Thank you for returning to Common Sense Civics and Citizenship, where we are discussing the growing conversation about a Convention of States. Let’s dive right in.
What’s all this talk about a Convention of States? What is it exactly? It is an agreement of at least 2/3 of the state legislatures (34 states) to call a meeting (convention) to discuss SPECIFIC proposals regarding an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The states have never used this provision of Article V to amend the Constitution, but in recent years there has been a call for a Convention of States. It has fallen short of the 2/3 requirement thus far.
A Convention of States is NOT a Constitutional Convention. Rewind: It is not a Constitutional Convention.
There has only been one Constitutional Convention. There is no provision in our Constitution to completely change, rewrite, or revise the U.S. Constitution, which calls itself “The Supreme Law of the Land.” https://civicsandcitizenship.org/article-v-convention-of-states/
What Article V Says About a Convention of States
Article V ONLY provides two processes for amending the Constitution :
“The Congress, whenever two-thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this constitution, OR, on the application of the legislatures of two-thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of THIS constitution…”
So, We the People can revise or add amendments through a resolution in Congress or through a Convention of States. We can also repeal certain powers if one branch of government has fallen out of balance with the other two. In any case, the new proposal must be ratified by 3/4 of all states (38).
The Amendment Process Is Difficult By Design
Is it difficult to make changes to the Constitution? Yes. That is the design of our Founders. Please know that the resolution, whether initiated by Congress (2/3 of both Houses) or by the Convention of States (34 states), has to be EXACTLY the same. Not even a comma can be added or subtracted. That would require starting the process all over again. This is important, as at least one amendment, the Sixteenth Amendment, has been discovered to have discrepancies in its passage. Perhaps Congress or a Convention of States will rectify this in our lifetime. We shall see!
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