March 2017 Newsletter

This month…

  • Two New Article V-related Videos Have Been Released
  • Idaho Says ‘No’ to CoSP, Opponents Gloat
  • Guldenschuh Article V Progress Report Now Ready
  • Washington Post Article Highlights Expected Debt Growth
  • WSJ Op-Ed by Glenn Hubbard Calls for an ‘Honest Budget’
  • College Prof Says ‘Republicans Have Learned to Love Debt’
  • Article V Expert Corrects Hillary Clinton’s Misconceptions
  • Federalism-related Developments
  • Where the Constitution’s Word “Convention” Came From
  • Two Smaller Article V Movements are Getting Traction

Two New Article V-related Videos Have Been Released –
Leaders of last September’s historic Arizona Balanced Budget Planning Convention have released a 10-minute video that includes the “History of the Conventions of States” that was shown at the opening of the Arizona convention, and coverage of that convention.  The video can be viewed HERE.

Unfortunately the way YouTube is structured, the above video is followed by an hour-long video by Robert Brown of the John Birch Society that distorts the Article V process… effectively recommending that state legislators ignore the powers given to them under Article V.

Another very good video related to Article V has been produced by Prager University and Convention of States Project, called “How the States Can Save America”.  It has already had over 11 million views.  The 6-minute Prager U educational video can be viewed HERE.

Idaho Says ‘No’ to CoSP, Opponents Gloat –
For two years in a row, the Idaho legislature rejected proposals to support the Article V movement by adopting a resolution calling for a convention to propose amendments.  Once again the legislators were under a great deal of pressure from highly-organized opponents of Article V using the same, oft-repeated inaccurate story line..

During a hearing on the bill, Tom Loertscher, lead sponsor of HCR32 (the Convention of States Project proposal), held up his pocket copy of the U.S. Constitution. “I really do believe that the Constitution of the United States is inspired, men who were inspired to do the right thing,” he went on to say, “Are we less entitled to inspiration today than the founding fathers were?  And I would submit that that same inspiration in fixing our nation’s problems abides within us to do.  We are the ones, the state legislators are the ones who can make things happen and happen in a big way.”

Loertscher pointed out, “Our states’ rights are being trampled all the time … Here’s one thing that the states can do.”  Fellow Idaho legislator Rep. Randy Armstrong derided those who opposed the Article V application as “fearful”, suggesting that they would have been afraid to support the American Revolution as well.

The John Birch Society quickly publicized the Article V defeat in Idaho, gloating: “Thanks to all the JBS, Eagle Forum, and other limited government advocates… We managed to stop (Idaho) from calling for a Constitutional Convention, effectively saving the Constitution from being rewritten”… repeating the misinformation that an Article V convention is a “Constitutional Convention” that could “rewrite” the US Constitution.  A more detailed report on their “Victory” appears in the JBS on-line site,

Meanwhile, under the heading “White Nations – The ‘Master Race’ is Watching”, carried this headline “The Uber Dangerous Convention of States Project Application, Defeated 5 to 10 in Idaho”… just above their slogan: “Socialism, always just one more murder away from Utopia”.  The headline linked to the JBS New American article.

Even the Russia News Now web site carried a link to the JBS New American article, saying “The John Birch Society’s members all across Idaho can pat themselves on the back, as they have certainty earned it and more. Their sweat and toil to both preserve and protect the Constitution have paid off….”

These groups (supported behind the scenes by Common Cause and related groups) are currently working against Article V measures in New Hampshire, New Mexico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington State, and Wyoming.  They claim to be “fighting to preserve the Constitution”, while denying that the second option in Article V of the Constitution is legitimate and put there to be used.

One cannot help but wonder how Eagle Forum members and many members of the JBS feel about the groups they have aligned themselves with.  Eagle Forum and JBS have always presented themselves as strong “Constitutionalists”.  Now that they are fighting to not honor a section of the Constitution (Article V), does that make them anti-Constitutionalists?

Guldenschuh Article V Progress Report Now Ready  –
Last month’s edition of this newsletter promised that the Article V Convention Legislative Progress Reports, produced by Georgia attorney David Guldenschuh would be posted by Feb. 6.  It wasn’t… but it is now. His one-page reports quickly summarize the status of each active Article V campaign.  It can be accessed HERE.

Washington Post Article Highlights Expected Debt Growth –
The February 3 edition of the Washington Post carried an op-ed entitled “The US government is set to borrow nearly $1 trillion this year, an 84 percent jump from last year”.

The article highlights recent reports by the US Treasury and the Congressional Budget Office.  It quotes Marc Goldwein, senior policy director at Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, as saying “We’re addicted to debt.”  He blames both parties for the situation.  Read the article HERE.

WSJ Op-Ed by Glenn Hubbard Calls for an ‘Honest Budget’ –
In the Feb. 11 edition of the Wall Street Journal, economist Glenn Hubbard wrote: “An Honest Federal Budget Would Help Control Spending and Debt”.

Hubbard warns that recent spending boosts “should ring alarm bells”.  He says “What Americans need from our leaders is a new kind of budget”.

Glenn Hubbard is Dean and Professor of Finance and Economics at Columbia Business School.   He co-authored (with Tim Kane of the Hudson Institute and a current Congressional candidate in Ohio) the highly respected book Balance: The Economics of Great Powers From Ancient Rome to Modern America.  The book stresses the important role a properly written balanced budget amendment could play in getting America’s finances on a healthy track. Find the Hubbard/Kane book HERE… and read Hubbard’s WSJ article HERE.

