Book Monitor

The Con of the Con Con:
The Case Against the States Amending the U.S. Constitution 

Andy Biggs

An Article V Constitutional Convention is a terrible idea. It is an insidious and dangerous plan that is being advanced by some conservative pundits and politicians as well as by enemies of conservatism. Article V of the United States Constitution contains a provision that allows two-thirds of the states to call a convention to propose Amendments. Those Amendments would then need to be ratified by three-fourths of the states.

Author Andy Biggs, president of the Arizona Senate, doesn't deny that there are some serious and longstanding national issues that need to be addressed. He says:

  • Americans are free no longer. We are no longer governed; we are ruled. In the current environment we cannot reasonably expect equal treatment under the law. Our right to succeed now comes with constraints imposed by a degenerate government elite.

Biggs says the fact that "the Statist-Left is also agitating for a Convention" should tell conservatives that it's a bad idea. He warns that during the Article V process, Amendments to the Constitution would "also include changes proposed by progressive activists and others on the left."

Jeopardizing the U.S. Constitution is not the way to fix current problems. Our Constitution is the one document that protects liberty, and no one in their right mind should willingly choose to open it up for debate and change. A convention of states can't be limited in scope and would allow delegates to alter or even dissolve the Constitution. Claims by proponents that the convention's agenda could be controlled are unsubstantiated.

Some Con-Con promoters seek a Balanced Budget Amendment or term limits, while others hope to pass many Amendments to address a variety of deficiencies in a broad convention. Andy Biggs points out that even if new Amendments were added, the same elected leaders could still find loopholes and act in their own self-interests, and the same lobbyists would still peddle their influence.

Biggs writes: "We already have a constitution that contains very clearly delineated constraints on our national government." He adds that those in elected positions who have betrayed the people must be voted out of office. He further maintains that Con-Con promoters "who have given up on elections, have effectively given up on the American people."

Convention of States legislation has already passed in several states and introduced in most others.

"We must do something" is the argument made by Con-Con proponents. But when that something is ill-conceived and dangerous, wise and patriotic Americans must make certain it never happens.

(Free Man Press, 2015, 170 pp., $12.95)