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Saturday, July 13, 2024 - 10:13 AM


First Published in 1994


Support South Carolina Con Con Rescission Resolution H4273

ACT NOW: South Carolina General Assembly are attempting to pass a resolution to rescind every live application to Congress calling for a convention to propose amendments, under Article V of the Constitution, otherwise known as a federal constitutional convention (Con-Con).

House Joint Resolution 4273 (H.4273) is sponsored by Representative Steven Long (R-Spartanburg) and three other representatives. If enacted, it would rescind every live, or extant, application by the General Assembly for an Article V constitutional convention.

H.4273 declares:

The General Assembly of South Carolina shall rescind, repeal, cancel, nullify, and supersede to the same effect as if they had never been passed, any and all extant applications by the General Assembly to the Congress of the United States of America to call a convention to propose amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America, pursuant to the terms of Article V thereof, regardless of when or by which session or sessions of the General Assembly such applications were made and regardless of whether such applications were for a limited convention to propose one or more amendments regarding one or more specific subjects or purposes or for a general convention to propose an unlimited number of amendments upon an unlimited number of subjects. 

Notably, this would not be South Carolina’s first instance of rescinding previous Con-Con applications. In 2004, the General Assembly enacted H.3400. This resolution declared, in part:

[T]he Constitution of the United States of America has been amended many times in the history of this nation and may be amended many more times, without the need to resort to a constitutional convention, and has been interpreted for more than two hundred years and has been found to be a sound document which protects the lives and liberties of the citizens[.]

[T]here is no need for, rather, there is great danger in, a new constitution or in opening the Constitution to sweeping changes, the adoption of which would only create legal chaos in this nation and only begin the process of another two centuries of litigation over its meaning and interpretation.

Any Article V convention, no matter how well intentioned, could lead to a runaway convention and reverse many of the Constitution’s limitations on government power and interference. In other words, a Con-Con could accomplish the same goals that many of its advocates claim to be fighting against. As evidence, a 2016 Convention of States (COS) controlled simulation resulted in amendments massively increasing the federal government and expanding its spending powers.

Additionally, in the last years of his life, the late Justice Antonin Scalia stood opposed to an Article V convention. Asked about it in a 2015 interview, he remarked that “This is not a good century to write a constitution.” Furthermore, what kind of delegates would South Carolina send to such a convention? Constitutionalist conservatives or RINO Establishment moderates and liberals? 

On December 9, 2021, constitutionalist U.S. Representative Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), warning against a Con-Con, tweeted:

Show me a single state where Constitutionalists comprise a majority of the state legislature.

At this point in history, an Article V Convention of the States would be a disaster.

In 1979, then-U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona, correctly warned about an Article V convention:

If we hold a constitutional convention, every group in the country — majority, minority, middle-of-the-road, left, right, up, down — is going to get its two bits in and we are going to wind up with a constitution that will be so far different from the one we have lived under for 200 years that I doubt that the Republic could continue.

An Article V constitutional convention is unnecessary to protect individual liberty and limit the size and scope of government. If anything, a constitutional convention would more than likely undermine those protections and increase the size and scope of the federal government rather than impose any meaningful limitations on its jurisdiction, as the resolution purportedly seeks to accomplish.

The massive expansion of government and growing infringements on our liberties are not because of “problems” or “flaws” with the Constitution, but rather due to misinterpretation, wrongful application, or lack of enforcement altogether. If applied faithfully and accurately, in accordance with its original meaning, at least 80 percent of the federal government’s programs would likely be found unconstitutional. This fact negates any reason for convening an Article V convention today. The correct solution is constitutional enforcement, not a constitutional convention.

Rather than passing Article V convention applications, which risk a runaway convention threatening our God-given rights and individual liberty, the General Assembly should consider Article VI and nullify unconstitutional laws. 

Above all, urge your state representative and senator to support H.4273, rescind all Article V constitutional convention applications, and to consider nullification as a safe and constitutional means to limit government instead.