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Op-Ed: Turning to a Convention of States in Times of National Crisis is Not the Answer

By • January 6, 2024

Our country is in a rough place right now, perhaps the worst since the Civil War. Spending is out of control, our southern border is wide open, and Congress seems to be unable (or unwilling) to rein in the deep state swamp. What can we do to save this country we all love?

Some look to an Article V Convention of States to save the day. The framers of the Constitution created a method for amending the document, either by congressional action or a supermajority of states coming together on their own. Such a convention has never occurred in our history under our current Constitution.

While we agree that our country is in dire straits, a Convention of States is not the answer, and here’s why:

First is the risk of a runaway convention. Backers say that this is impossible, that when states pass their resolutions calling for a convention, they will restrict it to certain issues such as term limits or a balanced budget, but anything can happen once the convention begins. Remember that the Constitution itself came about when the original thirteen states convened to revise the Articles of Confederation.

Next is the question of who would represent Idaho in a Convention of States? Would it be stalwart conservatives who refuse to give an inch when it comes to protecting our liberties? Or would it be moderates who would be willing to compromise with delegates from blue states to get something done? We simply don’t know.

The biggest question is how organizers expect to ratify any amendments coming out of a Convention of States. There are currently 22 states in which Republicans control both chambers of the legislature and the governor’s office, while there are 17 such Democratic states. Since it would take 38 states to ratify any potential amendment, passing anything would require compromise with blue states.

As nice as it would be to think Democrats would be willing to come together on issues such as term limits or a balanced budget, it seems improbable. It is more likely that they would demand concessions on issues such as gun control, diversity, or climate change issues before considering conservative priorities.

The sad truth is that our country is not what it was at its founding. James Madison had high hopes for the ability of sovereign states to guide the direction of the federal government, but where are the modern Madisons to stand for the rights of the states and of the people? States are no longer sovereign, but tightly bound to the federal bureaucracy. I hate to say it, but a Convention of States at this point in our history would be a fool’s errand.

Our government does not follow the Constitution we have, and adding more amendments won’t change that fundamental fact. Right now we should focus on cleaning our own house and making Idaho great — and sovereign — again.

This Op-Ed was submitted by Dorothy Moon. Op-Eds do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of those at the Idaho Dispatch.

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Tags: Article V, Articles of Confederation, balanced budget, Con Con, Constitutional Convention, Convention of States, COS, James Madison, Runaway Convention, term limits

15 thoughts on “Op-Ed: Turning to a Convention of States in Times of National Crisis is Not the Answer

  1. So why don’t we simply secede? Start with an honest monetary and banking system to begin, kick out all the globalists, end the fraudulent allopathic healthcare system, then secede. I know its way more complicated but those three things are at the root of all our problems. The corrupt banking and monetary system. Global companies siphoning off all the resources from Idaho to the global elite outside our state. Also, revise the laws around healthcare to end the corruption in that industry.

    1. Anytime there’s FEDERAL bribe money involved, which BTW is either money provided by us taxpayers, or via quantitative easing (aka, government counterfeit money), there is corruption. Once you remove that, all incentives disappear. I believe your suggestion has thoughtful merit and I completely concur. Otherwise, we’ll go down the toilet with the rest of the country.

  2. “Our government does not follow the Constitution we have, and adding more amendments won’t change that fundamental fact.”

    The statement above is EXACTLY why I oppose an Article V Convention — that and the likelihood that there would be a runaway convention that could lead to the end of the First and Second Amendments! IT IS TOO RISKY.

    The biggest problem we have here in Idaho is that many in the Republican Party are benefactors of the “Government/Corporate” collusion who do not want that gravy-train to end. They are OWNED by IACI. WE THE PEOPLE don’t really have much clout.

    Our Judicial System in Idaho is akin to a Gulag — as evidenced by the recent warrant from a judge for yet another monetary hit to Ammon Bundy. Idaho needs to get its act together — forget about an Article V Convention. We have MAJOR TROUBLES RIGHT HERE IN RIVER CITY!

