In a powerful op-ed entitled "Mississippi should join call for convention of states to amend U.S. Constitution," authors Aaron Rice and Ilya Shapiro make the case that the Magnolia State should join 14 other states in calling for the first-ever Article V Convention of States.
They begin by noting that the Convention of States provision in the U.S. Constitution -- which allows the states to propose amendments -- was unanimously supported by the Framers of the Constitution.
Today, the "day the Framers feared" has arrived, and it's time for the states to use their power under Article V to correct the abuses we see in Washington, D.C.
Congress has long exercised powers that are not constitutionally authorized. At the same time, in an effort to avoid hard choices and increase its members’ reelection chances, Congress has delegated most of the actual work of legislating to faceless, unaccountable bureaucracies, which continue to grow unchecked. The Federal Register, which contains all proposed and final regulations issued by federal agencies, has published over 3.2 million pages. If it were printed and stacked, it would be taller than the Washington Monument. This mountain of regulation — not even legislation — slows economic growth, stifles innovation, and prevents countless Americans from pursuing their version of the American Dream.
The growth in our federal government has also led to unsustainable federal spending. The federal debt recently topped $22 trillion. Our country’s entire GDP is only $20.5 trillion, meaning that if we took every penny that is earned or produced by every American over the course of a year, we still could not pay off our debt. Every American’s share of the debt is currently about $67,000, and within 10 years, every man, woman, and child will owe $100,000. Future generations of Americans are being born into staggering debt for services they will never see.
The Supreme Court has been complicit in this perversion of the constitutional order, failing in its duty to serve as a check on the power of the legislative and executive branches. As the federal government has grown large enough to control every facet of our lives, so has the importance of the Supreme Court grown. The court now routinely rules on the most important political issues in American life, including healthcare, immigration, affirmative action, abortion, political gerrymandering, and campaign finance. These “winner takes all” decisions have led to more polarization and a more toxic political discourse.
With a conservative majority on the court, there is hope that the constitutional ship can be righted. But it will take decades to uproot the mountain of bad precedent that has built up for nearly a century. We should all hope that the federal courts will finally begin taking their constitutional role seriously. But we should do more than hope.
It is long past time for the states to exercise their sovereign power under Article V to call for a convention to reign in the federal government’s power.
The executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government all have been complicit in seizing power from the hands of the American people, and all must be held accountable.
An Article V Convention of States empowers the people -- acting through their state legislatures -- to propose constitutional amendments that limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government. These amendments can clarify the Founders' vision for a small, limited federal government and return the power of self-governance to the people and the states.
As Rice and Shapiro so eloquently put it,
The far greater risk is inaction. We know with certainty that, without action from the states, our federal government will continue to grow and spend unchecked. Amending our Constitution to remedy this threat is no insult to our founders. It’s an acknowledgement of their wisdom in equipping us with the tools necessary to overcome a threat to our Republic which they foretold so many years ago.
Want to get involved in your state? Sign the Convention of States Petition below!