GREENSBORO — Lt. Gov. Dan Forest held a town hall meeting in Greensboro Tuesday night to discuss an effort to amend the U.S. Constitution to limit the scope of the federal government.
Forest opened the Conservatives for Guilford County event and introduced the keynote speaker, Michael Farris, who is heading up the Convention of States Project. Farris’ group is trying to get 34 state legislatures to call for a convention to amend the Constitution.
The event drew more than 150 people from around the state. But not all of them are convinced a convention would be a good idea.
This is the second town hall of this kind that Forest has hosted this year. He hopes the state legislature will give the issue serious consideration next year.
“As you can tell, people have a lot of questions,” Forest said. “There are a lot of people who are fearful of this process and we need to keep educating people and bring them along.”
Farris is an attorney, a home school advocate and chancellor of the conservative Patrick Henry College in Virginia.
He told the crowd Tuesday that there are two U.S. Constitutions — the one adopted by the Founding Fathers and the one interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court. Farris said the court has not followed the Constitution as it was written.
Farris said that has allowed a whole range of things to happen — from the federal government spending without limitation to creating things like environment and business regulations.
“There are 200 books of federal regulations,” Farris said. “Every bit of it is unconstitutional.”
State governments should be responsible for those things, Farris said.
Farris’ group wants state legislatures to call a convention to amend the Constitution to impose fiscal restraints on the federal government and limit the power and jurisdiction of federal officials.
He would also like to impose term limits on federal officials, including judges.
He said citizens can’t count on Congress to fix the situation.
“We don’t have a lot of time,” Farris said. “This country isn’t going to survive ... there is a fiscal cliff coming.”
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