One man’s moral dereliction has never provided an adequate excuse for another man’s moral dereliction. (In other words, just because someone else didn’t do the right thing, doesn’t mean it’s okay for YOU not to do the right thing). — Anonymous

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SD Con-Con Supporters: Too Late, Wrong State

January 7, 2014   ·   By   ·   2 Comments

US Constitution

US Constitution

By Eldon Stahl
Mitchell, South Dakota

If you are convinced that South Dakota’s state Legislature should ask Congress to call a Constitutional Convention (AKA Article V Convention), you’re too late—by over 100 years. And, if you think such a convention is a real solution to the problems we face in this country, and there is nothing anyone could say to persuade you otherwise, you’re simply working on the wrong state.

Here’s how it works to trigger a Convention (This is clearly spelled out in Article V itself—read it for yourself if you don’t believe me):

1. Two-thirds of the state legislatures need to ask Congress to call a Convention under Article V to propose amendments to the Constitution. When this number is reached (As of today, that’s 34 out of 50 state legislatures) Congress MUST call the Convention.

2. The various states don’t have to agree on why a Convention is needed. One state could ask for a Convention to propose amendment “X”, another for Amendment “Y,” and so on. What does matter is HOW MANY states apply for a Convention. Read Article V again if necessary. All it says is “on the application of the legislatures of two-thirds of the several states.” There is no reference to any reason why or other qualifiers for the application to be counted.

3. Also, logically, if one state applies for a Convention and suggests a specific amendment it would like the Convention to propose (let’s call it “Amendment A”), and 2/3 of the states still haven’t applied for a Convention to be held when the same state later applies for a Convention (this time, they suggest “Amendment B” be proposed), the total number of applications toward the magic number of 34 does not change by another application submitted by the same state. That number only changes when either

a. A state which does NOT have any current applications to Congress formally sends one.

b. A state which has previously made application(s) to Congress for a Convention , and has not yet rescinded all of them, rescinds all its previous application(s).

South Dakota still has at least five applications to Congress for a Constitutional Convention which are current and have not been rescinded. The first was in 1907, supporting the Progressive idea of direct election of US Senators. See them here: http://tinyurl.com/qzgauhv

This means South Dakota is officially one of the 34 states needed to trigger a Constitutional Convention. Adding yet another resolution urging Congress to call such a Convention, for whatever reason, will not change that. It won’t get us any closer to having such a Convention.

South Dakota already signed the petition for a Con-Con. We can either

a. Do nothing or apply for a Con-Con again (in which case the total number of legislatures applying for a Con-Con remains the same) or…

b. Rescind those five remaining applications and take our state Legislature off the list of states asking Congress to call an Article V Convention. In this case the number of legislatures applying for a Con-Con would go down.

Focusing on South Dakota CANNOT move you any closer to triggering an Article V Convention.

I share many of the same concerns about the problems our country faces as those promoting a Convention. If you really would like to know why I feel a Convention is unwise or what solutions I would propose, please contact me and find out how to participate in a “Constitution is the Solution” course.


This article is printed with the permission of the author(s). Opinions expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the article’s author(s), or of the person(s) or organization(s) quoted therein, and do not necessarily represent those of American Clarion or Dakota Voice LLC.

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  • http://www.curtisstrongbillofrights.com Curtis Strong

    I have been asked to give some thoughts on a Constitutional Convention. There are two ways we are able to amend the Constitution

    1. That Congress whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall purpose Amendments to this Constitution

    2. Is to have a Constitutional Convention, for proposing Amendments, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the states.

    As I observe the results of South Dakota legislators in 2013 they viewed 648 bills or laws in 40 legislative sessions. This would result in over 16 bills or laws to review per session, with over 2500+ pages to read, understand, and research. Of the 648 bills, 421 were passed into law. The question I ask South Dakotans is, “Does South Dakotans need another 421 laws in 2013 with more coming quickly in 2014?” In 2012 approximately 40,000 new laws went into effect in the United States, with the federal government passing two to six hundred per year. (http://www.cnn.com/2011/12/29/us/new-laws-2012/) This leaves 39,400 state level passed laws averaging 788 new laws per state in the union and I thought South Dakota was ridiculous at 421! I’ve determined that state legislators love to pass laws. For power or money, you be the judge. For legislators to propose, read, understand the need, research, debate, and pass an average of 788 laws per state per year in the best interest of their constituents is amazing. We are so blessed to have elected such legislative geniuses to accomplish this task in 40 one day sessions. (http://legis.sd.gov/)

    In the Constitutional Convention these state legislators will be possibly changing our Constitution. How large will the Constitution become if we have this mentality. It could be the size of the bible, but not as easily understood. I fear that they could start at the top and take what is left of our freedom of religion, or maybe our right to own and bear arms.

    A Constitutional Convention would be extremely risky at best until we have firm believers in Christ holding these public offices. Unneeded influence could be passed around a Convention with all the special interest money out there. As I look, scandals at the city, county, state, and federal levels are around every turn. I do not want these individuals changing one of the world’s best ever freedom documents. There is no country in history that has accomplished what this country has in 250 years and I don’t want crooked legislators changing what has been the backbone of this country for a quarter of a millennia.

    What we need to do is just enforce the Constitution and bring these politicians to justice as they break their oath of office. States’ attorneys and the attorney generals should all be an elected position, not appointed. As I have stated before, you will either be ruled by the bible and God’s love, by the sword, or by man’s law. We all must follow the laws passed by legislative bodies as other passed laws are ignored and not enforced by executive order. They want to pick and choose the laws that get enforced! How do they get away with this? I do not agree that we must follow statutes put out by agencies! If you have control of that sword what is going to stop all of the corruption and scandals. We need to get to the bottom of these issues and someone needs to answer for all the waste, theft, rights taken from us, and let’s not forget the loss of life. I would not support a Constitutional Convention at this time.

    Curtis Strong, Constitution Party Candidate for Governor of South Dakota

  • Jammer

    Mr. Stahl makes some very good points. His interest in this issue is greatly appreciated.

    My personal opinion is that we have not had the best results in amending the US Constitution. The issue of the 17th Amendment where we changed how we elected our US Senators is just one of several examples where we made things much worse.

    I believe that an Article V Convention should be our last ditch effort to save our country from the progressives. I think conservatives should be focusing their efforts on RESTORING the Constitution by sending true conservatives to Pierre and Washington DC.

    I understand that Washington DC has the attention of a lot of people at this moment. However, I caution conservatives that the breeding grounds for progressives (RINOs) is in the state legislature of every state. Please don’t lose focus on who conservatives need to support in these elections.

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