Dodge v. Woolsey, 18 How. 331, 348. The framers of the Constitution might have adopted a different method. Ratification might have been left to a vote of the people, or to some authority of government other than that selected. The language of the article is plain, and admits of no doubt in its interpretation. It is not the function of courts or legislative bodies, national or state, to alter the method which the Constitution has fixed.

    The part you keep on quoting is part of a logical sequence within the paragraph that means something distinctly different from what you claim. It’s not a general statement of Article V’s virtue, but a description of what Article V has to say about alternative methods of ratification.

    The sequence goes like this:

    1)The people granted Congress power through Article V.

    2)They granted the exclusive power of determining how Amendments are ratified, and provided just two methods.

    3)The framers might have chosen differently, but they didn’t. They provided these, and just these methods.

    4)The language of the Article on this matter is clear, and unambiguous on the matter.

    5)Neither courts nor legislatures can provide for other methods.

    Point four was not meant to be interpretated indpendently of the othe points. That would miss the point of that penultimate sentence in the paragraph: it was there to set up the point that followed.

    The sentence before it speculates that the founders might have thought of other methods. However, the rest of the paragraph that lead up to it indicates that while that may have happened, Article V says only two methods are permitted, and only Congress is granted that choice. This is the language of the article that the writer is referring to, which would be relevant to the issue, and which would relate to the last sentence.

    Overall, this is a paragraph with a purpose: to explain why Ohio can’t ratify or unratify an amendment by popular referendum. You could interpret it as if every sentence is meant to say something in isolation, but the truth is, the sentences here are not written to be intepreted in isolation, but as part of a building argument. It is the language of the congressional proposal clause which relates to what means Congress can choose to ratify the Amendment, and because of the way the law is read, what options the States have for ratifying it. this is where the court is saying that the language is clear, and doesn leave room for doubt in what it means.

    The courts are very aware of the kind of scrutiny that their decisions are placed under, and what kind of re-interpretation can be applied. So one thing they tend not to do, at least the smarter of the judges and justices, is go on off-topic adventures. It’s clear here that we have a very focused, elegant argument for why the States can’t vote on ratifying amendments by referendum. Nowhere does it concern itself with the application clause in particular. Every reference is to the sections relating proposal by Congress.

    As for Literal meaning? That takes us to Sprague. Sprague does say that it’s plain in its meaning and requires no rules of construction to puzzle out what it means. It also goes on to say that the Constitution was written in plain, not technical language, meant to be interpreted by voters. So what’s the plainest interpretation of a two thirds majority, a happenstance accumulation, or a uniting of states in concurrent political action?

    Literalism does not necessarily lend itself to a plain, rightful interpretation of the law. When somebody talks about somebody keeping the letter of the law, but not the spirit, we are talking about somebody who’s exploiting (or at least trying to exploit) the literal words of the law in order to get a result unintended by those who wrote it up.

    It is this exploitation of what might be technically true about what the words in the Constitution that Wright v. United States concerns itself with.

    What Justice Stone noted in his dissent, and what I have already referred to is the truth that in many places, folks do not take literal interpretations of the text. We take a number of interpretations out from the heart, the intent of the provisions in the constitution:

    The Court has hitherto consistently held that a literal reading of a provision of the Constitution which defeats a purpose evident when the instrument is read as a whole, is not to be favored. The phrase ‘due process’ in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments has long since been expended beyond its literal meaning of due procedure. See Davidson v. New Orleans, 96 U.S. 97 ; cf. Brandeis, J., concurring in Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357, 373 , 47 S.Ct. 641, 647. The term ‘contract’ in the contract clause is not confined literally to the contracts of the law dictionary. Dartmouth College v. Wood-ward, 4 Wheat. 518. The prohibition against their impairment has never been taken to be inexorable. Home Building & Loan Ass’n v. Blaisdell, 290 U.S. 398 , and cases cited at 430, 54 S.Ct. 231, 237, 88 A.L.R. 1481 et seq. The injunction that no person ‘shall be compelled in any Criminal Case to be a witness against himself’ is not literally applied. Brown v. Walker, 161 U.S. 591, 595 , 16 S.Ct. 644. ‘From whatever source derived,’ as it is written in the Sixteenth Amendment, does not mean from whatever source derived. […]

    A balance is struck between what is literally on the page, and what evidence outside of the literal text indicates it means. This is why we rely on an interpretational legal system rather than one like the Napoleonic code, where everything is codified and explicitly set out.

