Almost all of America's current problems are a derivative of our federal government operating outside the constraints of the Constitution. It is impossible to accept that we could be $16 trillion in debt without the Constitution having being trampled. We are left with the mayhem of a "shape-shifting" federal government that, like a chameleon, becomes whatever suits its purpose.
Our founders identified that our federal government might seek powers that were far beyond what was legally allowed. They recognized that the checks and balances provided by the three branches could mutate into a singular entity. The founders recognized that rather than providing resistance to each other's power, that they could become cooperatives in an effort to exert greater and greater control over the nation. That potential is now being fulfilled.
The federal government will not limit its power by choice. The Founding Fathers, in their wisdom, left us a method where we could challenge the federal government and restore the constraining intent of the original Constitution. Paradoxically, they suggested that the Constitution could be restored by legally amending it. This method is dependent on neither the Supreme Court nor the president and, in fact, they he have no role to play. It is not dependent on Congress except in a very tightly prescribed constitutional manner.
The Founding Fathers gave us a state-initiated process within Article V of the Constitution — the calling of an amendments convention. This convention must be convened by Congress upon the written appeal of two-thirds of the states (currently 34).
Changes that now have little chance of happening would become possible during a state-controlled amendment process. At the top of this list is the balanced-budget amendment followed closely by term limits for congressional members. Also suggested is a nullification amendment that would allow a vote of the states to nullify an unconstitutional act of Congress. There is current traction for a line-item veto, movement toward a flat tax (or fair tax) and severely restricting executive orders and recess appointments.
Regardless of whether you agree with these possible amendments or not, it must be considered that they would have no chance of even being considered by our politically obsessed federal officials. Amendments proposed within this model and then ratified by three-fourths of the states would have the full force of the original Constitution and could not be ignored by Congress.
For those who have fears about a "runaway" amendments convention, I appreciate their concerns. We must understand, however, that every fear that we might have of losing our freedoms is already taking place within our renegade federal government.
Keep in mind that whatever is necessary is never a risk. The Cato Institute said that these types of fears "have always seemed overblown." Delegates to the convention are bound as agents of the states to stay within the scope of the applications that triggers it. The amendments convention concept is not radical. George Washington, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton all agreed that states should use the Article V process to correct errors in the Constitution and rein in the federal government if it oversteps its bounds.
Any constitutional amendment created by the convention would require ratification by 38 states. In fact, during the Constitutional Convention of 1787 the founders rejected language that would have allowed Article V to establish a new constitution and it was clearly understood that an amendments convention would function within tightly prescribed limits. The Article V convention for proposing amendments was the subject of considerable debate and forethought at the Constitutional Convention. The founders clearly intended it as method of providing the people, through their state legislators, with an alternative means to consider amendments, particularly if Congress was unable or unwilling to act on its own. There is nothing to lose from an amendments convention because the status quo is a "runaway" federal government.
Our Constitution's preamble starts with the words, "We the people." The "people's" fundamental values are contained only within the Constitution. It cannot be altered by the Supreme Court, the president or Congress (without state approval). It is not to be altered within the voting booth as a result of elections. A state-sponsored amendments convention is our only remaining legal method of re-establishing constitutional values and returning to a government "... of the people, by the people and for the people."
The people only speak through the Constitution and this Constitution has given us a lifeline of an amendments convention that would be convened by those officials who are closest to the people at the state level.