Have you seen the television pictures of the tens of thousands of demonstrators at the Wisconsin State Capitol who are protesting proposed budget cuts for state employees? If so, you've had an advance peek at the sort of demonstrations that will take place if state legislatures are foolish enough to pass resolutions asking Congress to call a national convention to consider amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
Barack Obama's political arm, "Organizing for America," swelled the crowds by busing in protesters from Wisconsin and from other states, too. A national convention to amend the U.S. Constitution would become the media event of the century, with 24/7 TV coverage, giving us every reason to anticipate that "Organizing for America" would flood the process of electing delegates and then demonstrate to hurl demands on their deliberations.
All of a sudden, as though someone gave the signal, resolutions are pending in several state legislatures to use the never-before-used power set forth in Article V to petition Congress to "call a Convention for proposing Amendments." This campaign exploits the frustration of many Americans with Congress's out-of-control spending, increase in the national debt (with much of it borrowed from China) and passage of laws, such as ObamaCare, that severely limit our freedoms.
Many state legislators are promising that a convention would be limited to consideration of only one specific amendment. No way. Article V clearly specifies that a convention is for the purpose of "proposing Amendments" (note the plural).
Furthermore, various state resolutions support different amendments. Some specify that the one amendment to be considered must be the Repeal Amendment (to allow states to repeal an act of Congress). Others want the one amendment to be Debt Limitation, others want a Balanced Budget Amendment, others want a change in the Electoral College, others want to abolish the 17th Amendment, and one proposal is for a list of 10 Amendments.
When the protesters assemble, we can be sure that many special-interest groups will be pushing their own agendas. You can bet that a once-in-a-lifetime convention will attract activists demanding union rights (like the Wisconsin demonstrators), gay rights, gun control, abortion rights, Equal Rights Amendment and Washington, D.C., statehood.
Calling a convention to amend the U.S. Constitution would be a plunge into darkness because the only rules to govern it are those specified in Article V. It takes two-thirds (34) of the states to pull the trigger, Congress controls and issues the call, and the convention must consider Amendments (in the plural).
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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