This week, state House and Senate committees considered legislation calling for an Article V convention to amend the U.S. Constitution. The House Judiciary Committee recalled H.3125 from subcommittee, and a Senate Judiciary subcommittee heard testimony on S.125 before carrying it over to its next meeting.
Both of these bills call for a federal constitutional convention for the purpose of proposing amendments restraining the federal government in various ways – such as cutting spending, term-limiting members of Congress, and reining in federal jurisdiction and power.
While there’s no question that federal spending and overreach is out of control, there are a lot of reasons a constitutional convention would be extremely dangerous – not the least of which is that constitutional rights could easily be attacked instead of federal spending. The number one reason, however, is that it would put state lawmakers in charge of the process of tweaking the U.S. Constitution.
Not only do state lawmakers routinely violate the state constitution and laws, but they also are entirely responsible for the excess spending, governmental overreach, and concentration of power and secrecy that characterize South Carolina government. Moreover, they directly foster federal spending and overreach by taking federal money with all the requisite strings attached. Federal dollars comprise roughly one-third of the state budget, creating a dynamic where the possible loss/gain of federal funding often weighs more heavily with lawmakers than their constituents’ wishes.
Today’s throwback features a column by South Carolina Policy Council (The Nerve’s parent organization) President Ashley Landess exploring just how dangerous a constitutional convention would be, and why South Carolina lawmakers are the last people who should be allowed anywhere near the U.S. Constitution.
Do you really want South Carolina state lawmakers tinkering with the U.S. constitution?
The call for a convention of states through Article V of the Constitution is compelling. Citizens feel powerless to stop the federal government from crushing them with taxes and debt, grabbing power that is beyond its scope, and eroding Americans’ constitutional rights.
It’s understandable that some activists would join the latest movement for a sweeping, one-shot solution to out-of-control government. But such a solution doesn’t exist, and the push to empower state legislators to choose delegates to tweak the constitution isn’t just misguided – it’s flat-out dangerous.
If state legislators were the solution to the crisis of government, there would be no crisis in the first place. It’s true that Washington is a complete mess, and cleaning it up will be a long and painful process however it’s approached. But state lawmakers and governors are already empowered to do something about it. If they would turn down the federal dollars, they would free the states from the mandates and the costs that come with them.