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House Fails To Pass Proposal for Balanced Budget Amendment - Our Need for an Article V. Convention

by: douglas v. gibbs | published: 11 20, 2011

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The radio news voice on KFI Los Angeles said, "The House failed to achieve the two-thirds vote needed to amend the Constitution."

Really? Do these people really think the Congress amends the Constitution? Like usual, the liberal left statist socialists are doing everything they can to cut the voice of the people, and the States, out of the process, so that they may achieve their dream of a truly centralized federal government. . .

What the radio guy was referring to was how yesterday The House of Representatives failed to pass the Balanced Budget Amendment 261-165, twenty-three short of the two-thirds majority needed for the amendment proposal to move on to the next step.

To try to get it to pass, the proponents were willing to strip out the "cut" and the "cap." It was Cut, Cap, Balance, before. Now it is just a Balanced Budget Amendment. Four Republicans voted against it, along with the Democrats.

I am thinking the Republicans had reasons different from the Democrats regarding their "no" vote.

Ultimately, however, one must ask, "Why do we need an amendment to make Congress do what they are supposed to be doing anyway?"

The cockroaches of Washington regularly ignore the Constitution, and actually act in opposition of the Law of the Land, so what makes us think they will abide by this amendment should it be successful in its journey through Congress and the President, and be ratified by three-quarters of the State Legislatures?

Besides, the premise is all wrong. The way to balance the budget is not just to spend less than what is coming in, but more specifically to spend only as authorized by the Constitution - language that failed to make it into this balanced-budget proposal.

Where in the Constitution is the federal government authorized to fund education, subsidize farming or energy, provide funding for environmental controls, throw away our money in foreign aid, or even for federal highway funding?

The authority for these things are enumerated no place in the Constitution. The federal government took it upon themselves to enact this unconstitutional spending activity, and the Congress, the States, and We The People did nothing to stop them. Now, because of our failure to stop the unconstitutional activities of the federal government, the desire for an amendment to force the issue is on the floor of the House of Representatives.

Failure of the proposal to pass is no surprise, anyway. Do we really expect the federal government to impose limitations upon themselves?

If an amendment to limit the powers of the federal government is going to have a chance to become a part of the U.S. Constitution, the only way to get it to pass is without the involvement of the federal government. . . and that is not only possible, but was the preferred process by the Founding Fathers.

The option is called an Article V. Convention, based on the language provided by Article V. of the U.S. Constitution.

Part of the problem is that the States have been cut out of the process, and the powers of interpreting the Constitution have been unconstitutionally given to the courts. Constitutional scholars will tell you that the rule of law is case law, a complex web of legal cases that present precedent and constitutional interpretation. These proponents of Judicial Review claim that case law is a part of the web of understanding when it comes to the U.S. Constitution. Folks that adhere to the belief that case law is a part of Constitutional Law support the ideas of implied powers and implied law as well. These are all concepts that are not in line with the original intent of the U.S. Constitution, and the framers of that document.

Judicial Review emerged after 1803, when John Marshall, the Chief Justice of the United States at the time, in his opinion regarding the Marbury v. Madison case, stole for the federal courts the power of Judicial Review by writing in his opinion that the courts have the final say on the constitutionality of law. Considering that the U.S. Constitution is filled with limitations on the federal government, one must realize that it would not be in the Founding Father's original plans for the federal government, through the courts, to decide for itself what its own authorities are.

The Judicial Branch is only supposed to apply the law, regardless of its opinion of the validity of the law. If the law is unconstitutional, it is not the Judiciary's job to strike down the law, it is the people's duty to vote out the people making unconstitutional law, and for the new statesmen to enact laws that are constitutional, and to repeal any unconstitutional law when necessary. Granted, the courts can have an opinion that a law is unconstitutional (hence, why even to this day court dockets begin with the words: "It is in the opinion of the court. . ."), and lower courts will adjust their rulings based on the rulings of the higher courts, but for any law to be truly struck down, it must be done legislatively.

In my Constitution Class one of my students has a law degree, and told me that when they were being taught the Constitution in law school never once were the pages of the Constitution consulted. All of the lessons regarding the Constitution were based on the opinions of past judges. Such is the danger of an educational system that has been infiltrated by progressives that do not care about the rule of law, but about increasing the powers of the federal government through a process of compromising the original intent, and therefore the validity, of the U.S. Constitution.