    You keep on invoking parts of these decisions that reference Article V and its strict construction, but you fail to answer one question: Why is your interpretation the strict construction? You haven’t found any evidence as far as I can see that the framers intended things to happen this way.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 29, 2007 12:17 AM
    Comment #237723
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: d.a.n- You call your intepretation plain and obvious.
    Not true. It’s not my interpretation. It’s the Supreme Court’s statements and the literal, “plain and obvious” text of Article V (see text). No law, case, or statements trump Article V. No constructions (re-interpretations) are allowed, per general rules of “legal construction” or interpretation when reviewing legal documents. The meaning of “whenever” is very different than “whenever contemporaneous”. The meaning of the word “when·ev·er” for the last 600 years has been:
    • Function: conjunction
    • Date: 14th century
    • at any or every time that
    Notice the words “any time” and “every time” that ? The meaning of “for proposing amendnents” is very different than “for proposing same-subject amendments”. It’s not complicated, despite the many entertaining attempts to cloud the issues and use the excuse that it must be OK since it is not being enforced.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: What’s so plain and obvious about your intepretation, if you’re having to explain it to everybody, including the states who would have been making this arguement many decades ago, had it been so plain and obvious. I’m not calling you self-centered as a person, but your idea of plain and obvious in this case seems to be self-centered; that is, centered around what you and your fellow FOAVC supporters consider obvious.
    More resorting to personal attacks (except now with a disclaimer). Funny!

    Article V of the Constitution is very simple. It’s not only my interpretation, and many others have stated the following:

    • Rob wrote: Stephen … I get your argument. You have repeated it many times. What I don’t get is any kind of legal authority that backs it up.

    • David R Remer wrote: Stephen, slavery existed for a century before it was vanquished. Civil Rights for Black Americans took another century. Which indicates that your argument that because so much time has passed means Article V precedent has not been met, is bogus. Just because a wrong exists for a century or more DOES NOT mean it is right. Due process was ignored by police for 2 centuries before habeas corpus and Miranda were implemented. Time does make a wrong right. Time does not make your argument valid. The language of the Constitution trumps the absence of acting on it by any legal standard.

    • Rob wrote: Stephen, I’ll be blunt since I can’t get you to respond to my posts on this matter otherwise. There is far more legal precedence for the accumulation standard than not.

    • Steve Moyer wrote: We need a convention

    • Lee Jamison wrote: So Stephen, on the basis of the actual words of the person most responsible for the wording used in the Constitution (Hamilton was the chairman of the Styles Comittee which was charged with putting the intent of the convention into clear language.) the call for a convention can not be said to be tied to subject, and there is no mention of time.

    • Lee Jamison wrote: The members of Congress who would stand in the way of this process are also making up powers for their favorite superheroes who, unfortunately, are themselves.

    • Lee Jamison wrote: Stephen, … You are not “reading intent into” Hamilton’s words as even a wishful legal scholar might. You are making things up as a child might make up powers for his favorite superhero… The members of Congress who would stand in the way of this process are also making up powers for their favorite superheroes who, unfortunately, are themselves.

    • Gerrold wrote: This [Constitutional Convention Begins October 19] is just the kind of thing C-Span loves, so I’d say there is a good chance it’ll cover it.

    • David R. Remer wrote: Today, a generation is more like 30 years. Hence, Jefferson would today call for a Constitutional Convention to be held every 30 years whether changes were agreed upon or not, as part of the process of keeping the process alive and invigorated for each generation. There is much wisdom in this line of reasoning.

    • With the assistance of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, 1996 presidential nominee Bob Dole and 1984 vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro, University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato in holding a mock Constitutional convention starting 19-Oct-2007

    • Jim T wrote: Nothing scares a politician more than loss of power. It’s time. It’s actually PAST time.
    • … . and the following are co-Founders of FOAVC.ORG

    • Byron De Lear wrote: Thank you for the spreading the news about Article V of the US Constitution, providing for two methods for amending our Supreme Law — Congress or the amendatory convention.

    • Joel Hirschhorn wrote: We need more public support to get the nation’s first Article V convention. More people need to understand why many groups on the political left and right oppose a convention: they want to preserve their power to maintain the corruption of our current dysfunctional political system.

