Third Party & Independents Archives

Article V Convention: No Reason to Fear Liberals (or Conservatives)

In my many efforts to educate Americans about their constitutional right to have an Article V convention I have regularly encountered the fear that liberals would control the convention and produce awful results. Let me carefully make the case why this fear is completely unjustified and why patriotic Americans that are not constitutional hypocrites should support the nonpartisan effort of Friends of the Article V Convention.

An Article V convention is too important to oppose. If you love and respect the Constitution, then the honorable thing to do is support our efforts to make Congress obey the Constitution and give us the first convention. After all, the Founders and Framers knew that inevitably Americans would lose trust in their creation of a strong central, federal government. So they gave us the convention option and, with one exception, gave the power to run the convention to the states. That one exception was that they required Congress call or convene the convention once the one and only specified requirement in Article V was satisfied. With some 750 applications from all 50 states, that two-thirds of states requirement has long been met. Members of Congress have disobeyed the Constitution and their oath of office to uphold it.

Face facts; face the truth, face history: Partisan political interests on the left and right have consistently opposed a convention for the simple reason that they fear a convention of state delegates with the power to propose constitutional amendments (that must still be ratified) that might reduce the power wielded by partisan politicians.

Nowadays, I often hear the fear that Speaker Pelosi would use her power to do awful things if a convention was convened. Nonsense, absolute nonsense with no merit whatsoever. I challenge anyone to find any evidence that Pelosi favors having the first Article V convention. Second, everyone must constantly be reminded that state legislatures would decide how to select their delegates to a convention. To think that Democrats and liberals would be able to manipulate delegate selection in a majority of states is also sheer nonsense. Today, if you look at state legislators you see that the few who talk about the need for reformist constitutional amendments are almost always Republicans and conservatives.

Finally, the logic of this historic situation is simple: Rather than fear using our constitutional option of an Article V convention what intelligent and concerned Americans should fear is the two-party plutocracy status quo that has ignored and manipulated our Constitution to wreck havoc and pain on our Republic. Every conceivable organized interest that is able to manipulate the political system to get what they want, especially corporate interests, fear a convention. What they fear is what we the people urgently need: true political reforms that will never come from a permanently corrupt Congress, neither through ordinary laws or proposed constitutional amendments.

I also recognize that many people on the left most likely think that far right conservatives would ultimately control a convention, but that belief is equally irrational, because they have a really small fraction of the population addicted to their nonsense.

In sum, if you remain, for whatever reason, totally opposed to an Article V convention, then I suggest you:

a) are a constitutional hypocrite (assuming you profess a positive view of the US Constitution) because you think that individuals and Congress and pick and choose which parts of the Constitution must be obeyed

b) favor keeping the current two-party plutocracy status quo with the worst (most successful politicians) in power

c) are so jaded and cynical that they do not believe that there are many millions of smart, patriotic Americans (neither Democrats or Republicans) who really want true political reforms that they know will not come from the corrupt Congress and who would work to ensure that state legislatures did not corrupt the convention process

d) may be living with the delusional fantasy that some third party will magically obtain power, win elections and reform the federal government, but not the Green Party or the Libertarian Party have shown any ability to be successful for federal elections, nor will any new one stand a chance until we reform the political system

e) have given up on demanding that states exert their constitutional powers

f) or all of the above

If none of these fit you, then go to the website foavc.org of Friends of the Article V Convention, which is the only place where citizens can actually find and read the hundreds of state applications for a convention (Congress was too fearful to ever make them readily available), and then become a member of our group. With more members our efforts will be taken more seriously.

Posted by Joel S. Hirschhorn at November 22, 2009 12:47 PM
Comments
Comment #291304

Good article Joel. IMO there is absolutely no reason for negative feelings relative to AVC. How anyone could think of a subversive element in a proposal requiring ratification by two-thirds of the State Houses is beyond me. The people are plenty smart enough to support appropriate proposals that are relative to our system of government. Currently people just look bad as our government is owned by the Corpocracy and the people are just bystanders in the process of government. I’ve no doubt that if citizens are afforded their constitutional right to participate in AVC good law would result.
However, I do wish to take exception to d)
“d) may be living with the delusional fantasy that some third party will magically obtain power, win elections and reform the federal government, but not the Green Party or the Libertarian Party have shown any ability to be successful for federal elections, nor will any new one stand a chance until we reform the political system”

