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Responding to Conservative Critics: Coalitions are Key

A swirl of conspiratorial allegations have been leveled against me by various opponents of my efforts to seek a Convention of States under Article V of the Constitution. One might reasonably hope that my 34 years of public service in the conservative movement might be answer enough to these wild allegations, but some people seem to believe anything they read.

I intend to make a once-for-all statement to these conspiracy theorists. I do not promise to respond to this crowd again—unless necessary in the context of defending myself against outright defamation.

I will begin by pointing out that one group of my current detractors, the John Birch Society, called me a “Constitutional Champion” on March 25, 2011 in an article prominently featured on their website.

Two things have changed since these accolades:

First, I have begun a plan George Mason launched at the Constitutional Convention and Mark Levin recently popularized with his best-selling book, The Liberty Amendments.

Second, I have led the effort to defeat the UN Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities in the US Senate. For this, Anderson Cooper and other liberals have found fault with me. But the John Birch Society should be pleased with my successful anti-UN efforts. In fact, in the 2013 JBS article on the CRPD, they quote me approvingly as fighting for the position they endorse.

Nonetheless, the conspiracy theorists believe I am a part of a plot to bring about a New World Order and destroy the Constitution. Moreover, they contend I’m deliberately trying to put the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into the United States Constitution.

This is a curious allegation against me since I am well-known by the right and the left as one of the leading opponents to the UN CRC. Among other things, I have a published article in the Regent University Law Review in which I condemn the Convention on the Rights of the Child. I also wrote the lead article in the “Opposition” section of the book Child Rights, edited by Clark Butler, and published by Purdue University Press.

The JBS praised my proposed Parental Rights Amendment to the Constitution and noted that it directly opposed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. In the process of heaping praise on my efforts, the JBS called me “legendary constitutional attorney Michael Farris.” They noted that Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum was among my supporters. Now, just a couple years later, they contend I am part of a great leftist conspiracy.

These conspiracy theorists seize upon the fact that Grover Norquist (a board member with me for and the president of Americans for Tax Reform) is a member of the Council for Foreign Relations and married to a Muslim woman. Thus, I must share the philosophy of the Council for Foreign Relations and be a Muslim sympathizer.

If that line of reasoning holds true, then the John Birch Society is also sympathetic to the Council for Foreign Relations and Islamic beliefs. After all, in the very same article in which they praise my work on the Parental Rights Amendment, they note Americans for Tax Reform supports the PRA alongside Eagle Forum, Gun Owners for America, and Concerned Women for America.

Moreover, if belonging to the same board or organization as Grover Norquist makes one sympathetic to the CFR and Islam, then all of the board members of the National Rifle Association including Ollie North and Ted Nugent are also one-world conspiracy members. (Here’s a tip for the conspiracy buffs: I am also a committee member for an NRA education group.) The same guilt by association must also be true of James Clymer (long-time chairman of the Constitution Party) and Phyllis Schlafly, who are also members of another national political organization along with Norquist (incidentally, I also am a member of this group). We have quite the grand conspiracy indeed.

These conspiracy theorists are really bad at their research. They have failed to reveal my connections to the ACLU, People for the American Way, the American Jewish Congress, and many other liberal organizations. They also failed to reveal that Lyndon Larouche, another “interesting” conspiracy theorist once accused me of being a British spy.

When there was a call in the Bush Administration for a National Identity card, I did a press conference and signed a letter with the ACLU announcing our joint opposition. The ACLU filed an amicus brief in the Michigan Supreme Court for a case where I was lead counsel and in which the Michigan law banning homeschooling was declared unconstitutional.

But by far my most important collaboration with the ACLU and other left-leaning organizations was on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. I was the co-chairman of the drafting committee that wrote RFRA to restore religious freedom in America after a very damaging Supreme Court decision undermined the free exercise of religion. Unfortunately RFRA was struck down as it relates to the states by the Supreme Court. It remains in effect against federal laws and requires the federal government to honor the traditional view of our right to freely exercise our religion. This is the same law that has been successfully used to defend the religious freedom rights of Hobby Lobby against the abortion mandate in Obamacare. If you favor Hobby Lobby’s freedom, then you should like my work. If you oppose Hobby Lobby then you should criticize my efforts to protect religious freedom.

So, if the charge is that I have collaborated with people who do not share 100% of my political views, then I plead guilty.

I would like to point out that I am not the only one to have done this. In the past, Phyllis Schlafly and the John Birch Society worked on the same side as the Unions to defeat calls for an Article V convention to balance the federal budget. I do not view Phyllis as a unionist or a fellow traveler with them in some grand conspiracy. They just agreed on that specific issue.

People who are successful in political life learn how to build coalitions. You work together when you agree. You oppose each other when you disagree.

The conspiracy theorists have left one other person out of their charges. George Mason needs to be included. Mason is credited with gaining the Virginia Declaration of Rights. Mason was also the key person in the Constitutional Convention who ensured that the States have the power to stop an abusive federal government by ensuring that Article V contains a method for the states to stop abuses by the federal government. Across time and space, I have become a co-conspirator with George Mason. I plead guilty as charged.

The scorched earth character assassination tactics leveled against me are irrational and irresponsible. If you want to be successful in political life, you must stick to your principles. But you must also work with whomever agrees with you on the issue set before you.

Here’s my message to the conspiracy crowd: If you have a substantive argument against George Mason and me—then make it. But stop the character attacks using conspiracy theories and lies. It only proves you really have nothing to say of substance.

I have an unblemished record of 34 years in full-time advocacy for conservative causes. I am today standing on the principle that we should use the literal text of the Constitution to save our Republic. And I am being attacked by those who claim the Constitution was illegally adopted and Article V in the Constitution is dangerous. If you haven’t figured it out—the Founding Fathers were also engaged in a grand conspiracy.

I will not succumb to those who cling fearfully to a diminished brand of freedom. I believe in the legitimacy of the Constitution. I believe in the integrity of the Founders. I intend to use the Constitution itself to save our liberty.