If You Like Your Constitution, You Should Keep It
Often some of the worst of ideas come with the best of intentions. Members of the Maryland Republican State Central Committee will have the opportunity to cast a vote for or against supporting one of those ideas next weekend at their Spring Convention in Ocean City.
Lee Havis of the Free State Patriots has submitted a resolution urging the Maryland Republican Party to support an Article V Constitutional Convention to pass amendments to the US Constitution Outside the purview of the usual Congressional process.
Maryland is, of course, not going to support this kind of legislation in the General Assembly anytime soon. The liberal makeup of the Legislature would preclude it from supporting an Article V convention onn Conservative issues, though Democrats in Annapolis are currently pushing an Article V Convention “to propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that affirms every citizen’s freedom to vote and restores free and fair elections in America” The Senate adopted it today. But it would be incredibly unwise to support such any such convention, even if only to give it the imprimatur of the Maryland Republican Party.
I, for one, am absolutely opposed an Article V Convention. If an Article V Convention is called, that means that everything is on the table. Sure, you may want to pass Mark Levin’s Liberty Amendments, but how can you be sure that a convention would act in a conservative manner? In fact, the left is already looking at was to make use of an Article V Convention. What’s to say that a Constitutional Convention wouldn’t eliminate term limits for the President? What’s to say that that a Constitutional Convention wouldn’t radically amend the First or Second Amendments? And what’s to say that a Constitutional Convention wouldn’t just put the current Constitution out to pasture and write a new one?
That last scenario, incidentally, is how the Articles of Confederation went out of fashion.
Supporting the idea of opening our existing Constitutional rights to to negotiation within a Constitutional Convention is to support the idea that that our Constitutional rights should be open to negotiation at any given time. That is not something that I am in favor of, and it is a belief that is shared across the Conservative-Libertarian spectrum:
Advocates of a constitutional convention are upset that the federal government has grown too large. It has done so, they correctly believe, because politicians have ignored the plain meaning of the current Constitution. Yet if that is the case, then rewriting the Constitution with more or plainer language solves nothing. If politicians can ignore the language of one Constitution, then they can ignore the language of another. People who break rules don’t start obeying them just because you write some new ones.
– A Barton Hinkle, Reason.com
Stemming from that analysis, and taking into consideration the circumstances under which we are now operating, we have come to the conclusion that an Article V convention is not the answer to our problems. The lack of precedent, extensive unknowns, and considerable risks of an Article V amendments convention should bring sober pause to advocates of legitimate constitutional reform contemplating this avenue.
One of the hottest proposals on the scene to constrain the growth of Washington DC is an Article V constitutional convention to produce a balanced budget amendment. It’s a really bad idea.
– Stephen F. Hayward, Forbes
The right’s frustration with the current state of affairs cannot be satisfied by attempting to change the rules of the game. To convene a Convention of States is to open a Pandora’s Box. The Founders understood that forthcoming generations might one day look favorably upon monarchy again, and they crafted a system to keep those shortsighted counterrevolutionaries in check. It would be the gravest of follies to undo their work, no matter how frustratingly supine the Republican Party has become.
Opposition to an Article V Convention so deep in the Republican Party, that even Mark Levin, was against the idea until he had a book to sell.
Is our Constitution perfect? Of course not. There are several amendments that I would love to see passed, particularly a version of the Human Life Amendment and a Balanced Budget Amendment. However, opening up the Constitution for discussion opens up a lot of things which are not negotiable to conservatives and to many Americans, including our fundamental rights that are protected in the Bill of Rights. Even though only 13 states would be necessary to block any proposed radical changes, is it really the most productive use of our time to promote an environment where it would be acceptable for Americans to debate whether or not to keep our God-given basic rights?
Central Committee members will have the opportunity next weekend to support or oppose such a convention, and the Central Committee members should oppose the resolution supporting an Article V convention. Our Constitutional rights are not negotiable.