Convention of the States…. Another bad move with the possibility of getting worse

There are times when some of our Republican friends decide to run off the reservation and be progressive in thought and in practice. We try not to defend them on these issues and there are reasons for that. Generally when our Republican brothers decide that progressiveness is in order, they try to do this quietly and behind the scenes. There are those few that tend to be more ambitious than others. They will tell you one story, that they abide conservative principles, while in truth they touch and embrace a more liberal side. Brian Kelsey is one of those republicans and they are stubborn soles. Brian Kelsey serves in the Tennessee State Senate representing the 31st senate district. He is a 40 year old practicing attorney in Germantown. He received his B.A. with honors, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and obtained his J.D., at Georgetown University.

He brings a big smile everywhere he goes when he has to make an impression. He presents himself well in groups but he when speaks he ignores the evil that he spews from his lips. He, like so many others, fail to recognize the dangers of his actions on those he represents.

His next push, besides school vouchers, is a constitutional convention. He released this Wednesday.

The United States is $20 trillion in debt.  Congress refuses to address the problem.  Why is the state Senate talking about this?  Because 29 states have called for an Article V convention of states to amend the U.S. constitution to require Congress to balance its budget each year.  If only five more states join the list, the convention will be called!

In preparation for this historic event, the Tennessee Senate, in a bipartisan 27-3 vote, passed my resolution calling for the first convention of states since 1861 to plan for the future Article V convention of states. This could be yuuuuge!

It’s an honor to serve you in the state Senate!


Brian Kelsey

P.S. – In my guest column in The Commercial Appeal, I explained why the planning convention is necessary:

A copy of that article is below:

Tennessee Planning Convention will Help Balance Federal Budget

History will be made in Nashville this summer. The Tennessee Senate recently voted to hold the first convention of states in America since 1861. The purpose of this convention will be to plan the rules, date, and location for a future Article V convention of states calling for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The United States is $20 trillion in debt. If you stacked 20 trillion dollar bills one on top of the other, the height would reach to the moon and back over five times. This huge debt is a financial crisis waiting to happen. The federal government is burdening our children and grandchildren with massive loan payments in order to cover its current wasteful spending.

The debt is also a national security crisis. For the first 150 years of our nation’s history, the national debt was largely owed by Americans to other Americans who had bought savings bonds. Today, trillions of dollars are owed to foreign countries like Japan and China. This puts the United States at the mercy of others who can demand repayment on their own terms.

I recently attended a community meeting hosted by Congressman David Kustoff. Three of the thirty people at the meeting asked the same question: “What can Americans do to reign in the national debt?”

The answer is found in Article V of the U.S. Constitution. A convention of states may propose a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, requiring Congress to balance the federal budget each year.

This solution may not eliminate the $20 trillion debt, but it will certainly stop the growth of deficit spending each year. If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging. There are times when deficit spending is necessary, such as in a time of war, but the balanced budget amendment as drafted by a convention of states could allow for deficit spending during a national emergency.

In 2014, Tennessee passed a resolution calling for just such a convention of states. In fact, when the Tennessee Senate passed my resolution, it became the first chamber in America to pass a balanced budget amendment resolution unanimously. Currently, 29 states have passed the same resolution, and hopefully five more will do so this year. Once these 34 states have passed the resolution, a convention of states must be held.

In anticipation, the Tennessee state Senate recently passed my resolution calling for the planning convention in Nashville this summer. While one Senator did raise the issue of a runaway convention, there are four safeguards preventing this from happening. Those safeguards led to an overwhelming, bipartisan 27-3 vote calling for the planning convention.

First, conventions of states are legally bound by the wording of the resolutions that call for them to be held.  Second, it is a felony in Tennessee for a delegate to a convention of states even to discuss a topic outside the reason for the convention. Third, any amendment proposed for adoption by a convention of the states would need to pass 38 states before it could be added to the U.S. Constitution. Fourth, the whole point of hosting a planning convention in Nashville this summer is to prove that a convention of states will stick to only one topic.

Why are they legally bound…. if their state does not object to a proposition

America faces a crisis, and Congress refuses to act. The time has come for states to fix this problem.

Of course State Senator Kelsey is always correct…..

A friend of ours stated some years back that the ““law of unintended consequences” is an idiomatic admonition regarding the manipulation of complex systems.”

What he was trying to say in present tense, that the law of unintended consequences” is more of a rebuttal to the hubristic notion that humans, like the good State Senator, are so brilliant and possess sufficient discernment about complex systems that he can predict outcomes with great accuracy. But more likely it is similar to Murphy’s Law – “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong” – except it is not asserting the absolute.

Why are we so sure of Kelsey’s absolute misstatement is the lack knowledge of the actions of man. 20th-century sociologist Robert Merton noted three primary factors contributing to unanticipated consequences:

  • First, incomplete analysis because it is impossible to anticipate all variables;
  • second, errors in analysis of what is known about the problem;
  • third, immediate interests overriding long-term interests.

The Heritage Foundation’s Matt Spaulding, notes, “The largest question is whether an amendments convention can be limited to specific amendments or even topics. The pro-convention argument assumes that the power to limit the convention is inherent in the power to call the convention in the first place. I’m not so sure that follows: The text says that upon application of the states Congress ‘shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments,’ not for confirming a particular amendment already written, approved, and proposed by state legislatures (which would effectively turn the convention for proposing amendments into a ratifying convention). Indeed, it is not at all clear as a matter of constitutional construction (and doubtful in principle) that the power of two-thirds of the states to issue applications for a convention restricts, supersedes, or overrides the power of all the states assembled in that convention to propose amendments to the Constitution.”

Thus, given the persuasive power of the Leftmedia and Democratic Party as well as the many Republicans that lean left, conglomerate, their ability to advance populist measures for amendment consideration could spell the end of what remains of our Constitution.



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