Another Looming Threat

Is it time to re-examine some aspects of the U.S. Constitution? Undoubtedly. Is it incredibly difficult to amend that document in today’s polarized political environment? Yes. Does the undeniable accuracy of those observations support the growing movement to convene a Constitutional Convention?

Absolutely not.

Every so often, a reader will remind me that there is a stealth movement by far-Right activists to call such a convention–a reminder that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up, because the goals of those ideologues are entirely inconsistent with the values of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.

A recent article from the Intelligencer explained who those activists are and what they hope to achieve.

On a recent spring morning outside the Pennsylvania State Capitol, a group of activists gathered to terminate the Constitution. Around 100 people drove in to Harrisburg from all over the state, showing up clad in white T-shirts and buttons depicting an American flag that nests COS, short for Convention of States, in the star area. Claiming endorsements from the likes of John Eastman, Sean Hannity, and Ron DeSantis, COS is a deep-pocketed right-wing movement that is quietly campaigning for states to call a constitutional convention, the first since 1787. “The government is out of control,” said Roy Fickling, a construction-industry retiree sitting on the balustrade. “It’s the only way to stop them.”

Just after 9 a.m., Rick Santorum waded into the crowd to deliver a speech about the “complete destruction” of America and the urgent need for a convention to radically amend the nation’s supreme law. “This is an existential fight,” said the Republican former Pennsylvania senator who is now a COS senior adviser. “It’s not about politics. The people on the left do not want the same America as you do. This is about good and evil.” The crowd applauded. He then went on to talk about trans issues. “The reality is this is a moment where we need patriots, just like we did in 1776.”

This effort is marketed as a move to cure what these activists see as the most pressing problems of the nation: ballooning debt and a “tyrannical” federal government.

Article V of the Constitution lays out two amendment mechanisms. The first is the one with which we are familiar. It has been used successfully 27 times. Congress passes an amendment by a two-thirds vote in each chamber, and three-fourths of the states ratify it. The second process has never been used; it requires two-thirds of the states to pass resolutions calling for a convention where delegates from the states can propose amendments.

To anyone disheartened by congressional gridlock, Article V may seem like a seductive idea. While proposed amendments would theoretically also have to be ratified by 38 states, that is cold comfort to the legal scholars who see calling a convention as a constitutional crisis waiting to happen. “The only precedent is the Philadelphia convention from 1787, and they ended up junking the Articles of Confederation and writing a whole new constitution,” said David Super, a professor at Georgetown Law. So far, COS has won 19 states of the 34 necessary to force such a convention.

The last century saw three major Article V movements, two of which reached 33 and 32 states.

While the idea may seem too outlandish to catch on, so did others. The independent-state-legislature theory made it all the way to the Supreme Court. The Second Amendment was once viewed by legal scholars as a clause regulating militias.  Abortion was a constitutional right for half a century.

We live in unsettled times…

The article identifies Meckler–the head of COS– as part of a “vast web of billionaire-funded right-wing efforts pushing radical movements to consolidate power under the guise of populism.”

The article is lengthy, delving into the background of Meckler, who comes across as a talented con man. It documents his transformation from moderate Left to hard Right–a transformation that made him useful to right-wing donors and led in turn to COS.

Meckler pitched the idea to the American Legislative Exchange Council, a clearinghouse for conservative policy, which became a key proponent, and COS began racking up state resolutions in the South and endorsements from Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, and James O’Keefe. In 2016, COS hosted a mock convention, where over 100 state lawmakers adopted amendments that would, among others, repeal the income tax and allow a vote of 30 state legislatures to nullify federal laws. Critics of COS “actually said something truthful,” Meckler told Mark Levin, another supporter. “They said, ‘This is intended to reverse 115 years of progressivism,’ and we say, ‘Yes, it is.’”

The Convention of States is just one more threat–as if we needed another!– to the American Idea….


  1. Santorum is right, its a fight between good and evil. I notice he didn’t specify which team he believed he was on, so to clarify Rick, you are on team evil. Santorum and most republicans are on the team fighting to enrich the already wealthy and further empower the already powerful, to hell with the average citizen, many of whom still fall for the lies of TFG and haven’t noticed it is generally republican policies ( often aided by compliant democrats and/or poor messaging from other democrats) that have shrunken the middle class and left many with little hope for the future. A constitutional convention run by & for todays’ far right? What could go wrong, other than everything.

  2. I have been for a constitutional convention for some fifty years but fearful of having one because of the very real chance of losing what is left of our democracy to the well-heeled under the guise of populist propaganda sold to a gullible polity, a move that would enshrine terminal capitalism as the organic law of the land. What I want to correct versus what the oligarchs want to correct via such a conclave are poles apart, so I remain negative to a call for such convention until a time friendlier to a consideration of what I view of what needs correction as opposed to the ultimate plunder proposed by the merchants of greed.

  3. It feels like I am constantly hearing people state that “the institutions held up” whenever an existential threat is avoided. This makes me furious, honestly. That platitude just leads to inaction; it doesn’t deter anything, and eventually, inevitably, those institutions will fail to withstand some attack. It’s a “wishful thinking” defense of democracy.

    This is why going after Trump for his crimes is so desperately critical.

  4. Jeffrey, Santorum (and many of the others, I’m convinced) is sure that god is on his side, and that makes it the “good” side definitionally.

  5. The Constitution and Bill of Rights are written to provide rights to the people and prevent government from denying those rights. They do not refer directly to the most personal of our rights such as our health care and sex lives.

