Stop Defaming the Constitution! thomas.barclay September 20, 2013 Michael Farris If you call yourself a constitutional conservative stop defaming the birth of the Constitution. Many self-proclaimed constitutional conservatives, including a lot of people in the Tea Party movement have the most bizarre habit of claiming that our beloved Constitution was adopted as the result of an “illegal runaway convention.” That is akin to claiming George Washington was the greatest American hero and—oh by the way—he was also a British spy. Shame on you for not knowing your history—and just a smidge of law. Here are the facts. The Constitutional Convention was called by the Congress of the United States that governed under the Articles of Confederation. Congress and the States possessed the power to actually change the Constitution—the convention was called for the purpose of making a recommendation to Congress on how to change the Articles to render our constitution (yes, they actually called the Articles of Confederation “our constitution”) adequate for the union. The Convention completed its work 226 years ago yesterday—September 17, 1787. The Constitution’s defamers falsely claim that the Constitution was sent from the Convention in Philadelphia directly to ratification conventions in the states. If that was true then they would be right—the Constitution would have been illegally adopted. Let’s review the requirements under the Articles for amendments. Article 13 required that any “alteration be agreed to in a Congress of the United States and be afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of every state.” The Constitutional Convention recommended a new process for adopting the Constitution. Rather than being ratified by 13 legislatures, it would need to be ratified by 9 states. If the Convention had just launched this new process on its own, that would have been an illegal end-run around the requirements of the Articles of Confederation. But on September 17, 1787, the Convention sent the Constitution to Congress in New York with the recommendation that this new methodology be approved by Congress and then sent to the legislatures of all 13 states for the purpose of calling these new ratification conventions. Congress approved the new process. It did not send the Constitution to the state conventions; it was sent to all 13 legislatures with the request to approve the new process by calling a ratification convention in each state. All 13 state legislatures approved the new process by calling ratification conventions. Accordingly, while it is very true that the Constitution itself was adopted by a new process, it is not true that this new process was illegal. The new process had been approved by both Congress and all 13 state legislatures—just as the Articles of Confederation required. So—hold your heads high if you believe in the Constitution. It was not birthed in illegitimacy. The Founders did it right. The Constitution was not illegally adopted and George Washington was not a British Spy.