Scalia On A “Runaway Convention”

The idea of an Article V convention — the remedy the Framers gave the States to rein in an out-of-control Federal government by amending the Constitution without the participation of Congress — is slowly gaining support, despite the fact that most people, were you to ask them about it, still don’t even know that such a mechanism even exists.

This Constitutional provision was intended to be a panic button, the last non-violent resort of the people and the States against an overbearing Leviathan. Near the end of his life, James Madison described it thus:

Should the provisions of the Constitution as here reviewed, be found not to secure the government and rights of the states, against usurpations and abuses on the part of the United States, the final resort within the purview of the Constitution, lies in an amendment of the Constitution, according to a process applicable by the states.

It has never been used. Many fear the idea because there is no way to know what it might produce. Here are the late Antonin Scalia’s comments on that concern, given in 1979, before he was appointed to the Court.


  1. Whitewall says

    I’ve been following this Article V movement for some time. The usual straw man fear mongers are all over this idea. They are afraid of anything and anyone that might diminish the centralization of power. This power, they believe, rightly belongs to them. What was done to the TEA Party will be attempted here.

    Scalia did a good job of debunking the nonsense of impending doom offered by doubters. Though I must say the idea of a resolution to “hang” certain people in government has its appeal…

    The Convention if it really comes about as a formal event will be fairly dignified inside the hall. The undignified and the usual freak show will happen outdoors and funded by the usual Soros dark money “progressive” donors.

    “When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; When the government fears the people, there is liberty” TJ.

    Posted September 24, 2016 at 9:01 am | Permalink
  2. hcm says

    When considering this subject, I can’t help but to reflect on the trend of Republicans gaining control of state and local governments. Could the let’s ultimate failing be that they can only motivate turn out for high visibility federal issues and elections?

    Posted September 25, 2016 at 10:44 am | Permalink

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