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Should Idaho Support a Constitutional Convention?

Do the voters of truly want me to vote for or against a constitutional convention?

Should Idaho Support a Constitutional Convention?

Should Idaho Support a Constitutional Convention?

By Representative Priscilla Giddings

Idaho’s 64th legislative session is just weeks away from convening, and on the eve of a highly contested 2018 election, there are several polarizing issues waiting in the wings of the capitol. One of those issues is whether Idahoans support a Constitutional Convention for the purpose of amending our U.S. Constitution. As an elected official representing District 7, it is my goal to support issues that the people of District 7 favor.

Article V of the U.S. Constitution gives states the ability to propose and ratify amendments to the Constitution. The legislatures of 34 states would have to formally agree to convene a convention of delegates from states; those in attendance would propose amendments. It would then take 38 state legislatures to ratify the proposed amendments.

Convening a convention for the states to submit amendments that call for a balanced budget and term limits appears to be one of the only ways for the grass roots movement at the state level to force the federal government to stop overspending and reduce the number of career politicians. So why haven’t the states formed a constitutional convention yet?

The process of convening a convention is bipartisan, but there are strong conservatives and liberals on both sides of the argument. Thus an actual convention hasn’t been called in more than 228 years. Yet the idea to convene one has been lingering throughout the states for decades – Arkansas requested one in 1963. In 1983, 32 states signed up to support a Balanced Budget Amendment, but they failed to get the last 2 states. Some people fear that the process for a convention is so vague that heavily funded special interest groups could find a way to hijack a convention and force a change in its agenda, which could place the entire constitution in jeopardy.

In Idaho, a republican central committee submitted a proposal last year for Idaho to join the 28 other states in support of a convention. At the state level, the Republican Party defeated the resolution unanimously. Then a state senator submitted a piece of legislation to support a convention without the support of the Republican Party – it failed 24 to 11 in the senate. That prompted a representative to propose a similar resolution in the house, where it failed in the State Affairs Committee that I’m a member of by a narrow margin. I saw the legislative process work; I thought Idaho voices had been clearly heard.

Then in September, after repeated failures of getting the proposal through the House or Senate, the Idaho Speaker of the House and the President Pro Temp of the Senate unilaterally decided to spend tens of thousands of dollars of Idaho taxpayer money to send ten handpicked Idaho legislators to a practice constitutional convention in Arizona. Does that suggest that the Idaho elite want Idahoans to support the convention at any cost?

I have received many pre-formatted emails from citizens of District 7 saying they support the convention. Yet, when I have called some of those whose names were written on the emails, I found that they actually did not send the email; the emails were a high-tech fraud.

Based on the number of phone calls and emails that I have received on this issue, I am certain that there is another resolution waiting in the wings in January when the legislature convenes. My question is, do the voters of District 7 truly want me to vote for or against a constitutional convention? Please email me at pgiddings@house.idaho.gov – I really do want to know if this is the will of the people, or another attempt of the elite to force an idea on uninterested Idahoans.

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20 Comments on Should Idaho Support a Constitutional Convention?

  1. If we want to rein in the Federal government to a position of compliance with our Constitution, then, we should keep our Constitution and enforce it using the sixth article of the Constitution and the Tenth Amendment as justification for nullification of unconstitutional federal measures. The Legislature should hold the federal Congress and the Federal Agencies to the letter of the Constitutional law and not allow them usurpations of powers never delegated by the U.S. Constitution to the Federal Government. Every State Legislature should be enforcing the sixth article of the Constitution requiring any Congressional measures to be in “pursuance” of the Constitution, or otherwise recognizing pretended laws that don’t comply with our Constitution as null and void.

  2. Amending the US Constitution will not solve our problems, just as amending marriage vows won’t correct a cheating spouse. If Christians violate the Ten Commandments, should we amend some of those commandments to bring wayward Christians home?
    The answer to both is NO, and adding more words on paper won’t make the federal body slither back into it’s limited capacity.

  3. Art. V grants two (2) bodies with the authority to propose amendments:
    Congress, and
    An Article V convention.
    Art V delegates would operate with the same powers and immunities enjoyed by Congress. How well does Idaho control her 2 congressmen and 2 senators? That’s how well you’ll control Art. V delegates!

