Email Ken Stallings   Constitutional Convention of States

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Our Constitution was formally ratified by the necessary endorsement of the original thirteen states on 15 December 1791.  Part of that original Constitution was a set of ten amendments, which bonded the core concept of our Constitution as a document of supreme law that sought to preserve human liberty, and dedicate our government's prime purpose to "secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity."  The shame of the current times that we live in have many causes, among them our abject failure to teach our children in primary school what it means to be an American, and perhaps more importantly, the vital role of liberty as the cornerstone of Americanism.

The Constitution is how we protect those liberties, by not only enshrining them through the Bill of Rights, those first ten Constitutional Amendments, but also by how the Constitution establishes our government, as a system of three equal branches, each with limited duties, as well as powers designed to be a check against the other two.  Sadly, while our Constitutional framers knew well the bitter taste of power lust, and therefore sought to create a government that would prevent power mongering from undermining liberty, it seems over the last 229 years, we Americans have proven ourselves able to abuse power and undermine liberty quite well.  This undermining has now reached dangerous levels, despite all the manners in which the Constitution was designed to prevent such corruption.

There are currently 27 Amendments to the Constitution.  Proving that not all efforts are successful, there have been 33 such amendments approved by both chambers of Congress, meaning that six of these efforts failed to earn the necessary ratifications by three quarters of the states.  It's a high bar to amend the Constitution, and for good reason.  Our liberties are not subject to a simple majority, and instead require the sternest super-majority to be amended.

So, instead, those who pursue corrupt power in America have sought alternative means to undermine liberty, and turn this American Federal government into something alien to what our Founding Fathers had in mind.  Methods such as federal regulations, corrupt courts, executive orders by Presidents, and by many state governors, have all allowed serious erosion of basic rights expressed in our Constitution.

There is a solution that bypasses our entire federal government, which is now the seedbed from which has sprouted so many illegal growths.  Our federal government in Washington DC is now very rightly named the Swamp, a cesspool of corruption and power lust, where advancement has far more to do with pliability, and willingness to play the corrupt and selfish game, and where men of integrity are seen as dangerous, because integrity to follow the law does much to blunt the amassing of power to lord over the people.

That solution is the Constitutional Convention of States.  It requires that two-thirds of the state legislatures vote to mandate an Article V Convention.  Since we currently have 50 American States, it requires that at least 34 state legislations endorse such a convention.  Nearly all legal reviews indicate that when such a convention is called for, then the US Congress is mandated to assemble the chosen state representatives and call for all 50 states to organize and send their chosen representatives to the Article V Convention.

The Convention would then be able to draft amendments to the Constitution.  Whatever came out of the convention would then immediately go to all 50 states for ratification, and require that three-fourths of the state legislatures ratify them before they became actual Constitutional Amendments. 

To date, the most effective organized effort to call for a Convention of States is the group called Citizens for Self-Governance (CSG).  This organization has been pressing state legislatures to ratify Article V Convention mandates since 2013.  With the most recent failure of the US Supreme Court to even hear the legal suit that Texas and 17 others states brought to challenge the legality of the 2020 election, the case for a Convention of States has magnified.

So far, 15 states out of the necessary 34 have passed such a mandate.  Seven more have seen only one of two chambers of their state legislature so pass the mandate.  In sum, 14 other states are actively considering the mandate.  Any proposed amendments coming out of such a convention would then require the ratification of 38 of the states.

It is time to fix what has gone wrong with our federal government, and there are a few areas that clearly need Constitutional reforms to not only blunt the ongoing erosion of liberty and federalism in America, but to ensure that the power lust within our government end immediately.  Here is a proposal of such amendments:

Article 28 -- Term limits of Federal Officers and Elected Officials:  It being necessary to preserve the citizen volunteer nature of our federal government, it shall be established that no citizen may serve more than two years as a member of the US House of Representatives, nor more than six years as a member of the US Senate.  Moreover, no citizen may serve more than ten years as a Federal District Judge, no more than ten years as a Federal Court of Appeals Justice, and no more than ten years as a US Supreme Court Justice.  Except appointments as military commissioned officers, no citizen may hold a superior executive officer appointment that requires Senate Advice and Consent for more than four years.  Except for military service, no citizen may hold federal office for longer than thirty years.  These limits are lifetime in nature, and upon reaching their assigned terms shall thereafter bar a citizen from serving in said offices.

Article 29 -- Supremacy of State Legislatures:  The role of Federalism being essential to the proper function of our government, except with respect to federal authorities specified in the Constitution, each state legislature shall have the right, by two-thirds passage, to nullify any federal court order, or federal statute, deemed by said state to infringe upon their freedom of operation.  Such nullification shall be constrained to the jurisdiction of said state, and the right of the state legislatures to so nullify shall not be infringed by any federal order or statute.  Upon such passage, such federal orders and statues shall be barred immediately and henceforth, and shall only be abridged by legal amendment to the Constitution.

