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Go To Page 5: A,
Page 5--The Truth About Convention of States and
The "Convention of
and its companion organization "Compact for America" (CFA) are two
partisan Convention advocacy groups receiving a great deal of
national attention. Thanks to largely undisclosed financial backing COS
in particular has gained much public attention in certain national
conservative circles. However both COS and CFA have avoided
divulging information about the true intent of their organizations, and
in particular, pertinent details about the amendment process. FOAVC
believes the public is entitled to know the agenda and intentions of these two political groups.
It should noted that the Constitution makes no reference to
a "Convention of the States" as a means for proposing constitutional amendments;
rather it refers to a "convention for proposing amendments." Therefore,
the name of the movement "Convention of States" misleads uniformed
citizens into thinking that such a convention is the means by which our
Constitution is amended. COS is a partisan group with its own political
agenda; any interpretation of Article V which COS makes is in the
context of advancing that political agenda and does not reflect the
intentions of the Federal Convention of 1787 held in Philadelphia May
through September, 1787. The
primary difference between the "Convention of States" and the
"convention for proposing amendments" is whether the American people
are allowed to vote directly
on the selection of delegates to the
convention and whether those delegates represent the people or a few
select politicians in the state legislature. Thus there is a clear
distinction between a "Convention of States" and an Article V
Convention. A detailed discussion of the convention's intention that the people have the right to vote on convention delegates can be
found elsewhere on our site.
An example of COS misinformation is shown in this screen shot of a
Google search on "Convention of States" with a less-than-truthful
As a result of the efforts of COS and CFA many people today
mistakenly refer to an Article V Convention as a
"Convention of the States." They believe that an Article V Convention (AVC) is controlled not
by the people (as intended by the 1787 Convention) through the process
of electing AVC delegates, but by existing state legislatures -- more
specifically, by a few select
legislators within those state legislatures. Under this scenario,
potentially biased state legislatures, which are subject to the effects
of gerrymandering, voter suppression, lobbying, and longstanding
corrupt practices and money interest, would have the right to propose
amendments through control of an Article V Convention with the people unable to prevent this from happening!
With an eye toward clarifying the convention amendment process,
has researched the premise of state legislatures proposing amendments.
A close examination of the historical records from the 1787
Convention (taken from the Library of Congress), shows the framers deliberately removed the authority of state legislatures to propose amendments.
Instead, the right to propose amendments was assigned to the people
directly through delegates elected to a convention held specifically
for that purpose (See Page
11 D). Even opponents to the ratification of the Constitution itself stated emphatically that Article V did not allow for "states, as states"
to propose amendments.
Given that proponents and opponents to the Constitution were present as
delegates during the 1787 Convention and thus witnessed the development
of the meaning and intent of Article V the fact they stated state
legislatures were not allowed to propose amendments must be viewed as
The promotion of the idea that state legislatures have power to propose
amendments and control the convention is one of the many examples of misinformation propagated by
COS and CFA and belies their intent to shift control over the amendment
process from the people to the politician.
Irrefutable proof of this is demonstrated by examination of the latest
"Convention of States" law enacted by the state of Arizona which, while
using the term "Article V Convention" is not
an "Article V Convention" because the "convention" does not represent
the people. Instead the Arizona resolution clearly states the
"commissioners" (appointed by the state legislature) represent only the state legislature, not the people (Page 3, line 11).
The courts have ruled that conventions held as part of the process to amend the federal Constitution must be
"deliberative assemblages representative of the people, which it was
assumed would voice the will of the people."
(See: Page 17 G). Again, there is no such thing as a "Convention of States" in the Constitution; the only convention mechanism
cited in the Constitution for proposing amendments is a "convention for
proposing amendments", more commonly called an Article V Convention
(AVC) or an "amendments convention"; and, it is a "deliberative
assemblage representative of the people", not the state legislature or any subgroup thereof. Indeed, the Court is so emphatic in its rulings that it is the people
not the state legislatures which amend the Constitution that when
describing whether or not a state has an amendatory power, it does not refer to the "state legislatures" but instead to "the people of the state." (See: Page 17 J).