    Delegates will be granted authority under the federal constitution (Art V), not the Idaho Constitution or Idaho statutes!
    Delegates to an Article V convention are inherently vested with that sovereign right of a People to alter or abolish their form of government [our Constitution]. See Declaration of Independence, 2nd para.

    • Why would your state pick Senators and Congressmen to be delegates to a Convention?
      Senators and Congressmen are elected by the people, they are in Federal positions. Not state positions. So, why would a state pick a Federal Employee to be a delegate…. for their state, in a Convention?
      I have know doubt some states are stupid enough to do just that. Why would the people of that state let them? Do they not know their state representatives phone numbers?

  4. Idaho can NOT control Idaho delegates, or other states’ delegates.
    Delegates will be immune from arrest

    •CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF IDAHO
    Article III, SECTION 7. PRIVILEGE FROM ARREST. Senators and representatives in all cases, except for treason, felony, or breach of the peace, shall be privileged from arrest during the session of the legislature, and in going to and returning from the same, and shall not be liable to any civil process during the session of the legislature, nor during the ten days next before the commencement thereof; nor shall a member, for words uttered in debate in either house, be questioned in any other place.

    • U.S. Constitution
    Article I, Section 6. The Senators and Representatives shall receive a compensation for their services, to be ascertained by law, and paid out of the treasury of the United States. They shall in all cases, except treason, felony and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other place.

    • What Article of Idaho’s Constitution discusses delegates? How delegates are chosen? Are they elected by ballot or picked by State representative bodies? What are the rules of delegate behavior? What is their pay? How long are they authorized for?

  5. Don’t be fooled into thinking that State Legislatures will stay in session to rule over the choices and votes of the State’s delegates attending an amendments proposing convention called under the fifth article of the Constitution. That’s nonsense. No, once the delegates are assembled at that autonomous amendments convention, they will have the same powers as Congress does under Article V, that is to propose any amendment they want to draft, as many amendments as they want to draft, as long of amendments as they want to draft and propose. They may also refuse to draft and propose any amendment that state legislatures want them to draft since the delegates are operating under the law of Article V, not under the instructions of a legislature once they are assembled in convention. The Pandora’s Box of the Article V Convention should not be used as a way to supposedly reign in government. It was only for the purpose of correcting errors in the Constitution.

    • “Pandora’s Box” can be found in your national archives and your state historical societies.
      “The latest rules” were last updated under the last Convention. The Upper Colorado River Convention. — that too, can be found in your nations archives…. all online.
      Like all the other 27 Amendments before it, all proposals must be ratified by 38 states before it becomes and Amendment to the Constitution. — as stated in Article V.
      Yes, the states can choose to send delegates to D.C. to ratify…. just as they did when they ended Prohibition (the only time in U.S. History that the states authorized delegates for ratification). Again, 38 states must agree to that method of ratification.

      — You do realize, CONGRESS, is also the subject of Article V. At any time. —“Whenever” is the word used in Article V. — Whenever Congress sees fit, they too, can propose an Amendment. — But also, must go through the same ratification process.
      I find it fascinating, that people trust the Feds, the same people they complain about, more than they trust the very bodies that have limited Federal over-reach so far. — The states.

  6. I do NOT support Idaho participating in a Constitutional Convention. I support all of those who took an oath to uphold the Constitution, to uphold, to follow the Constitution.
    Neither Chief Supreme Court Justice Burger nor the 1999 Idaho legislation supported a con-con.
    “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…With George Washington as chairman, they were able to deliberate in total secrecy, with no press coverage and no leaks. A Constitutional Convention today would be free-for-all for special interest groups, television coverage, and press speculation…Whatever gain might be hoped for from a new Constitutional Convention could not be worth the risks involved. A new Convention could plunge our Nation into constitutional confusion and confrontation at every turn, with assurance that focus would be on the subjects needing attention…I am glad to see states rescinding their previous resolutions requesting a Convention…” Justice Burger, 1988 http://eagleforum.org/topics/concon/pdf/WarrenBurger-letter.pdf
    In 1999, Idaho’s Senate Concurrent Resolution 129 passed, rescinding any prior wishes for Idaho to participate in a con-con. It says in part, ““…There is no need for, rather, there is a great danger in, a new Constitution or in opening the Constitution to sweeping changes, the adoption of which would only create legal chaos in this nation and only begin the process of another two centuries of litigation over its meaning and interpretation…” http://legislature.idaho.gov/sessioninfo/1999/legislation/SCR129/#billtext

