January 2021 Newsletter
- Writer Contends that American Federalism is in Tatters
- Webinar: Protecting the American Voice – January 26
- Natelson: State Legislators Have Abdicated Responsibilities
- Election Integrity is now a Major National Issue
- Epoch Times Editorial: Americans Need to Speak Up
- ‘Keep Nine’ Effort Presses Forward with Proposal
- The Status of Unreceived Article V-Related Resolutions
Related Items of Interest
- Citizen-focused Constitutional Conference Proposed
- Effort to Enact an ‘Abolition Amendment’ Announced
- New Film Features Herman Cain & the Founding Fathers
- The US House Announces Plans to work 25% less
Writer Contends that American Federalism is in Tatters –
On December 9, Donald F. Kettl, columnist for Governing, offered 7 Steps to the Resurgent Federalism Biden Will Need. He says, “Without reinvigorating our tattered intergovernmental partnership, his administration will be doomed as it tries to tackle enormous, urgent and inescapable challenges.”
Kettl contends, “It’s been a very long time — perhaps dating back to Roosevelt in 1933 — since a president has taken office with federalism in such tatters. Just consider what’s happened: The federal government has dumped many of its public health responsibilities for COVID-19 onto the states; in some states governors have been at war with mayors; and President Trump has impugned vote counting by state and local officials. Surrounding it all, America’s ugly shadow of local racism has reared up with an angry national voice.”
Of Kettl’s 7 proposed steps, the first 4 and the 6th deal with addressing COVID19 and health care issues. Then comes racial tensions and finally he says more generally “if new policies are to become realities, the road from big ideas in Washington runs through state and local governments. This is a road that deserves far more of our attention.” Read his commentary HERE.
Webinar: Protecting the American Voice – November 26 –
By former Iowa State Senator Neal Schuerer
The people are speaking, but no one is listening. America’s national government over-reaches while the states readily abdicate their authority. Most citizens know that big business and lobbyists wield too much control. America’s election processes are in question. Many believe the future of this country is in doubt.
Article V of the US Constitution empowers the state governments and the federal government equally. The best advocates of the American people have been, and must continue to be, the locally elected state legislators. The people of the United States must be acknowledged and protected as the sovereign leaders that they are.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt understood this obligation saying, “Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.” Today, all elected officials must listen to both President Roosevelt and the American people.
Join the panel discussion in the third installment of the four-part webinar series, Protecting the American Voice. It is co-sponsored by the State Legislators’ Article V Caucus and Path to Reform. Register HERE.
The entire series:
Part 1: Restoring the American Voice – was on Sept. 17 (watch it HERE)
Part 2: Strengthening the American Voice – was on Nov. 17 (watch it HERE)
Part 3: Protecting the American Voice January 26, 2021, 8 PM (Eastern time)
Part 4: Advancing the American Voice – February 2021
Natelson: State Legislators Have Abdicated Responsibilities –
On December 21 The Epoch Times carried a commentary by law professor Rob Natelson entitled State Legislators are Central to Our Constitutional System – So Why Didn’t They Act to Resolve the 2020 Election?
Natelson, a constitutional expert who usually focuses on Article V issues, uses this piece to underscore the broader responsibilities of state legislators relative to federal functions. He describes “[a] pattern of state legislative abdication [that] has prevailed for more than a century.”
He says, “As the federal leviathan grew relentlessly at the expense of states, state legislatures rarely rebelled – and when they did, they rarely persisted sufficiently to accomplish much.” He adds, “It is contrary to how we expect politicians to act.”
Natelson contends that “many lawmakers, like other members of the public, are unaware that the Constitution places them near the center of our political system.”
The professor concludes by saying, “Obviously, smooth operation of our constitutional system requires lawmakers who understand their role in our political system. Perhaps more constitutional education will be one result of this sad election.” Read his important piece HERE.
Election Integrity is now a Major National Issue –
Concerns about American election integrity have taken center stage in the minds of a very high percentage of US citizens. With the exception of COVID19-related news, America’s dysfunctional federal election system currently beats all other issues (federal fiscal irresponsibility, excessive terms by members of Congress, etc.) that might be addressed by constitutional amendments.
