LR7 letter is misleading, full of errors
Kathy Wilmot recently submitted a letter to the editor regarding Senator Steve Halloran's Legislative Resolution 7 (LR7) that is misleading and full of errors.
LR7 uses Article V of the Constitution to propose amendments to restrain federal spending, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and impose term limits on Congress and other federal officials.
First, Wilmot begins her letter with a definition of a constitutional convention from Black's Law Dictionary that is extremely broad that includes writing, rewriting, or revising a constitution.
She fails to point out that Article V only allows for amendments to the existing Constitution.
Instead, she uses the definition of a constitutional convention to imply Article V will allow for a rewriting of the Constitution. The defining document is the Constitution and the operative word is "amendments."
Therefore, the proper phrase to use to describe the convention called for in LR7 is an amendment(s) or amendatory convention. LR7 is an amendments convention.
Scholars look to use words that precisely defines the context of what they mean, not broadly defined words that can be interpreted in multiple ways.
In the next paragraph, Wilmot makes a claim that Mr. Robert Kelly, the General Counsel for the Convention of States Project, said, "all sections of the Constitution including Article V could be opened."
Please note no quote marks were used by Wilmot in the original letter. Wilmot fails to provide suitable evidence for her claim.
Argumentation over ideas must follow the presentation of claims, followed by presentation of evidence, then warrants, and any qualifications to evidence.
Wilmot commits the "False Authority" logic error by not qualifying the experts in support of the unlimited convention.
Wilmot then commits an egregious error by quoting Justice Scalia out of context and using her broad definition of a constitutional convention.
Here are two quotes from Scalia that clearly state his position on rewriting or writing a new Constitution. "I certainly would not want a Constitutional Convention I mean, whoa. Who knows what would come out of that?" and "A constitutional convention is a horrible idea," he said.
"This is not a good century to write a constitution."
Scalia supported an Article V convention. "I do not have a lack of trust in the American people. I am the one here who is least terrified of a convention. We have come a long way. We have gotten over many problems. But the fact remains that a widespread and deep feeling of powerlessness in the country is apparent with respect to many issues, not just the budget issue. The people do not feel that their wishes are observed They are heard but they are not heeded, particularly at the federal level. The congress has come up with a lot of paliatives—the legislative veto, for example—which do not solve the problem at all. Part of the problem as I have noted is simply that the Congress has become professionalized; its members have a greater interest than ever before in remaining in office; and it is served by a bureaucracy and is much more subject to the power of individualized pressure groups than to the unorganized feelings of the majority of the citizens.”
In the next paragraph, Wilmot cites a rescinded Congressional Research Service report. Wilmot commits the "False Authority" in the next paragraph.
Article V was written to go around Congress when they became oppressive. Why would the founders then allow an oppressive Congress to control an Article V amendments convention? Common sense would say they wouldn't.
The necessary and proper clause only applies to Article 1 Section 8. The founders applied common sense to writing the Constitution.
Why would they write a clause in Section 1 (Congress) that could apply to the entire Congress? The Founders wanted separation of powers and they recognized state legislatures as separate entities and powers.
My response to Kathy Wilmot is based on writings from the following books and common sense.
The books are Timothy J. Dake's, "Far From Unworkable: The Fears, Facts, FAQs, and Court Findings Relating to the Constitution's Provisions for an Article V Amendatory Convention," and Robert Natelson's legal treatise, "The Law of Article V: State Initiation of Constitutional Amendments."