College Prof Says ‘Republicans Have Learned to Love Debt’ –
During February, Fletcher McClellan, a political science professor at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, penned an opinion piece entitled “This is how Republicans learned to stop worrying and love the debt”.

McClellan points out that voters have not rewarded Washington politicians for practicing fiscal discipline, and various economic theories conflict on the significance of debt and deficits.

He says, “In light of the confusion among economists, the strongest objection to ballooning the national debt is essentially a moral one.  Future generations will be saddled with obligations that will be difficult to repay.  Under current trends, the amount owed to Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries is unsustainable.”

McClellan asks, “With voters concerned about meeting short-term needs and politicians focused only on re-election, what options are left for those worried about the impact of government deficits on our future?”  He suggests “The best opportunity could be an unused method under Article V of the US Constitution.”  Read his article HERE.

Article V Expert Corrects Hillary Clinton’s Misconceptions –
Rob Natelson of Denver’s Independence Institute has taken note of numerous misstatements about Article V made by Hillary Clinton.  He responds to her inaccurate statements in his new paper entitled “Correcting Hillary Clinton’s Misconceptions About Those Favoring An Amendments Convention”.

Natelson’s new paper can be read/downloaded HERE.

Federalism-related Developments –
This past month two writers have been active in promoting their views on issues related to Federalism.

Beau Rothschild of Washington DC-based Rothschild Policy & Politics wrote that “It is time for the real federalists to step up and stop Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ war on medical marijuana”.  He believes that “One issue percolating (in Washington)… is the issue of how the federal government will treat states that have allowed medical marijuana.”

Rothchild’s article “Why Congress should defend medical marijuana – federalism” was published on Feb. 1 by, but is no longer available.  More info about Beau Rothschild is available HERE.

Meanwhile Roman Buhler of the Madison Coalition is promoting The Regulation Freedom Amendment as a means of restoring Federalism.  The Madison Coalition states that it is devoted to restoring a balance of power between the state and federal government.

Buhler’s approach is to get state legislatures to “call on Congress to begin reclaiming their constitutional powers from the bureaucratic state by requiring that major new federal regulations be approved by Congress before they can take effect.”  His approach does not involve calling a convention of states under Article V.

Read about the proposed Regulation Reform Amendment HERE.

Where the Constitution’s Word “Convention” Came From –
Folks who discuss and promote the use of Article V constantly refer to “a convention of states” or “a convention to propose Constitutional amendments”.  But what… in that context… does the word “convention” really mean?

Article V scholar Rob Natelson takes on this question in a new paper entitled “Where the Constitution’s Word ‘Convention’ Came From”.  No, the modern-era political convention is not synonymous with the kind of convention referenced by the Constitution drafters in 1875.

He says those who try to equate the two are committing “the common fallacy of anachronism: reading into history or a historical text the meanings and values of another time.  The most common kind of anachronism is transferring a modern notion into a time or text when things were quite different—as if a scriptwriter for an old Western movie had John Wayne check his smart phone”.

For a correct understanding of the word “convention” as used in the Constitution, read Natelson’s paper HERE.

Two Smaller Article V Movements are Getting Traction –
The US Term Limits campaign, which seeks to impose term limits on members of Congress, gained one new application from Alabama earlier this session.  Florida had adopted their resolution earlier.  Now their proposal is under consideration in at least seven more states.

The Arizona legislature has HCR2024 with 7 bipartisan sponsors.  The bill has been voted favorably out of two House committees.  SCR1005, the Senate version, has 13 bipartisan sponsors.  It has passed favorably out of the Senate Government Committee.

In Georgia SR195 was passed by the Senate during 2017 by a vote of 31 to 19.  The
House version, HR217, is currently in the House Rules Committee.  The Maine legislature is considering HJR1232 where the bill is pending in the Joint State and Local Government Committee.

In Maryland HJ4 has 15 sponsors.  It had a hearing on 2/26 before the House Rules and Executive Nominations Committee.  The Missouri legislature has both SCR40 and HCR55 under consideration… both are in committees.

In South Carolina HCR3567 is pending in the House Judiciary Committee… and SCR545 is pending before the Senate Judiciary Committee.  In Vermont HJR11 is pending before the House Government Operations Committee.

The Single Subject Amendment campaign has gotten off to a slow start.  Florida adopted a resolution supporting an Article V convention to propose adding this provision to the US Constitution.

This year three states are considering the Single Subject Article V proposal that would provide that a law cannot be enacted by Congress unless it pertains to only one subject, and that subject must be clearly expressed in its title.  This kind of provision currently exists in the Constitutions of 41 states.

The proposal is aimed at preventing the Congressional practice of adding riders, earmarking and “pork barrel spending” to totally unrelated bills, which tends to lead to governmental waste.

In Wyoming HJR0003 was introduced by Rep. Dan Laursen.  It was voted down during its first hearing 26 to 33.  In Mississippi Sen. Kevin Blackwell introduced the Single Subject resolution (SCR511).  It has been referred to the Rules Committee.  In Indiana SJR14 has been introduced by Sen. Liz Brown.  It has been referred to Committee on Rules and Legislative Procedure

An Important Fact to Know…

Six percent of the current federal budget is for interest.
The Wall Street Journal – 6/29/2017