Did Charlotte Observer Editors come out against federalism?

When I read the Charlotte Observer editorial opposing an Article V Convention of States, I thought, "Maybe the Editorial Board only published half of this essay."

It's the only explanation I have for why the editorial is as awful as it is: "These thought leaders mistakenly omitted the part of their editorial where they explain their position."

Otherwise, I'd be left to assume they have no idea what they're writing about.

It's not a long write-up, so let's break down the dumbassery...

The headline: "Bad idea lurks in N.C. House" tells us where this piece is going.

Or at least should be going. Alas, the editors simply re-write the headline using many more words...

N.C. lawmakers have passed  the state budget and hope to adjourn by the end of next week. That might  be a reason to celebrate, but it could also be a reason to get nervous.  

(This sounds bad.)

Bad things can happen in the  closing days of a session, with a flurry of bills coming up for votes  with little debate.

(I knew it! This is bad!)

Sometimes proposals that were long forgotten and  thought dead reemerge like the monster in a horror flick.

(Monsters certainly sound bad!)

One that fits that  description is Senate Bill 36. 


It is a resolution in which North  Carolina applies to Congress for a constitutional convention of the states. Article V of the U.S. Constitution provides that a  constitutional convention shall be held when two-thirds of the states  (34) call for one on the same topic. 

(Wait. This is the monster?)

The Senate passed the  resolution back in April (with five Republicans joining all Democrats in  opposition). The bill has been parked in the House Rules Committee ever  since, and it needs to stay there in this closing week of the session.

(Because it's bad, right?)

The convention would be  “limited to proposing amendments to the United States Constitution that  impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and  jurisdiction of the federal government and limit the terms of office for  its officials and for members of Congress.”

(These don't sound bad at all, actually.)

In other words, the convention would be limited to an enormous Pandora’s Box of mischief.

(While those are, indeed, 'other words'... they describe a scenario that is virtually impossible to happen for reasons I'll explain below.)

America hasn’t held a  constitutional convention since 1787. Given the quality of the statesmen  we have today compared with then, and given the dangerous polarization that marks the United States today, calling one now could spiral into  unknown territory and is an exceedingly bad idea.

The House should let this bill sit right where it is.

This is hilarious doublespeak.

The very people the editors cite as statesmen designed the Article V process precisely BECAUSE they were statesmen. They knew the states would need a process to rein in a federal government that overstepped its Constitutional restraints.

The editors don't address a single merit - or any of the better demerits, for that matter - of an Article V Convention of States.

It's hard to fathom the magnitude of self-important temerity these editors possess that leads them to pen an essay instructing people about why a CoS is a very bad idea - without actually explaining why it is a very bad idea.

The closest thing to a reason they cite is it "could spiral into unknown territory."

It's hard to be certain, but I assume this is the "runaway convention" concern. Which is easily dismissed.

First, the Convention of States can be limited to the issues outlined in the identical resolutions adopted by each state legislature, as even the editors noted.

But most importantly, three-fourths of the states (38) would need to approve any Constitutional amendment that comes out of an Article V Convention of States.


I'd address the other arguments against the Article V Convention of States... but the editors did not offer anything else approaching a reason why this is the bad idea they want their readers to believe it is.

Perhaps they could spend some time acquainting themselves with the US Constitution and the Convention of States process before telling us what to think about it.

Here's a link to more information. Hopefully, the editors will familiarize themselves with the facts.

And if they don't trust states and citizens to amend the Constitution, then these editors should honestly express what they're advocating: the elimination of the federalist structure the Founders created.

The same Founders that, according to these same editors, were superior statesmen to anyone living today. 

Pete Kaliner

Pete Kaliner

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