COS and CFA supporters seem to care nothing about facts that obstruct their
view of the Constitution. If they want their view of amendment
conventions to be adopted as national public policy, it is appropriate
that the people, before consenting to such policy, be informed of all
the facts pertaining to that policy. The consequences of an amendments
convention controlled by a select group of legislators rather than by
freely-elected convention delegates are far reaching; it becomes a
choice between the majority of people controlling their destiny, or a
small group of politicians controlling that destiny.
That is why FOAVC believes the public should have all the facts
about the organizations that propose allowing state legislature-led
conventions to reform our government. Armed with factual information,
the public can make an informed judgment about COS and CFA intentions.
Information about these groups is proved below by FOAVC, and is based
on public record and references that are cited as required.
The Convention of States Project (COS)
1. Misinformation on and misrepresentation of the constitutional amendment process
The COS website states:
"Almost everyone knows that our federal government is on a dangerous
course. The unsustainable debt combined with crushing regulations on
states and business is a recipe for disaster.
What is less known is that the Founders gave state legislatures the
power to act as a final check on abuses of power by Washington, DC.
Article V of the US Constitution authorizes the state legislatures to
call a convention for proposing needed amendments to the Constitution.
Citizens for Self-Governance has launched the Convention of States
Project to call an Article V Convention to propose only amendments that
would impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit its
power and jurisdiction, and impose term limits on its officials and
members of Congress."
In simplest terms, COS
advocates the "traditional"
method of causing an Article V Convention call, that is, gathering a
sufficient number of applications to cause a convention call by Congress. Despite
the COS website statement, state legislatures do not "call" the
convention; that is a specific constitutional duty assigned Congress.
COS insists that the term "convention of states" must be included
within the application. In other words, COS has renamed the convention
process referred to in Article V (a "convention for proposing
amendments") as a "convention of states." This is not an accidental use
of similar terms; it is political labeling. COS believes a convention
by the state legislatures (or small group of legislators within the
legislatures) rather than directly by the people who elect delegates specifically for the purpose. Thus, according to COS, the American people have no part in the convention process as intended by the framers.
Under the terms of Article V a minimum of 34 states
(two-thirds) must apply for an Article V Convention before it is called
by Congress. COS is attempting to gather 34 identical applications from
the state legislatures supporting a "convention of the states" based
on the assumption that if this is accomplished Congress will then be
obligated to call a "convention of the states" controlled by the state
legislatures as intended by COS rather than a "convention for proposing
amendments" controlled by the people as intended by the framers.
believes that any application for an Article V Convention that has
either been submitted outside the COS Project, or that does not
specifically refer to a "convention of the states," is invalid.
Advocates of COS are going as far as to attack other convention groups,
urging that those efforts be ignored by state legislatures. According
to the COS document "Convention of States Article V Application vs. BBA Application,"
all "COS applications are identical." Identical application language
avoids what COS believes is a roadblock to Congress counting
applications by states due to differences in language and subject
matter. But, in fact, the language used by the ten states that have
applied to date using the COS format is not
identical. Indeed, other than using the term "convention of states" in
the opening paragraph, few of these ten applications share common
language. As discussed elsewhere in this site, the only reason Congress has never called a convention is because Congress has never bothered to count the applications!
COS never discusses the fact the Supreme Court has already ruled
the "character" (subject matter) of a proposed amendment has no bearing
on the amendment process or in the same ruling expressly stated state legislatures do not control the amendment process (See: Page 17 J).
It appears the use
of the term "convention of states" is sufficient for COS to claim a state's
application as one of
their own. Neither COS nor its associated Compact for America (CFA) have ever publicly acknowledged that Congress is
counting the state applications without regard to subject matter or
language in compliance with several Supreme Court rulings and a prior determination by Congress.
As of January, 2017, Congress has reached a total count of 35 applying
applications yet to count from a total of 49 states. This fact that 35 states have been counted, in
combination with the tabulation by the
United States Senate in 1930 that comprised the required number of applications, means that a "convention for proposing amendments" is mandated.
It is likely that long before COS or CFA reaches 34 applications using
"their" standard form, Congress will have called several conventions,
none of which will be named a "convention of the states" but rather a
"convention for proposing amendments" or an Article V Convention.
