A team of lawmakers in Wyoming, alarmed by WND reports that the U.S. is only two state votes away from having a new Constitutional Convention, has begun work to make certain that if a convention is held, it would have to convene in the face of their opposition.
Wyoming previously called for a Constitutional Convention but rescinded the votes in 1999.
It is unclear whether even a formal vote to withdraw a request for a convention would have an impact or whether any limits could be imposed, according to constitutional expert John Eidsmoe, author of the book, “Christianity & the Constitution. But he encouraged such rescission votes, saying if nothing more, it certainly would dampen the enthusiasm for a convention.
Last week, a public policy organization issued an urgent alert that affirmative votes are needed from only two more states before a Constitutional Convention could be assembled in which “today’s corrupt politicians and judges” could formally change the U.S. Constitution’s “‘problematic’ provisions to reflect the philosophical and social mores of our contemporary society.”
“Don’t for one second doubt that delegates to a Con Con wouldn’t revise the First Amendment into a government-controlled privilege, replace the 2nd Amendment with a ‘collective’ right to self-defense, and abolish the 4th, 5th, and 10th Amendments, and the rest of the Bill of Rights,” said the warning from the American Policy Center.
Changes also could include the incorporation of “rights” to abortion and euthanasia, as well as the “separation” of church and state, the group said.
The warning comes at a time when Barack Obama, who was voted the next president by the Electoral College yesterday, has expressed his belief the U.S. Constitution needs to be interpreted through the lens of current events.
The final vote from the 1787 Constitutional Convention
Tom DeWeese, who runs the APC and its education and grass-roots work, told WND the possibilities stunned him when he discovered lawmakers in Ohio were considering a call for a Constitutional Convention. He explained that 32 other states already have taken that vote, and only one more would be needed to require Congress to name convention delegates who then would have more power than Congress itself.
He also said there are no restrictions on the purposes of a convention or the results.
The Ohio vote later was delayed.
The American Policy Center listed states that have called for a Constitutional Convention, including Wyoming, prompting Wyoming state Rep. Amy Edmonds to tell WND she and several other lawmakers in the state are working on “how we get Wyoming out of this.”
The state had adopted various resolutions over the years seeking a Constitutional Convention. In 1999, however, lawmakers voted to repeal them.
“A JOINT RESOLUTION to repeal requests made to Congress to call a convention for the purpose of proposing amendments to the Constitution of the United States,” was the title of the 1999 work in Wyoming.
“We are asking for all of those to be repealed,” she said. “We’re having our lawyers in the (Legislative Services Office) look this over, to find out what we can do.”
“Wyoming doesn’t want to be involved,” she said.
If that fails, or is not possible, since APC reported there is no provision for a rescission once a state adopts a call for a Constitutional Convention, Edmonds said the state will try to provide requirements for exactly who would attend from the state and what their position would be.
Eidsmoe, who wrote “Christianity & the Constitution,” as well as a number of other papers on the Constitution, said DeWeese probably is correct in that there are no provisions for rescission and no limits on when a convention could be convened.
Eidsmoe, who now is staff counsel for the Foundation for Moral Law, told WND that’s because Article 5 of the U.S. Constitution, which allows for a Constitutional Convention, was among the later provisions written and was hastily constructed.
The fact is, he said, nobody knows if a state can call for a Constitutional Convention and then rescind that call, or whether there could be any limits place on a convention once the necessary 34 states support it.
“It leaves a lot of unanswered questions,” Eidsmoe told WND. “Ultimately it would have to be resolved by a court, but a court has never considered this.”
At the last Constitutional Convention, in 1787, the proposal was to make modifications to the Articles of Confederation, but delegates simply threw them out and wrote a new Constitution, according to historians.
Among other unanswered questions are how officers would be chosen, how delegates are named and whether it be open to the public or would allow changes in the Constitution be written behind closed doors, he said.
Chuck Baldwin, presidential candidate for the Constitution Party this year, said the delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention were “freedom-loving patriots who had just fought a bloody war for independence and were in no mind to re-enact tyranny upon the land they had just fought to liberate.”
“However, can one imagine what would happen if the current bunch of politically correct leftists in Washington, D.C., were to be granted the power to rewrite our Constitution?” Baldwin continued. “It would be the end of the United States of America, and that is no hyperbole.”
The effort to establish a convention began about 40 years ago, mostly based on issues such as the desire for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.
“Since then, 32 states have issued the call. The total number of states that are required to enact the Con Con is 34,” Baldwin wrote. “Simple math reveals that we are only two states short of this disaster. As word of this potential calamity began to surface, the effort stalled with the total states issuing the call stuck at 32.
