Letter | It’s time for convention to change U.S. Constitution

March 9, 2014 

A free people should be able to change its constitution without the need of congressional approval. And the current U.S. Constitution requires Congress to allow a convention called by two-thirds of the states [33 1/3 of the current 50 states] so 34 states clearly meets the requirement.

The Web site notes that Congress can not constitutionally control the state delegate selection process [because the complete text of Amendment X of the U.S. Constitution says: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”]

To help ensure passage of uniform desired wording for the convention by the U.S. Congress, the application to congress for a convention by each and every state should be worded identically. The applications should include all the limitations that all the applying states have no problem being considered even if some of the states may not agree that every such limitation is necessary. One general but still limiting wording suggested on is: “to limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government.”

Some may consider that too open and could conceivably allow the convention to get out of hand. The referenced Web site’s FAQ argues otherwise because of the number of state delegates needed for the convention’s approval of any amendment. If you haven’t, I recommend you look over that Web site for its arguments against this and other objections.

Our collective experience since the original constitution was written leads to suggesting the following more specific limiting amendments for consideration by the delegates if multiple amendments are allowed in the application to Congress process:

• Provide for popular recall and term limits for any U.S. government official in all three branches of government.

• Require every member of every branch of the U.S. government to abide by the same laws as those imposed upon the people.

• Require a majority vote of the U.S. House of Representatives for any U.S. government official or any in his family to receive any specific taxpayer-paid benefit beyond those exclusively paid for from his or her congressionally approved salary.

• Require governments, national or state, to prohibit the taking of life or liberty of others or promotion of the taking of life or liberty of others except in defense against another or others taking their life, lives or liberty

• Require governments national or state to prohibit misrepresentation or suppression of adverse known information of commercial products.

Such a constitutional convention could be specifically disallowed from considering any topic except those listed above and those directly related to those topics including only:

• Any change to the constitution that might otherwise be necessary to make the proposed changes

• Set the requirements for a recall — differently specified for each branch of government as recommended by the delegates to the convention and approved by a majority of the people

• Set the specific term limits for the members of each branch of government as recommended by the delegates to the convention and approved by a majority of the people

• Provide a non-exclusive list of benefits for government officials that are to be precluded from being covered at taxpayer expense other than salary e.g. vacation expenses, endless exorbitant retirement benefits and exorbitant travel expenses other than those required exclusively for government business. [America was not founded to provide for or promote royalty.]

There is nothing limiting delegates from the various states getting together to work out the wording for a call for a formal convention before even applying to Congress. The most influential delegates for such a “pre-convention” would be those most trusted by the individual state legislatures.

The following is a complete direct quote from Article V. of the U.S. Constitution:

“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 [emphasis added, this is a constitutional requirement on what the congress must do upon such application] 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 [emphasis added] 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 of the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.”

The writer lives in Surfside Beach.

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