To Preserve the Nation
Please Reject the Proposed SJR009
An Open Letter to Members of the Utah Legislature:
It is my understanding that the Utah Legislature is considering Senator Evan Vickers’ SJR009, which proposes a convention be called by the United States Congress to consider a number of changes to the United States Constitution. Historically, most of the resolutions seeking a constitution convention (by whatever name the advocates choose to denominate it) which have come before the Utah Legislature have promoted the idea that they were single issue proposals, and that any convention which may be called as a result of these resolutions would be restricted to addressing that single issue, and therefore would not place broader issues in the Constitution at risk. While this is a debatable supposition in those other resolutions, SJR009 has dropped all pretense that the proposed convention will be of limited scope. With SJR009 we need no longer pretend that the convention which would be called as a result of this resolution cannot create an entirely new constitution.
Consequently, SJR009 must be considered as the most dangerous resolution of its type which has ever come before the Utah Legislature. SJR009 is multi-pronged in its thrust to call a convention. It purports to “impose fiscal restraints on the federal government,” to “limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government,” and “limit the terms of office for its officials and for members of Congress.” It uses these innocuous-sounding euphemisms to inculcate benign impressions of the expansive swaths which may be cut through the United States Constitution if a convention for these purposes is called. While space constraints in this abbreviated synopsis prohibit a full exposition of the possible expansive fundamental changes in the Constitution these stated intentions could make if carried to their logical potential ends, each of these purposes is addressed briefly, below:
The intent of this year’s SJR009 is identical to other bills previously introduced in past Utah Legislative sessions. Once Utah’s Legislators understood the immense unknown spectrum of risks associated with these previously-proposed identical efforts, the Utah Legislature definitively rejected these unwise resolutions. In his monumental “Farewell Address,” George Washington offered the following wise counsel: “If in the opinion of the people the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation, for though this in one instance may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.”
The Constitution is not wrong. It is simply ignored. All of the “problems” proponents of a constitution convention claim are justification of a convention are a result of violations of the Constitution caused by usurpation. Changing the Constitution based upon an almost universal practice of ignoring the Constitution is risky, illogical, and unwise!
Perhaps, in many instances, those offering calls for a convention are well meaning, but the expectation of an improvement on our current Constitution are at best naive. I have delivered many dozens of presentations against constitution conventions all across the nation; to general public audiences, as well as state legislators, and I have heard hours of rhetoric intended to justify such a convention. When all of the supposed justifications are stripped to their most fundamental level, they boil down to a single argument: “They are violating the Constitution, so we must modify it.” And, as a follow-up of this justification, the cry: “We must do something!” Such a position violates all logic, reason, and intelligence. Modifying what is already there and which currently prohibits the egregious behavior will not correct the behavior. This warning may be reasonably applied to the matter of my opposition to SJR009, with the added concern which is magnified by many orders of magnitude due to the absolute blank check authority to change, or even completely re-write the United States Constitution which SJR009 would grant to any convention called under authority of this resolution.
There is nothing wrong with the United States Constitution! The problem is that the nation has stopped faithfully applying it. Those who claim to love the Constitution and promote changing it are inconsistent. If they love it they MUST abide by it. Changing the Constitution does not honor it! ALL who hold office take an oath to the United States Constitution. Those who hold office (and will likely sit in the seats of any convention which might be called) are oath-bound to uphold the Constitution. Their current actions in violation of the Constitution have led to the difficulties under which the nation currently suffers. We do not need to call an Article V Convention to correct our problems. We, the people must insist that our trusted representatives apply Article VI of the Constitution. Article VI requires ALL office-holders to keep their actions within the delegated bounds established within the plain English words of the United States Constitution. All of the challenges currently facing the nation are attributable to violations of the plain English words of the Constitution, and their original application. Those who currently hold office ignore their oath, violate the Constitution at will, and we are foolish enough to trust them to correct the resulting problems in a convention that could possibly eviscerate the Constitution of the limits and bounds which are already inherent in the document???!!! One might reasonably ask: “Do we need an amendment that says ‘we really mean it this time’?” OF COURSE NOT! The officers who violate the Charter of the Nation now will continue to violate it, even if modified.
We do not need to “correct” the Constitution. We and our officials must abide by it. By so doing we will again become the greatest, freest, most prosperous, most respected, and most happy nation on earth.
The risks to our wonderful Constitution which are inherent in SJR009 are so immense as to be beyond calculation. Please soundly defeat SJR009, and every other effort to modify our magnificent Constitution. Seek to apply the other, less dangerous constitutional methods to restore this nation to the exercise of the limited, enumerated powers with checks and balances which are enunciated so clearly in the United States Constitution and its magnificent Bill of Rights. Let us vigorously seek a restoration, not change. Thank you!
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