Article 30 -- Federal Court Limitation:  No ruling issued by any Federal District Court, or District Court of Appeals, shall have jurisdiction on any state that lies outside its assigned district of responsibility.  Federal district courts, and their district courts of appeals, are expressly forbidden from issuing any ruling that shall have influence over the actions of the entire nation.  Only the US Supreme Court shall have the authority to issue a ruling that limits the function of all the states of the Union.  Except under provisions of Article V of the Constitution, no article or amendment of the Constitution may be nullified by state or federal effort. Except for Constitutional provisions, all US Supreme Court rulings shall be subject to individual state legislative review and nullification upon two-thirds' endorsement by the state legislature.  Upon rejection by two-thirds of the state legislatures, any Supreme Court ruling shall be nullified nationally.  Congress shall pass no law that would infringe upon this state right of federal court nullification, except for any attempt to nullify a provision of the Constitution.

Article 31 -- Prohibitions Against Monetary Donations and Lobbying Activities:  It shall be illegal for any federal executive officer, elected federal representative, or federal judge or Justice, to accept any monetary donation from any individual or organization, domestic or foreign, while serving in their public office, or while campaigning for public office, including the acceptance of honorific titles or awards offered by individuals or organizations operating outside the US government.  Moreover, there shall be a five-year ban on receiving any such monetary donations, awards, or titles after a citizen leaves public office.  It shall likewise be illegal for any current office holder, or within five years upon leaving said office, for a federal officer, elected federal representative, or federal judge or Justice, to accept appointment to an office, or enter into agreement to perform services, that seek to influence the actions or efforts of the United States Federal government, or the actions of any foreign government.  Anyone who violates this article shall be indicted for sedition, and upon finding of guilt by a federal court, shall be subject to a mandatory 20-year prison sentence, and shall be barred from further public service for life.

The theme of these proposed four new Constitutional Amendments is to drive a stake through the heart of all the corrupt actions that have contributed to the severe erosion of duty, integrity, and virtue within our federal government, as well as to drive out forever the existence of people who are rightly considered career politicians.  Working as a public servant as an elected representative, or superior office holder, is a supreme privilege, one that should not be a pathway to lifetime employment or great wealth.  The revolving door from politician to lobbyist has helped to created the bureaucratic state, that has risen to unhealthy levels, and caused far too much damage through cronyism, and the erosion of a truly free economy, replacing it with a patronage system, whereby government chooses winners and losers, and stymies innovation and competition.

Some will argue against these proposed amendments, particularly those specifying term limits, and moratoriums upon government officials taking monetary donations, and influencing the very government that they once served in.  Some will wonder how people will be able to campaign for public office without being able to accept such campaign donations.  The answer is simple.  All organizations that enjoy licenses to operate as media operations, have in their licenses a requirement to provide a platform for public service.  The media systems can be required to fairly air debates, and refuse to continue being bidding platforms to air political commercials that increasingly distort public perceptions of policy, and increase in costs to the point where running a political campaign now requires millions of dollars, if not hundreds of millions of dollars.  Moreover, these limitations only bar the conduct of those campaigning for, or holding such public office, and other than the five years after leaving public office, allows citizens unlimited opportunity to organize such political lobbying and influence groups.  Any such groups can petition the public, and the government, at any cost that might be imagined or realized.  They just better not donate one penny to any federal office holder, or person who is campaigning for public office, or else said office holder shall have their lives ruined.  By these amendments, it isn't the citizen who hands out the donation who's subject to sanction, but rather merely the office holder who accepts any or all of the donations offered. 

The First Amendment specifies the right of the people to "peacefully assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."  The First Amendment says nowhere that petitions must come in the form of monetary donations to government officials, nor does it logically flow that peaceful assembly and petitioning must first require the transfer of monetary donations to office holders, or sitting judges.  In fact, the basic problem has become clear that far too much of what passes today as petitioning of government, requires the transfer of money, vice simply the communication of legitimate concerns, grievances, or policy suggestions.  By all means lobby, just be sure that said lobbying does not involve a single penny of monetary donation, not even for a meal or travel, else the recipient of that donation, upon taking the oath of public office, may well spend twenty years in federal prison, and have his life ruined forever after.  If the allure of money was the principle impetus for some to enter federal public service, then we the people will just have to get by without their services.

Holding federal office should not be a pathway to personal wealth.  It's a public duty.  While no one is advocating a vow of poverty, it should be clearly understood that those who hold public office should be content with earning the paycheck officially afforded by the citizens, as the sole monetary reward for said service.  We've seen more than enough graft to justify such a sweeping remedy as proposed Constitutional Amendment 31.  Likewise, we've seen more than enough damage caused by people who abuse their public office through elitism and lifetime public service, to more than justify the ratification of the other proposed amendments.

We the people need to take back our federal government, and restore to the states their ability to be the prime determiners for how our various state governments function, precisely the manner by which our original federal system was designed to be, a collective laboratory, where each state would design their own pathways, and we the people could see what works best and what is best to avoid.

-- Ken Stallings

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