No party should come to the forefront unless they offer something to the voter. It’s beyond stupid to support a vanilla third party startup and expect anything different than we have with the duopoly now. A viable third party MUST give the voter solid assurance that the new party will put accountability for elected/appointed politicians into the political equation. A new party must present a reform agenda that would restore our constitution, our sovereignty and the democratic principles we live by (I stole that cliché from you by the way). And, a new party must be founded in some rules that are nigh unchangeable (66% majority vote) to prevent the party from ever being co-opted by the money influence. No party should ever see the light of day unless they offer that much to the voter. We dearly need a party that can put accountability into the political equation, carry out reform of government and keep it that way. ANYTHING less should be rejected on its face. Let’s stop looking for a Sara or Obama figure to save the world and start working on a third party that can be used to defeat the corruptive influence and bring badly needed reform. And, let’s support Article V Convention, a Constitutional right being denied.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at November 22, 2009 2:35 PM
Comment #291306

Considering that liberals created our current Constitution, I doubt there is much to fear from liberals if an Article V Convention were held. Conservatives only make up 40% of the population, so I doubt they would be able to seize control of a such a Constitution.

Joel, I was wondering, has there been an instance of at least 34 out of the 50 states applying for an Article V Convention in a two-year period (a single session of Congress)? The folks at FOVAC show that two-thirds of the states applied with in a 7 year period, but I’d like to know what the shortest interval that has ever happened in which 34 states applied for a convention. (I’m assuming 50 states in the union of course, so any instances prior to the admission of AK and HI with less states would still count if they are 2/3 of the Union).

Posted by: Warped Reality at November 22, 2009 3:54 PM
Comment #291307
Let me carefully make the case why this fear is completely unjustified and why patriotic Americans that are not constitutional hypocrites should support the nonpartisan effort of Friends of the Article V Convention.

As opposed to the patriotic Americans who are constitutional hypocrites?

To be a hypocrite, you must say one thing, but through your actions indicate something else.

I have said, consistently, that I believe the constitution calls for thirty four or more states to agree in concert for the convention to go forward.

An Article V convention is too important to oppose. If you love and respect the Constitution, then the honorable thing to do is support our efforts to make Congress obey the Constitution and give us the first convention.

Too important to oppose? Everybody believes that about something. I believe healthcare reform is too important to oppose. Even so, a bill must go through Congress’s rules, and be passed constitutionally.

It is poor argumentation, then, when speaking about an Article Five Convention, where agreement of two-thirds of the states is called for, prior to the calling of the convention, to say that we must do this because you think it’s too important to oppose. That doesn’t enter into it.

I love and respect the constitution, and disagree with your interpretation, which in turn compels me to strongly disagree with your argument.

I believe Congress already obeys the Constitution in this, so it need not be asked to do any more.

After all, the Founders and Framers knew that inevitably Americans would lose trust in their creation of a strong central, federal government.

Care to show me where that is written? Truth is, some never trusted it at all. And some trusted it above all other things. The variation was regional, and one thing the framers and founders were on guard against was one group of states revising the agreement to favor themselves. The constitution was a compromise between different regions, with different land areas and different populations. The Framers did a lot of balancing out of such interests.

I believe the high thresholds, as Hamilton would later say, would require such efforts at Amendment or at a Constitutional convention be aimed at the general interest, not merely the interest of a few states. It would have been awful hard of this threshold to have any teeth, if we did things Joel’s way, since there were so few states to start with. I don’t think the federalists, the folks who favored the adoption of this document, intended for the amendment process to be a happenstance occurence of addition.

Everywhere else where they ask for a threshold, they’re asking for a considerable consensus before a power is granted, or put into action. This was required for a veto override, and it’s required for the twin brother of the convention clause. Why, with similar language, is such a real consensus not required for the convention method? After all, the states will have to attend this darn thing, they might as well be in better than majority agreement that it’s necessary, or otherwise it’s not going to move things anywhere anyways.

So they gave us the convention option and, with one exception, gave the power to run the convention to the states. That one exception was that they required Congress call or convene the convention once the one and only specified requirement in Article V was satisfied. With some 750 applications from all 50 states, that two-thirds of states requirement has long been met. Members of Congress have disobeyed the Constitution and their oath of office to uphold it.

Yeah, I remember looking at your applications and finding recissions (in other words, people saying “disregard the convention calls”), duplications, among other things.