I derive all of my knowledge regarding the Constitution on the debates during the Constitutional Convention, Congressional records regarding the debates of subsequent amendments, and from studying the writings of the people that were there. I do not derive my beliefs on what is constitutional, and what is not, on the interpretations by a bunch of legal scholars who have disregarded history, and bases their opinions on what best supports their own personal agenda.

Which brings us back to the Article V. Convention.

There is a belief that calling new Constitutional Convention would open the opportunity for groups to do things that we do not desire. Some people believe that an Article V. Convention would give statists the ability to change the Constitution into something that would completely change our form of govenernment into something tyrannical, and hardly what the Founding Fathers intended.

I agree that there are groups there that want nothing more than to finish off the current move to render the Constitution as being nothing more than an outdated document. There are also people out there that believe an Article V. Convention can change the Constitution, and therefore completely shake the foundations of our governmental system. However, the majority of the people pushing for an Article V. Convention are not necessarily liberals wishing to change the Constitution outside the bounds of the law. I believe that those who believe, or are willing to believe if they understood it, the purist view of the amendment process outnumber those working to attack the Constitution and change it. Therefore, I do not fear an Article V. Convention. I believe the wisdom of the Founding Fathers, and the required vote of three-quarters of the States to ratify any amendments, would prevail. And with that, I believe one of the best tools we have on our tool belt for changing this nation back to what it was supposed to be lies in an Article V. Convention. That said, something like a Balanced Budget Amendment would only have a chance of passage through an Article V. Convention.

People tend to only be concerned with their own needs, and can be fooled easily. That fact of human nature is exactly the reason the Founding Fathers chose this to be a republic, rather than a democracy entirely controlled by the vote of the people. In their wisdom, they did not place too much power in any one place, including the power to change the Constitution. All of the changes in the world can be proposed, but it still takes three-quarters of the State legislatures to approve amendment proposals before they can become a part of the law of the land.

The call for an Article V. Convention is nothing new. All 50 states have called for it, many of those calls beginning longer than over a 100 years ago. There have been over 700 applications by the States for a convention. The convention has never taken place because the Congress will not set a time and place, for fear of the people proposing amendments, and the States ratifying them, that would limit the powers of the federal government. Centralized systems do not like it when the individual mind gets involved.

Understand, the deception that many fear may surface if an Article V. Convention convenes, is nothing new. Alexander Hamilton was thrilled about the original Constitutional Convention because he desired a more centralized government, and figured it could be achieved in 1787 during the original Constitutional Convention. However, the minds that believed in limiting the authorities of the federal government prevailed, and so Hamilton and his allies had to find another way to give the government more power. John Marshall was a student of Hamilton's, and that is one of the reasons the push for a more centralized government moved from a political means to a means through the judiciary. Our greatest danger, I believe, is not a bunch of citizens getting together at a Constitutional Convention to try to change the Constitution in a way that would further limit the powers of the federal government, but through a judiciary that is working to eventually rule that the Constitution is not legally valid, and that communitarianism overrides any freedoms of the individual.

Granted, there was never supposed to be a Constitutional Convention in the first place. The original intention was to fix the Articles of Confederation. A year before at the Annapolis Convention they had come to this conclusion because of the inability of the federal government to properly deal with Shays' Rebellion. And yes, Madison and Hamilton were intent on writing a new constitution, based on framework already worked out by Madison, regardless of the original intent of fixing the Articles of Confederation as everyone else had hoped. However, Madison and Hamilton had very different reasons for the desire of a new constitution. Madison wanted one that better enabled the federal government to promote, protect and preserve the union, while remaining limited in its authorities, and Hamilton wished for a new American empire to arise from the proceedings, equipped with an American King, and a military that was at the government's disposal for any and all reasons the government so desired.

The original push for fixing the Articles of Confederation, or writing a new constitution, was not a popular one. That is the reason most states did not send delegates to the Annapolis Convention in 1786. The states feared losing their state sovereignty. The Anti-Federalists feared that with an update the governmental system could become like the one they fought against in the Revolutionary War. The key had to be to create a federal government with enough powers to preserve the union, while limiting it enough to protect State sovereignty. Most people, for fear of change, did not believe it to be possible. But those fears, had the Constitution never been written, would have allowed America to fall back under British Control in 1812. The greatest miracle in history, some may say, is the fact that the United States remained united, and a large part of that miracle is a direct result of the U.S. Constitution.

