The country’s distrust of the federal government is not a new sentiment. For decades, massive spending and unchecked powers of the White House and Congress have put a strain on our economy and pocketbooks. Not only has the bureaucracy gotten more powerful, but also more politicized. While Eagle Forum shares the frustrations and tirelessly works to mend the divisive nature of our national politics, one naïve “solution” continues to be advocated in both the states and in Congress: an Article V Constitutional Convention (Con-Con), also known as a Convention of the States (COS) or a Convention for Proposing Amendments (CPA).
Amendments to the Constitution that would push Congress to balance the federal budget, place term limits on lawmakers, and require identification to vote sound appealing. As pro-life, pro-family conservatives, we would love to see the right to life of all Americans and the sanctity of traditional marriage be enshrined in our Constitution. Advocates of a Convention of the States claim that because Republicans control thirty state legislatures, getting two-thirds of the states (34 states total) to agree on good policies is not only achievable but worth the risk of calling a new Constitutional Convention via this never-before-used mechanism in Article V. However, the dangers are much more real than the hopes and dreams of misguided conservatives who believe they can control the process and outnumber those who disdain our current Constitution.
Liberals are also proponents of a Constitutional Convention because, to no one’s surprise, they have their own agenda. Issues we have fought against such as abortion, gender ideology, universal healthcare, federal control of elections, open borders, and Green New Deal policies are on the list of Democrat priorities if a Con-Con were to be held. The left has sought to erase women and the preborn for fifty years by trying to pass the Equal Rights Amendment into the Constitution which originally was messaged as a “women’s rights” issue but has been expanded to a “transgenders’ rights” issue. These topics could very well enter the arena of a Con-Con because Article V leaves the procedures and agenda up to the ones who will be chosen to participate – not necessarily those on the right who have been advocating the loudest for such a convention.
If this sounds like it would lead to political chaos, you’re right! Eagle Forum Founder Phyllis Schlafly sounded the alarm about the consequences of a run-away convention as early as 1984. After she wrote to the then Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger about this topic in 1988, he responded with:
There is no effective way to limit or muzzle the actions of a Constitutional Convention. After a Convention is convened, it will be too late to stop the Convention if we don’t like its agenda.
Recently, a Congressional Republican introduced a resolution that calls for a Con-Con. Representative Jodey Arrington (R-TX)’s H.Con.Res 101 calls for the Archivist of the United States to set a date and time of a Convention of the States within 180 days of the passage of the resolution. While the resolution mentions in a “whereas” clause the problem of the nation’s out-of-control debt, it does not specifically require a Balanced Budget Amendment be part of the agenda. In fact, the language leaves open the agenda to multiple amendments. Moreover, there have been almost 200 Balanced Budget amendments introduced in the Congress since 1979. Surely if public support for such an amendment were strong enough, at least one of these amendments would have been sent to the States for ratification by now! The truth is that this resolution is a “trigger” resolution that would immediately set in motion a dangerous and uncontrollable Constitutional Convention that will put our system of government at grave risk.
The last Con-Con occurred in 1787. If a Constitutional Convention went south, could we afford to wait another 235 years to correct the left’s insertions into the Constitution?
Phyllis Schlafly was not afraid to disagree with both Democrats and Republicans on this issue. She frequently educated lawmakers and the public on the problems of a Con-Con. Our Nevada Eagle Forum President Janine Hansen has continued that work on both the state and federal levels. Check out the resources they have created on our website here.
Join us at Eagle Council 50 in St. Louis on September 24-25th, 2022 to hear Professor William Woodruff, Nevada Eagle Janine Hansen, and Utah Eagle Gayle Ruzicka discuss The Potential Dangers of an Article V Constitutional Convention. Eagle Forum will continue to oppose all calls for an Article V Constitutional Convention/Convention of the States/Convention for Proposing Amendments and will alert you if H.Con.Res 101 begins to move through Congress.