“Americans need election results they can trust. That’s why The Heritage Foundation has made the issue of election integrity one of its top priorities,” proclaims a recent article published by Heritage. Read the article HERE.
Heritage maintains an Election Fraud Database that showcases 1,298 instances of voter fraud from 47 states. Heritage added over 50 cases to the database in 2020. The database saw a huge surge in online traffic (more than 1,000%) in the days after Nov. 3 as the American people searched for factual information on the impact of fraud and irregularities in elections. Find the database HERE.
Meanwhile The Patriot Post published a guest commentary by Paul S. Gardiner that stressed that it is not only fraud that is disrupting America’s democratic franchise; it is also irrational inconsistencies in voting standards. He advocates for the establishment of “uniform, nationwide voting rules for national elections.”
Gardiner recommends that an amendment to the US Constitution, applicable to all 50 states, be drafted, proposed and ratified. Among the “rules” such a constitutional amendment could include, Gardiner suggests: 1) In order to be counted as a legal ballot, all ballots must be cast and received by close of business on election day. 2) Absentee ballots, requested by registered voters, are the only mail-in ballots allowed. 3) With the exception of absentee ballots, all voting must be accomplished in person at prescribed polling stations. 4) Early in-person voting is allowed at prescribed polling stations up to 14 days prior to election day.”
Might Congress propose an election rules amendment to the Constitution? Recent history of rancor among their ranks does not bode well for such a possibility.
Mr. Gardiner’s article goes on to document the improbability of an Article V convention of states as the source of such a constitutional remedy for election ills, principally due to the strong division between Article V groups. He argues that “it is truly time to put aside differences and strive for strong unity of effort among the different Article V groups.” Read his commentary HERE.
Epoch Times Editorial: Americans Need to Speak Up –
A December 5 editorial published on behalf of its Editorial Board, The Epoch Times was headlined With Our Election System Under Assault, Americans Need to Speak Up.
The writer says, “[W]hat is happening to our country at the moment: widespread and well-planned election fraud.” After enumerating many 2020 election abuses and “evidence of large-scale election fraud,” the editorial goes on to say “Many of us here at The Epoch Times have lived under communist regimes, both in China and other parts of the world, and know firsthand its tyranny. Our freedoms in America have allowed us to flourish and also to warn our fellow citizens that these very freedoms are now at risk. If we don’t take a stance and speak out at this critical moment, we will see the CCP and allied communist forces complete their decades-long quest to subdue American freedom.”
The editorial is a worthwhile read, but more importantly, its challenge for Americans to speak up is critical: “This is about our right to vote. This is about whether we can still have a free country.” Read the excellent editorial HERE.
‘Keep Nine’ Effort Presses Forward with Proposed Amendment –
Roman Buhler of the Coalition to Preserve an Independent US Supreme Court reports that its Keep Nine Amendment is now supported by 17 US Senators and Senators-elect. He indicates that the effort is led by a bipartisan coalition of former and current State Attorneys General and members of Congress.
The group’s proposed constitutional amendment (SJRes 76) simply says, “The Supreme Court shall be composed of nine Justices.” It is intended to head off any “court packing” efforts by either party. They report that they have polls showing voters would support the Keep Nine Amendment by a margin of 62% to 18%.
“We are building a national network of state elected officials, community leaders, retired judges, grassroots activists and emerging young leaders to persuade Congress to propose and the states to ratify this Amendment,” says Buhler. The group has a web site HERE. Buhler can be reached at 202-255-5000 or by email HERE.
Meanwhile the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has encouraged its state legislator members to propose a memorial in each state supporting SJRes 76. See their model memorial HERE.
The Status of Unreceived Article V-Related Resolutions –
By Gregory Watson*
As we enter the new year of 2021, at least eleven already-adopted Article V convention-related resolutions still have not reached the US Senate and, in the specific case of Nebraska’s 2010 resolution (from more than 10 years ago), that particular resolution still has not been received by either of the two chambers of Congress.