Funny thing, this build up. It could only happen if it never occured to any state that its rights were being trampled on. Maybe they, too, believe that the threshold has to more or less be met together, by the willing agreement of States in common purpose. You’re tilting at windmills for an ungrateful set of damsels in distress.

Nowadays, I often hear the fear that Speaker Pelosi would use her power to do awful things if a convention was convened. Nonsense, absolute nonsense with no merit whatsoever. I challenge anyone to find any evidence that Pelosi favors having the first Article V convention. Second, everyone must constantly be reminded that state legislatures would decide how to select their delegates to a convention. To think that Democrats and liberals would be able to manipulate delegate selection in a majority of states is also sheer nonsense. Today, if you look at state legislators you see that the few who talk about the need for reformist constitutional amendments are almost always Republicans and conservatives.

I’m not certain how Congress would do this, because the constitution is vague on just who sets up what. Congress could conceivably take the requirement that it convene a constitutional convention to imply, under the necessary and proper clause, that Congress had the power to organize this their way, under their authority.

But I don’t think it’s sheer nonsense to believe that we would see a strong Democratic Party presence in the Delegation, given the majority of state houses and governors mansions the Democrats hold. And I’m not sure that the Constitution would have it any other way. After all, these delegates should reflect the legislatures that asked for the convention. That’s the point of a convention.

What they fear is what we the people urgently need: true political reforms that will never come from a permanently corrupt Congress, neither through ordinary laws or proposed constitutional amendments.

The thing that concerns me is that you’re so quick to paint this as the easier option. It’s not, and it shouldn’t be. There is not constitutional amendment that can prevent corruption absolutely. You can’t logically rule it out. It takes vigilance, and it takes a sense that the government belongs to you, that any claim that the corporations might have on our government is a claim that only we could have given them, and that we have the full right to take away.

When we convince ourselves that we have no other options we do a lot of the work of those people for them.

In sum, if you remain, for whatever reason, totally opposed to an Article V convention, then I suggest you…

Honestly, Article V debates aside, you think that anybody actually reads that and goes, “oh gee, if I don’t agree with him, I must be like that!”?

In truth, nobody’s going to say that. Your reader has to be a willing collaborator in their own conversion, and if they’re that close to the threshold, you don’t need to push them with your kind of rhetoric.

It is easier for a political commentator to draw people to their natural inclinations than push them to move against their beliefs.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 22, 2009 4:00 PM
Comment #291330

Is it the applications that call the convention, or the state governments? Are we asking the opinion of the state goverments, or of bills passed decades ago?

Whose authority holds here?

FOAVC takes an approach that takes two similar clauses, two parallel clauses set as alternatives, and interprets each radically different from the other in a way that the text does not justify. Why, I ask, is the two-thirds requirement of the Senate and House seen as something that must be surmounted all at once, in the congressional method, while the convention method is counted individually, accumulating without regard to years, or the current political consensus of that state?

What justifies such a radical difference in interpretation?

The purpose of requiring the high proportion of the states to be joined together is plain if we look at the Constitution’s ratification itself. A high threshold was set for that, too. And why? Because a simple majority was not enough. We could not have a country half in favor of the constitution, and half not. A larger number was needed, because for this to work, for the constitution to have legitimacy, the charter, and all its amendments had to be the work of the vast majority of the states, an agreement agreed to in common, and revised in common, rather than changed according to the whims of a bare majority or worse, a strategic minority.

To some, this level of consensus is an unfair barrier to needed, desired reforms. To me, it is a necessity for preventing the kinds of tensions that come with the arbitrary exercise of power, tensions that can break and buckle the framework of our constitution.

The equilibrium of the Constitution comes from the fact that most of its provisions are the undisputed result of a majority push to change the nature of our government. We trust it because we know that it’s provisions are not the result of some tug of war, some power struggle between our modern partisans, but rather something only changed by the general agreement of the nation.

FOAVC underestimates the value of that. It takes the approach that the founding fathers somehow wanted, despite most of the evidence we have about what the framers said and put down, a constitution in perpetual revision. It takes the notion that somehow, states have, since colonial times, neglected this constitutional right, and that they are the ones to ride to the rescue.

Many others have felt as they do. There’s always somebody who thinks they are saving the country. But the real question, since this is a Republican and a Democracy, is do the rest of us believe they are right?

