Shirley Spellerberg of the conservative blog Texas Republican Vote issued a blog post on May 6th titled, “Strike Two for Gov. Abbott.” Spellerberg criticized Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) for supporting an Article V convention proposal backed by the Convention of States Project. Abbott announced his support for an Article V convention in January during an event sponsored by the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
The article brought up numerous false charges against the Article V movement. Some of the charges cite talking points from left-wing organizations funded by billionaire George Soros, such as Common Cause. According to Spellerberg, “An Article V Convention would open up our Constitution to the elimination of our protections under the Bill of Rights—the First Amendment: freedom of worship and speech, the Second Amendment: our right to keep and bear arms, which is already under attack, and to the elimination of the Electoral College.”
Heartland Senior Fellow Rob Natelson has said that an Article V convention is only limited to the subject matter listed in applications submitted by the states to the Congress and in the official convention call. This fundamental limitation makes it impossible for other rights, such as freedom of speech, to be at risk during a convention.
Spellerberg falsely asserts a convention cannot be limited, but it is well known states can limit the conduct of their delegates by enacting delegate limitation and selection laws. The law gives the state the ultimate authority to automatically terminate the credentials of a delegate who votes for an unauthorized amendment or motion. The Assembly of State Legislatures (ASL) , is set to meet in Philadelphia in June to ratify the rules for a convention. A ratified set of rules from the ASL ensures the convention will be truly limited in its operation and scope.
Another incorrect point that Spellerberg raised in her article is she tried to suggest many conservative organizations working to implement an Article V convention are working alongside leftist organizations. This is not the case. WolfPAC, a progressive organization, is pushing for an Article V convention to reform campaign finance laws for the national government. They are not working directly with conservative groups such as the Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force, Compact for America, and the Convention of States Project. They are all pursuing their own efforts for a convention.
Spellerberg even goes so far as to cite the Wisconsin-based John Birch Society (JBS) in her attempts to prove that the left and right are working together on an Article V convention, but the arguments presented by JBS have long been disproven.
Spellerberg was a former member of the Republican Party of Texas’ platform committee. The last time she served on the committee was during the 2010 gubernatorial election—when she urged Texas Republicans to remove a 2014 resolution affirming support for the Convention of States project.
You would think Spellerberg, with all of her time spent dealing with the Article V movement, would present a more balanced and accurate description of what’s going on. Unfortunately, that has not been the case. Spellerberg’s misleading statements and incorrect assertions should be avoided and refuted by all those who value the truth, regardless of where they stand on the Article V convention proposals.