Several states have been rather derelict in transmitting Article V-related resolutions to Federal lawmakers in Washington, DC. As of January 1, 2021, here is where things still stand:
Based on public record and going back only to 2010, the following 7 state-adopted Article V convention application resolutions have either (a) not been received by either chamber of Congress, or (b) been received by only one of the two houses of Congress:
1. Nebraska’s 2010 Legislative Resolution No. 538, by former State Senator Pete Pirsch, still has not been received by either of the two houses of Congress, and has now surpassed its 10th anniversary;
2. North Dakota’s 2011 House Concurrent Resolution No. 3048, by former North Dakota State Representative Blair Thoreson, has still failed to reach the US Senate, yet it somehow managed to find its way – in duplicate, no less – to the US House of Representatives on May 31st [Congressional Record, at page H3805] and again on June 1st [Congressional Record, at pages H3869 and H3910] of the year 2011;
3. Utah’s 2015 House Joint Resolution No. 7, by former Utah State Representative Kraig Powell, while received by the US House on July 15, 2015 (Congressional Record, at page H5237) still has not arrived in the US Senate;
4. New Jersey’s 2015 Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 132, by still-serving State Senator Linda Greenstein, (a Wolf-PAC resolution) remains nowhere to be found on the pages of the US Senate’s portion of the Congressional Record. The US House, however, received duplicate copies of it on December 9th (Congressional Record, at page H9205) and on December 15th (Congressional Record, at page H9328) of the year 2015;
5. Louisiana’s 2016 Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 52, by former Louisiana State Senator Dan Claitor, while received by the US House three years belatedly, and in triplicate no less (first on February 26, 2019 [Congressional Record, at page H2234], a second time on February 27, 2019 [Congressional Record, at page H2271], and a third time on September 20, 2019 [Congressional Record, at page H7866]) yet to this day, it has not arrived in the US Senate. Hence, the US House has three copies of the Resolution while the US Senate got absolutely nothing – zip, zero, nada – and the 2016 SCR 52 is now approaching its 5th anniversary;
6. Wyoming’s 2017 House Enrolled Joint Resolution No. 2, by still-serving Wyoming State Representative Tyler Lindholm, still eludes the US Senate. This is likely due to the curious belief on the part of the Wyoming Secretary of State’s Office in 2017 that it was perfectly OK to just casually email to Vice-President Mike Pence (as the formal presiding officer of the US Senate) rather than to transmit an official paper copy to Pence. Meanwhile, the US House received a copy of the Resolution back on April 3, 2017 (Congressional Record, at page H2629); and
7. Utah’s 2019 Senate Joint Resolution No. 9, by still-serving Utah State Senator Evan J. Vickers, while received by the US House on July 23, 2019 (Congressional Record, at page H7242) has still not arrived in the US Senate.
Likewise not fully received on Capitol Hill are some resolutions adopted by state lawmakers (2004 to 2010) to rescind previous Article V Applications from four states as follows: Georgia’s 2004 HR 1343, Wyoming’s 2009 EJRes 3 (previously known as Original House Joint Resolution No. 7), New Hampshire’s 2010 HCRes 28, and Tennessee’s 2010 HJRes 30.
The Constitution does not set forth how Article V applications are to be transmitted. However history has made clear how it should be done. Learn The Proper Way to Transmit State-Approved Article V Applications to Congress in this Caucus-provided article… HERE.
*About the author: With his decade of work (1982-1992) to gain the 27th Amendment’s incorporation into the US Constitution, Gregory Watson of Texas is an internationally-recognized authority on the process by which the Federal Constitution is amended.
Related Items of Interest
Citizen-focused Constitutional Conference Proposed –
By Stuart MacPhail, Caucus Newsletter Editor
Wake up legislators! A large portion of American citizens are angry… divided. The second portion of Article V of the US Constitution is a tool that could be used to address that anger and division.
But, so far there have not been enough state legislatures imploring Congress for the right to use that tool. And, Congress has shown itself unwilling to allow use of that tool. Whether it is to address defects in election integrity, federal fiscal irresponsibility or irrationally long congressional tenure… that constitutionally-provided tool has simply been gathering dust.