    • huh,
      Of all of the misinformation, this one is always my favorite. I must admit, it has been a while since I have seen it.
      Please sir, what states have rescinded the current application? We have 12 right now, on this current application, none have rescinded. Three do have sunset clauses.
      Let us list them:
      Georgia (2014)
      Alaska (2014)
      Florida (2014)
      Alabama (2015)
      Tennessee (2016)
      Oklahoma (2016)
      Indiana (2016)
      Louisiana (2016)
      Arizona (2017)
      North Dakota (2017)
      Texas (2017)
      Missouri (2017)
      The three states with sunset clauses are Texas, Missouri and Oklahoma.
      Please, see those state legislature sites for verification.
      Now, for the other misinformation:
      COS agrees. No CON CON. Thankfully, Article V Conventions are not Constitutional Conventions. They must follow simple rules last updated in the most recent Article V Convention (Upper Colorado River Convention). as stated in Article V of our Constitution.
      Under article V:
      2/3 of the states must pass the same or similar application (regarding subject). If it has a different subject, it is a different COS application. There have been more than 400 in U.S. History.
      IF that threshold is met, states must pick delegates under their state laws to send to a convention.
      IF that is accomplished. Each state will get one vote and one vote only, no matter the proposal or rule change. No matter the size of the state or number of delegates sent. (see rules for Convention, they can be found under Article V at national archives as well as under states who have previously participated).
      IF any proposals are agreed upon with at least 26 votes, those proposals must go back to the states to be ratified.
      All it takes is 13. 13 bodies in any of the 50 states can prevent an Amendment from becoming part of the Constitution. –13. A house, a senate, just one body in any state, can prevent it. It must pass in 38 states in order to become part of the Constitution.

      Most importantly, we must remember the wording of Article V and pay particular attention to the word “whenever” Whenever Congress deems it necessary, can propose Amendments.
      Whenever the phone rings
      Whenever they get a letter in the mail
      Whenever they get a check from a donor
      Whenever 2/3 of Congress deem in necessary can propose an amendment to the Constitution. The only thing is….. they too, have to get it ratified by the states. — Just like a Convention.
      huh, I never thought I would live long enough to see people put THAT much trust in their Federal Representatives.
      Perhaps that is the reason we have so many that have been there more than 30 years?

      For reference, here is Article V (from archives.gov)

      “The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.”

  7. The first convention was a crime against the existing federal agreement. If there is another convention it will be born out of the original fraud. To argue otherwise is to step foot off of a criminal foundation and step into an already very tangled web of deceit. People are so completely fooled by the original criminal act to subsidize African Slavery, that their foolishness provides all the power needed to those who are not fooled, those who know the lies as lies, and they ascend the criminal organization (under the color of law) so as to become a master of all these foolish slaves. Criminals don’t obey moral laws; that is what defines them, and the same applies to criminals whose crimes are perpetrated under the color of law.

    • So, The United States of America is a fraud?
      The first Amendment? The second? ….. are all frauds?
      What do you propose should replace this “fraudulent” country?

  8. Wow, first let me address the misinformation. I am a bit disappointed that a legislature is so ill informed on history as well as the Constitution.
    It has not been 200+ years since a Convention was held. The last was the Upper Colorado River Convention. Let google help you look up that date.
    In that same century are 2 more successful Article V applications that passed enough states to call a Convention. One ended Prohibition and the other made your state Senators elected instead of appointed.

    Article V is exactly how we got the 27 Amendments we have today. Why does our legislative body fear our Constitution? What other Articles does miss Giddings fear? chose to ignore? or think should not be in our Constitution? Did our framers get Article V wrong? How can anyone claim to be a Constituionalist yet, despise it? Would our Framers fear today’s hippy and neo-nazi? Those are the people who hate and fear our Constitution. Would our framers, who abandoned or were the descendants of those who abandoned or fled their homes for a strange new world, who just lost, suffered and rebuilt their incomes, their families, their wounds, who buried their dead in an effort to be free, at a time when owning another human being was considered normal they would cower and hide…… from the hippy? the neo-nazi?

