Advertisement

Why are some Nevada Republicans rejecting Article 5 of the US Constitution?

Our Founding Fathers were all about “checks and balances” because they understood human nature. Checks and balances are the reason our Constitution is the longest-lasting governing document in force in the history of the world.

In Article V, our ingenious framers gave present-day America 51 sources – the 50 states plus Congress – that could initiate the process to propose constitutional amendments (or “useful alterations,” as James Madison called them in Federalist 43).

Those who want to dismiss the founders’ Article V convention provision are satisfied with reducing the options available for initiating proposals of useful alterations from 51 to just one – only one: Congress.

Such a position eliminates all checks and balances for initiating amendment proposals by giving the national legislature sole discretion and full control – the power to propose and the power to refuse to propose. This is what opponents of an Article V convention effectively endorse – a 98% reduction in the checks and balances for proposing amendments.

Now, Nevada’s citizen legislators deserve our gratitude and respect for their service. And we want them to benefit from the same sort of checks and balances the framers knew government needs. So I am compelled to ask: What could cause some representatives in the Nevada Assembly and Senate to withhold their support for the Article V convention provision of our Constitution?

Nevada Republicans reject Article V's checks and balances

You may or may not have been aware of this, but it is the declared platform and position of Nevada Republicans that, up until even our present day, the information necessary for them to support Article V of our United States Constitution in its entirety has eluded them and persists in eluding them. These poor souls are so haunted by an elusive clarity about our Constitution, they have permanently etched their confession of it in the annals of their 2022 party platform and in their email replies to this constituent.

And to make sure this is crystal clear, I want my fellow Nevadans to know their position is not a mere difference of opinions with others on what issues should or should not be addressed in an Article V convention. The consequence of this elusive clarity is that they altogether reject the Founding Fathers’ provision – they reject this part of our U.S. Constitution entirely out of hand.

Since that’s the case, this Nevadan would like some further clarification.

Opinion alerts: Get columns from your favorite columnists + expert analysis on top issues, delivered straight to your device through the USA TODAY app. Don't have the app? Download it for free from your app store.

Why would some of our elected officials who belong to the state party that wants us to consider them our “conservative” option who made an oath or affirmation to support, protect and defend the U.S. Constitution – to bear true faith, allegiance and loyalty to the Constitution – why do they claim this same document is insufficiently clear to trust, follow and support as written regarding Article V?

Since they effectively reject 98% of our Article V checks and balances, I have become a living, breathing “check” on my elected representatives by asking Nevada state legislators to provide us further clarification:

  1. Are there any other parts of our Constitution you only support conditionally?

  2. Exactly how many more terms of office do you plan on seeking while lacking the clarification needed to support our entire Constitution?

  3. What are you actively doing to obtain the clarification you say you need?

  4. If you’re eventually able to obtain the clarification you need to support our entire Constitution, do you have the courage to propose an amendment to the 2022 Nevada GOP platform to remove lines 88-89, and will you do so?

Human nature resists checks and balances. Let’s be the check we need in Nevada to ensure their support of our Constitution isn’t mere lip service.

Chuck Harmon
Chuck Harmon

Chuck Harmon is a resident of Carson City, Nevada, and is the district captain for AD40 for Convention of States Action. This column first published in the Reno Gazette-Journal.

You can read diverse opinions from our Board of Contributors and other writers on the Opinion front page, on Twitter @usatodayopinion and in our daily Opinion newsletter.

This article originally appeared on Reno Gazette Journal: Nevada Republicans reject Constitution's Article 5 convention. Why?