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Honest Discourse About Article V Convention Needed

By Publius Huldah

Whether States should ask Congress to call a convention under Article V of our federal Constitution is one of the most important issues of our time.  The Delegates to such a convention, as Sovereign Representatives of The People, have the power to throw off the Constitution we have and set up a new Constitution – with a new and easier mode of ratification – which creates a new government.1

Americans need the Truth.  But former law professor Rob Natelson’s recent article in The Hill is filled with ad hominems and misstatements.  Natelson is legal advisor for pro-convention groups such as “Convention of States Project” (COSP).

 “Poisoning the well” fallacy

Natelson characterizes those who oppose an Article V convention as “big government advocates”; “Washington insiders” who protect “judges and politicians who abuse their positions”; chanters of “talking points” from the “disinformation campaign” of the 1960s and early 1970s who have “no real expertise on the subject”; and, like those involved in “voter suppression efforts”, use “fear and disinformation” to discourage citizens from exercising their rights.

And while such tactics clearly resonate with COSP’s cheerleading squad; 2 others immediately recognize the preemptive ad hominem attack known as the “poisoning the wellfallacy.  That fallacy is committed when one primes the audience with adverse information or false allegations about the opponent, in an attempt to bolster his own claim or discount the credibility of the opponent.

Obviously, Natelson’s characterizations don’t constitute proof that he is right, and opponents are wrong.

Misrepresentations, omissions, and irrelevant “academic research”

  1. Natelson asserts:

“Our founders designed this [Article V convention] as a way the people could fix the federal government if it became abusive or dysfunctional”.

But he presents no proof – and can’t because no one at the federal convention of 1787 (where our present Constitution was drafted) said such a thing.  As proved in The George Mason Fabrication, the Delegates agreed that the purpose of amendments is to correct defects in the Constitution.

  1. Natelson asserts:

“Any proposals must… be ratified by 38 states before they become law.”

That’s not true.  While any amendments to our Constitution must be ratified by 38 States; our Declaration of Independence says it’s the “self-evident” Right of a People to abolish their government and set up a new one.

We invoked that Right in 1776 to throw off the British Monarchy.

In 1787, we invoked that Right to throw off our first Constitution, the Articles of Confederation; and set up a new Constitution – the one we now have – which created a new government.

How did we get from our first Constitution to our second Constitution?  There was a convention to propose amendments to our first Constitution! 

The Continental Congress resolved on February 21, 1787 to call a convention to be held at Philadelphia:

for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation”.

But the Delegates ignored this limitation – they ignored the instructions from their States  – and they wrote our second Constitution.

And in Federalist No. 40 (15th para), James Madison invoked the “precious right” of a People to throw off one government and set up a new one, as justification for what they did at the federal “amendments” convention of 1787.

We can’t stop that from happening at another convention.  Furthermore, any new constitution will have its own mode of ratification.  Whereas Art. 13 of the Articles of Confederation required amendments to be approved by the Continental Congress and all of the then 13 States; the new Constitution provided at Article VII that it would be ratified by 9 States.

Any proposed third constitution will have its own mode of ratification.  The proposed Constitution for the Newstates of America is ratified by a national referendum (Art. XII, §1).  The States don’t ratify it – they are dissolved and replaced by regional governments answerable to the new national government.

  1. Natelson asserts that “academic research” shows:

“…how the convention is chosen and operates: It is a meeting of state representatives of a kind very common in U.S. history…The convention follows a pre-set agenda and attendees are subject to state legislative direction.”

Natelson’s “meetings” are irrelevant – they weren’t constitutional conventions called to propose changes to our Constitution!

Furthermore, Natelson doesn’t mention the one relevant convention we have had in this Country:  the federal “amendments” convention of 1787.  That convention involved Delegates who ignored the instructions from their States 3 and from the Continental Congress, and resulted in a new Constitution with a new and easier mode of ratification.  That is the only “meeting” which is relevant to the convention Congress has the power to call under Article V of our Constitution. 

The “calling” of a convention by Congress is governed – not by Natelson’s “meetings” – but by provisions in our Constitution.  Article V delegates to Congress the power to “call” a convention; and Article I, § 8, last clause, delegates to Congress the power to make laws “necessary and proper” to carry out that power.

As to the sovereign powers of Delegates, look to the Declaration of Independence, the federal “amendments” convention of 1787, and Federalist No. 40 – not to Natelson’s “meetings”.

  1. In an earlier article, Georgetown law professor David Super cited Coleman v. Miller (1939) to show that as amending the Constitution is a “political question”; the courts are unlikely to intervene. 4

Natelson responded that Coleman is a 79-year old “minority opinion the courts have long repudiated”;   but doesn’t show where the Supreme Court “repudiated” its opinion.