If enough of a movement comes together that two thirds of the states feel compelled to ask for a convention together, then a convention is warranted and needed. Otherwise, the constitution remains as it is, and the proponents of this are best advised to seek the less onerous solutions of winning elections and getting remedial legislation passed, as the framers intended to happen. Revision of the constitutions, with the high thresholds given, must have been seen as the last resort in the controversies of the affairs of our government, a solution of how to get generally desired change that the general public wants, but which the constitution impedes.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 22, 2009 7:59 PM
Comment #291331

I CAN count. The question is who represents the states, for the purpose of this convention call: defunct legislative delegations, or their current counterparts?

I hold with having this authority rest with those who can, in their current capacity as elected officials, make decisions on these matters here and now, who can, with the authority currently vested in them, give and withdraw their support.

I don’t think anything like this should be an automatic, inevitable thing, once a state has made a call. I don’t think we should count forever, because there are movements that go a certain distance, and then falter, and our processes of Democratic decision making should recognize that, rather than behaving as if all this deritus of political failure should just accumulate, like silt piling up behind a dam.

I think a state should be able to say, no, I don’t want a convention, after it’s made that call.

Oh, in summation, I think it should be an active political process that leads up to this, not a bureaucratic, blindly unrepresentative process that doesn’t even necessarily require two-thirds of the states to actually be interested in the Convention here and now.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 22, 2009 8:14 PM
Comment #291333

johnj@gmail.com

Have 2/3 of the states ever applied within a two year period/single congress?

Posted by: Warped Reality at November 22, 2009 8:32 PM
Comment #291360

johnj-
Afraid. Hmm. Interesting choice of words.

No, what motivates me is a sense that your interpretation is inconsistent with the obvious meaning, and more importantly, with the spirit of that section.

This is why you gain little ground with me by dumping these big numbers on me. The numbers that matter are the number of states here and now that support an Article V Convention.

I support this interpretation because it simplifies matters rather than complicates them. It provides a clear distinction between when support is sufficient, and when it is not. It expresses the current will of the legislatures, and leads to the convention primarily addressing current concerns of overwhelming importance to today’s citizens. It makes the calling of a constitutional convention a collective act of American political will.

It maintains the barrier against frivolous proposals of revision of the constitution that the two thirds proportion is obviously meant to maintain. It maintains a stable count of states necessary to call a convention. It will never be less than two thirds of the states, agreeing at once. We will never see a situation, under this interpretation, where a few strategic states can make a call, and drag the whole rest of the nation into a convention they don’t want.

Your intepretation throws much into doubt. It allows a quick shortcut to a convention I’m sure you believe is needed, but what will come of it?

I have a tendency to think things out, to figure out the ultimate implications. To me, your interpretation is a horror-show of non-representative action, with states that won’t have much will to give it their all to a process that the current government didn’t ask for. It opens the door to situations where a minority of the states are calling conventions to propose Amendments that the majority of Americans, the majority of states don’t want.

It makes a total mockery of the rules in the constitution that require consensus in order to make amendments. I think the framers envisioned equal difficult, since the methods have an identical threshold of two thirds. I don’t think the framers envisioned this as a never ending vote held until the desired result is attained, but a poll of the current authorities who wield power over their states.

So, I’m not afraid of anything. I’m simply repulsed by an interpretation that makes a mess of things, without fulfilling the spirit of the law.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 23, 2009 11:16 AM
Comment #291361

Stephen Daugherty does not know all the facts very well. But the facts will never get in the way of anyone’s rigid entrenched thinking. For example, do you know that one of the current amendments was ratified by states over a very, very long period, setting the precedent that there really are no time limits that should be legally imposed on the amendment process?
All legislatures take actions that carry forward in time unless later repealed; they are institutions with changing members; what the institutions do are not time limited for the most part.
I do agree that no sound arguments and facts can truly educate many Americans who, for whatever reasons, have made up their minds. You, however, seem to qualify very well for what I define as a constitutional hypocrite, because you seemingly negate the intention of the Founders/Framers in giving us the convention option - they wanted we the people to have some option to work around a federal government that no longer deserved our trust.

Posted by: Joel S. Hirschhorn at November 23, 2009 11:27 AM
Comment #291362

Yes I think so. I think Stephen Daugherty does not know the right way. So I am afraid about it.
Anyway thanks for your nice blog.
Have a nice time.
bye
ilona@israel

Posted by: ilona@israel at November 23, 2009 12:03 PM
Comment #291363

Johnj and Joel,

The 200 year precedent is for the ratification process, not the process of actually proposing the amendment, which I think is more closely related to a bill, which expires whenever we get a new Congress. That’s why I asked about the two year thing, I don’t know if two years is the correct interpretation or not, but if enough applications were collected with this constraint it would certainly bolster the case for Article V convention advocates.