The history of Article V amendment
proposals is littered with various groups' amendment proposals being
by their political opponents as soon as the specific language of the
proposed amendment is released to the public. To avoid this political
had, until late September 2016, avoided any specific amendment
proposals. Instead COS spoke in generalities of amendment subject
implying that later -- after
it gets its 34 applications -- COS would produce specific amendment
language. COS had stated such language would be written by convention
delegates as "instructed" by the aforementioned
select group of state legislators (each with their own political agenda).
2. The COS agenda and its "simulated" convention of states
identified four general subjects (and only those subjects) it wants the COS convention to address:
(1) The Spending and Debt Crisis
The policy of avoiding published specific amendment language changed when COS sponsored a "simulated" convention held in Williamsburg, Virginia in
September, 2016. At this convention several
proposed amendments were advanced which COS immediately claimed as its
(2) The Regulatory Crisis
(3) Congressional Attacks on State Sovereignty
(4) Federal Takeover
of the Decision-Making Process
"Simulated convention or "real" convention?
- repeal of the 16th
Amendment that established income taxes in 1913;
- creation of a state authority to nullify any federal law, rule or
ruling but permitting the law to be reinstated six years later;
- establishment of term limits on members of Congress;
use of the commerce clause with regard to foreign, intrastate, and interstate trade; and
- requirement for express Congressional approval on
all proposed federal regulations that are challenged by at least 1/4 of
While COS referred to the convention as "simulated," FOAVC
disagrees with the designation. In all aspects the "simulated"
convention complied with the various state laws
regulating a COS convention that have been passed using similar
COS-generated language, albeit language with questionable
constitutionally. (For example, the language threatens felony
prosecution of Convention delegates who do not heed "instructions" from
state legislators, a clear violation of the First Amendment as well as
the Speech and Debate Clause of the Constitution which, under the terms of the 14th Amendment,
equally applies to members of Congress and convention delegates as it
deprives the delegates of their independence as delegates.) As stated
by the Court in United States v Brewster, 408 U.S. 501, 507
(1972), "The immunities of the Speech or Debate Clause were not written
into the Constitution simply for the personal or private benefit of
Members of Congress, but to protect the integrity of the legislative
process by insuring the independence of individual legislators."
The evidence that the simulation was in fact a real convention includes these facts:
2017, state laws
are the only laws existing that regulate a
convention in this
nation. Under the terms of the full faith and credit provision of the
Constitution (Article IV), laws of each state have effect in all
states. None of these state laws allows for a "simulated" convention.
Since the Virginia convention acted in full compliance with state laws
in force, FOAVC believes the convention was "real" not simulated."
delegates were current state officeholders from the various state
legislatures; delegates were described as representing their states in
their official capacity.
- These official delegates recorded votes by
participants that totaled well above the required two-thirds
requirement for proposal of amendment.
- The convention, as required by state law, was "called by the states."
This implies that the amendments proposed as a result of the convention
are "real" as well, leading to the next step of the amendment process
--ratification-- which means forwarding them to Congress for
publication and determination by Congress of the mode of ratification
which shall be used by the states (legislature or elected state
conventions) for possible ratification of the proposed amendments. The
Constitution does not permit Congress to ignore, modify or otherwise
veto any amendment proposed in convention.
Thus in any vote or debate on the issue in Congress is
confined to determine which mode of ratification to employ for the purposes of
ratification and not to decide whether to forward the proposals for possible ratification.
On October 9, 2016 in order to determine the constitutionality of the
COS amendment proposals -- and because the COS convention failed to
forward their proposed amendments to Congress to begin the ratification
process -- Bill
Walker, FOAVC co-founder sent the proposed amendments to Congress
Congress begin the official process of ratification of the proposed
Walker stated, "Despite my numerous attempts [to communicate with] COS
officials regarding this issue I have yet to receive one legal argument
from anyone in COS proving the COS convention was anything but an
actual convention authorized under appropriate state laws to propose
actual amendments to the Constitution."
3. Disinformation about counting state applications
COS believes only "its" amendment proposals have validity and that
in order for Congress to call a convention the applications must be on
the same amendment subject which, in the case of COS, is the four point
political agenda discussed above.
