Hearing in the Nevada Legislature on SJR10

Janine Hansen, Eagle Forum National Constitutional Issues Chairman
March 27, 2017, In the Year of our Lord
 
March 27, 2017 was the first hearing in the Nevada Legislature on SJR10 to Rescind all previous applications for Article V Conventions including a BBA. I was asked by the very liberal Democrat Sponsor Senator Segerblom to sit at the table with him and give testimony. Democrat Senator Atkinson on the Committee was so amused by our left-right cooperation that he took our picture to send out on Twitter. The basis of my testimony is in the handout below. 
 
constitutionShawn Meehan of Guard the Constitution (I will forward his testimony) testified. He was responsible for writing the resolution opposing Article V that previously passed the Nevada State Republican Central Committee.  Also testifying were State Eagle Forum Vice President Lynn Chapman, John Wagner Chairman of the Independent American Party and Juanita Cox Republican Activist. In addition, about 10 liberal organization lobbyists testified with Me-Too’s. 
 
It’s looking very good for passage in the Senate where we have a Democrat majority. I have also garnered a majority of Republican votes in the Senate. 
 
Yes on SJR10
Why Rescind all Previous Applications for an Article V Constitutional Convention?
 
An Article V Constitutional Convention Cannot be Limited
The highest authority in the United States to ever speak out on a Constitutional Convention is Former Chief Justice Warren Burger who stated: “I have also repeatedly given my opinion that there is no effective way to limit or muzzle the actions of a Constitutional Convention. The Convention could make its own rules and set its own agenda. Congress might try to limit the Convention to one amendment or to one issue, but there is no way to assure that the Convention would obey. After a Convention is convened, it will be too late to stop the convention if we don’t like its agenda…” http://www.eagleforum.org/topics/concon/pdf/WarrenBurger-letter.pdf
 
More recently, former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, in the May 2015 New Jersey Law Journal, called it a “horrible idea” to hold a constitutional convention in the age of special interests.
“You’ll get everything but the kitchen sink written into the Constitution.”
 
Nevada Would be Overwhelmed by Large Population States
Previously in Congress Senators Sam Ervin and Orrin Hatch have proposed rules for a Constitutional Convention. All of these proposals, some of which passed the U.S. Senate but not the House, provided for proportional representation. In other words each state would have 2 delegates plus one additional delegate for each Congressional District. The proposals all reflect the numbers we have in our U.S Senate and Congress combined. Remember according to Article V Congress has the authority to call the Convention. Congress has anticipated, as demonstrated by these proposals, setting the terms and rules of a Convention, including the number and representation on a proportional basis of each state.  
 
Constitutional Convention Too Close for Comfort
During the 1980’s and 1990’s the Article V Balanced Budget Amendment passed in 32 states, just 2 short of the necessary 34 required for Congress to call an Article V Constitutional Convention. Subsequently, 16 states repealed their original applications. Currently, the Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force claims that applications for an Article V Constitutional Convention for a “Balanced Budget Amendments” have been passed by 28 States, over a period of 40 years, since 1976. Many other states currently have Resolutions seeking passage of an Article V BBA.
 
This is why SJR10 is important. We need to slow the progress of those seeking an Article V Constitutional Convention like we did in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Most recently Delaware in 2016 and New Mexico in 2017 have rescinded all of their previous applications for Article V Constitutional Conventions.
 
Many from the Right and the Left are Seeking a Constitutional Convention
 
The Convention of States recommends “limiting” a Constitutional Convention to three subjects, which open every Article to unlimited amendments.
  1. “to impose Fiscal Restraints on the Federal Government” (that could mean a Balanced Budget of some sort but it is undefined and could mean much more)
  2. to limit “the Power and Jurisdiction of the Federal Government,” (This opens to amendments all Six of the Seven Articles of the Constitution in which our Founders limited the power and jurisdiction of the Federal Government. In other words, it opens the door to unlimited amendments to the entire Constitution)
  3. to “limit the terms of office for its officers and members of Congress”.

Ten states have passed the Convention of States: Indiana, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Florida, Arizona, South Dakota with more possibilities this year.

Conservative Talk Show Host Mark Levin in his book The Liberty Amendments recommends eleven amendments including:

  1. to Establish Term Limits for Members of Congress
  2. to Restore the 17th Amendment having U.S. Senators elected by their State Legislatures
  3. to Establish Term Limits for Supreme Court Justices and Super-Majority Legislative Override
  4. to Limit Federal Spending
  5. to Limit Federal Income Tax to 15% of a person’s income and prohibiting Congress from adopting a Value Added Tax
  6. to Limit the Federal Bureaucracy
  7. to Promote Free Enterprise
  8. to Protect Private Property
  9. to Grant the States Authority to Directly Amend the Constitution (this could result in a proliferation of amendments and Constitutional changes)
  10. to Grant the States Authority to Check Congress
  11. to Protect the Vote, requiring the states to adopt photo ID systems for voting and prohibiting the use in the states of electronic systems for voting and voter registration
 Most recently Texas Governor Greg Abbott called for an Article V Constitutional Convention of the States to add Nine New Amendments to the U.S. Constitution to Restore the Rule of Law. Governor Abbott offered the following constitutional amendments: http://gov.texas.gov/news/press-release/21829
  • Prohibit Congress from regulating activity that occurs wholly within one State.
  • Require Congress to balance its budget.
  • Prohibit administrative agencies-and the unelected bureaucrats that staff them-from creating — federal law.
  • Prohibit administrative agencies-and the unelected bureaucrats that staff them-from preempting state law.
  • Allow a two-thirds majority of the States to override a U.S. Supreme Court decision.
  • Require a seven-justice super-majority vote for U.S. Supreme Court decisions that invalidate a
  • democratically enacted law.
  • Restore the balance of power between the federal and state governments by limiting the former to the powers expressly delegated to it in the Constitution.
  • Give state officials the power to sue in federal court when federal officials overstep their bounds.
  • Allow a two-thirds majority of the States to override a federal law or regulation.
Former liberal Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens recently published a book recommending Six Constitutional Amendments to be added to the Constitution including:
  1. Abolishing the Death Penalty
  2. Taking away our Individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms
  3. Limiting First Amendment Freedom of Speech by overturning the Supreme Court Decision in Citizens United
  4. Allow States to be sued for money damages for the first time
  5. Compel State Officials to work for Congress
  6. Force Courts to get involved in redrawing Congressional District Boundary Lines

Book Review: ‘Six Amendments’ by John Paul Stevens

Move to Amend, Wolf Pac and hundreds of liberal organizations nationwide are united in promoting an Article V Constitutional Convention to Take Away our First Amendment Right of Free Speech by repealing “Citizens United”, eliminating independent contributions and expenditures for campaigns and limiting candidates to government money only, for their campaigns…silencing dissent.  It goes so far as to prohibit a candidate from spending money on his own campaign essentially eliminating the most important form of free speech…political free speech. Applications for an Article V Constitutional Convention to repeal Citizens United passed in 2014 alone in five states including California, Vermont, Illinois, New Jersey, Rhode Island.  www.movetoamend.org
 
Is an Article V Constitutional Convention worth the risk? Yes on SJR10         
Janine Hansen, Eagle Forum National Constitutional Issues Chairman