A Response to Publius Huldah
Michael Farris, J.D., LL.M.
Chancellor, Patrick Henry College
Anonymous blogger Publius Huldah attacks the Founder’s solution for a runaway federal government with a series of ad hominems and misdirections. A perpetual naysayer, she can propose no better solution of her own, other than the extra-constitutional doctrine of nullification.
Huldah betrays her lack of credibility in the opening line of her email when she says there is no such thing as a Convention of States. Contrary to her assumption, that phrase is not a fabrication of ours. It comes from the very first Article V application which was filed by the state of Virginia in 1789.1 If she objects to that phrase, she had best take it up with the Founders.
The bulk of her article is a giant ad hominem directed against our organization and Professor Robert Natelson. Behind all this bluster, her argument rests on two easily refuted facts: (1) the Constitutional Convention of 1787 was a runaway convention, and (2) James Madison had concerns that Article V didn’t lay out the convention process in sufficient detail. I have already debunked the first claim as a myth in my response to Mr. DeWeese, so here I will focus on the second.
It is true that at the Constitutional Convention Madison raised some questions about “the form, quorum, &c” of such a convention. But according to Madison’s own notes, the motion to add a Convention of States to Article V passed “nem. con.” “without objection.”2 Apparently Madison had his doubts put to rest, or he didn’t consider them important enough to vote against the proposed change to Article V. If a Convention of States were the terrible constitutional reset button that Huldah describes, surely Madison, or at least one of the other Framers, would have voted against it.