However COS has claimed applications as their
own whenever the phrase "convention of
states" is contained in the application even if they do not contain the
four point political agenda. COS-promoted state laws refer
to a convention "called by the states" and make no mention of Congress
calling the convention, even though the Constitution requires Congress,
rather than the states, call the convention (See: Page 17 K).
No such state authority is textually expressed in Article V. By
bypassing the required step of Congress calling the convention, COS has
publicly ignored all previously-submitted state applications.
This strategy has political drawbacks. It
takes time (on average 30 years) to gather 34 required applications for
particular amendment subject. By that time the issue may have been
resolved by other means; or, the attention of the nation that is
needed to gather
the necessary applications is focused elsewhere. Ultimately, these
factors result in difficulty gathering applications on a single
The true motive of the COS simulated convention: previously-submitted state applications only selectively addressed.
FOAVC believes it is
politically foolish for groups not to take advantage of already
submitted applications which favor their own cause.
Constitutionally, all applications "count" which is why a convention
call is based on the number of applying states and not
on any subject contained within the application (See Page
Of course, when a large number of states favor a particular amendment
subject, there is a distinct political advantage when the convention is
called, since any amendment proposal requires a two-thirds favorable
vote by the state delegations. Thus, when a convention advocacy
group such as COS does not take previously-submitted applications into
account, its political motives must be questioned.
Consider the COS convention's six proposed amendments
listed above and then the fact COS has rejected the following applications
However, no state has ever submitted an application related to the federal use of the commerce clause.
This amendment, proposed in the COS "simulation" is a true maverick and
show how easy it is to slip in subjects that are on the agenda of
legislators who do not speak for the people. This maverick proposal
shows why the framers wisely called for a directly elected
Article V Convention because passage of maverick amendment proposals is
much less likely in an elected convention. This is because:
- 34 states have already applied for repeal of the 16th Amendment that created the federal income tax.
- The power to nullify federal law has already been requested by several states.
- Applications have already been submitted to set terms limits for members of Congress and the federal judiciary.
- The states have previously submitted many
applications on a balanced budget amendment -- not only enough to cause
a convention call by themselves (which requires 34 states), but enough to ratify the proposed amendment (which requires 38 states).
- The states have previously requested an
initiative, referendum, and recall amendment which could easily include
review of all federal regulations.
A list of convention applications previously submitted by the states grouped according to
subject is available at this link.
- Due to the massive public vetting during an
election the views of the delegate/candidate will become public
knowledge giving the American people the opportunity to determine
whether that subject should be a proposed amendment.
- Because of the election process opposition
candidates will be elected as delegates and will thus be in the
position to prevent passage of maverick proposals not supported by an
overwhelming portion of the American public.
4. Examples of why state legislators are not allowed to propose amendments
COS believes states have the right to criminally
delegates who fail to follow "instructions" from the state legislature.
As noted above, at the "simulated" convention held by COS in September
one of the proposals was for a limitation on federal use of the
commerce clause on international, intrastate and interstate trade. Such
a proposition has never been advanced by COS nor any state legislature
in any application submitted to Congress, while the rest of the
amendments already have applications on file with Congress. Thus one
might assume that the COS simulated convention delegates "acted under
the instructions" of the state
legislatures in proposing the rest of the amendments which is allowable
under COS rules. (The fact the 1787 Convention expressly
rejected state legislatures proposing amendments which would include
authority to "instruct" delegates to make such proposals is extensively discussed elsewhere in this site).
The simulation-proposed commerce clause amendment is not
mentioned in any COS material or legislation; it was entirely
simulation-created, and not
based on instructions from any state legislature. FOAVC believes under
the terms of the already-enacted state laws in regard to convention
conduct in a COS convention (and because of the "full faith and credit"
clause of the Constitution, recognized in all states), the commerce
clause amendment is illegal as
it was not made according to state legislative instructions -- in other
words, the COS process violated its own [unconstitutional] rules.
convention therefore violated its own political
position and state laws which it lobbied to be enacted: amendment
proposals are limited to only those that were pre-approved by the state
legislatures at a "convention of states" convention. Further, despite the fact state laws mandate
punishment of such action as a criminal offense, and despite the fact
that FOAVC notified all three attorney general of
the offending states, no
action whatsoever has been taken by any state attorney general to
prosecute the 'offenders.' At the least this raises the question
whether the attorney generals of the various states believe the state
law is valid, legal or constitutional as they have declined to enforce
Another example of COS political hypocrisy is the fact the Alaska's COS
application and associated state law expressly limit delegates from the state of
Alaska to supporting only the "Countermand" or nullification amendment.
