I was trying to find a URL to the lessons in American history that Glenn Beck had put on TV for about a year before he went off the Fox News Channel (and was replaced by The Five) in 2011 or so. Glenn Beck’s own website is useless in that regard, and my wife told me to look on Wallbuilders, the website of David Barton who was Glenn Beck’s authority for those great lectures and flowcharts.
In the process I found this page:
In general it supports the position advocating such a convention, and I might even consider it to be persuasive — except for some glaring logical errors that it too fails to consider or answer:
1. In light of the magical ability of Congress to dump 2-3 thousand page bills on the desk, the very day when they announce they might take up an issue, what makes even David Barton think that after decades of angling for a constitutional convention the liberals would NOT already have a draft ready for a new one?
Of COURSE they do — just like they had Sarbanes-Oxley, NCLB, Common Core, Frank-Dodd, the bail-out bills, 0bamacare, ESSA and many others ready to go, fully written, with no congressman needing to bother with reading, let alone writing or even revising them in committee.
2. How can anyone assume that every single one of the 34 States needed to call a constitutional convention would pass identical resolutions with identical instructions and identical controls over their delegates, and enforce them with identical strictness if they stray?
3. How can anyone expect to enforce the instruction that a constitutional convention make amendments to THIS Constitution, rather than propose a new one? Where is the line drawn between editing, revising, rewriting, and replacing?
4. The Constitution itself contains no such guidelines and apparently nothing that the Founders have left for us as potential or actual instructions contains such guidelines. They did NOT place limitations on the extent to which anyone, including a convention of States, can amend the original Constitution. They themselves did NOT define how much you can amend it before it is no longer recognizable as anything related to the original one.
5. In light of the 27 amendments that have already passed and the ten thousand that have been proposed (according to this Wallbuilders article), each of which changes the original Constitution in ways sometimes trivial and often drastic, what makes anyone think that a constitutional convention would NOT just edit the hell out of the Constitution, line by line, until it is an unrecognizable mess?
6. The safeguard, the proponents claim, is the constitutional provision that 3/4ths of the States have to approve an amendment. But…
What if the very FIRST amendment that a constitutional convention would propose is that only a simple majority of the States who even bother to take up the issue at all is all that is needed to adopt it and any subsequent amendment? At the very least you’d have a prolonged court fight on your hands, deciding whether THIS amendment has to be approved by 3/4ths according to the old Constitution or by the simple majority according to the proposed amendment.
By the way, the requirement for passing an amendment, as I proposed — mockingly — above, fully conforms with how we decide elections for political office:
- Of all the people eligible to vote by virtue of citizenship and residence, only a fraction bother to register as voters.
- Of those, only a fraction actually bother to show up to vote.
- And of those, some vote for one or another candidate — and as we see in the GOP primaries, the “winner” among the many candidates is the one who gets the most votes, which in terms of the actual numbers may be no more than a few percent of the people who are eligible to vote.
(I would very much like to see a constitutional amendment that says that the result of any vote by the people is valid only if the winner gets 50%+1 of all people eligible to vote by virtue of citizenship and residence.)
The only safeguard on a constitutional convention is the good sense of the people, based on full understanding of devotion to the original design. HOWEVER, at this time when
(1) about half the country is totally ga-ga over Bernie the life-long socialist and Hillary the life-long commie opportunist who is certain to be the Democrat*ic* nominee for President, and
(2) in at least half if not more of the “red” States, the “Republican” governor, legislature, or both, are RINOs (as in Nevada…),
how can we take a chance on a convention of States staying true to the original intent and design of the Constitution?
Today very few “experts,” judges and scholars — let alone elected officials, potential delegates they might choose to participate in a convention of States, or the people in general — can demonstrate even a minimal understanding of the Constitution, and certainly a large number of them (such as Democrats, RINOs and “compassionate conservatives”) regularly demonstrate open hostility to it. Under such conditions, I continue to be of the opinion that a constitutional convention is NOT a good idea. It’s far better and far more efficient to elect the right candidates for President and Congress. If and when that happens, THEN you might want to call a convention of States to cement the hard-won gains.
From Hillsdale College: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhzgA_k6XrE