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Shall we 'Defend or Amend' the Constitution?

'Defend or Amend' the Constitution debate set for April 12.
'Defend or Amend' the Constitution debate set for April 12.Brian Irving

Many libertarian, conservative and constitutionalist groups believe the United States is in a constitutional crisis. They believe some way needs to be found to reign in an out-of-control federal government. But they are not all united on the way to do this.

To address this issue, the Citizens Constitutional Caucus will be conducted a debate “Defend or Amend Symposium,” with advocates from both sides of the issue, April 12 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Voice of Faith Studios, 335 Sherwee Dr., Raleigh.

“The Citizens Constitutional Caucus believes that these concepts are worthy of a healthy debate,” said Don Watson, caucus director. “So we holding an event emulated the debates of the original Founding Fathers.”

Some groups argue that the way to meet this crisis is to call an Article V Convention, also called a Convention of the States. This is based on the provision that article that says. “The Congress … on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which ... shall be valid … as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress ...”

This growing movement has been underway for some time, and gained tremendous new momentum and public support after popular radio host Mark Levin published his book “The Liberty Amendments.”

On the other hand, other groups are concerned about the ability to control such a convention and the effectiveness of any amendments rendered. They fear a “runaway convention” that could destroy our constitutional government completely.

The pro-Convention position will be presented by Jim Kinney and Gary Lyons, from the group Convention of States, a project of Citizens for Self-Governance. The opposing view will be presented by Jeff Lewis, Patriot Coalition co-founder, and Richard D. Fry, a nationally renowned Constitutional attorney.

Seating is limited to 75, so a $10 preregistration is recommended. Check the Patriot Institute website for registration information.