A state trial court in Missouri recently handed the Article V movement a major victory, but as constitutional law scholar Robert G. Natelson recently noted on The Hill, the decision went beyond merely striking down a frivolous lawsuit.
Judge Jon E. Beetem reinforced some of the guiding principles that Convention of States proponents have long held. He did not use the false and misleading term “constitutional convention,” opting instead for the more historically accurate “convention of the states” or “convention for proposing amendments.”
He also recognized that a state legislature’s power to apply for a Convention of States derives from the U.S. Constitution and that the governor has no role in the process. Finally, he said that “a state constitution may not add requirements to Article V’s process for amending the federal constitution.”
All of this bodes well for the coming legal battle surrounding the first-ever Article V Convention of States. Some believe that the courts are so corrupt that they’ll somehow undermine the entire project. But this decision from Missouri shows that many judges are willing and able to apply constitutional law correctly as it pertains to the amending process.
As Natelson pointed out,
“the courts have a long record of applying constitutional amendment law accurately and fairly. The Missouri decision fits right in. It reinforces the conclusion that even though a few judges exceed their power, most of them conscientiously enforce the law as it is — not as some imagine it might be.”
For anyone hoping to use Article V to rein in the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, that’s good news.
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