Letter: Conventions can help limit government power
Almost everyone knows Washington, D.C., is on a dangerous course. The $19 trillion national debt is one example of its abuse of power. But few Americans know the people possess the power to make changes to the federal structure when Washington starts to abuse its authority. Article V of the Constitution authorizes the people—through their state legislatures—to call a convention for the purpose of proposing amendments to the Constitution. Just like Congress can propose amendments at any time, a Convention to propose amendments would be able to discuss, draft, and vote upon amendment proposals that limit the federal government’s power.
The Indiana Senate recently passed SJR14 to do just that, propose amendments to limit the federal government and it now heads to the Indiana House.
Some folks believe this could be a vehicle to rewrite the Constitution. However, this belief is based on fear rather than fact. First, a Convention can only propose amendments. By itself, it cannot change one word of the Constitution (much less rewrite it). Second, these amendment proposals must be ratified by 38 states.
Others express distrust of state lawmakers. I understand distrust of politicians and bureaucrats in Washington, but have more confidence in lawmakers who have to live and work among us at the state level. Those inside the Washington beltway may not willingly give up their own power, but state officials will want to divest them of it.
The framers of our nation understood human nature. They knew that over time, power would become centralized. They left us this emergency cord in Article V. It is our duty to use it.
Indiana State Director, Convention of States