At the September 2016 "simulated" convention, Alaska delegates ignored both the COS
application and state law, and voted in favor of all the proposed
amendments; the "Countermand" Amendment was not even among them.
Moreover COS has failed to acknowledge an already submitted application by a state using
the term "convention of states" in the text of the application and
which politically reflects the COS agenda in the text of application in
its "count" of COS applications. The application, submitted by the state of South Carolina, may be read here and here. Finally, in more recent examples,
a "convention of states" application by the state of Wyoming has never
been recognized by COS as a "valid" "convention of states" application. The same applies for a Michigan "convention of states" application, again not recognized by COS as a "valid" "convention of states" application as well as a North Dakota application.
Meanwhile, COS has claimed a Texas application
doesn't have the phrase "convention of states" in it, as a "convention
of states" application. The only conclusion possible is
Convention of States Project politically cherry picks which state
applications are "convention of states" applications and which state
applications are not "convention of states" applications for
political, rather than constitutional, reasons.
5. The correct way to count applications
FOAVC notes, as determined by court ruling and congressional decision,
the correct method for counting applications to determine when a
convention is called is by numeric count.
However, once called, the subject matter of the applications submitted
by the states automatically becomes the agenda of the convention.
Politically, a subject which has massive support from the states stands
a much better chance of passage in a convention than a proposal which
has little support. Thus the subject matter of the applications
will matter when it is most needed: when the convention considers
whether to propose an amendment on that subject.
The Compact for America (CFA)
Unlike COS, CFA ignores the "traditional" method for
an Article V Convention and is not seeking applications for a
convention call in the traditional sense. Instead, CFA proposes that states
use the "Compact Clause"
contained in Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution to
amend the Constitution by the creation of amendatory compact in which
all issues of the amendment process are decided beforehand. As this is
all performed at the state legislative level by the passage of
appropriate legislation or resolution, the people are automatically
excluded from any participation in the process. Thus, while
the CFA process does produce applications to Congress for a traditional
convention call, this is secondary to the creation of a 38-state
This untested constitutional theory has never
been reviewed by any court. The Compact Clause has, up to now, been
used by the states to address interstate problems generally commercial
in nature such as electrical power distribution across state lines or
flooding by a river having several state boarders along its banks.
There is absolutely no historic record the Founders ever intended the
Compact Clause be used as CFA advocates to amend the Constitution. Based on the 230 years record of Supreme Court rulings (See Page 17)
which repeatedly state the Constitution can only be amended under the
process expressed in Article V, it virtually certain the courts will
find the CFA proposal unconstitutional on numerous grounds.
Unlike COS, CFA supports only one amendment proposal: the balanced budget amendment. CFA proposes
the multi step process of Article V (proposal, ratification and
be "condensed" into a "single
enactment joined by 38 states." CFA proposes the vote on a proposed
amendment be passed "ONCE" "with simple
majorities" entailing "all of the stages of the amendment process." In
this way CFA wants to bypass the supermajorities required by Article V
for both the proposal and ratification process. However, CFA does
acknowledge one requirement of Article V: that the compact only takes
affect when 38 states (the number of states presently required for
ratification as mandated by Article V) have joined the compact.
According to their website the CFA compact includes the following:
- The Article V application to Congress (specified
in the Compact)
- An interstate commission that organizes the
convention (specified in the Compact)
- The convention call (specified by the
congressional resolution within the Compact)
- All delegate appointments and instructions
(specified in the Compact)
- An agenda limited to the consideration of the
proposed amendment (specified in the Compact)
- The ratification referral (specified by the
congressional resolution within the Compact)
- The ultimate ratification of the proposed
amendment (specified in the Compact)
In sum, CFA proposes a
state amendment compact in
38 states agree in advance to an amendment proposal and its
ratification. This is accomplished by a single majority vote in each
state legislature and a single majority vote in Congress. The compact
ignores the supermajorities called for in Article V. All matters which
otherwise might be debated or voted on during a convention are
pre-determined. Thus the
convention becomes nothing more than a meaningless formality under the
plan with no participation of the American people whatsoever.
