Resolution Calling for the Congress of the United States to Call a Constitutional Convention Exposed

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The Resolution Calling for the Congress of the United States to Call a Constitutional Convention Pursuant to Article V of the United States Constitution to Propose a Constitutional Amendment Permitting Repeal of any Federal Law or Regulation by Vote of Two-Thirds of the State Legislatures was adopted by ALEC's Federal Relations Working Group on August 5, 2010, approved by the ALEC Board of Directors on September 19, 2010. ALEC has attempted to distance itself from this piece of legislation after the launch of in 2011, but it has done nothing to get it repealed in the states where it previously pushed for it to be made into law.

CMD's Bill Summary

Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution expressly provides that Congress "shall have the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States." The Fourteenth Amendment provides that the "validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law... shall not be questioned." And, Article VI of the Constitution indicates that "all debts contracted" before the Constitution was adopted are "valid."

The Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution permits the federal government to tax income. It expressly provides that "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration."

Article VI of the U.S. Constitution provides that the Constitution and federal laws passed pursuant to its powers are the "supreme law of the land" and supercede state laws in conflict. That is not to suggest that Congress can pass any law, but that laws passed pursuant to its enumerated powers cannot be said to improperly encroach on state powers.

ALEC Resolution Text

WHEREAS, Article I of the United States Constitution begins "All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress"; and

WHEREAS, the Congress has exceeded the legislative powers granted in the Constitution thereby encroaching on the powers that are "reserved to the states respectively, or to the people" as the Tenth Amendment affirms and the rights "retained by the people" to which the Ninth Amendment refers; and

WHEREAS, this encroachment includes the accumulation of federal debt, which combined with interest represents a future tax, and is of such great proportion that responsibility for its payment will be passed to future, unborn generations of Americans to assume without their consent, thereby disparaging their rights; and

WHEREAS, this encroachment also includes compelling state and local governments to comply with federal laws and regulations without accompanying funding for such mandates; and

WHEREAS, in Federalist No. 85, Alexander Hamilton wrote in reference to Article V of the Constitution and the calling of a convention for the purpose of proposing amendments that, "We may safely rely on the disposition of the State legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority"; and

WHEREAS, the Constitution should be amended in order to halt federal encroachment and restore a proper balance between the powers of Congress and those of the several states, and to prevent the denial or disparagement of the rights retained by the people;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED That the Congress of the United States be urged to call a constitutional convention pursuant to Article V of the United States Constitution for the purpose of proposing a constitutional amendment that permits the repeal of any federal law or regulation by vote of two-thirds of the state legislatures, and the {insert state} Delegation to such Convention, when called, shall propose the following amendment: "Any provision of law or regulation of the United States may be repealed by the several states, and such repeal shall be effective when the legislatures of two-thirds of the several states approve resolutions for this purpose that particularly describe the same provision or provisions of law or regulation to be repealed;" and

BE IT RESOLVED FURTHER, That delegates to such Convention, when called, be selected according to procedures established by the legislatures of the several states; and

BE IT RESOLVED FURTHER, That the Clerk of the {state legislative body} transmit copies of this resolution to the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the President of the United States Senate, and the members of the {insert state} Congressional Delegation so that they may be apprised of the sense of the {state legislative body} in this matter.

Adopted by the Federal Relations Working Group, August 5, 2010.

Approved by the ALEC Board of Directors, September 19, 2010.