    • Not to mention almost 700 members of FOAVC.ORG

    It’s not just me. Others don’t understand your argument.
    No amount of spin can change the numerous cases, statements, and the simple meaning of Article V.
    Re-interpretations and construction are not allowed.
    It’s not complicated.
    Attempts to over-complicate it are mere attempts to cloud the issues about something that most people who read it have no trouble understanding.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: So let’s talk about obvious. Let’s try that Hawke v. Smith was about. Well, it’s right there in the decision: The question for our consideration is: Whether the provision of the Ohio Constitution, adopted at the general election, November, 1918, extending the referendum to the ratification by the General Assembly of proposed amendments to the federal Constitution is in conflict with article 5 of the Constitution of the United States. […] Plainly and obviously, the subject of an Article V Convention is not brought up, outside of its quotation with the rest of the article.
    False.
    • In Hawke v. Smith, 253 U.S. 221 (1920), the Supreme Court stated: “The framers of the Constitution realized that it might in the progress of time and the de-velopment of new conditions require changes, and they intended to provide an orderly manner in which these could be accomplished; to that end they adopted the fifth article. This article makes provision for the proposal of amendments either by two-thirds of both houses of Congress or on application of the Legislatures of two-thirds of the states; thus securing deliberation and consideration before any change can be proposed. … The fifth article is a grant of authority by the people to Congress. The determination of the method of ratification is the exercise of a national power specifically granted by the Constitution; that power is conferred upon Congress, and is limited to two methods, by the action of the Legislatures of three-fourths of the states, or conventions in a like number of states. The framers of the Constitution might have adopted a different method. Ratification might have been left to a vote of the people, or to some authority of government other than that selected. The language of the article is plain, and admits no doubt in its interpretation.” It is not the function of courts or legislative bodies, national or state, to alter the method which the Constitution has fixed.”

    Again, it is very clear in Hawke v. Smith, 253 U.S. 221 (1920) that “The language of the article is plain and admits no doubt in its interpretation.”
    All the spin in the world won’t change the facts, and it won’t change Article V.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: It is this exploitation of what might be technically true about what the words in the Constitution that Wright v. United States concerns itself with.
    Still trying to twist things around, eh?
      FROM: U.S. Supreme Court, WRIGHT v. UNITED STATES, 302 U.S. 583,588 (1938), … appreciate its plain significance. The reference to the Congress is manifestly to the entire legislative body consisting of both Houses. Nowhere in the Constitution are the words ‘the Congress’ used to describe a single House. … To disregard such a deliberate choice of words and their natural meaning would be a departure from the first principle of constitutional interpretation. ‘In expounding the Constitution of the United States,’ said Chief Justice Taney in Holmes v. Jennison, 14 Pet. 540, 570, 571, 614, ‘every word must have its due force, and appropriate meaning; for it is evident from the whole instrument, that no word was unnecessarily used, or needlessly added. The many discussions which have taken place upon the construction of the constitution, have proved the correctness of this proposition; and shown the high talent, the caution, and the foresight of the illustrious men who framed it. Every word appears to have been weighed with the utmost deliberation, and its force and effect to have been fully understood.’ See, also, Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee, 1 Wheat. 304, 333, 334; Ogden v. Saunders, 12 Wheat. 213, 316; Myers v. United States, 272 U.S. 52, 151, 47 S.Ct. 21, 37; Williams v. United States, 289 U.S. 553, 572, 573 S., 53 S.Ct. 751, 757.
    As can clearly be seen above in WRIGHT v. UNITED STATES, 302 U.S. 583,588 (1938), it was quoting a statement by Chief Justice Taney in a different case: Holmes v. Jennison, 14 Pet. 540, 570, 571, 614.

    There is nothing there that proves Article V is to be interpreted where “whenever” means “whenever contemporaneously” and/or “for proposing amendments” means “for proposing same-subject amendments”.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: As for Literal meaning? That takes us to Sprague. Sprague does say that it’s plain in its meaning and requires no rules of construction to puzzle out what it means. It also goes on to say that the Constitution was written in plain, not technical language, meant to be interpreted by voters. So what’s the plainest interpretation of a two thirds majority, a happenstance accumulation, or a uniting of states in concurrent political action? Literalism does not necessarily lend itself to a plain, rightful interpretation of the law.
    Again, it is very clear.
    • In United States v. Sprague, 282 U.S. 716 (1931), the Supreme Court stated: “The United States asserts that article 5 is clear in statement and in meaning, contains no ambiguity, and calls for no resort to rules of construction. A mere reading demonstrates that this is true. It provides two methods for proposing amendments. Congress may propose them by a vote of two-thirds of both houses, or, on the ap-plication of the legislatures of two-thirds of the States, must call a convention to propose them.”
    Again, the Supreme Court states specifically with regard to “article 5 is clear in statement and in meaning, contains no ambibuity”.

    If it is clear, then no reconstruction is required.
    Reconstruction requires clarification when ambiguity exists.
    And even if ambiguity existed, it would fall under the general rules of “legal construction” (see below).

