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STATES POSSESS POWER TO FORM A NEW GOVERNMENT

An Unnecessary New Resolution


PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES TO PROVIDE A PROCEDURE BY WHICH THE STATES MAY PROPOSE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS

Think



Mr CANADY. The subcommittee will be in order.
Good morning. I welcome everyone to the hearing this morning. We're very pleased to have many distinguished Virginians in our midst, including our ranking member.
I would like to begin by reading from a letter written by a distinguished Virginian to a friend. That distinguished Virginian was Thomas Jefferson. He said:
''I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered, and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.''
As the Constitutional Convention in 1787 considered our Constitution, there was significant debate over the procedure for amending the Constitution. Article V of the United States Constitution provides that amendments to the Constitution can be proposed in two ways—by Congress or by constitutional convention. After an amendment is proposed by either method, it must be ratified by the State legislatures or State conventions in three-fourths of the States (currently 38) to become a part of our Constitution.
Under the first method, Congress can propose amendments to the Constitution by a vote of two-thirds in both the House and Senate. This is the method of proposing constitutional amendments that has, in fact, been used. Since the First Congress through the present day, a total of more than 10,000 proposals have been introduced to amend the Constitution. Thirty-three of these were proposed by Congress to the States, and 27 have been ratified.
The second method of proposing amendments is triggered upon the applications or petitions of two-thirds of the State legislatures. Under this method, after Congress receives the applications, Article V provides that Congress shall call a constitutional convention to propose constitutional amendments.
The convention method has never been formally used, although there have been some efforts that have come close to the requisite two-thirds of the States. For example, 32 of the necessary 34 State legislatures have passed resolutions petitioning Congress to call a constitutional convention to propose an amendment requiring a balanced Federal budget.
History shows that the Framers likely intended the convention process to be a viable method of amending the Constitution. In The Federalist No. 43, James Madison wrote of Article V's amendment process that it ''equally enables the general and the State governments to originate the amendment of errors, as they may be pointed out by the experience on one side or on the other.''
However, the process by which States may apply for a constitutional convention under Article V is unclear, and there is disagreement over what shape such a convention would take if it were called. As a result of this uncertainty, many commentators have warned of the dangers of a ''runaway convention'' that would exceed its mandate and not necessarily reflect the true spirit of the Constitution and the wishes of the people. The specter of a ''runaway convention'' seems to have been accepted by many as a convincing political argument.
Some scholars counter with a different perspective, which is that the mere threat of a convention can prod the Federal Government into action on the specific issue or amendment that initially drove the effort for a convention. Even though no convention has been called, these commentators reason the existence of the option can have what they refer to as a ''prodding'' effect.
House Joint Resolution 84 proposes an amendment to the Constitution to provide a procedure by which the States may propose constitutional amendments. Also called the ''States' Initiative'', the resolution is sponsored by Representative Tom Bliley, one of our distinguished Virginians with us today, and it currently has eight House cosponsors.
I want to thank Chairman Bliley for his leadership in introducing this measure, and I look forward to continuing the important discussion in Congress over the balance of powers within our constitutional system.
Another distinguished Virginian, Mr. Scott, is recognized.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate the opportunity to participate in today's hearing on H.J. Res. 84. I am particularly appreciative of the presence, as you have noted, of Virginians here today. Not only is the chief sponsor of the resolution a Virginian, my friend Tom Bliley, with whom I share the City of Richmond and the County of Henrico, but we will also hear from our former Governor, George Allen, who is with us today. I welcome all the witnesses to today's hearing and I look forward to learning more about the proposal..
 

STATEMENT OF HON. TOM BLILEY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF VIRGINIA

Mr. BLILEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank you for holding the hearing today on H.J. Res. 84. This legislation, which I have sponsored with Congressman Virgil Goode of Rocky Mount, and seven others, symbolizes what we in Virginia call the ''States' Initiative.''

I thank you. I will submit my full statement for the record and I will summarize. "?  In 1787, the Founding Fathers included Article V of the Constitution to allow for changes in the Constitution, realizing that as time goes forward, there will be new ideas and there ought to be a mechanism for amendment. It shouldn't be easy, but it should be provided for.

Federalist Paper 43 allows that Madison wanted both the States and the Federal Government to be able to amend the Constitution. As you have stated, Mr. Chairman, in your opening statement, there are two methods that are available today to amend the Constitution. However, only one has been used, and that is the two-thirds vote of both Houses of Congress and then the proposed amendment is sent to the States and, upon ratification by three-quarters of the States, it becomes a part of the Constitution.

The reason the second option has not been utilized you also addressed, in that many people were afraid of a ''runaway convention''; that is, that the convention might be called to deal with a specific problem, or perceived problem, and then, once it convened, it goes forward to do a lot of other things that were unforeseen and unasked for in the original call.

So what we have here is a way to involve the States, which Madison and the Founding Fathers clearly wanted to be involved, and it says that if two-thirds of the States pass an identical resolution to amend the Constitution, it comes to Congress, and if Congress doesn't disapprove by a two-thirds vote of each House, then it would go back to the States, and if three-quarters of the States ratify it, it would become part of the Constitution.

Now, in the last Congress, Senator Ashcroft introduced a similar bill in the Senate. As you mentioned, we have eight cosponsors.

