Reconsidering the Wisdom of an Article V Convention of the States
27 October 2023
Amendments can be sent either by a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress or, alternatively, by a convention of the states that would be called “on the application of the legislatures of two thirds [now 34] of the several states.” Our Constitution has been amended 27 times, and each time the amendment was forwarded to the states for ratification following a vote in Congress that met the requis. [...] While the people have relied on Congress to be the sole vehicle for amending the Constitution to curtail federal accumulation of power, all three branches of the federal government have been allowed to accumulate excessive power over time at the expense of the states and the people. [...] In his Farewell Address,4 which was read to the delegates at the recent Williamsburg simulated convention, George Washington stated that “[o]ne method of assault” on the integrity of our government and the well-being of the people “may be to effect in the forms of the Constitution alterations which will impair the energy of the system and thus to undermine what cannot be directly overthrown.” Guar. [...] When I first wrote about the Convention of the States movement in February 2016, I discussed the risk of a runaway convention (something the foundation’s organizers reject12) and characterized the entire venture as essentially a high-risk, high-reward proposition.13 Having said that, I recognize the strength of the arguments made by those who reject the risks of a runaway convention. [...] During the Constitutional Convention, the rules that were adopted by the delegates provided that “no copy be taken of any entry on the journal during the sitting of the House without leave of the House”; that “members only be permitted to inspect the journal”; and, that “nothing spoken in the House be printed, or otherwise published or communicated without leave.” 1 the records of the federAl cons.