If such a time constraint doesn’t apply, then the first thing an Article V convention should propose is an Amendment establishing such a constraint. It seems absurd that Massachusetts’ application for a right-to-life amendment thirty-two years ago would still be relevant. Political attitudes have changed greatly here and almost every politician that is not pro-choice is eliminated. The current application clearly does not reflect the desires of today’s voting population in Massachusetts. It would be wrong to hold a convention against the will of 1/3 of the states.

Posted by: Warped Reality at November 23, 2009 12:28 PM
Comment #291365

Joel Hirschhorn-
You will have to show me what fact makes a precedent concerning ratification apply to a clause concerning proposal.

I believe the choice of a convention should be left up to the present delegations of the states. I believe its a decision that they have to make together and should make together, because the threshold is set there for a reason.

Under your interpretation, since the calls accumulate and do not pass away, it can happen that a period of time can pass, and the fervor for a convention can die down in all but a few states, and then out of the blue one day, a distinct minority of states can trigger a convention simply by adding the number missing from the total.

I can point out a number of places where your interpretation does violence to the intent of the rules set down in Article V. First, it makes the two-thirds proportion a joke. Second, it does not truly respresent the intention of that two-thirds proportion, which is naturally to prevent anything less than that majority from calling the convention. Lastly, it disenfranchises all those state legislatures who are currently empowered to speak for their state in these matters.

Under my interpretation, the states retain their rights, their power to determine what is happening right now with the charter they are all pledged to.

Under yours, States that have long since changed their political opinions can be drawn into fights they’ve long changed sides on, into a convention that they themselves, as they currently are, did not ask for.

Your interpretation simply doesn’t care what the people or the legislature of a state want now. It only cares about the formality of their previous calls.

Has it entered your mind that the states have never taken this matter up themselves for a reason? That those current legislatures want to be the ones with the say on calling these conventions, not be saddled with the legacies of their predecessors?

You, however, seem to qualify very well for what I define as a constitutional hypocrite, because you seemingly negate the intention of the Founders/Framers in giving us the convention option - they wanted we the people to have some option to work around a federal government that no longer deserved our trust.

No, I may fit your definition, but that seems to be less than a coincidence, given the lengths you’ve gone to tailor-make it for me.

I am no hypocrite. I believe what I believe honestly, and I stick to my points, not out of some desperation, but out of a sincere belief that your interpretation is dreadfully wrong.

I wish for the states to have the option of working around a federal government that no longer considers the state’s needs and desires. Your interpretation, though, would effectively do little better, because it doesn’t ask todays states, today’s people, the folks who have that current stake in things what they want. To you, they are irrelevent to two hundred years of previous political legacies.

Your interpretation does not measure it’s proportion from one current survey of the the will of the states, but rather a cross section of delegations that often will no longer reflect the will of the states as they are now.

My interpretation keeps the call and the will of its state clear and present, and together as one. If it’s a convention that thirty-four states want, its one they shall have. I don’t oppose that. I merely oppose an interpretation that muddles the water and does violence to the intention of the thresholds and the consensus requirements they reflect.

If you want to name call me, heck, even call me the Anti-Christ for my disagreement, be my guest, but be assured, it’s not some character deficiency that leads me to disagree with you.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 23, 2009 1:00 PM
Comment #291394

Stephen,

I’m curious why you’re still trying. You laid out your position over several well-thought and well-laid-out posts, and Joel’s response was just this:

I do agree that no sound arguments and facts can truly educate many Americans who, for whatever reasons, have made up their minds. You, however, seem to qualify very well for what I define as a constitutional hypocrite

Instead of debating you, discussing the controversy with you, or trying to show that your points were incorrect, he resorts to simple insult and the presumption of authority.

They are the exact same tactics we see in the 9/11 truther posts.

I know you’ve debated this topic dozens of times, and he’s never even acknowledged that you’d made substantive points. Why continue?

Posted by: LawnBoy at November 23, 2009 7:48 PM
Comment #291400

LawnBoy-
In the movie As Good as It Gets, the misanthropic Melvin Udall is confronted by a a bubbly blonde fan who wants to know how he writes women so well. The obnoxious Udall responds by saying “I take a man, and I take away reason, and accountability.”

