Stopping a Dangerous Article V Convention

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Republican & Democratic Legislators Agree: An Article V Convention Is A Bad Idea

In their own words, Republican and Democratic state legislators from across the country have warned about the dangers of calling an Article V constitutional convention:

“It’s like playing Russian roulette. We kind of think it would work out well. You put a bullet in one chamber, the odds of it working are pretty good. But the consequences of being wrong are immeasurable.” – Sen. Richard Black (R-VA)

“No one knows with any certainty what it would look like or how far-reaching the changes could be. Importantly, nothing in the Constitution limits a convention to the issues for which it was called; attempts to restrict it to one subject may or may not be honored. Our fundamental freedoms, guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, could be at risk at this kind of unprecedented and unregulated event.” – Rep. KC Becker (D-CO)

“I submit to you that voting for this resolution can be a dangerous thing especially in this day and age when we are a deeply divided nation.” – Rep. Blaine “Chip” Campbell (R-SD)

“This is a high-stakes process. The convention can amend the U.S. Constitution in any way it sees fit, and can write its own rules.” – Rep. Chris Taylor (D-WI)

“The purpose of this convention is for proposing amendments. I do not think there is a constitutional way to bind that convention. It is in the plain text of Article V which I read to this body word for word…. When the convention starts, it’s open season. That could mean a repeal of the second amendment, a repeal of the fourth, fifth, and sixth amendments. Certainly, there’s lot of good that could be done but the street goes both ways, make no question about it.” – Sen. Anthony Sykes (R-OK)

“We don’t need to play with the best constitution in the world.” – Rep. Tommy Reynolds (D-MS)

“This is something very fundamental that may alter the structure of government… There is no clear understanding how this would proceed and I urge a no vote on that.” – Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-VA)

“It’s the atomic bomb in the Constitution. Why? Because it opens up everything in the Constitution.” – Sen. Mike Romano (D-WV)

“If you read Article V, it says this is a convention for the purpose of approving amendments. That is a constitutional convention, ladies and gentlemen, it is a convention. And it opens up every bit of the constitution because we as a state cannot restrict it and neither can congress…It’s a convention like every other convention you’ve ever been to, where they make their own rules, they set their own agenda. End of story. One amendment can fundamentally alter your rights under the constitution. One amendment can fundamentally remove your liberties. It sets a dangerous precedent. It is a very dangerous move.” – Rep. Michael Speciale (R-NC)

“Once those delegates are called to the convention, they are the supreme leaders of the land in rewriting the United States Constitution. And all of those liberties and freedoms that we hold dear … all of that could be rewritten.” – Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D-WI)

“This is definitely entering into unchartered territory…We cannot control what comes out of this convention. We don’t know who all would go up there… It would be a mess. Under the conditions of our government today and the bipolar ideas of what’s going on out there, because there is two different ideas as to which direction we should go, we need to think this through.” – Sen. Ron Sharp (R-OK)

“It’s a dangerous thing to do … we don’t know if there will be any way to stop a constitutional convention from running amok. In the current politically charged atmosphere in our country there’s no telling what could happen.” – Del. Anne Healey (D-MD)

“It’s going to be every lobbyist from coast to coast. The problem with calling a national convention is that our entire government is at stake.” – Del. Robin L. Grammer (R-MD)

“We were fearful if there was a convention, who knows what would happen.” – Sen. Tick Segerblom (D-NV)

“As we have talked that Article V would open the door for a Constitution to be completely rewritten. Are you willing to gamble that for your children and your grandchildren’s future?…We are venturing on grounds that are uncertain. It’s not fear to question. It’s not fear to have doubts. There are many that believe this will be a runaway convention. I urge you to vote no.” – Rep. Mike Ritze (R-OK)

“With the current climate of the country, I have a hard time believing this would ever be a good idea.” – Rep. Brian Egolf (D-NM)

“I am too fearful that it would be a runaway convention. People have tried to assure me that it won’t happen, but they haven’t convinced me. I don’t know that there would be amendments proposed at a convention like this, so much as there might be a complete change made to our Constitution. I know people mean well, but I’m not willing to risk our Constitution. I’m not sure that people who have the best interests of our freedoms at heart will be those who are appointed to be a delegate to a convention like this.” – Rep. Judy Boyle (R-ID)

“This method has never been tried, and for good reason. We don’t know where it will go, because it has no constraints.” – Sen. Jeff Kessler (D-WV)

“I care about the future. But I don’t think this is the way to go about addressing the debt, and our founding fathers- they came from a different mindset. They had just come out of a revolution. They knew what it meant to pay the price for freedom. We don’t understand that today. They were concerned with more than just budgets and dollars. They were concerned about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” – Rep. Sally Kern (R-OK)

“We would be plowing all new ground and territory if we moved in this direction.” – Sen. Pam Jochum (D-IA)

“If we go down this rabbit hole, what are we going to find at the end of the tunnel?” he said. “When I think about the lobbyist money and where we are today as a society, I just don’t see anything good coming out of it.” – Rep. John Becker (R-OH)

“There’s a lot of risk, and the more I looked into this, the bottom line was the risks were too great.” – Sen. Chris Pearson (Progressive-VT)

“The fact of the matter is everything today is controlled by special interest. If you don’t believe that, just walk out into the lobby at any time during the day. The fact of the matter is this is too important of an issue. It will be out of control.” – Rep. David Brumbraugh (R-OK)

“I’m worried about what a constitutional convention might look like. I’m worried about that in this state what a constitutional convention might look like. I would argue that we live probably in a period of greater political polarization than our country’s ever seen before. I don’t think that’s the time — we’re not all pulling in the same direction.” – Sen. Thomas McElveen (D-SC)

“The proposed Article V Convention is not the answer we seek. That option carries an unwarranted risk to our sacred Constitution. The very fact you have heard so much concern expressed about the possibility of a Convention from both major political parties, from conservatives and liberals, from people from urban and rural areas, from academicians, from Constitutional lawyers, and millions of voters across our nation, should serve as a recognizable warning to the prudent.” – Sen. Dan Foreman (R-ID)

“You said you’re trying to prevent runaway spending, but you might be opening Pandora’s Box at this particular time in our nation.” – Rep. Bryant Clark (D-MS)

“There is just no way to control the outcome of a convention. It’s difficult to see that we have sufficient numbers of principled people who would want to preserve our Constitution in the midst of a process like this.” – Sen. Monty Pearce (R-ID)

“I would ask the body to vote for this. I was there in 2015 and voted for it, but what I’ve learned since about what they’ve talked about has really changed my mind. The good senator from Sioux Falls brought up some of the exact reasons that I take pause. The Rules Committee, the Procedures Committee, the actual call, all can change and frankly, can be lobbied. To think that there’s going to be pure as snow legislators that go to some location in the United States and do the aboslute right thing for our country, I think is naive. I think we have to consider that that group of people might be very well intentioned, but also might be pushed around by lobbyists and there might be a whole other set of rules that have to go into it just for lobbying efforts alone… To say we’re doing nothing… I just hope that we can look at some solutions… If you just try to balance the budget, frankly that whole siutaiton becomes even harder with a convention of states as opposed to the way Congress can actually do it today.” – Sen. Jeff Partridge (R-SD) 

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