by John Siegmund
The convention of the state’s movement is a political initiative to invoke Article V of the U.S. constitution. Convening a convention of states to change the U.S. constitution under the guise of limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, imposing term limits and a balanced Federal budget requirement, but it really is a ploy to enshrine Laissez-faire capitalism and unaccountable oligarchical rule into the constitution.
The movement is not new, but since the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court in 2010 the movement has gained momentum because of the influx of political donations from high wealth conservative individuals, conservative groups, and corporations. Since the rise of the Trump phenomenon and the COVID-19 pandemic this movement is gaining widespread grass roots support especially from trump supporters seeking to force their political direction on the American people.
According to sourcewatch.org, the main funding for this movement comes from the Koch Foundation, which has backed Libertarian initiatives for decades. Also, the Koch organization the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is providing model petition legislation which is being passed in republican dominated legislatures around the country. As of 2021, fifteen states have fully passed this petition legislation with nine having passed it in one legislative body and eighteen considering it now. Only thirty-three states are required to call the convention, if eighteen additional states petition a convention of states can be called under Article V of the U.S. Constitution.
Article V of the U.S. constitution states the following:
“The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.”
According to the convention of states movement once 34 states have passed petition legislation, a convention of states, under Article V, can be called. Only Congress can set the mode in which amendments may be ratified; either by three fourths of the states or three quarters of the conventions held in three fourths of the states. For example, a proposed amendment can be passed either by thirty-eight separate state legislatures or by thirty-eight separate state conventions, which ever Congress mandates as the mode of ratification.
The Convention of States’ official proposals for ratification to the US Constitution are:
- Limit the Supreme Court to nine members.
- Prevent the addition of states without the consent of 75% of the existing states.
- Require members of Congress to live under the laws they pass.
- Impose term limits on members of Congress
- Require a balanced Federal Budget
- Impose limits on Federal spending and taxation
- Remove the Federal Government from Healthcare
- Remove the Federal Government from Education
- Stop the Federal Government from creating and enforcing regulations.
- Set term limits for the Supreme Court
- Set term limits for Federal employees
- Eliminate Federal authority over state energy policy
- Return Federal Land to the states.
This is a laundry list for the oligarchical ruling class to eliminate their accountability and oversight from the Federal government. State governments are not empowered to take on these tasks and would be controlled by oligarchical money interests. If enacted these amendments would destroy labor rights, public education, environmental laws, national parks, Medicare, Medicaid, social security, the minimum wage, unemployment insurance and would establish a ruling class hegemony in the US constitution destroying what little democracy remains in the United States. The fact that so many states are considering or have passed the petition legislation is a five-alarm fire.
The proposed amendment list appears to be influenced by the Koch Brother’s Libertarian goals as stated by David Koch in his 1980 Libertarian political campaign:
- Eliminate Medicare and Medicaid
- Eliminate Federal campaign laws and Federal Election Commission
- Eliminate abortion and health insurance for it
- Deregulate the medical insurance industry
- Eliminate Social Security
- Eliminate the Postal Service
- Eliminate all taxes and tax evasion laws
- Eliminate the minimum wage
- Eliminate public education including compulsory education
- Eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy
- Eliminate all government transportation departments
- Privatize all railroads and all road systems
- Eliminate all personal safety and safety equipment laws
- Eliminate the Federal Aviation Administration
- Eliminate the Food and Drug Administration
- Eliminate all tax supported welfare and poverty laws
- Privatize all waterways and public water utilities
- Eliminate the Occupational Safety and Health Act and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
- Eliminate all usury laws.
The influence of the ruling class, expressed through the Koch Foundation and other groups, on the convention of states movement is clear and if enacted will set the country back 150 years at least. The convention of states is not about Freedom it is about cementing the ruling class power to exploit and their control of governance into the US Constitution for decades to come.