The first Convention of States of the modern era, held in Phoenix last week, was a resounding success, with one caveat. Only 19 states sent delegations, seven short of a quorum of 26. The second Convention, (to be held at a State Capitol yet to be determined) will be in November or December of 2018, and there should be 30 or more states present.
Once again, the delegates will unite behind the principles of One State, One Vote, One Amendment. Once again, the assembled delegates will demonstrate the order and decorum appropriate to the occasion. Once again, the myth of the runaway convention will be discredited.
These Conventions of States should meet annually until that fantasy is exposed as a hoax. And once that task is accomplished, the annual Conventions of States should continue. Future Conventions can address such questions as: 1) How will the states monitor and enforce compliance with the Balanced Budget Amendment? 2) Is there a consensus for an additional Article V Amendment? 3) Various issues of federal vs. state jurisdiction, such as the status of public lands in the west.
All 71 of the delegates to Phoenix are ambassadors for Article V in their state legislatures. There should be twice that many delegates to the second Convention, and all of them will likewise be the strongest and most informed advocates of Article V in their states. Conventions of States, along with the Phoenix Correspondence Commission, are the means by which states can act in unison, in a duly authorized and official manner. They are the revival of an ancient and honorable American tradition. The impact they might have on American politics and government is revolutionary.
I heard a delegate in Phoenix say that this is the fourth leg of the stool of federalism, the other three being the President, the Congress, and the Supreme Court. But that’s not really true. The states, acting together, are sovereign, and superior to any and all branches of the national government. The entire federal government exists at the sufferance of the states. They made it, and they can change it.
That scares some people, but they weren’t at Phoenix. They didn’t see the delegates to the Convention. They don’t appreciate the seriousness and caution shown by every one of them. State legislators are not some rabble. They are, by and large, honorable public servants, and patriots. The men and women I’ve met in the last four years are exactly the kind of people who can be safely entrusted with this power. The conduct of the Phoenix Convention of States is the proof.
One record set in Phoenix may never be duplicated. Convention President Kelly Townsend advises that the total expenditure by the State of Arizona for the Convention was $7,000. Congratulations to the penny pinching Speaker of the Arizona House, J. D. Mesnard.
Many lessons were learned in Phoenix, and the next Convention of States will have the benefit of experience. It’s something to look forward to.