Iowa Latest State to Reject Convention of the States

Written by  Steve Byas 

With the adjournment of the Iowa Legislature earlier this week, the failure of the Iowa Senate to vote on the Convention of the States (COS) proposal (HJR 12) made it the 15th state this year to kill the effort to call for a national convention to consider changes to the U.S. Constitution.

No states have passed the proposal so far this year.

Those Americans who believe that the document produced by men such as George Washington, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton in 1787, and ratified by the states over the next few years, is far superior to anything that our present generation of politicians such as Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell could produce, now should heave a sigh of relief. After all, as the late Justice Antonin Scalia once opined, “This century is a bad century in which to write a Constitution.”

Advocates of a national convention argue that there is a need to rein in an out-of-control federal government. Article V of the Constitution provides that amendments can be proposed either by two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress, or by a Convention called by Congress upon the application of two-thirds of the states, with delegates representing the states. But can anyone seriously believe that an electorate that has sent our present bunch of politicians to Congress would suddenly wise up and send a better bunch to a Constitutional Convention? The powerful special interests that have so much influence over Congress would not sit idly by and let any such convention be dominated by patriots who favor limited government, liberty, and free enterprise.

Some well-meaning proponents of the Convention of States idea have actually proposed that we need to “clarify” the Second Amendment to make sure our modern judges and lawmakers really understand that it was intended to protect our right to keep and bear arms. These supporters of a Constitutional Convention, or Con-Con, believe that the Supreme Court could misinterpret the Constitution and rule that the Second Amendment really doesn’t do that. So they propose that we need to write a new amendment, telling them again what is already plainly stated in the Second Amendment right now.

Con-Con advocates should understand that opponents of the Second Amendment, as it now stands, would be in attendance at any such Con-Con. Does any supporter of the Second Amendment really want a Con-Con to convene now, in this toxic anti-gun rights atmosphere?

This is why patriotic members of The John Birch Society (parent organization of The New American magazine) were successful, along with their like-thinking allies, in keeping the COS from even coming to a vote in the Iowa Senate. As part of the effort to kill the Con-Con proposal, The John Birch Society (JBS) sent Robert Brown into the state in January to speak, as part of the JBS’s “The Constitution Is the Solution” series. In Urbandale, Iowa, a Des Moines suburb, Brown explained why the solution to our present problem is not in invoking an Article V Convention, but rather by implementing an “Article VI solution.”

Article VI stipulates that the Constitution itself is the supreme law of the land, and all other laws and court decisions must follow it. In other words, it is not the Constitution that is the problem, but rather the failure to follow it. Brown carried his message to two radio stations, then spoke at the Capitol to 8-10 key legislators.

Brown also engaged in a public debate with the Iowa chairman of the Convention of States effort.

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But members of the JBS did not sit idly by and let Brown do all the work against the Con-Con. They made the critical difference by writing informed letters and e-mails to Iowa senators, providing them with many reasons that a no vote was best for Iowa, and best for America.

Monte Button, a John Birch Society chapter leader in Iowa, told The New American, “We learned so much from Brown. He was a tremendous asset” in providing local JBS members with the information as to just why the COS needs to be defeated. “Getting educated is what the John Birch Society is all about — an informed electorate is what it is all about. We do not need to re-write the Constitution. We need to make Congress abide by it.”

Button said he was able to use an illustration of a Stop Sign to explain to his fellow Iowans why the Con-Con was not the solution. He asked that if a person deliberately runs a stop sign, is the stop sign somehow to blame? Do we need to replace the stop sign? Applying the illustration to this present issue, Button said he would then ask, “If Congress deliberately disobeys the Constitution we have, is the solution to re-write it, or make them follow it?” And one could add, if a member of Congress won’t follow it, an informed electorate can then replace that person with one who will live up to his or her oath of office, and follow it.

Andy Schlafly, son of the late great American patriot Phyllis Schlafly, was ecstatic at the results, commenting, “With millions of dollars in dark money pushing so hard for the Convention of States in Iowa, this is a bit of a miracle that our side won. It does help having the truth on our side. To add icing to the cake, the Iowa Republican Party removed the Convention of States plank from its platform today. That makes this is a double win for us.”

Reprinted with permission from The New American

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