Opponents of Article V come from both political extremes, left and right. There’s little we can do to dissuade the leftists. They’re just don’t want a Balanced Budget Amendment . But for the conservative opposition, there’s at least the possibility of persuasion.
That’s really what September’s Convention of States, or BBA Planning Conventon, is all about. It’s to convert people like Montana Senate President Scott Sales, Idaho Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, and various other legislators from Minnesota to South Carolina. These people are serious conservatives, but they labor under some major misunderstandings.
Congressman Andy Biggs remains the leader of this group. He’s written a handbook of opposition, entitled “The Con of the Con-Con.” , which has been cited to me. The “Con-Con” is his way of branding an Article V Amendment Convention as a Constitutional Convention, which of course it is not.
While he was the President of the Arizona Senate, Biggs was an immovable object, and all Article V applications were D.O.A. But the Good Lord provided, opened up a seat in Congress in his district, and let him win the Republican primary (and thus election) in a recount. Now that he’s gone, CoSP was able to pass yesterday, and we are locked and loaded for later this week. The problem in Arizona was all Biggs.
Since I started pitching State Legislators for the Task Force, three years ago before the Utah House State Affairs Committee, I’ve run into the same argument, over and over. “We trust the people we’d send to an Article V Convention, but what about all these other crazy States, like California and New York? These people have no use for the Constitution, and I don’t trust them.” I’ve tried, in a variety of ways, to counter this argument, usually to no avail.
But at a formal Convention of States, an assembly of Commissioners duly appointed by the Presiding Officers of as many as 40 States, this concern will evaporate. Sure, there might be a few whack jobs from Massachusetts or Hawaii, but, overwhelmingly, the Commissioners will be constitutional conservatives, a lot like Biggs, who seek to resurrect federalism, and the Constitution itself. Just by being in the same room with them, for general session or committee work or cocktails, the right wing skeptics will see for themselves. There’s nothing to worry about. The Amendment Process is in good hands. Because the people at the Planning Convention will, by and large, be the same as at the Amendment Convention. It’s a matter of trust, and this fall, perhaps in Phoenix, we’re going to create some.
In his tract in opposition to Article V, Biggs states, “When we start electing people who are committed to individual freedom, we will know that the time is soon coming when it is safe to convene an Article V Convention.” The Commissioners at September’s Planning are committed to individual freedom. And if the Convention is held in Phoenix, it should be held at a venue located within his Congressional district. He should be invited to attend, and address the assembled Commissioners. As he looks out over the audience, he should be asked if he still believes, as he said in his book, “It isn’t the process that will produce a run-away convention, but it is the personnel attending the gathering.”
You mean us?