    All your theories are simply more re-interpretations and very weak claims to cloud the issues and ignore the very “plain and obvious”, “clear and disticnt”, “clear in statement and in meaning”, and “contain no ambiguity”.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: You keep on invoking parts of these decisions that reference Article V and its strict construction, but you fail to answer one question: Why is your interpretation the strict construction? You haven’t found any evidence as far as I can see that the framers intended things to happen this way.
    Again, the langauge of Article V is perfectly clear, the Supreme Court has stated the same several times, the creative re-interpretations are comical, and the argument that it must be OK since Congress is successfully violating it makes about as much sense as Congress violating other parts of the Constitution. Just because a law is violated does not change the meaning of the law.

    Again, it’s not my interpretation.
    The meaning does not require any interpretation or any reconstruction.
    Courts have, over time, established general rules of “legal construction” or interpretation when reviewing legal documents.
    When ambiguities exist, the general rules of the court are to interpret the language literally without construction.
    To interpret “whenever” as “whenever contemporaneously” requires construction; it requires new words that change the meaning drastically.
    To interpret “for proposing amendments” as “for proposing same-subject amendments” requires construction; it requires new words that change the meaning drastically.
    Such construction goes against the many statements below about interpretation and it goes against the general rules of the court of “legal construction” or interpretation when reviewing legal documents.
    One of these general rules is that if there is an ambiguity within a document:

      • U.S. v. Classic, 313 U.S. 299 (1941): “Where there are several possible meanings of the words of the constitution, that meaning which will defeat rather than effectuate the constitutional purpose cannot rightly be preferred.”

      • Ogden v. Saunders, 25 U.S. 213 (1827): “Where provision in United States Constitution is unambiguous and its meaning is entirely free from doubt, the intention of the framers of the constitution cannot be inquired into, and the supreme court is bound to give the provision full operation, whatever might be the views entertained of its expediency.”

      • Wright v. U.S., 302 U.S. 583 (1938): “In expounding the Constitution, every word must have its due force and appropriate meaning.”

      • Prigg v Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 41 U.S. 539 (1842): “[The] Court may not construe Constitution so as to defeat its obvious ends when another construction, equally accordant with the words and sense thereof, will enforce and protect them.”

      • Jarrolt v. Moberly, 103 U.S. 580 (1880): “A constitutional provision should not be construed so as to defeat its evident purpose, but rather so as to give it effective operation and suppress the mischief at which it was aimed.”

      • Ullmann v. U.S., 350 U.S. 422 (1956): “Nothing new can be put into the constitution except through the amendatory process, and nothing old can be taken out without the same process.”

      • Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee, 14 U.S. 304 (1816): “Where the text of the constitution is clear and distinct, no restriction on its plain and obvious import should be admitted unless the inference is irresistible.”

      • In re: Tonnage Tax Cases, 79 U.S. 204 (1870): “Courts cannot add any new provisions to the constitution by construction.”

      • Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee, 14 U.S. 304 (1816): “Words of [the] Constitution are to be taken in natural and obvious sense, and not in sense unreasonably restricted or enlarged.”

      • U.S. v Sprague, 282 U.S. 716 (1931): “Where intention of words and phrases used in Constitution is clear, there is no room for construction and no excuse for interpolation.”

      • Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803): “It cannot be presumed that any clause in the constitution is intended to be without effect.”

      • Ullmann v. U.S., 350 U.S. 422 (1956): “As no constitutional guarantee enjoys preference, so none should suffer subordination or deletion.”

      • Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee, 14 U.S. 304 (1816): “The government of the United States can claim no powers which are not granted to it by the Constitution.”

    What requires a LOT of explaining, contorting, reaching and stetching is the clever re-interpretations that attempt to re-interpret “whenever” as “whenever contemporaneously” and/or “amendments” as “same-subject amendments”.
    And then attempting the lame argument that it must be OK since no one has challenged it.
    And then attempting the lame argument that the Supreme Courts statements mean something else; more re-interpretations.
    All the spin in the world won’t change the facts, and it won’t change Article V.
    You still have shown no law that trumps Article V of the Constitution.
    You still have shown nothing that refutes the Supreme Court’s statements (e.g. “plain and obvious”, “clear and disticnt”, “clear in statement and in meaning”, and “contain no ambiguity”).
    You still have shown nothing to refute the statements about construction and interpretation of Article V and other parts of the Constitution.
    And there are a number of persons in this thread alone that do not agree with your re-interpretations.

    But it is interesting to watch the creative attempts to spin new constructions (re-interpretations) on Article V and other Supreme Court statements.

    Posted by: d.a.n at November 6, 2007 5:41 PM
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