FOAVC Concerns Regarding COS/CFA
has several concerns regarding the COS/CFA proposals which it believes
should be examined by the American people prior to their supporting
either COS or CFA.
1. Under the COS/CFA proposals the people have no
participation in the selection of convention delegates and are thus
believes under no circumstances should the people's right to vote be
removed nor should the people be denied access to the regulation of
their Constitution by means of the amendment process. Under the COS/CFA
proposals, quoting George Mason, delegate to the 1787 Convention,
"...the whole people of American can't make, or even propose
alterations to it [the Constitution]; a doctrines utterly subversive of
the fundamental principles of the rights and liberties of the people."
2. Under the COS/CFA
proposals the amendment agenda
of a convention is pre-determined by a select group of state
legislators who may be open to outside influence.
dangers of outside
influences gaining control of the Constitution instead of the people controlling it, FOAVC believes all
amendment proposals should be subject to vigorous and open public
debate before, during and after a convention during the ratification
process. The COS/CFA proposals deprive the people of their First
Amendment right of open public debate on public issues, not to mention
denying them the right to petition convention delegates for redress of
issues they believe the convention should address.
3. Under the COS/CFA
proposals delegates to a
convention can face felony arrest if they fail to follow "instructions"
issued them by a select group of state legislators.
convention delegate should be
required to obey any instructions from anyone except those of the
electorate who puts that citizen in office. By election,
the American people place their trust in that individual to
perform the duties as instructed by the electorate. No elected
official should ever be required to function under threat of arrest or
other similar coercion.
FOAVC believes under the doctrine of equal protection under the law
enunciated in the 14th
Amendment, the protections of the Speech and
Debate Clause of the Constitution (Article I, Section 6, Clause 1)
which extend to members of Congress equally apply to convention
delegates as these two groups are the only citizens empowered to
propose amendments to the Constitution and thus form a legal class. The
principle of equal protection demands that if one portion of a legal
class is legally protected, that protection must extend to all members
of that legal class.
also notes that
those legislators who have enacted such criminal penalty have not
applied the same to themselves even though they, as state legislators,
are part of the amendatory process. In sum, what's good for the goose
should be good for the gander.
4. State laws passed in several states putting
the COS/CFA proposals into legal effect disenfranchise all state voters
from voting for convention delegates; the same laws could be expanded to include
disenfranchisement of voting for all members of
Congress and all state legislators.
in the Constitution
creates the possibility of this occurring should an opportunistic
politician wish to take advantage of the peculiar language of the
First, all voting discrimination laws, federal and state, are based on
the particular concept of denying the right to vote to a particular
group on the basis of race, sex, age, ethnicity, nationality or similar
classification. There is nothing in any anti-discrimination law against
discriminating against everyone
in a state, for example and denying all
the citizens their right to vote. The basic principle is that as all
are treated equally, none can be discriminated against. Therefore there
is no discrimination.
Where the Constitution addresses discrimination
such as in the 15th or 19th amendments the language only provides that
right to vote "shall not be denied or abridged on account of [race or sex]. Thus if
the right to vote is deprived for reasons other than those of sex or race,
the Constitution is silent on that form of discrimination, particularly
where it involves all citizens
rather than a specific group within the citizenry.
Second, as discussed elsewhere on this site members of
Congress and convention delegates
form a legal class which under the Constitution must be treated
equally. This class is part of a larger class of citizens which
includes all citizens (members of all state legislatures) and whomever
may serve as a delegate to a state ratification convention. Thus, if
one part of this group is treated in a particular manner, then all must
be treated equally. Thus, if convention delegates may be chosen by
means of discrimination against citizens depriving them of their right
to vote, under the terms of the Constitution it is conceivable all members
of that legal class--members of Congress, state legislators and
convention delegates can be selected by means other than election.