What Coleman shows is this: we can’t expect federal courts to make Delegates obey instructions.  No one has power over Delegates – Delegates can take down one government and set up a new one.


Here’s an idea:  Let’s all read our Declaration of Independence and Constitution; elect only people who have also read them, know what they say, and agree to obey; and then let’s downsize the federal government to its enumerated powers.


1 This is why James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, four Supreme Court Justices, and other luminaries warned against an Article V convention.

2 At 5:25-7:35 mark.  Archived HERE.

3 The States’ instructions are HERE at endnote 9.

4 When a power is delegated to a “political” branch [legislative or executive], federal courts [“judicial” branch] traditionally abstain from interfering and substituting their judgment for that of the branch to which the power was delegated.

“Publius Huldah” is the nom de guerre of a philosophy major, former Army JAG officer, and retired litigation attorney who now writes and speaks on the original intent of our US Constitution.  Her blog, where visitors are invited to post their Questions about the Constitution, is here:


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  1. On Article V, as to opening up our constitution for the type of Low Life people we NOW have in Washington to change it, a working class person would have to be out of their mind.

  2. Unfortunately few civil minded people chose to get involved in the nightmare quagmire of cruel politics driven by greedy psychopathic narcissistic demons. The entire system is now a mechanusm controlled by global interests. If Trump hadn’t stepped in, we’d see the sith Hitlery et al who’d by now would have a left anti constitutional supreme court by placing Loretta Lynch and Bath House Barry in place of murdered Scalia and aging Gensburg, designed to complete the global agenda to disarm the only free men remaining in the path to totalitarian rule.
    But, the globalist creeps have forged ahead with kill Trump, abollush the electoral college process, threats on life, impeachment rhetoric, MSM propaganda, false Russian collusion, mass murder, assinations, and profound hate as an all out assault on the republic.
    Come January, the swamp rats will be drowning in their own feces. Stand by. 🙂

  3. “Let’s all read our Declaration of Independence and Constitution; elect only people who have also read them, know what they say, and agree to obey; and then let’s downsize the federal government to its enumerated powers”.

    I would change “…agree to obey…” to read ‘swear to obey under penalty of death’;

    1. SheepDog, some sort of mechanism for violating the Constitutional oath is something I’ve given a great deal of thought to over the last couple years. It’s not as simple as it sounds. Right now one of our greatest problems is that the federal entity that is tasked with enforcing federal law is the U.S. Department of Justice. The DOJ, along with it’s law enforcement arm, the FBI, are both corrupt, at least in the upper echelons. So who enforces the law when those who are tasked with enforcing it are corrupt? If the Founders had one fault it was believing that most people are honorable, which is why they made the oath a gentlemen’s agreement, but we have many, if not most, who serve in public office are are neither honorable nor gentlemen. And we are where we are because generation after generation of dishonorable politicians, judges and bureaucrats have violated the Constitution with impunity.

      1. They aren’t paying attention to the Constitution now, so changing the Governmental Restraints won’t restrain them. You 2 are correct, we need enforcement. To that I would add that if people think these Unconstitutional Agencies (Title of Nobility) will bring them selves into attainment, they’re delusional.

        Something I proposed about 3 years ago was a “Constitutionality Reaffirmation and Accountability Act.” It’s time to restrain our government once again, because they have declared their roles to be far more encompassing than originally envisioned. For instance, here in Washington State, they took a proposed bill over the 48 hour weekend, from introduction to passage for Legislature to be excluded from the Public Records Act we the people just passed. Get this, the judicial in this state already disqualified themselves somehow. Point is, they don’t think the law applies to them. Time for some accountability!
        The “CRAA” would provide for State, Local, and Federal government executive, legislative, judicial, and agencies who make a law or regulation to be then pushed through the judicial to determine Constitutionality. After they have Affirmed their position, then it is handed to We the People for referendum to determine true Constitutionality. If by 2/3 vote by the people, we find than it’s Unconstitutional, then anyone along the chain that had voted in the affirmative should receive some jail time and fines, a little RICO and Civil Forfeiture, but most important they should lose their GUARANTEED RIGHTS, the way they do to we the people. Things would change virtually overnight.

      2. Greg, I love it, and it gets the final say back to where it belongs, with the People.

      3. It has some flaws, so suggestions are very welcomed. For instance, what if we don’t get a 2/3 majority either way? Worse yet, what if “We the People” aren’t (as a whole) educated properly on the Constitution? That last one get’s back to the Indoctrination Center thing.

        One of the things that is of concern, the system has been perverted for so long that we would have to set a point to get back to. My suggestion would be Wickard V. Filburn. Get rid of the agencies granted Titles of Nobility to start.