Shays' Rebellion was the kick in the butt they needed to realize the Articles of Confederation was completely inadequate. And yes, the general public was not told that the intent of the proposed meetings were to replace the current form of government with a new form of government. Rhode Island did not attend the Constitutional Convention in 1787, and the New York delegation, save for Hamilton, walked out. The Federalist Papers were written afterward specifically to convince New York to ratify the new constitution. These objections to the new U.S. Constitution were simply because they feared losing State Sovereignty. However, without the new federal government, the union could not last. Without it, our nation was doomed. Fortunately, the attendees of the Constitutional Convention were able to convince the required number of states that though the new government would have more powers than the old one, the authorities of the new government were still limited enough to protect state sovereignty.

Deception has dictated in our current society that the federal government is some kind of benign force that only holds the common good as its goal. Despite the dire straights we seem to be navigating, I do have faith that we are on the precipice of a new great awakening, and that the people have realized the lies of those that support an ever-growing federal government. For that reason, in order to propose amendments like the Balanced Budget Amendment without federal influence, we need an Article V. Convention. Like in 1787, it will not be strongly supported at first. But those that support the U.S. Constitution are still the majority in this nation, and those that believe in divine providence are also still in the majority. I do believe God reigns in the majority of the hearts of Americans, and I believe we can turn this all around with an Article V. Convention.

The leftist enemy is not stupid. This is why liberalism deceives through creeping incrementalism. I do not believe they are so bold as to simply write a new constitution at a Constitutional Convention, for they know a revolution would erupt as a result. Their goal is to replace the Constitution by rendering it invalid through the judiciary.

America's Founding Fathers originally intended for states alone to propose amendments. However, to encourage more states to ratify the Constitution, the Founders added near the end of the Constitutional Convention for the Congress to be able to propose amendments to the Constitution as well - being very careful to make sure that the States remained in the loop, ensuring that no matter who proposed the amendment, the states still needed to ratify such an amendment with a three-quarters vote.

Let's not be fooled by the liberal left's position on the Constitution. They do not believe, as many people have stated to me, that the Constitution is a living document and must be "adjusted" to reflect the present times and events. They believe the Constitution is a living document and that it must be "interpreted" to reflect the present times and events. They don't want to replace it, they wish to invalidate it, or at least invalidate the original intent. The Left knows darn well that they need to only do that through judicial review, as long as that power exists.

Deception and deceit does not bother with things as trivial as replacing something. They simply ignore it, treat it as if it does not exist, or invalidate it through judicial means. Our only weapon to combat that is to give power back to the States, and protect state sovereignty, and I believe one of the tools to do so is an Article V. Convention. I believe that in addition to nullification, and the ballot box, an Article V. Convention is one of the necessary tools in taking back our nation. For that reason, it is our responsibility to not only consider an Article V. Convention, but to demand one.

The present Constitution cannot remain unchanged, The process of changing it is not an easy one for good reason. The law is the law, and amendments must be ratified by three-quarters of the states. This is why you see a federal government doing as they please, regardless of the Constitution, and refusing to propose amendments. They wish to keep the States out of the picture, make the State legislatures irrelevant. And they won't allow us to change the Constitution through a convention because that alerts the states to be involved, and that is the last thing the federal government wants. The plan is to do it as they are doing now: Change the system through ignoring the law, and invalidating the original intent of the U.S. Constitution through the judiciary whenever possible.

Somewhere, among the disagreements and bickerings, the truth finds a way to the surface. That is what happened in 1787, and that is what will hopefully happen now.

My only recommendation when we have an Article V. Convention is that the Balanced Budget Amendment not be written as it is now, but instead for it to say that the federal government cannot spend any money unless it can be shown that the federal government has the constitutional authority for that expense.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

House falls short on balanced budget amendment to Constitution - Miami Herald



  • Reply to this comment

    Gordie H

    See Proposed 28th Amendment -


  • Reply to this comment

    dan s.

    A balanced budget would not be good as those in office would be the ones "balancing the budget" and you can just imagine what that means. No, get rid of those raising our debt. That is the beginning point. Read C. Baldwin on America: Not the Freest Nation at , a truly conservative newspaper

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