“With the election of Barack Obama, however, supporters of a Con Con have been emboldened and are now trying to resurrect the momentum. The state that is currently in the crosshairs appears to be Ohio,” Baldwin said.
DeWeese wrote in his alert, “In truth no restrictive language from any state can legally limit the scope or outcome of a [Constitutional] Convention! Once a Convention is called Congress determines how the delegates to the Convention are chosen. Once chosen, those Convention delegates possess more power than the U.S. Congress itself.”
“DeWeese is right,” Baldwin added. “If called, a modern Constitutional Convention could declare the U.S. Constitution to be null and void, and could completely rewrite the document. For example, former U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger once declared, ‘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.'”
Baldwin warned the “Big-Government liberals and neocons” in Washington would adopt a “collective rights” document.
“At that point, there is no more United States of America. There would be no more Bill of Rights protecting individuals from governmental abuse and overreach. Furthermore, the principles of Natural Law would be forever removed as a basis of all our nation’s laws and statutes. The nation that had been bequeathed to us by our forebears would be gone forever,” he said.
Since whatever new document would result would have to be approved by individual states, Baldwin said there could come an opportunity.
“It might be a very good idea to immediately begin identifying those states that would unequivocally reject any new union, and would be willing to declare their independence from whatever government would evolve from a modern Constitutional Convention. Yes, I am saying it: we may need to resurrect the original Thirteen Colonies, except they would probably not number thirteen, and, in all likelihood, they would not be located on the East Coast,” Baldwin said.
Eidsmoe told WND Article 5 simply leave too many questions unanswered to make assumptions about what could happen.
Melody Barnes, a senior domestic policy adviser to the Obama campaign, has told Fox News, Obama’s “view is that our society isn’t static and the law isn’t static as well. That the Constitution is a living and breathing document and that the law and the justices who interpret it have to understand that.”
WND also reported Obama believes the Constitution is flawed, because it fails to address wealth redistribution, and he says the Supreme Court should have intervened years ago to accomplish that.
Obama told Chicago’s public station WBEZ-FM that “redistributive change” is needed, pointing to what he regarded as a failure of the U.S. Supreme Court under Chief Justice Earl Warren in its rulings on civil rights issues in the 1960s.
The Warren court, he said, failed to “break free from the essential constraints” in the U.S. Constitution and launch a major redistribution of wealth. But Obama, then an Illinois state lawmaker, said the legislative branch of government, rather than the courts, probably was the ideal avenue for accomplishing that goal.
In the 2001 interview, Obama said:
If you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement and its litigation strategy in the court, I think where it succeeded was to invest formal rights in previously dispossessed people, so that now I would have the right to vote. I would now be able to sit at the lunch counter and order and as long as I could pay for it I’d be OK
But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution, at least as it’s been interpreted, and the Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf.
And that hasn’t shifted and one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was because the civil rights movement became so court-focused I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that.
The video is available here:
“We were blessed in 1787; the Con Con delegates were the leaders of a freedom movement that had just cleansed this land of tyranny,” DeWeese wrote. “Today’s corrupt politicians and judges would like nothing better than the ability to legally ignore the Constitution – to modify its “problematic” provisions to reflect the philosophical and socials mores of our contemporary society.”
WND also has reported an associate at a Chicago law firm whose partner served on a finance committee for Obama has advocated simply abandoning the U.S. Constitution’s requirement that a president be a “natural born” citizen.
The paper was written in 2006 by Sarah Herlihy, just two years after Obama had won a landslide election in Illinois to the U.S. Senate. Herlihy is listed as an associate at the Chicago firm of Kirkland & Ellis. A partner in the same firm, Bruce I. Ettelson, cites his membership on the finance committees for both Obama and Sen. Richard Durbin on the corporate website.
The issue of Obama’s own eligibility under the U.S. Constitution’s requirements that presidents be “natural born” citizens is the subject of nearly two dozen court cases in recent weeks, including several that have gone to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Herlihy’s published paper reveals that the requirement likely was considered in a negative light by organizations linked to Obama in the months before he announced in 2007 his candidacy for the presidency.
“The natural born citizen requirement in Article II of the United States Constitution has been called the ‘stupidest provision’ in the Constitution, ‘undecidedly un-American,’ ‘blatantly discriminatory,’ and the ‘Constitution’s worst provision,'” Herlihy begins in her introduction to the paper titled, “Amending the Natural Born Citizen Requirement: Globalization as the Impetus and the Obstacle.”