Third, the language of the Constitution is peculiar regarding the
qualification of an elector to chose a member of Congress. Both Article
I which describes the elector qualification for the House and the 17th
Amendment which describes elector qualification for the Senate have the
identical language: "The electors in each State shall have the
qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of
the State legislatures." Thus, if the members of the most numerous
house in a
state legislature are not elected (as they are part of the amendatory
not subject to election) then under the Constitution, citizens are
excluded from voting for members of Congress.
FOAVC grants this may appear to be a far out political theory. But
then, who would ever believe ten state legislatures would ever vote to
disenfranchise their citizens from having any say in their
5. State laws putting COS/CFA proposals into legal effect
felony arrest of a convention delegate conducting convention business
outside the state boundaries, raise serious questions of extraordinary
a convention may not
be held in the state
in which the state criminal law in question has affect, FOAVC believes
for the state law to have affect it must extend into all other states;
that is the effect of the law must cross state boundaries. In this way
the state law assumes the authority of a federal law while remaining,
in fact, a state law. Thus, if the state of Indiana gives instructions
to its delegate in the state of Texas and that delegate disobeys those
instructions, under Indiana law that delegate can be criminally
prosecuted for an act committed in the state of Texas. This example is
based on fact rather than fiction. The CFA compact specifically
mandates the convention be held in Dallas, Texas while Indiana law
specifically mandates criminal prosecution for any Indiana convention delegate
failing to obey "instructions" at the convention in Texas.
This extraordinary extension of state sovereign power past its own
boarders, FOAVC believes, raises gave concerns about state sovereignty.
Whether such sovereign power stops at the state boarder or can be
extended by the sole action of a state to include all 50 states in the
Union is a serious issue. The issue is: can a person who commits a
legal act in the state of Oregon be tried for violation of a Georgia
law which criminally prosecutes for that act, when the act was legally
committed in the state of Oregon? The COS/CFA proposals believe the
answer to this question is yes. FOAVC believes the people should
carefully consider the consequences of such state laws if they become
6. State laws which enact COS/CFA proposals into
law raise another question. As COS/CFA believes it is legal for a state
to "instruct" delegates as to their performance at a convention (under
threat of criminal prosecution), can a
single state, which is chosen to hold a convention within
its boarders, enact legislation which controls all convention delegates?
is no question of
extra ordinary state sovereignty here. Such law would be confined
within state boarders. The current well established principle of state law stopping at
the boarder precludes interstate
control of a convention but does not preclude
control. If, as COS/CFA believe, the principle of criminal sanction
against one set of delegates is constitutional, then FOAVC believes it
is also possible for a single state slated to hold the convention
within its boarders can enact COS/CFA legislation regulating not only
its own delegates but all
convention delegates as well. After all there is no question that all
persons within the boundaries of a state are subject to the state laws
of that state while in that state. None of the states which have
enacted COS/CFA legislation have a
prohibition against any state enacting such legislation, should the
convention convene within the boarders of another state.
In conclusion there is nothing in the COS/CFA laws prohibiting this
political scenario. By an alteration of single word in COS/CFA law, (instead of saying their
state delegation, say instead all
state delegations) a single state
could seize control of the convention;
such law could be enacted
after the convention convenes; and delegates may be under threat of
criminal prosecution for
failure to follow the instructions of a single state legislature (or
small group of legislators within that legislature).
The very presence of state police at the convention could provide
enforcement of that law and prevent exit by the delegates until the
"instructions" sought by a small group of individuals or a single individual was enacted. This has happened before in other nations.
Ironically, any issue of
ratification is nullified by the COS/CFA theory of extraordinary state sovereignty, whereby a state law extends into all
50 states. The single convention-hosting state in question could simply extend its
decision on a ratification vote to
all 50 states for whatever amendments
it caused to be
proposed in the convention it controlled, based on the extraordinary interstate
powers advocated by COS/CFA in regards to its felony criminal laws. In
short the state could pass a law making it a crime for anyone not to obey
its law regarding its ratification
Preposterous? Certainly. But ten state legislatures all represented at the COS "simulated" convention have already
into law the first step in such a scenario
and appear to have no issue
with any question of constitutionality or consequences about the laws
they have enacted. These laws and other information is discussed in
further detail in ensuing pages. FOAVC believes the people should
all possibilities when judging this new form of public policy.
Page Last Updated: 19 JUNE 2017