Convention of States Fires Up Base for Push to Rewrite U.S. Constitution

Convention of States Leadership Summit

Convention of States Action (COS) kicked off its first "Leadership Summit" in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia today. COS, a project of Mark Meckler and Eric O'Keefe's Citizens for Self-Governance, claims that "hundreds" of activists, state directors, and coordinators from all 50 states will attend to get inspired and learn strategies for passing COS resolutions in the states calling for a constitutional convention to rewrite the U.S. Constitution.

Fifteen states have passed the group's applications so far, with 17 more states considering the resolution this year, according to COS. Wisconsin recently introduced a COS resolution, which would bump the number up to 18.

A constitutional convention has never been held since the Constitution was adopted, and COS will need 34 states to file applications in order for it to occur. If that happens, COS plans to move an array of sweeping amendments to redefine key parts of the Constitution and radically weaken the federal government.

COS has ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the National Rifle Association, the right-wing militia group Three Percenters, and the Christian nationalist group WallBuilders.

More than 200 civil rights and public interest groups, including the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), signed a letter last year denouncing such constitutional convention calls as "a threat to every American's constitutional rights and civil liberties."

Right-Wing Extremists to Speak

Fox News anchor Pete Hegseth, from Trump's beloved Fox & Friends, addressed the crowd this morning, telling them that the Left hates the Constitution, the founding fathers understood that the word of "Jesus Christ our savior" is the guiding force for our country, and that there "is no other freedom-loving bastion in the world that values the individual with God-endowed rights."

And, referencing the Three Percenters likely in attendance, Hegseth said, "it has always been the one percent or two percent or three percent of people that get it, that are willing to buck the comfiness of their moment and the established norms that everyone is comfortable with, willing to be defiant, willing to stand -- be accused of being radical about things that are not radical at all."

Recently, Hegseth has made some radical comments himself, saying that Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (MI-D) has a "Hamas agenda," implying that she works with a U.S. designated terrorist organization.

Hegseth has also publicly defended Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos's brother Erik Prince's Blackwater contractors, who were convicted of murdering Iraqi citizens, and has called climate change a "religion" that Democrats use to "control" people.

David Barton warmed up the crowd with a history lecture on the Constitution's basis in fixed moral standards based on natural law and scripture, and drew applause with his claim that the federal government has "emasculated the states."

A Christian nationalist with strong anti-LGBT views. Barton once said,

"There's a passage that I love in Romans 1. ... [I]t talks about homosexuality and it says that they will receive in their bodies the penalties of their behavior. ... The Bible [is] right every time ... and that's why AIDS has been something they haven't discovered a cure for or a vaccine for. ... And that goes to what God says, 'Hey you're going to bear in your body the consequences of this homosexual behavior.'"

Barton founded the group WallBuilders, which has worked with Focus on the Family and the Family Policy Alliance to influence judicial elections and selection rules in states across the country, the Center for Media and Democracy detailed.

WallBuilders also works with the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation to push out Christian-Right model legislation in the mold of ALEC to state lawmakers under the name Project Blitz.

Also in line to speak at the Summit is one of the NRA's top attorneys, Charles Cooper. Cooper will speak on, "The Real Threat to Gun Rights." In an email to COS activists, Cooper is quoted as saying:

"The real threat to our constitutional rights today is posed not by an Article V Convention of States, but by an out-of-control federal government, exercising powers that it does not have and abusing powers that it does."

COS materials in recent years have argued that a constitutional convention could be used to rewrite the Second Amendment in order to make it Supreme-Court-proof.

Others on the agenda to speak include founding board member Eric O'Keefe, former professor Rob Natelson, former U.S. Senator and COS Senior Advisor Tom Coburn, and the right-wing author of Liberty Amendments Mark Levin.

But the stars of the summit are likely to be the actors COS will have play the founding fathers Patrick Henry, James Madison, and George Washington.

Stay tuned to ExposedbyCMD.org for more on the right-wing's effort to rewrite the Constitution.

David Armiak

David Armiak is research director with the Center for Media and Democracy. David joined CMD in 2015, has conducted extensive investigations on dark money, corporate corruption, and right-wing networks, and is responsible for filing and analyzing hundreds of public records requests every year. David has a strong research interest in social movements and political power, and has delivered many talks on the subject.

Comments

I thought this Organization was gathering Applications for an ARTICLE V Convention in order to make Amendments to the Constitution for the purpose of addressing Federal Government Over-reach, rein in the out-of-control government Spending, and impose Term Limits on Elected positions including SCOTUS. That's not a Constitutional Convention! Sounds like a great plan to me. Time to get rid of the deadbeat Reps who are making $$ from insider information & doing nothing to address issues like Immigration, & the partisan SCOTUS who is delegating our rights to illegal Departments that make rules & regulations instead of making Congress do it's job & actually make laws. "The real threat to our constitutional rights today is posed not by an Article V Convention of States, but by an out-of-control federal government, exercising powers that it does not have and abusing powers that it does." Sounds like they are closing some Loopholes! Both sides need to Stop Telling Me What To Do & get to work.