    “Amendment IX: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

    Later Amendments provided specific protections for specific peoples; States Rights were allowed to provide their own Constitutions to govern their individual areas of the United States, as long as they do not rule against the Constitution of the United States of America. President Abraham Lincoln’s struggle to unite Congress to pass Amendment XIII is a good example of protecting American people who were enslaved by States Rights. States have taken advantage of their right to rule by passing laws which “deny or disparage others retained by the people.” and carried them to the Supreme Court of the United States of America to be carried out on the national level.

    “Is it time to re-examine some aspects of the U.S. Constitution? Undoubtedly.”

    But that re-examination should be to UNDERSTAND the aspects of the Constitution which are now being denied to specific groups of Americans; NOT to rewrite the Constitution of the UNITED States of America.

  6. Read Jane Myers’ “Dark Money” again. The “well-heeled” fascist capitalists don’t want democracy, and they’re willing and eager to spend a fortune trying to overturn it. As Todd will suggest: The oligarchs want it all and to hell with the working classes.

    Perhaps the most pressing need to our Constitution is the repeal of the Electoral College. Imagine what the country would look like today if Al Gore and Hillary Clinton would have been President. I’m sure the founders never imagined that there would be puppets and dummies like G.W. Bush and corrupt criminals like the orange hairball “winning” as presidents.

    Then, of course, the overturning of Citizens United v. FEC would be necessary to get corporate money (See paragraph #1) out of politics.

    Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

  7. Well more traitors are getting their day in court and going to jail. I’m very happy about that. I don’t think we’ll ever get a new constitution because the right and the left can’t agree on anything like being too old to serve in Congress or term limits except for the POTUS. Our Democracy is at stake and the biggest criminal to be potus can’t shut the hell up. He has several networks broadcasting 24/7 defending him and their wack-a-doodle thinking. Christianity is dead when they support the worst person in the country. Like the post yesterday, I’m so confused about the way it’s going. Switzerland rewrote their constitution because they were intelligent enough to realize that times change and laws get outdated eventually.

    Have a great holiday weekend everyone. Cheers

  8. When will Congress, and the vociferous politicians, stop encouraging “investigations” and start running the country in accordance with what the American people want? It is my belief that most people, in the world, let alone our country, simply want to house, feed and educate their families to become independent people. Let’s get on with what is important and leave the “important” people to entertain themselves.

  9. Everyone has already nailed the oligarchy behind the COS and their motives. Sadly, the Koch’s dark network has already infested our government with their Ayn Rand objectivism that our current nation-state is dysfunctional. Btw, this is the group that controls the GOP now.

    Here’s the problem: They are responsible for January 6th but never received a subpoena. The DNC-controlled oligarchs and their puppets (politicians) ignored the billionaire oligarchs funding the operation.

    The politicians had a chance to show the American people they were not captive stooges, but they whiffed. Six hundred report pages were typed, but not one subpoena was issued for Charles Koch.

    Therefore, I consider anything from Washington, including its media, as performative gestures – nothing more. “Right and left” are illusory stunts for the masses.

  10. We should not amend Constitution until all voters have read all of it notated by non-lawyer informed editor or Sheila.

  11. 19 states so far – 28 are already in control of the GOP with others headed that way in ’24….

  12. Let’s have some fun…imagine the new MAGAconstitution…

    – The Federal Gov’t is in charge of sealing the borders and national defense – nothing else

  13. Nah, Lester. Let’r rather give a nod to Home Rule and put the townships in charge of sealing the borders and national defense and put the federal government in charge of sewer repair and faulty stop lights and county commissioners in charge of interfacing with AI, and. . .

  14. I recently saw an interview with a Serbian woman who survived the war in Bosnia in the 1990s. She said “We all had a normal life, until one day we didn’t. One day, we woke up to the sound of machine guns going off in our neighborhood.”

    Stay vigilant and active.

  15. Vernon Turner you obviously are overlooking the corrupt current President like so many others are.
    So corrupt that the liberal media is stumbling all over itself .to protect him. McConnell misteps or gets a brain freeze and oh boy ee need to replace him and bring in all the doctors opinion.
    So President Biden has no idea that the newer vehicles require 3000 semiconductor chips. Not quite like mispelling potato(e).

    Mark Levin has been calling for a constitutionsl convention if nothing more than to demand a balanced budget amendment.
    We are destroying the livlihoods of the poor

  16. Shelia, regarding the Constitution, Article14, Section and the subsequent ruling by the Federal judge that the case filed by an attorney in Miami, had no standing, there appears the judges leaves a real void. From what I’ve read, there appears this section does not provide a definition of what qualifies as “standing” in such matters, so how can the Judge make such a decision with out a resolution. If the Constitution is for the people then any citizen should have standing not just a select few assuming it would be a competing candidate, or a State election official or Attorney Generals at state or federal level. Sadly, do we have to wait until the last minute to determine who has standing

  17. I shudder to think of a convention full of Majorie Taylor Greenes, Lauren Boeberts, and Jim Jordans — or people who think that the Federal budget is just like the family budget and would return us to the days of major depressions every ten years or so, like in the “good old days” before the New Deal.

    We have three branches of government that are supposed to balance each other for the benefit of the people. For a while, we had three economic pillars (big business, labor unions, and government) that somewhat balanced the economics to create the largest and strongest middle class in history. Now, having weakened the labor unions, big business would love to have a weak Federal government (like under the Articles of Confederation), so that they can do whatever they want and accumulate even more wealth.

    Constitutional Convention – very, very scary!

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