38.7 F
Monday, March 27, 2023
HomeIllinois NewsThorner: A Constitutional Convention would open an unresealable can of worms

Thorner: A Constitutional Convention would open an unresealable can of worms



5560307605_20d7d60de9_bBy Nancy Thorner - 

The Article V movement is a movement to try to change the U.S. Constitution, with the promised assurance that if we only change the Constitution, many of our nation's problems will be solved.

Others are convinced that holding a Constitutional Convention would create a complex, troublesome situation that would produce considerable subsequent problems. Similar to opening a can of worms that would be impossible to re-seal. 

Wisely, the Wisconsin General Assembly chose not to be a part of a growing and misguided conservative effort to open that problematic can.  

The first and only Constitutional Convention of 1787 was called to revise the ailing Articles of Confederation. However, the Convention soon abandoned the Articles, drafting a new Constitution with a much stronger national government. Nine states had to approve the Constitution before it could go into effect. After a long and often bitter debate, eleven states ratified the Constitution, which instituted a new form of government for the United State Article V of the U.S. Constitution gives states the power to call a Convention of States to propose amendments. It takes 34 states to call the convention and 38 to ratify any amendments that are proposed.

Read here the full text of Article V in our Constitution.

For the past 229 years, constitutional amendments have originated in Congress, where they need the support of two-thirds of both houses, and then the approval of at least three-quarters of the states.

How many Americans are even aware that a constitutional convention can be called, let alone that there would be no checks on its scope, or that the process to call one is well underway and being underwritten by some of the nation’s richest individuals?  The unknowns surrounding a constitutional would also pose an unacceptable risk, particularly in the current polarized political climate.

Can you even imagine who the delegates would be today?  How many Washingtons, Jeffersons, Madisons, etc., do we have now in politics? A convention of today would have communists, socialists, Marxists, and RINOS running the show.

As to changing the Constitution, this must happen for the New World Order to be established, as envisioned by billionaire George Soros and Democratic Socialists.

Right more active in pushing Constitutional Convention

Calls for a convention are coming from right and left, but more money, a stronger campaign structure, and national coordination is happening on the right. Conservatives who are pushing for an unprecedented Constitutional convention of the states under Article V say it is the only way to deal with the federal government’s overreach and ineptitude, seeing the move as the survival of the nation. 

The Convention of States campaign is led by Tea Party Patriots co-founder Mark Meckler and former U.S. Sens.Tom Coburn and Jim DeMint, R-SC.  DeMint is a former Heritage Foundation president. 

The campaign has garnered major endorsements from major conservative media personalities, elected officials, and special interest groups, including Senator Marco Rubio, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Senator Rand Paul, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Mark Levin, Sean Hannity, Charlie Kirk, Pete Hegseth, Allen West, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). 

Colburn, in speaking to an ALEC annual meeting in August of 2018 in New Orleans, told the assembly of mostly conservative state lawmakers: “We’re in a battle for the future of our country. We’re either going to become a socialist, Marxist country like western Europe, or we’re going to be free. As far as me and my family and my guns, I’m going to be free.”

The campaign is also well-funded. Its partnership with ALEC makes success that much more likely. No group in US history has been so successful at getting similar and sometimes nearly identical pieces of legislation passed in multiple states, often within a period of one or two legislative sessions by lobbying state legislatures.  According to Common Cause, “No group has been more influential” in promoting an Article V convention than ALEC.

The agenda

On the agenda for Convention of States is an amendment to require a balanced budget, term limits for congress, repealing the federal income tax and giving states the power to veto any federal law, supreme court decision or executive order with a three-fifths vote from the states.

Might the answer to the chaos in Washington already be in the Constitution?  Maybe nothing is wrong with our Constitution as it currently exists. The citizenry has just stopped caring about it and allowed government to run unchecked and unfettered by the document’s rules and principles.

What the Constitution needs is understanding. Every citizen used to be taught the Constitution. Today very few people know or care about it.

Andy Schlafly, Esq., submitted testimony to Wisconsin legislators

Andy Schlafly, Esq., submitted testimony against the so-called Convention of States" resolution (AJR77) to the Wisconsin Assembly Committee on Federalism and Interstate Relations on behalf of Eagle Forum of Southeast Wisconsin on Nov. 13, 2019.

The reasons Schlafly gave to reject the idea of AJR77 include the following:

1. An Article V convention cannot be limited in scope AJR77 calls for an Article V convention, but the wording of Article V does not allow limiting the scope of it.  The delegates themselves will propose amendments without any limitation under Article V.  Many scholars, such as the former Chief Justice of the United States Warren Burger, have emphasized that

There is no effective way to limit or muzzle the actions of a constitutional Convention. The Convention could make its own rules and set its own agenda. Congress might try to limit the Convention to one amendment or to one issue, but there is no way to assure that the Convention would obey. After a Convention is convened, it will be too late to stop the Convention if we don’t like its agenda. The meeting in 1787 ignored the limit placed by the Confederation Congress “for the sole and express purpose.” … A Constitutional Convention today would be a free-for-all for special interest groups, television coverage, and press speculation.

Our civil rights and liberties would be put at terrible risk by such an Article V convention, and calling for one is the wrong move at the wrong time, amid our current, highly politicized culture.  Once the floodgate is opened to this horrible idea, there is no way to contain it.

2.  It Would Not Be a “Convention of States,” but a Convention Called by Congress. An Article V convention is not a “convention of the States,” as AJR77 puts it.  Under Article V, it is Congress alone that would call an Article V convention.  California would have the most influence over a “convention of the States” because the Supreme Court requires that all representative bodies, other than the U.S. Senate, be based on population: “one man, one vote.”  AJR77 relies on a false hope by pretending that each state would have an equal vote.

