The Great Debate – Article V – Arizona Leaders Offer Opening Statements

MackThe YouTube audio tracks below comprise the first part of the best discussion/debate I’ve ever heard on the controversial state-legislature-driven Article V initiatives to amend the US Constitution. In this first of three articles on WesternFreePress.com, Arizona leaders of Article V and Nullification initiatives present opening statements on their positions, each lasting about 10 minutes.

It still comes as a surprise to most Americans to learn that state legislatures can amend the US Constitution without the permission or approval of Congress, the President, or the Supreme Court. Congress has only an administrative obligation and no vote or veto anywhere in the process, and the President and Supreme Court are assigned no role at all. Advocates of the state-legislatures-driven application of Article V are often called “Fivers” for short.

Term limits for Congress and a balanced federal budget are among the Constitutional amendments most often sought by Fivers.

The Liberty Amendments, by Mark Levin, published in August, 2013, gave all the Fiver initiatives new momentum.   The first chapter of that book is available free at this link.  More information about Article V may also be found in other articles on WesternFreePress.com herehere, and here.

On March 7, 2014, the Thomas Jefferson Center sponsored a lively debate among four advocates and one opponent of state-legislature-driven Article V initiatives. The venue was the Chandler Cultural Center, Chandler, Arizona. The moderator was Kenny Johnson, Mesa BSA District Commissioner. On the panel were:

Russell Pearce, Former Arizona Senate President
Richard Mack, Former Arizona Sheriff, Graham County
Shane Krauser, Director, American Academy for Constitional Education
Josh Carden, Convention of States Project
Nick Dranias, Goldwater Institute / Compact for America

All except Sheriff Mack are advocates of Article V initiatives. Mack explicitly opposes use of Article V, believing it entails too much risk.  Instead, he favors an approach usually called nullification, which relies on an interpretation of the 10th amendment. To varying degrees, the remaining four speakers favor using both nullification and Article V initiatives.

Three of the panelists are themselves directly involved in Article V and nullification efforts. Josh Carden is Arizona Coalitions Director in the Convention Of States program, and Nick Dranias is a leader in the Compact For America program and Director of Policy Development and Constitutional Government at the Goldwater Institute.  Sheriff Mack has already won a nullification initiative in which he and Sheriff Jay Printz (Montana) opposed the Clinton administration’s Brady bill in the federal courts. Their case went all the way to the US Supreme Court where the two Sheriffs prevailed in Mack/Printz v USA, 1997.

Naturally, Article V and nullification initiatives are controversial, but all of them seek to shift the balance of power from a runaway federal government in Washington back to our state legislatures and, ultimately, to We the People.

A second WesternFreePress.com article at this link, contains the passionate debate among the panel participants that followed these opening statements below.

1. Russell Pearce argues for the Article V initiatives in his opening statement.

2. Richard Mack argues against the Article V initiatives in his opening statement.

3. Shane Krauser argues for the Article V initiatives in his opening statement.

4. Josh Carden argues for the Article V initiatives, especially via the Convention of States approach, in his opening statement.

5. Nick Dranias argues for the Article V initiatives, especially via the Compact for America approach, in his opening statement.

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