The states, under federalism, are the only legal and safe solution left for the American people under the threat of tyranny. 

By Mike Kapic – March 8, 2022

Our hunt for liberty has evolved, beginning in the American colonies meeting in convention in the early 1600s and continuing through to the last one in Arizona. One of the first was the Mayflower Compact in 1620 in Massachusetts Bay and the last recorded was the Phoenix Planning Convention in 2017. Abe Lincoln attended the 1847 Chicago convention with 2500 other delegates from 19 states. They discussed commerce navigation.

We have a long and little-known history of the American people coming together to resolve issues larger than life and yet, too big for congresses or legislatures to resolve. Conventions met for everything from safety, inflation, taxation, avoiding civil war, water allocation, limiting federal power, approving the US Constitution, and legalizing alcohol, to name a few. Scholars and historians have scoured over 650 records of the thousands of events over the centuries.

This is the Part II in a series on the convention process from our little-known 400 year history of building consensus toward a more perfect union.

Article V Court & Precedents Approved Rules    

  • The President plays no part in the process.
  • Congress primary role is to administratively ‘call’ by setting the time and place of the convention.
  • Congress receives, tallies, and publishes the states applications.
  • Congress has the discretion of determining the ratification process: state legislature or state convention.
  • Congress is Constitutionally required to distribute any proposed amendment to the states without question.
  • The House Representatives Rules requires that Congress maintain an accurate record and count of the pending state applications and publish the same.
  • SCOTUS will not entertain issues of a “political nature” except determining what is/not political.
  • SCOTUS has used mandamus power to compel the executive branch, but not Congress to perform their “ministerial” duty and retain this power today.
  • States can make application for a convention and may express its purpose. They may limit the subject matter.
  • States’ applications do not need to be identical. Consensus is determined by intent & not verbiage.
  • States define the qualifications and number of delegates.
  • States fund their own delegations.
  • States, alone, determine the application validity as there is no enumerated or implied power of Congress to do so.
  • States applications have no expiration date.
  • States may rescind its application at will.
  • Only States may participate in a convention.
  • States have the power to recall, suspend commissions, or discipline their delegates.
  • Conventions are for performing a federal function, not a state legislative action.
  • Conventions are to be free to deliberate & debate. A prepared amendment proposal is not allowed.
  • Conventions select their own officers.
  • Conventions draft their own rules.
  • Conventions maintain its own order and discipline.
  • Convention states have one equal vote.
  • Convention states are the sole arbiter of the acceptance of the credentials of state delegates.
  • Conventions utilize either historical guides or parliamentary rules for agenda and business.
  • Conventions establish committees as required.
  • Conventions may call witnesses and experts for advice and counsel.
  • Conventions usually establish a continuing clause until formal rules are established.
  • Conventions may name a temporary presiding officer until a formal slate is elected.
  • Conventions legal precedent requires 2/3 of delegates present for a quorum for business.
  • Conventions under Article V are not plenary, being limited to proposing amendments.
  • Conventions under Article V, open or general, may take up any topic, but are still limited.
  • Conventions under Article V may not write a new federal constitution or alter the ratifying process in Article V.
  • Conventions under Article V may only propose amendments.
  • Conventions decide whether to be secret or open.
  • Conventions can demand archives and documents from any federal office or department.
  • The people, have no direct role in the amendment process by calling it or attempting to ratify a proposal through the initiative or referendum process.
  • Forbidden under Article V to rewrite the Constitution.
  • Forbidden under Article V to draft or propose a new constitution.
  • Forbidden under Article V for a convention to publish or declare a proposed amendment.
  • Forbidden under Article V to pass ordinary statutory legislation.
  • Forbidden under Article V to expand its limited powers.

For more: see The Article V Library

Also: Let Us Vote 4 BBA (The subject of which has been renamed the FRA or fiscal responsibility amendment)

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