We can restrain the federal government without a convention of states

Ron Nate, senior policy fellow at the Idaho Freedom Foundation, wrote a great article last year on why a state assembly is a terrible idea. I want to add something to his thesis because former US Senator Rick Santorum and Convention of States Chairman Mark Meckler are in Boise this week to persuade Idahoans (including presumably lawmakers) to support the idea.

I don’t blame Santorum for supporting the concept. Many well-meaning conservatives have fallen for this scheme to change the US Constitution. I once saw the idea positively. I liked the idea of ​​a balanced budget change or a term limit change that limits the amount of time people can serve in the US Congress.

A 2017 meeting in Austin, Texas changed my mind. I was particularly concerned that Rita Dunaway, the proponent of the Article V Convention, suggested that the Convention might include reforms to the Commerce Clause and the General Welfare Clause, although much attention has been given to the aforementioned Constitutional amendments.

Dunaway’s stated reasons for these changes are genuine — like keeping the federal government from interfering with a farmer’s property and getting a grip on federal programs. But changing either clause opens a Pandora’s box of really bad proposals. And that seems inevitable. Keep in mind that the state legislatures who voted for Congress will likely be among the Congressional delegates. These are the same legislators who are already struggling to comply with the Constitution by accepting federal health care and education ordinances and ordinances.

It’s not inconceivable that those same lawmakers would be pressured to change the Constitution to protect federal health programs and Washington, DC-originated education enactments, because why wouldn’t they? That bothered me so much that you hear me ask about it at the meeting. And Dunaway’s answer wasn’t exactly reassuring. She told me she doesn’t think “the proposals will be bad or alarming”. And she said she was comforted that there were truly great lawmakers across the country who were showing that they are committed statesmen committed to principles above all else.

I only wish that were true. Every state in America has accepted its place as a supplicant to the federal bureaucracy. And the international convention has only strengthened my confidence that this will hardly change. In the May 2022 GOP primary, the organization funded one of the left-most Republicans in the Legislature, Rep. Scott Syme, in his race against Rep. Judy Boyle, the more conservative candidate and anti-convention opponent. Boyle eventually prevailed.

If Syme is the archetype of the delegate to the Convention of States – a person willing to accept federal money and bend to the will of the central government in Washington, DC – then you can only imagine the hot mess that will follow. We would be very happy if such a scenario was limited to our imaginations.

The solution to a runaway federal government has always been in the states. To paraphrase Glenda the Good Witch, the states have always had the power to resist federal tyranny. We may get the idea that the powers of the federal government are limited. States just have to act accordingly – no convention needed. If a Republican-controlled state like Idaho can’t or won’t, then no one should give those same people the power to tinker with the US Constitution.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

| |
Back to top button