The real name should be a “Convention called by Congress,” because that is what it would be under the Article V referenced by AJR77.  Changing its name to call it a “convention of the States” is nothing more than a euphemism and does not alter the fact that Congress alone makes the call.

The role of the States is merely to apply to Congress to call the convention.  The States cannot limit what Congress does, or what an Article V convention does.  Article V itself states that a constitutional convention shall be “for proposing amendments,” plural

Simply put, AJR77 would grant Congress more power to pursue mischief.  This would not be good for our Nation.

3. State legislatures cannot stop proposed amendments that would come out of a Convention of States. One of the biggest myths spread about the Convention of States is that the Constitution will be protected by the ordinary process requiring that 38 state legislatures must ratify any proposed amendments.  But that is not true.  State legislatures may not even be involved in the ratification process.

Article V of the Constitution permits a constitutional convention to create its own ratification process, using conventions in each state which bypass state legislatures. 

An Article V convention could even change the 3/4th requirement to amend the Constitution.  After all, if an Article V convention can change other provisions of the Constitution, then it might revise the requirements for ratification too.  The original Constitutional Convention changed the rules in place then for revising the Articles of Confederation.

4.  Our Constitution is not the problem, and it needs to be defended rather than criticized. Opening the door to vague, sweeping changes of our Constitution is a recipe for disaster.  Even supporting such a concept is harmful, because it undermines the need to strongly defend our Constitution, which has produced the greatest freedom and prosperity ever known to mankind. 

Some argue that the problems faced by our Nation are too immense to be handled by the current Constitution, and that revisions are needed. Supposedly we need a solution as big as the problem.  But it is obviously a mistake to bet the family farm on a roulette wheel at a casino as a way to deal with any problem.

The Constitution is not the problem.  What is needed is to elect candidates who will do their job and defend the Constitution, rather than pretending it is somehow the problem.

5.  Dark money is pushing the Convention of States, and we do not want billionaires rewriting our Constitution. We have many laws against corruption of politics by money.  But billionaires find ways around these laws and would control a constitutional convention to write amendments that advantage them the most. There is not bipartisan support for the Convention of States, but there is bipartisan opposition. 

Both the Republican and Democratic National Platforms have declined to endorse a Convention of States.  Less than a year before he died, the late Justice Antonin Scalia called an Article V convention a “horrible idea.”

Our Bill of Rights could be rewritten, or simply removed.  Our Electoral College, which makes Wisconsin one of the most important states in the upcoming presidential election, could be eliminated. 

Billions were spent on the last presidential election, but hundreds of billions would be at stake in rewriting the Constitution.  Monied interests and the media would easily take control of the process, and no one should favor giving them the keys to our Constitution.   

6.  Important Questions Convention of States Promoters Refuse to Answer. The Convention of States is being pushed by dark money, with a secret agenda. The recipients of that money conceal the identity of their billionaire donors and hide their agenda.  Ask their spokesmen who is bankrolling them to the tune of millions of dollars and watch how they will not provide an honest and complete answerWhat is the real agenda behind the push for a Convention of States?

Tough questions about this need to be asked of the Convention of States promoters. No one should entrust billionaire manipulators of politics with rewriting our Constitution.

Buyers' remorse

So far 15 states have enacted COS to date:  Georgia, Alaska, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Indiana, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arizona, North Dakota, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Utah, Mississippi.  Missouri (and perhaps others) have a sunset provision so that it expires in a few years.

Might conservatives regret pushing for an Article V convention should the required number of states be achieved to trigger a Conventions of States?

As cited by Harvard's Lawrence Tribe in an article published November 3, 2018, Conservatives want to bypass usual way to amend Constitution“The idea that we could have a kumbaya moment in which a convention would produce a stable republic with some respect for the rule of law,” he said, “seems like a fantasy.”


- Never miss a story with notifications

- Gain full access to our premium content

- Browse free from up to 5 devices at once

Latest stories


  1. I stopped reading when you called it a constitutional convention. Article 5 is a convention of states. The agenda is preset based on what the state’s passed. Discussion would be limited to a couple specific items like term limits or balanced budget.
    Enough with the propaganda!

  2. The Illinois Constitution needs to be corrected. It was modified by corrupt people.
    The U.S Constitution many not be perfect. Yet we should not touch it. We have too many corrupt people. Who want to impeach our president. The same corrupt people want to kill our future by killing babies by the cruel painful death of abortion.
    Love Saves Lives
    Carl Lambrecht

  3. Thorner is correct. Look at who wants it, the usual list of fools (with very few exceptions) that have got us into this mess:
    Senator Marco Rubio, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Senator Rand Paul, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Mark Levin, Sean Hannity, Charlie Kirk, Pete Hegseth, Allen West, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

  4. The term “Convention of States” is not in Article V. It needs to be pointed out that Mark Meckler had no problem with the term “Constitutional Convention” when he co-hosted along with leftists and former Obama advisor Prof Larry Lessig the “Conference on the Constitutional Convention at Harvard Law School in 2011. If the term “constitutional convention” is not valid, are all of the extent applications with that term null and void? And why do COS supporters use the term “state constitutional conventions”? Should they be called “conventions of the towns and cities? A link to an interview of Edwin Vieira, one of the nations top scholars on the U.S. Constitution: https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/shurtleffhal/episodes/2017-09-28T14_37_02-07_00