The Danger of Identical Applications Part I

By Rodney Dodsworth – March 9, 2016

One of the problems with the Articles of Confederation that helped prod thirteen independent republics toward a stronger union was the unanimous consent requirement to amend them.

Article XIII: Every State shall abide by the determination of the United States in congress assembled, on all questions which by this confederation are submitted to them. And the Articles of this confederation shall be inviolably observed by every State, and the union shall be perpetual; nor shall any alteration at any time hereafter be made in any of them; unless such alteration be agreed to in a congress of the United States, and be afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of every State.

For instance, twice during the 1780s, Rhode Island stymied modest federal taxation of commerce for a limited time to pay the nation’s enormous Revolutionary War debt.

Please keep this in mind as you read further. The confederation fell due to no small part played by its practical inability to be amended. To what practical extent is our Constitution amendable today?

A couple prominent conservatives in the Article V state amendments convention movement promote the erroneous requirement of identical subject applications from the states in order to “count” toward the 2/3 minimum necessary for congress to call a convention.

First off and of the utmost importance, the people via their states have a societal right to frame, adjust and amend their governing document as they see fit. Article V grants nothing to society any more than the Second Amendment grants individuals the right to defend themselves with firearms. Article V merely sets out a useful and orderly framework for a free people to exercise their sovereignty.

Second, the text of Article V not only doesn’t demand identical subject applications, there is no direct or oblique reference to it at all. The Federal Convention of 1787 considered and rejected any requirement for identical or similar subject applications. To insist on such a thing today is to amend the Constitution, which is the common practice of scotus, a practice we conservatives abhor.

The above by itself is reason to put the matter to rest. Nothing more is needed, but there is additional easy evidence to support my conclusion.

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