Phyllis Schlafly is getting desperate. Running out of suggestions for reigning in the ever-growing power of the federal government, she resorts to obfuscation and ad hominum to denigrate those supporting the Convention of States project. In effect, she proposes we continue down the worn, tired old path of living under a Constitution of no limits, which has begotten us federal tyranny and $20 Trillion in debt.
First, she suggests that those whose recent bids for the presidency failed to captivate the American people like Donald Trump’s have only “suspended” rather than terminated their campaigns so they can support the COS project. Come on Phyllis, there are many reasons for suspending instead of terminating a campaign, first and foremost, to prepare for a convention fight.
Mike Huckabee, Marco Rubio, and Bobby Jindal are “failed Republicans?” Does that mean they aren’t real Republicans, like Schlafly? Frankly I’m getting a bit tired of those who suggest supporters of an Article V Convention do not have the best interests of the nation at heart or are somehow not patriots.
Schlafly argues that the purpose of “the wonderful Constitution” was to “limit the authority and jurisdiction of the federal government.”As the saying goes: “That was then, this is now.” Schlafly fails to mention a truth that even an eighth grader today can discern: the Constitution no longer limits the authority and jurisdiction of the federal government. This is an inconvenient truth to be sure, but a truth nevertheless. Thanks to the Supreme Court giving wide interpretation to the Framers ambiguous words, we no longer have a Constitution of “limited and enumerated powers,” as Madison and others would have preferred, we have a Constitution that allows the federal government to “do most anything in this country (thank you Representative Peter Stark for those truthful words).
“Why should we expect that some brand new language would do a better job than the most brilliant political thinkers in American history?” Because, dear Phyllis, those “most brilliant political thinkers in American history” didn’t foresee that the “least dangerous branch” could and would make such a mess of their careful work. So either you convince the Court to reverse its previous power-expanding rulings, which have now become precedent, or you change the wording of key Constitutional clauses to make them unambiguous, thus rendering all rulings to the contrary, nullities.
Schlafly suggests that those proposing an Article V Convention are somehow being deceptive in suggesting it would be a convention of the states. Who else would attend, Phyllis? The states apply to Congress for the convention and when the applications reach the 2/3 of the states threshold, Congress has to convene it. The states have demanded the convention, if they are not permitted to send delegations, why would they ratify anything which came out of such a convention? Besides, calling it a “Convention of the States” does not detract from its constitutional purpose: proposing amendments to the Constitution, amendments that Congress refuses to pass and forward to the states for ratification like ones which would reduce its power and jurisdiction, for instance.
Schlafly suggests that “only Congress can decide” the rules of the convention without showing us which provision of the Constitution gives it such power. It’s interesting to see people who suggest the Constitution limits the power of government—except in this one instance pertaining to the convention. Here they insist, the Congress will reign supreme and cut the states out of their own convention. A leap of imagination to be sure.
If Schlafly would bother opening up the pocket Constitution she refers to and compare it to reality, she would see that what she carries around in her pocket reflects little of what we see the federal government doing today? Why is that? Phyllis won’t say, because to be truthful would be to admit that her precious pocket Constitution is a fiction, a chimera, an illusion. The pocket Constitution reflects something that no longer exists in an operational sense. One example: the pocket Constitution suggests we should have a government of three branches, where one writes the laws, one executes the laws, and one settles controversies concerning those laws. In truth, all three branches now “make law,” and they are doing so with our consent because the Supreme Court has interpreted the Constitution that way. And that’s the law, or so the Court would have us believe.
Yes, perhaps “Bernie Sanders supporters would show up” at such a convention, to demand “constitutional amendments requiring the taxpayers to pay for free college and other free stuff for everyone.” (Actually, Sanders supporters wouldn’t be allowed to just “show up;” they would have to have been appointed as delegates by their states) More power to them! IF such proposed amendments pass a majority vote of the convention (they would not) do you really think that 38 states would ratify such folly? Which 38?
Phyllis Schlafly needs to step back, take a deep breath, and first stop suggesting there is some sort of conspiracy going on here. And then she should show us her plan, step by step, for restoring the original limits of the Constitution and stopping federal tyranny. The COS Project has such a plan. It will work. As far as I can see, it is the only plan with any possibility of success.
The Framers gave us this method of correcting wrongs done to the Constitution. We need to honor “the most brilliant political thinkers in American history.”
 I know this because I taught some recently
 What does “regulate” mean, what is “commerce?”
Editor’s Note. An Article V Convention has strong proponents and opponents locally and across America, including within conservative circles. Smart, well-intentioned people disagree on such a convention. The Fairfax Free Citizen welcomes both pro and con articles and comments about it. An open and insightful exchange of ideas about a possible Article V Convention will help inform readers and may contribute to building a consensus on this controversial subject.