Not that I share his opinion about women. However, sometimes when I read folks talking politics, that seems to be the two things missing from their approach to arguing with people. Reason, and accountability. People write things they’d probably not say to anybody’s face in polite society.

I’m not perfectly innocent of that, to be honest. But I feel it’s important that people’s beliefs be put to the test, and their beliefs laid out reasonably.

When people don’t do that, I feel it’s a good thing to hold them accountable, force them to unfold their reasoning myself. Too many people say too many crazy, dumb, or mean things and are simply not challenged on it.

I want to put pressure on those people to shape up, to encourage this country to remember its enlightenment roots, to once again celebrate the disciplines of rigorous thought, philosophy and logic.

Joel is welcomed to curse and rail against me. It serves my goals to be the reasonable voice among the unreasonable.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 23, 2009 8:27 PM
Comment #291408

Stephen,

I, for one, appreciate your calm voice. You and David both seem, at times, to have the patience of Job.

Posted by: gergle at November 23, 2009 8:51 PM
Comment #291417
The purpose of requiring the high proportion of the states to be joined together is plain if we look at the Constitution’s ratification itself. A high threshold was set for that, too. And why? Because a simple majority was not enough. We could not have a country half in favor of the constitution, and half not. A larger number was needed, because for this to work, for the constitution to have legitimacy, the charter, and all its amendments had to be the work of the vast majority of the states, an agreement agreed to in common, and revised in common, rather than changed according to the whims of a bare majority or worse, a strategic minority.

To some, this level of consensus is an unfair barrier to needed, desired reforms. To me, it is a necessity for preventing the kinds of tensions that come with the arbitrary exercise of power, tensions that can break and buckle the framework of our constitution.

Stephen,

I thought you were for just ignoring the limits on the constitution for such weighty important things and bemoan even a 60 vote requirement in the Senate?

I am SERIOUSLY perplexed. I agree completely with you statement here. How it matches up with forcing people to buy healthcare and 2000 page rewrites and control of a private industry… Again, just at a loss.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 23, 2009 9:43 PM
Comment #291435

tom-
Time Limit? Subject limit?

It’s more like a limit on authority.

We don’t count the votes of politicians who lost elections last year towards votes on current matters.

Look the question is, who participates in these conventions? Well, the current state governments will have a role in that. Not the previous delegations, the ones at work now. The ones the voters elected to fulfill such duties.

It should be they who has the power to make that decision, here and now. This has the advantage of integrating the will to have the convention, with petitions of the states that come together to make that request of Congress.

I think that’s what you folks miss: there’s more to the legitimacy of the interpretation than whether you can fit it to the literal words in front of you. The two thirds threshold was obviously set up to make this this a matter of the political will of the states, not an abstract matter of time. Under your interpretation, there’s no stopping it, because eventually the right number builds. But by the time you have that number, how many states really want it? How many of them are really dissatisfied with the Consitution as it is now?

I think it defeats the purpose of the provision in the constitution, if you create a system where the will of the states is irrelevant to the process of calling a convention. Thats what your interpretation does wrong. We should only have a convention if thirty-four states are in real agreement on the matter.

Then the question is how you measure it. My method measures it rather simply, but in a way that filters out legacy votes that no longer represent the current will of the states.

Harold-
Do you have anything constructive to add to this debate? Just asking.

Henry-
Does a person have a right to respond to personal attacks, or must they leave themselves without defense?

Rhinehold-
The constitution explicitly calls for a two thirds consensus on both methods of proposing amendments. It does not make the same call about filibusters. In fact, filibusters are only constitutional because Congress is allowed to make its own rules. Otherwise, there is no constitutional right for a minority to obstruct the majority when it doesn’t like the agenda of the majority.

As for your other claims of constitutionality? If the supreme court does not treat it as unconstitutional, your argument is merely abstract legal philosophy, and need not be treated as the binding law of the land.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 24, 2009 8:55 AM
Comment #291480
Otherwise, there is no constitutional right for a minority to obstruct the majority when it doesn’t like the agenda of the majority.

Have you ever read Federalist Paper #10 as well as Brutus and Cato’s responses?

