Arizona Calls the First Convention of States Since 1861
Back then the Civil War loomed. Now it’s national bankruptcy. The failure of the “Peace Convention” made the war inevitable. If someone, somewhere, somehow, doesn’t stop the cycle of spending, deficits and debt, our economy will eventually collapse.
Any state legislature could have called a Convention of States at any time in the last 156 years. For any number of reasons, the time for it was now, and Arizona has stepped forward. Never before in our history has the federal government been so completely out of control. Congress is paralyzed, incapable of passing laws to solve our most pressing problems, such as health care. They can’t pass a budget. But they can spend money without one. Every year the deficit is between half a trillion and a trillion dollars. That represents money stolen by this generation from its own children.
The Framers foresaw this possible state of affairs, and provided a remedy in Article V. The States and the people are the ultimate sovereigns in our Constitutional system, and if they can reach a consensus among themselves, can amend the Constitution to solve the federal government’s problems for it. One obvious solution to solve the government’s problems is forcing Congress to live within its means by a balanced budget amendment.
But what if Congress refuses to comply with such an amendment? My recommendation would be to call another Convention of States, where remedies could be discussed, and if one is agreed to, assemble Article V Resolutions from 34 States and have another Amendments Convention. That Article V Convention could, if authorized by the call, propose any number of solutions. One would be to dissolve Congress and elect a new one. When you’re the sovereign, you can do that.
And that’s what’s really behind the George Soros funded drive to stop Article V. A fear of the people, as represented by their state legislators. Congress can be controlled, but not the state legislators. There are a lot of them, 7,383, and they’ve never been organized. In some ways, the Phoenix Convention will be an organizational meeting, as well as a planning one. If Phoenix succeeds, an organization will have been formed. What is done with it, once the Convention adjourns, is up to its members.
The purpose of the Phoenix Convention is limited to two items, proposing rules for a subsequent Article V Convention, and to recommend where it should be held. It was inspired by our most obstinate opponents, the ones who actually fear a runaway convention. They will see with their own eyes the men and women chosen by their Legislatures to represent them at the Planning Convention. They’ll see them, up close and personal. And they’ll see American patriots, not much different than themselves. People who can be trusted. The same people, by and large, who will attend the Article V Convention to follow.
One thing will be settled for once and for all in Phoenix. One State, One vote. That’s how every Convention of States in American history has voted, and that will always be the practice. In addition, a set of Rules will be adopted, and recommended to the Article V Convention.
In a sense, the Phoenix Convention is a demonstration project, a way to prove the feasibility and trustworthiness of the real thing, the Amendment, or Article V, Convention.
Bill Fruth of the BBA Task Force is responsible for this Convention, along with the indispensable Speaker of the Arizona House, J. D. Mesnard. Remember that name. You’re going to hear more of it.
Fritz Pettyjohn was Chair of Reagan for President, Alaska in 1980 and was elected to the Alaska State Senate in 1982. As a state senator, in 1983 he voted for the Article V Balanced Budget Amendment Resolution, helping to make Alaska the 32nd state in that effort. He has worked since 2013 on a National Tax Limitation Committee with a colleague and on the Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force. Since November 2013 he has blogged at ReaganProject,com, focusing on Article V and the balanced budget amendment campaign. This article was originally posted to the ReaganProject.com website on March 31, 2017. This article was submitted by a subject matter expert and does not necessarily reflect the views of the American Legislative Exchange Council.