    Wake Up PEOPLE!

    1. Exactly. There is NOTHING wrong with our Constitution as written. The problem is that it hasn’t been taught, followed and enforced for decades.

      The Founders got it right; no need to re-invent the wheel.

  3. And I think trying to convince people that we don’t need a convention because it’s “dangerous “ is simply misguided. This administration took many people businesses. A convention gives the people the power back. Period. Point. Blank.

    1. From deciding to hold a Constitutional Convention to ratifying whatever comes out of it could take 20-30 years (which is what the Founders intended: they wanted it to be possible to change the Constitution, but definitely not quick and easy).

      Personally, I could name 10 people whom I would trust with this monumental task, NONE of them would ever be sent to a Convention. Why? Because those sent to the Convention would have to be approved by the legislature. Do you really think ANY legislator, regardless of party, would allow an outsider (unvetted, non-poitician) to represent Idaho at the Convention??

      What about a current or former state Supreme Court Justice? Like they’ve been so reliable. Or a doctor or a lawyer? After the recent fiasco and shameful conduct of the medical community, I put them almost in the same group as lawyers: wouldn’t trust them any further than I could throw them.

      Truth is, my neighbor would be a great representative. I could think of a few others in my circle whom I would support: solid, down-to-earth, loyal, honest, etc. None has a chance in hell of being considered by our “elected betters.”

      Our Constitution was made for a moral, God-fearing country; a Constitutional Convention would require moral and God-fearing men/women to produce anything worth considering. Sadly, our society does not turn out many such people, and few of these are elected.

  4. “The Constitution itself came about when the original thirteen states convened to revise the Articles of Confederation”

    This statement says a lot. Was the Constitution not a good thing even if that isn’t why they met?
    I know that Chairman Moon has a Ton on her spinning plates, but I’m guessing she has not actually studied the COS or the people who are trying to organize it. I would highly suggest she attended a mock convention and see who they are and how serious they take it.

    1. The delegates to the original Constitution were not limited to simply amending the Articles of Confederation, see DEFYING CONVENTIONAL WISDOM: THE
      MICHAEL FARRIS*, 40 Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 61, starting at p. 67. The States called the convention and when Congress saw their power being modified, Congress tried to limit the convention to amending the A of C. However, the states called the convention and they always considered more than amendments. BTW, the Constitution was accepted by all 13 states, so that really is a moot point.

    2. I agree with you Susie. Every single person I’ve engaged in a COS discussion who argues “runaway convention,” has very little or no research behind their assertion. This argument is nothing more than a talking point. And for what it’s worth, the most ignorant yet boisterous of these are always politicians.

  5. Although other issues may be addressed, I think the most important issue is term limits. Unlimited terms has resulted in an extremely corrupt legislature, and they will never limit their own terms.

  6. More fraud by elected officials, a convention is nothing more than a formal discussion of amendment language–who might that be a danger to?

  7. With respect, Ms. Moon, there is a VERY significant check on a Convention of States: 3/4 of the States must ratify anything coming out of it! That’s a significant hurdle and was placed there by the Founders both to prevent a “runaway” convention and to continue with the model for existing Constitutional Amendments – which also require a 3/4 adoption rate.

    That being said, in order to call a Constitutional Convention, you’d have to get at least 3/4 of the States to even attend in order for it to be taken seriously. Given how divided our nation is, that to me represents a far higher hurdle than anything else, because there are states like California, Illinois, and New York which simply wouldn’t attend at all.

    Personally, I think the nation will face a Constitutional crisis and no amount of chest-thumping by our national representatives will mollify the public. We will either disintegrate as a nation or reclaim the Constitutional privileges which have been so eroded and degraded by the progressives in all three branches.

  8. If not the COS, then what? What I really want is leave a good country for my grands, but at the trajectory we are on, will not happen. Revival or bust. COS. Gov. DeSantis. Something or nothing

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