John De Herrera of Friends of the Article V Convention (FOAVC) has announced that beginning on May 25, 2021 a citizens’ virtual conference will be held for the purpose of forcing the issue of proposing amendments to the US Constitution.
He reports that the conference will be open “to any American at least 18 years of age.” The proposed meeting will be facilitated by vBulletin, a forum software which is said to be able to handle millions of participants. He is inviting interested parties to visit www.articlevconvention.org to sign up to be “delegates” so they can participate in what he anticipates will be a multiple-day discussion/deliberation of potential constitutional amendments, leading to specific proposals. The belief is: if state legislators will not lead in using the tool the Constitution gave them, citizens will lead the legislators.
The May citizens’ virtual event cannot be considered an actual Article V “convention of the states,” but it could nudge state legislators and Congress to do their jobs. De Herrera says of the May event: “It’s a great chance for authentic Americans to lead by example. Isn’t that what this country needs? Could be a memory of a lifetime, and we encourage everyone to participate.”
Effort to Enact an ‘Abolition Amendment’ Announced –
In early December National Public Radio released a story entitled Democrats Push ‘Abolition Amendment’ To Fully Erase Slavery from US Constitution written by Brakkton Booker.
The article reported on a proposed Senate Joint Resolution dubbed The Abolition Amendment introduced by US Senator Jeff Merkley (Oregon) and other Democratic members of Congress.
It seeks to remove the “punishment” clause from the 155-year-old 13th Amendment to the US Constitution, which the author says “effectively allows members of prison populations to be used as cheap and free labor.”
Amendment 13 says, in part, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
Sen. Merkley was quoted as putting the proposed change “in the context of the overall campaign for justice.” He said, “As we take on the long and difficult challenge of rooting out systemic racism in our nation, ending the slavery loophole in the 13th Amendment is [a] critical step in that challenge.” Read the story HERE.
New Film Features Herman Cain & the Founding Fathers –
A new film No Time to Run, recently released by Elevating Entertainment Motion Pictures, explores what the founding fathers might think of the workings of America’s federal and state governments today. The film also deals with Article V.
Recently-deceased Herman Cain has a cameo appearance in the film as the heroine’s father. She is depicted as a young woman who suddenly finds herself the mayor of a small mid-western town where she is confronted with flag-burning and government corruption. Feeling hopeless about America’s future, she is driven to find a way to help save America, but she is not sure how she, as one person, will be able to accomplish that task.
The question she continues to turn over in her mind is, “what would the founding fathers think of the workings of our federal and state governments today?” At one point she says, “I believe the federal government has become a haven of career politicians who lust after power and wealth.” Sound familiar?
Unlike in the real world, this patriotic young woman was able to speak with the founders firsthand “with help of a time travel machine handed down to her through the family.” Journeying back to the founding of America and meeting with the Founding Fathers, she learns their intentions and aspirations for a new nation and seeks their help. In turn, they learn from her how their vision of small government, citizen representatives, states’ rights, minimal intrusion in commerce, and individual freedoms are today being rapidly extinguished, and the Constitution they drafted is being put in danger.
The 1 hour 35 minute No Time to Run can be rented at http://notimetorun.com/watch/ for $6.99.
The US House Announces Plans to work 25% less –
Phil Blumel, President of US Term Limits reports, “The US House of Representatives plans to work twenty-five percent FEWER days in 2021! But the career politicians will still pay themselves the same amount! Next year our representatives plan on being in session only 101 days. That’s working just about two days per week for $174,000 per year.”
Blumel’s message was within the context of a fundraising appeal for the US Term Limits campaign. He says, “Members of Congress set their own hours, they set their own salary, this year 95% of them were reelected. And then there are the perks; free flights home, cars, drivers, premium healthcare, staff, offices, gyms and restaurants. It’s crazy.”
Words from the Past –
“Such untired industry to serve their country,
did the delegates to the federal convention exert,
that they not only laboured to form the best plan they could,
but, provided for making at any time amendments
on the authority of the people,
without shaking the stability of the government.”
Written by John Dickinson, author of “Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania,”
published in the Pennsylvania Mercury and General Advertiser, April 29, 1788,
under the pseudonym Fabius