Nick Dranias

Founders prepared path to restrain runaway federal government

Posted on October 28, 2010 | Author: Nick Dranias
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In its October 2010 issue, American Spectator asks, “Is It Time for a Convention?” The Goldwater Institute’s answer is a resounding “Yes!”

Even with a historic election upon us next week, realists have to recognize that Washington, D.C., won’t reform itself. No matter who controls Congress or the White House, politicians vote over and over again for runaway spending. To secure real reform, the states must trigger an amendments convention under Article V of the U.S. Constitution.

Article V was designed to provide a fail-safe mechanism for the people to regain control over the federal government. During public debate about ratifying the Constitution, Alexander Hamilton wrote, “we may safely rely on the disposition of the State legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority” through the Article V amendment process. George Washington wrote in 1788 that the “constitutional door is open for such amendments as shall be thought necessary by nine [out of the original 13] States.” And in Federalist 42, James Madison wrote that Article V “equally enables the general [federal] and the State governments to originate the amendment of errors as they may be pointed out by the experience on one side or on the other.”

It is high time for states to use the power that the Founders gave them. Americans no longer have the luxury of hoping for change. Their futures are being mortgaged and set up for default. Only by profoundly shifting power away from Washington, D.C., can Americans rein in the federal government. Article V is the answer.

Nick Dranias holds the Clarence J. and Katherine P. Duncan Chair for Constitutional Government and is director of the Joseph and Dorothy Donnelly Moller Center for Constitutional Government at the Goldwater Institute.

Learn More:

Goldwater Institute: Amending the Constitution by Convention: A Complete View of the Founders’ Plan

American Spectator: Is it Time for a Convention?

Senator Chuck Gray: “A powerful idea whose time has come" Model legislation

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