Georgia Lawmaker Calls for Constitutional Convention
Sue Ella DeadwylerGeorgia Insight December 3, 2011
“The stakes in this institution are much greater because you are putting the whole Constitution up for grabs.” – Lawrence Tribe, Professor of Law
ACTION – Oppose Until H.R. 1095 is officially introduced in the 2012 session, it will not be placed in a committee. Meantime, please ask your representative to oppose any call for a constitutional convention, because it is too dangerous. When this bill is introduced and assigned to a committee, I will provide the members’ names and contact numbers.
An “amendments convention” is another term for a Constitutional Convention (Con Con), which is extremely risky. The Constitution of the United States does NOT limit a Con Con to a single issue. On the contrary, Article V, specifically, mentions “proposing amendments,” which is plural not singular.
A constitutional convention was the subject of a September 24-25 conference at Harvard Law School. Over 300 participants heard Con Con proponent Nick Dranias of the Goldwater Institute plea for them to work out an agreement to call a Con Con. But he was contradicted by leftwing law professor Lawrence Tribe, who warned attendees that a Con Con cannot be limited to a single issue. Ironically, conferees could not agree and disbanded without a decision. Their experience is indicative of the irreconcilable turmoil that would certainly surface in a Con Con.
The National Status
During the last several decades, 32 state legislatures passed Con Con resolutions, but since 1988 at least twelve repealed their calls – Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Idaho, Utah, North Dakota, Arizona, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Wyoming and Oklahoma. All past calls for a Con Con in Georgia were rescinded in 2004, when the General Assembly passed H.R. 1343.
The Constitution of the United States Article V requires Congress to call a Con Con after two-thirds (34) of the states pass a bill requesting it. The absence of details in Article V, the only authority for a constitutional convention, leaves too many loopholes.
Consider the following:
Questions With No Answers. Are rescinded calls valid? Where will a Con Con convene? Will all states be invited to participate? Will all delegates be U.S. citizens? How many days, weeks, or months will it meet? May the public participate? Who writes rules? Who presides? Who pays for it? Can it be limited? Could the entire Constitution be rewritten? Could our representative republic be replaced with a different government? Are the answers in Article V?
“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.”
– Constitution of the United States, Article V
H.R. 1095, prefiled December 13, 2011 by Representative Andrew Welch of House District 110, states “that, as provided for in Article V of the U.S. Constitution, the Georgia General Assembly respectfully applies for an amendments convention to be called for the purpose of proposing an amendment which shall provide that an increase in the federal debt requires approval from a majority of the legislatures of the separate states.”
ACTION – Oppose. Until H.R. 1095 is officially introduced in the 2012 session, it will not be placed in a committee. Meantime, please ask your representative to oppose any call for a constitutional convention, because it is too dangerous. When this bill is introduced and assigned to a committee, I will provide the members’ names and contact numbers.Sue Ella DeadwylerGeorgia Insight 3 December 2011