Madison offers two ways to check majority factions: either prevent the “existence of the same passion or interest in a majority at the same time,” or render a majority faction unable to act.
Posted by: Rhinehold at November 24, 2009 1:01 PM
Comment #291481

BTW, you dismiss the hypocrisy I presented as not worthy of discussion, Stephen. How do those worse you wrote not apply to other areas of government? Does that sentiment just ‘disappear’ when the party you support gets into power?

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 24, 2009 1:03 PM
Comment #291493

Harold,

Sometimes the truth is a positive thing, sometimes it sucks. I’m not familiar with your posts on this site, so I have no comments about your comment. Thanks for the input, but you apparently aren’t very familiar with my posts.

David and I do at times disagree. Stephen and I more rarely. David was more right than I was concerning the economy several months ago. Stephen corrected my opinion of global warming. I learned some things from both of them. David banned me once. Respect and appreciation isn’t exactly brown nosing, but if you’d like to debate this, I’m more than willing.

Posted by: gergle at November 24, 2009 1:54 PM
Comment #291498

Rhinehold-
I would be helpful if you didn’t cite documents without relating their sources. It doesn’t endear me to your points of view when I’m forced to hunt for those things.

The matter of fact is that your quotations are from the wikipedia article about it. You should make people aware of that before you head on into your point.

One wonders, though, what Madison with his attitudes would have to say about the “Party of No”. He wasn’t saying that a party, working with partisan intent to get in the way of policy it doesn’t like from its rivals was a good thing. He was saying, perhaps erroneously, in retrospect, that the republican form of government, with the representatives rather than the direct democracy, would prevent such parties from coming together.

He was not writing approvingly of Parties creating gridlock. That was part of what he was arguing against. He was instead touting a more factionally diverse political system as the natural result of a democratic republic like ours.

As for any kind of hypocrisy on the matters of what is the legitimate use of power, I would say, it must be used in observance of people’s legal rights, under the constitution and the law, and in the case of the election of Congress, it should be expected that when people vote a majority even greater numbers on the next election around that they’re not kidding on their support of that party.

Did people elect 59 Democrats just to watch them sit around like lumps on a log? Keeping checks and balances on the majority in Congress is one thing. Actively and comprehensively ignoring that verdict of the voters to block anything and everything goes far beyond that kind of legitimate dissent. And Madison, who you site, does not favor a smaller cabal taking over the government.

I’m getting the feeling that you’re just justifying the kind of government that gets you what you want, the principles of those political machination ignored.

As for the page length of those bills? Bills are formatted wierdly. according to an Associated Press writer:

The bill passed by the House is 319,145 words. The Senate bill is 318,512 words, shorter than the House version despite consuming more paper. Various versions of Tolstoy’s novel are 560,000 to 670,000 words. Bush’s education act tallied more than 280,000 words.

By now, the full draft of Reid’s bill that had circulated in the corridors and landed so prominently on Republican desks has been published in the Congressional Record in the official and conventional manner.

The type is small and tight. No hernias will be caused by moving this rendering of the bill around. Unfurling it on the Capitol steps would not be much of a spectacle.

It’s 209 pages.

Let’s put our hands to our heads and find our fainting couches. It’s the size of a small novel.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 24, 2009 3:11 PM
Comment #291640

josh-
First, I am not a Vulcan. But second, your quotes are from a website where some guy took every cross word I uttered at him (there were quite a few with that particular commentor!) and quoted them free of context. The logic textbooks would call that card-stacking.

But I guess if you want to take the word of the fellow who got himself kicked off the site for his attacks on other commentors as to who is calm and who is not, be my guest.

marks-
Article V is fairly clear. But it doesn’t say what you want it to say. Fear doesn’t enter into it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 26, 2009 12:02 PM
Comment #291729

Americans have become too lazy to demand such a convention. As a whole we forgo our very critical thinking in favor or partisan “news” shows. Americans are more comfortable bitching and moaning than doing any of the leg work. Ironically, more people seem ready to take to the streets and start protesting than picking up their phones in droves and flooding their representatives offices with calls.

It’s easier to scream and yell than organize a petition…

People are interested in only a few constitutional rights; Guns and, well, thats it. Oh, and banning gay marriage!

If you ask a majority of Americans how they feel about such a convention, even after telling them it was designed into our constitution for such a case, most people would probably just wave it off as useless, a partisan power-grab, or look at you with the “deer-in-the-headlights look”.

Posted by: mike falino at November 30, 2009 12:18 PM
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