Changes to the Constitution: The Impact

 Article V – Constitutional Convention of States [CCOS]

Article V 
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.

Proposed change to our Constitution and the Bill of Rights has been the subject of attention and active debate for well over a year. Presently, there are enough states that have voted for an Article V CCOS to cause concern or anticipation – depending upon what side of the debate one favors. We are within reach, needing only six more states to hold a vote and successfully become part of the states already to have affirmed a CCOS action.

In researching, there appears to be quite a bit of opinion on the move for and against an Article V CCOS, and for a spectrum of reasons. What is an Article V, Constitutional Convention of States, and how does it differ from the means and methodology used to make changes to our Constitution and Bill of Rights?

How Law Is Made

The main difference between the Article V CCOS and the way we have always made amended changes or repeals to our Constitution is simple, but not always understood. The difference is that the United States has always made changes to our Constitution at the federal level. Federal Senators and Federal House of Representatives have always been the body of elected officials who have voted on the Constitutional Changes.

The methodology for opening the Constitution for change begins with an issue. The proposed changes are put before Congress. Congress reviews the a likely, votes on whether a change to the Constitution should begin, and, if passed, the process starts at the Federal level. In effect, the Constitution is opened to address an issue. This is not to say that only one of our Amendments may be altered, but as many as needed to address the issue at the center of focus fully. It is the issue that sets the change in motion.

A Look at the Difference

The Article V CCOS allows the same process to begin, but not at the Federal level. The process initiates with each individual state who decides to open one or not, and a quorum of states is needed to open the CCOS. Once opened, it is the state legislators, not the Federal legislators, who vote once the changes are considered and presented under the CCOS.

It is essential to keep in mind that the exposure of the Constitution to a CCOS is not issue based. Each state may have its own focus to be floored in the CCOS. In this manner, the Article V CCOS opens much more to debate and change than does the issue based, Federal effort. It is also important to understand that no language in Article V limits what issues or changes can be made, as long as it is by the same quorum, a percentage of the States’ representatives.

Impact of the State of the Union on Changes to Our Constitution

It all comes down to voters, Census and Representatives. At the Federal level, each state gets two Senators. It does not matter if the state contains the least number of citizens, or if it contains the highest number of citizens; there are only two Senators per State. In volatile times, when states are making motions to secede or split into smaller states, the move will allow for more Senators for the same region when it was formerly one state.

Splitting states in half will double the votes at the Federal level; splitting into three states trebles it. In theory, if the new states consist of a body of citizens who are like-minded within their new state but at odds with the old, the representation would likely give them a better voice. However, if the new states have enough citizens who hold to the original state leadership’s point of view, then the newer states will now carry more weight than Federal representatives.

The Downside

In theory, the “little guy” could be better represented. The problem is that it is not a feasible conclusion. People do not pick up and physically move away from their homes and families to be with like-minded voters. Consequently, the mix of points of view in each new state is likely to be very similar to the original state. One-third of voters on one side of an argument before the split will likely not become more than one-third of the new state’s vote.

Additionally, physical lines dividing the state means changes in everything from resources to uninhabitable areas, such as protected land or places that are not arable. It may mean that traveling in and out of states will become more controlled and taxed for use by those now across state lines. That said, the impact of votes in a CCOS can bear a significantly different result than the desired outcome.

In our Census, except for 2010, a question is asked about citizenship. Our U.S. Census, which occurs every ten years, supplies a count on which the number of Federal Representatives in the House are determined. What does that mean to a CCOS or any changes to our Constitution? It means that there are Federal Representatives seated, as well as State Representatives, that may well be in place to pursue the issues of non-citizens. Apportionment is based upon a headcount. As it exists now, the count is based on a headcount of anyone who turns in a census form. This means that noncitizens are counted for representation in our Congress.

A Question Of Citizenship

Prior to the change in 2010, where the question of citizenship was removed, the noncitizen would have no reason to want to fill in a census form. In effect, it is good for a state to know who is, and who is not a citizen, as the state’s need for services may be studied for the impact upon their needs and budgets at both the State and the Federal level. Some states are insisting upon the elimination of facts regarding the citizenship of a census respondent which hampers the accumulation of relevant facts.

In a CCOS, a quorum of State Representatives is necessary to carry the proposed change into our Constitution. Apportionment and redistricting can both be in place and may have a significant impact on the quorum needed to carry the vote. Our Constitution should not be subject to change based on anyone but Citizens, natural or naturalized. Our Bill of Rights should not be impacted by the needs, desires or wants of those who are not citizens of this country.

When non-citizens are included, it diminishes all of us and contributes to the base of a select few in positions of power within these states. This is a dangerous precedent which is not a truthful representation of the People. This situation adds a legal focus of representation for the additional residents of the country who are not citizens. Careful consideration must be applied to the best information available to us, right now, when a CCOS may be possible. The information available shows that in 2015, there were a recorded 43.2 million immigrants living in the U.S., making 13.4% of the nation’s population.

Defining The Reason

With that understood, it is no longer a question as to why there are more votes than living citizens in some regions of the country. In states such as California, there is persisting voter fraud by noncitizens as the state chooses to allow voting by issuing picture ID for anyone who applies. Citizenship is not a requirement. To vote, all one needs is a state picture ID. Without expounding upon this same condition, which takes similar forms in many states, you can see that there is a great deal of opportunity to vote and diminish the needs and preferences of the citizens.

Translate the open acceptance that a non-citizen has the weight of a vote into the quora of representatives who can vote for change to our U.S. Constitution in a CCOS, and a possibility of change which is not representative of We, The People. This can change the single most important protections put in place for this nation and the Citizens of this nation, by the Framers of the Constitution.

The political climate, voter fraud and the push for acceptance of those not entitled to vote to carry sway make a CCOS vote a great risk for our Constitution. This denatures the focus of what the Framers intended, and what was so eloquently phrased by President Abraham Lincoln:
“Government of the People, by the People, for the People, shall not perish from the Earth.”

Lin Cava / Writer

I am a seasoned writer. I use creative writing poetry and art as a means of self-expression. As I observe the state of the world and particularly the state of the USA, I turn my effort and attention to reveal the issues we must, as a nation, redeem.
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  1. This is a very interesting topic, but I found the piece hard to read. Diction problems and vague. Sentences all the same length and awkward, striving for meaning.

  2. The article was edited, and it's a subject that has many aspects. There's a great deal more information available, and hopefully, some will be interested enough to research further. Sentences all the same length? Not striving for meaning? Did you learn anything you did not know before reading? I'm interested because I wrote it due to finding so many folks that either did not know, or didn't understand the differences between the traditional ways we open the constitution, and an Article V, CCOS. Thank you for your comment.

  3. Thanks for a well written, concise, (and aesthetically pleasing)
    insight, into the ‘Pros and Cons’, of American political agenda.
    It is a saddening fact of Life, that the ‘Cons’,(pardon the pun),
    ever proliferate and gullible follow themes, of ‘vested interest’…

    Kind Regards,
    Bernard M. de Silva,
    Mackay, Queensland, Australia.

    1. As our President Abraham Lincoln once famously paraphrased poet John Lydgate, "You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you cannot please all of the people all of the time." It is, therefore, less appropriate, as the writer, that pleasing the reader's sense of form take precedence over the effort to stimulate thought in consideration of the focus subject of the article.
      Thank you for your thoughtful review; quite notably well measured and metered; precise and wry of wit.




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