The first convention held in 1786 was called in order to revise the Articles of Confederation, not replace the document with a new Constitution. A contemporary Second convention would be called upon application of 34 states for the purpose of proposing an amendment, or amendments. There is no controlling authority, not Congress, not the President, not the United Nations Charter, and not even the Supreme Law of the land, the U.S. Constitution itself which would rein in modern-day delegates. Delegates were not restrained or hampered in any way during the original convention to their original mission, and there is no reason to expect modern-day delegates would be limited in any way by any one, even the U.S. Constitution's Article V! Delegates from fifty state legislatures, chosen not by we, the people, but by state representatives, many not to be trusted on matters of state import, let alone Constitutional import, not we, the people, would be sent to a convention. During the first convention, the delegates altered even the method of states' ratification from unanimous to three-fourths. Nine, not thirteen states, were enough to replace the Articles of Confederation with an entirely new form of government. Luckily for us, the U.S. Constitution adopted by our Founding Framers sought to protect individual rights. Contemporary delegates could alter the requirements for their own purposes.

Bibliography

BLOODLESS REVOLUTION: A MORE PERFECT TREASON

©Delinda Young, Truth On-Line, all rights reserved.

ARTICLE V CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION CALL
BIBLIOGRAPHY

UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION Article V. - Amendment

 
Webliography

Effort to Dismantle Our Constitution by Jackie Patru

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES June 24, 1997



HJ 84 IH 105th CONGRESS 1st Session H. J. RES. 84 Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to provide a procedure by which the States may propose constitutional amendments.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR ARTICLE V CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION CALL



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ARTICLE VII

The ratification of the conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the establishment of this constitution between the States so ratifying the same.

Done in Convention, by the unanimous consent of the states present, the seventeenth day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven, and of the independence of the United States the twelfth. In witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our Names.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, president, And Deputy from Virginia.

In CONVENTION, Monday, September 17th, 1787.

PRESENT
The States of New-Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Mr. Hamilton from New-York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North-Carolina, South-Carolina and Georgia:

RESOLVED
That the preceding Constitution be laid before the United States in Congress assembled, and that it is the opinion of this Convention, that it should afterwards be submitted to a Convention of Delegates, chosen in each State by the People thereof, under the Recommendation of its legislature, for their Assent and Ratification; and that each Convention assenting to, and ratifying the Same, should give Notice thereof to the United States in Congress assembled.

Resolved, That it is the Opinion of this Convention, that as soon as the Conventions of nine States shall have ratified this Constitution, the United States in Congress assembled should fix a Day on which Electors should be appointed by the States which shall have ratified the same, and a Day on which the Electors should assemble to vote for the President, and the TIme and Place for commencing Proceedings under this Constitution. That after such Publication the Electors should be appointed, and the Senators and Representatives elected: That the Electors should meet on the Day fixed for the Election of the President, and should transmit their Votes certified, signed, sealed and directed, as the Constitution requires, to the Secretary of the United States in Congress assembled, that the Senators and Representatives should convene at the Time and Place assigned; that the Senators should appoint a President of the Senate, for the sole Purpose of receiving, opening and counting the Votes for President; and, that after he shall be chosen, the Congress, together with the President, should, without Delay, proceed to execute this Constitution.

By the Unanimous Order of the Convention,
GEORGE WASHINGTON, President
WILLIAM JACKSON, Secretary
New-Hampshire
John Langdon, Nicholas Gilman
Massachusetts
Nathaniel Gorham, Rufus King
Connecticut
William Samuel Johnson, Roger Sherman
New-York
Alexander Hamilton
New-Jersey
William Livingston, David Brearley, William Paterson, Jonathan Dayton
Pennsylvania
Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Miffin, Robert Morris, George Clymer, Thomas Fitzsimons, Jared Ingersoll, James Wilson, Gouverneur Morris
Delaware
George Read, Gunning Bedford, Junior, John Dickinson, Richard Bassett, Jacob Broom
Maryland
James M'Henry, Daniel of St. Tho. Jenifer, Daniel Carrol
Virginia
John Blair, James Madison, Junior
North-Carolina
William Blount, Richard Dobbs Spaight, Hugh Williamson
South-Carolina
John Rutledge, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, Charles Pinckney, Pierce Butler
Georgia
William Few, Abraham Baldwin
attest, William Jackson, Secretary

John Stuart Mill Correct Term U.S. representative government



"No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law and no courts are bound to enforce it." 16 Am Jur 2nd, Sec 177 late 2d, Sec 256




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"Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of the United States to provide a procedure by which the States may propose constitutional amendments" Wednesday, March 25, 1998 testimony of experts concerning House Joint Resolution 84 - Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to provide a procedure by which the States may propose constitutional amendments


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Mr CANADY. What do you think about the concerns of a ''runaway'' convention to kind of thwart efforts to a constitutional convention?
Mr. SEIDMAN. Speaking only for myself now, and not the organization I represent, I think they're overstated, for a couple of reasons. One is that the representatives of the convention would themselves be elected by the State legislature or by people in the State, and it seems to me unlikely that those representatives would go hog wild and do things that the States didn't approve. The other is that you have to remember——


When you think on this, not for too long, you realize we trust these people to read history of our nation at least while they are holding hearings on issues related to our Constitution.





"No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law and no courts are bound to enforce it." 16 Am Jur 2nd, Sec 177 late 2d, Sec 256

Mr CANADY. Haven't we had a runaway constitutional convention before?



Unbelievably, Mr. Seidman hedges, and doesn't admit that the very first and only constitutional convention called for the initial purpose of "revising" the Articles of Confederation NOT CRAFTING A NEW DOCUMENT, was indeed a runaway convention! In fact, the convention members altered the method of states' ratification, too, from unanimous consent, as under the Articles,

to requiring the consent of only nine states. The new Constitution went into effect immediately upon ratification by the ninth state.






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