    2. AMEN, Sheep Dog, I fully give you 10 thumbs up for the last line of your comment. This is some thing in my mind should have put all liars out of office as soon as they went against it. I mean is not this oath meant to be taken seriously? And shouldn’t one shudder if they went out of bounds like Fienstein, Turn em all in mr.and mrs. America. She should have been removed tried and convicted. Now it is common place like it’s not even there.Like a joke, and they must be laughing, because no one does a thing about it.

      1. CB,

        When you hire the fox to watch the hen house, you shouldn’t be surprised when the fox eats the chickens. Sooner or later you either have to quit raising chickens or shoot the fox.

  4. The only part of this I agree with is her conclusion:

    “Here’s an idea: Let’s all read our Declaration of Independence and Constitution; elect only people who have also read them, know what they say, and agree to obey; and then let’s downsize the federal government to its enumerated powers.”

    That’s like saying, let’s force all women to only give birth to children who will never break the law. Beyond saying we should only elect good people who won’t violate their oath. She offers no other solutions to a monumental problem.

    I’ve heard this woman speak a couple times and read several articles she’s written. She’s a nice lady, but she’s wrong. I can only speak for my home state of Indiana which is leading the charge on the Convention of States Project. An Indiana delegate to a convention of states commits a class D felony if he or she attempts to expand the narrowly stated focus for amendments: (1) budget restraints; (2) term limits; and (3) limitations of regulatory power of unelected bureaucrats.

    Comparison with the original Constitutional Convention is a red herring, IMO, because the Articles of Confederation were hopelessly inadequate for the country that the Founders knew we would become. The basic structure of our present Constitution is perfectly adequate, it’s just hopelessly abused by members of all three branches of government, and there is no mechanism to curb those abuses beyond, as Publius Huldah note, electing people who won’t abuse it. Well, there IS one other solution, but I’d be accused of citing insurrection if I spelled it out.

  5. I said in my previous comment that I only agreed with her conclusion, at least the theory behind her conclusion as it is, on its face, unworkable, but I also agree with the headline of the article that an honest discussion about Article V Convention is needed; emphasis on the word “honest.”

    To begin to understand the importance of an Article V solution one needs look no further than to who is opposed to an Article V Convention, and George Soros heads the list of opponents.

    1. Yes she does..Retired Navy Spook…Go to her blog. She is smarter than all of us put together…BTW. Soros only changed his position as of late. He is behind the start of all of it. He said the dems and globalist wont be able to sell this to the Americans so lets the republicans and conservatives sell it.

      1. “Yes she does” WHAT? Nothing in your entire comment makes any sense except that Publius Hulda is smart. I never said she wasn’t smart, and I have been to her blog. She’s an exceptionally intelligent woman, but one has to wonder why someone who writes and speaks on “the original intent” of the Constitution so cavalierly dismisses one of two methods the Founders provided for amending it — and calls the people who are attempting to use one of those methods “enemies of our Constitution.”

        Publius is big proponent of nullification, a remedy for federal overreach that I also favor, but she knows better than most how much the states rely on “federal dollars,” and as long as they do they’re not going to nullify anything.

    2. I oppose an Article V Convention. I see it as an opportunity for the ‘deep state’ snakes to insert themselves into the process and alter the Constitution to their favor. I would prefer that ‘We the people’ get off our collective asses, get educated about our freedom and liberties, and enforce our current U.S. Constitution. By whatever means necessary.

  6. Do you really think the current group of (corrupt, treasonous, communist) politicians would vote for something better than the Founding Fathers who fought and died for what they brought forth.

    1. No, and that’s the whole rationale behind an Article V convention of the states. Congress will NEVER propose, much less vote for limiting the number of terms they can serve, limiting the amount of money they can spend, and limiting the power of the regulatory state.

  7. The Convention of States Project has raised awareness that our Constitution has been usurped and something has to be done about it. I’ve articulated my advocacy here and here. Publius Huldah is a patriot, but I believe she is misguided in her critique of COSP.

  8. If the law (constitution) dont matter now then who in their right mind thinks a new constitution would be obeyed. The only thing that they would be able to do is f*** the american people with a pretense of legality.

    1. My feelings precisely. I’m of the same mind about Sovereign Citizens. It’s a Utopian Dream. They are reaching for a silver bullet, but fail to grasp reality. There are evil people, who need to be rooted out. They ignore the laws and rules we follow because we are civilized. Making new rules is not necessary. Obey the existing rules, and lock up those who disobey the rules, whether they be in low or high positions. Take them out one at a time.

      Shorty Dawkins

      1. Shorty – You are exactly right.

        “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it’s natural manure”. Thomas Jefferson.

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