Liberty Defense League Timothy Baldwin Romans 13

You Are Here: Articles Tuesday, February 17, 2015

by Tim Baldwin

Michigan just passed an application to call an amendment convention under Article V of the Constitution for the explicit purpose of requiring a balanced federal budget.  The Washington Times reports, “Michigan lawmakers last week voted to demand a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.” This report highlights that this application may be the 34th application on the subject, thus triggering Congress’ duty to call a convention for that purpose.  

However, some States have rescinded their balanced budget applications. Citing Prof. Rob Natelson as authority on the subject, the report states, “Rob Natelson, who has studied similar conventions among the states or Colonies going back to the 17th century, said states always have been able to rescind calls for a convention.” See also, article here.

Regardless of whether Congress finds that those rescinded applications should be counted or not, that Congress would call a convention upon Michigan’s application more than implies that the convention MUST BE limited to the specific subject of the balanced budget. Or as the United States Supreme Court has put it, Congress must find a “consensus” among the States on the subject matter before calling a convention. It stated in Dillon v. Gloss (1921),

it is only when there is deemed to be a necessity therefor that amendments are to be proposed, the reasonable implication being that when proposed they are to be considered and disposed of presently * * * [A]s ratification is but the expression of the approbation of the people and is to be effective when had in three-fourths of the States, there is a fair implication that it must be sufficiently contemporaneous in that number of states to reflect the will of the people in all sections at relatively the same period, which of course ratification scattered through a long series of years would not do.

In other words, Congress must find a consensus in time and subject to call an amendment convention.

Perhaps the biggest news out of this story is that Michigan, a blue State, passed the same application as many red and purple States passed to limit federal taxing and spending. This proves, once again, that the so-called “runaway” convention theory is nonsense. It shows how the States—blue, red or purple--desire to control the federal government (especially its spending and taxing), not give it more power. Clearly, the Article V movement is not a red, blue, or purple movement. It is a red, white and blue movement.


# Chris
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 3:00 PM
It seems the extraneous limits applied by SCOTUS, not defined by Article V, indicate that a convention of states where the "people are the masters of the congress and the courts" will be needed if constitutional intent is to manifest from a convention.

Unfortunately it appears all authority is fairly disabled from discussion upon constitutional intent meaning the people have no model to follow for strategy enabling unity. Authority appears preoccupied with image and popularity, or afraid to take any risk by association with new perceptions of Article V and what lawfully controls it, constitutional intent.
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