    Why is Term Limits OK for one end of Pennsylvania Ave but, not the other? Does this current legislator have D.C. ambitions? Does she consider it a threat?
    Right now the focus of the American people is on the Federal Government. In elections, in headlines, does she fear the responsibility of running her own state? Because she lives closer to the people?
    And please mam, give us the list of those “fake names” and “fake lists” that you claim? It is I, who collects them. From real people. It is my money, my time, my effort…. behind this movement. Me, an old Soldier’s wife. I am not a fake person, nor are my letters, nor are the petitions that I gather. — Mam, on that. I must call out what you are doing — lying. Shame on you for lying.

    • Ma’am, it is you that is terribly wrong. I’m an Article V educator having focused on learning all sides of the issue fulltime for the past 4 years. There has never been an Article V convention so the comparisons you offer are moot.

      There also have never been enough states passing resolutions for a convention because many have rescinded their applications. I helped lead the effort to kill 10 pending Article V petitions from Nevada this year. We won four unanimous votes. Once legislators learn the documented and verifiable facts of the issue, they realize how dangerous and un-needed it is.

      Term limits for the executive prevent creation of a king. Congress is different, being 535 of them. The Founders actually removed Term Limits from the Articles of Confederation for the Constitution because they knew they created more problems then they solved.

      Please review this article I wrote which documents the deception convention groups push: https://www.guardtheconstitution.com/2017/07/06/convention-of-states-falsifies-thomas-jeffersons-advice-2/20530

  9. LOL.
    Love how you use the article you wrote, as you source.
    I did not post any sources because all of the information I posted can be easily found on the search engine of your preference.
    You can also check with your state historical societies and National Archives .gov.
    So, were the Founder’s wrong or right on your interpretation of Term Limits? If the current Amendment on Presidential Term Limits is wrong? As you claim the Founder’s believed. Should we have an Amendment to repeal it? Or should we add an Amendment adding Term Limits to Congress (House and Senate) perhaps Judges?
    Isn’t that what we have now? 9 Kings and Queens? Is not there bench allowed to become a thrown? Why do those 9 Kings and Queens get to be more powerful than the White House? The States? The People?

    • I reference the sources in my article. If challenging my writing ability is all you have then I thank you for conceding the point.

      Your comment on term limits shows your ignorance on the issue. The term limits the Founders deleted from the AOC was for members of Congress, not the president. The 22d amendment limited presidents. One person should be limited to prevent a monarchy. 535 members of congress share enough power to prevent the problem.

      We currently have limits on the judiciary. Judges are to serve during periods of good behavior. That We The People refuse to do our job to pressure our representatives to impeach judges as the Constitution currently provides won’t change with amendments.

      You seem grossly uninformed Georganna.

  10. I am not sure why Angel Cushing is so interested in Idaho’s affairs, and wants to control the comment section. Perhaps, it’s because her real name also appears to be Georganna Cushing and she runs the Citizens for Self-Governance’s Convention of States Action-Kansas Facebook page.
    https://www.facebook.com/angel.cushing
    https://www.cosaction.com/kansas

    A trip to the COS Action webpage shows this group’s strategy. https://www.cosaction.com/strategy

    Perhaps Ms Cushing should work as hard on her own Kansas legislature as she is Idaho’s. “Unfortunately HJR5010 did not meet the 84 (2/3) threshold for passage as required in Kansas.”

    I do thank her husband Tom for his service in the Army and her for all the work she does as an Army wife!

  11. Why thank you for taking notice of me Jann.
    My name is Georganna, given Angel in a foster home as a small child. Both dear and lovely names.

    I do have the habit of calling out misinformation and lies where ever I find them. For all immoral and criminal activities are built on a foundation of lies.
    Unlike your great state of Idaho, Kansas requires a super majority (3/4) to pass anything on the Constitution. We expect it will be one of the last states to pass for that reason.
    I do appreciate your ability to research! and Thank you for posting the links!

    And of course, I thank you for those kind words regarding my husband and our lifestyle.

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