Who Needs a New Constitutional Convention? Those Who Wish to Redesign America's Political Architecture to Further Centralize Power May Have Their Way If We Succumb to the Calls for an Article V Constitutional Convention

By Hession, Gregory A. | The New American, June 7, 2010 | Go to article overview

Who Needs a New Constitutional Convention? Those Who Wish to Redesign America's Political Architecture to Further Centralize Power May Have Their Way If We Succumb to the Calls for an Article V Constitutional Convention


Hession, Gregory A., The New American


You have probably griped under your breath, 'There ought to be a law to stop these people," when confronted by a particularly noxious awl by a government agent. Because this is such a pervasive sentiment, liberty-minded persons are raising an increasing clamor to make some adjustments to the U.S. Constitution to more effectively rein in an ever-growing public sector that intrudes further into our lives, our families, and our pockets.

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Credible constitutional scholars are going so far as to push for a more drastic solution than the addition of u mere amendment 10 the Constitution, as we have done 27 times so far: They are pushing for a constitutional convention, which is the alternative method set forth in its Article V for making champs to the Constitution. This means of amending the Constitution, however, open?; up the entire document to potentially radical change. This danger exists not only because a constitutional convention cannot be limited in its scope, but also because it could be influenced and populated not just by those with whom we may agree, hut by the political, elites who favor a substantial expansion of the powers of government, and a limitation on the rights of citizens.

We must be very careful before we take such a precarious step. Though the Constitution admittedly is imperfect, it still made possible the greatest experiment in liberty the world has witnessed. Some advocates suggest that a constitutional convention could be restricted to proposing a single omnibus amendment to make several changes to the document, and then disband. However, the power to restrict n convention is not in the text of the Constitution, and if we start a convention, it could he hijacked by establishment, insiders. Those who want to make changes in accord with the Founders' intent to limit and separate government powers may instead inadvertently end up with a totally new and foreign system of government. If a single amendment is the goal, we can much more safely use the procedure already set out in Article V to propose such an amendment: to have Congress call for a new amendment.

But, some may ask, given the increasing assaults on liberty by government, wouldn't it be worth the risk of amending the Constitution to stop the adventures by government into areas in when it doesn't belong? The shore answer is. "No."

The real problem is not the Constitution itself; the real problem is that the Constitution is being systematically ignored, violated, and misinterpreted. The solution, therefore, must focus on gelling back to the Constitution, not "fixing" it However, when our own allies make such reasonable-sounding proposals to convene a constitutional convention, we should surely give them a thorough analysis. After considering The matter from every angle, The man or woman who value freedom must still say "no" to a constitutional convention. If will not fix what ails us.

The Key--Powers Versus Rights

The key to the analysis of why we should not amend the Constitution with a convention is understanding the difference between government powers and citizens' rights, and how the Constitution currently treats them--something not taught with any clarity in schools, even in law schools.

The U.S. Constitution enumerates the limited powers of the federal government, and makes them few and specific. It also specifically protects some rights in a "Bill of Rights" included in the first 10 amendments of the Constitution, but the protected rights are not limited merely to those that are listed.

What "powers" does the federal govern merit have under the U.S. Constitution? To professor types, government power is defined as a monopoly of force rind control in a particular geographic area. As a practical matter, government powers are things such as running courts of justice, coining money, defending the country, and taking the citizens. When the original slates adopted the Constitution, they delegated a small quantity of their own authority find power--and that of their inhabitants to a national government. …

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