Updated 3/30/2010, 4/22/2010, 4/24/2010
Article V of the U.S. Constitution states that an amendment to the US Constitution may be proposed by the Congress or by a Convention to propose amendments to the United States Constitution. Such a convention is called by Congress after two-thirds of the states petition them to call it. A Convention has never been called, as the threat of calling for one is often sufficient to force Congress to propose the desired amendment.
There have been some who have said that we need to call a Constitutional Convention to bring forth term limits, protect some right, or pursue some other worthy cause via Constitutional amendment. Of course, others have wondered if such a convention would choose to disregard our current Constitution and forge a new one, as the first Constitutional Convention did. One then has to wonder what such a new Constitution would say. However, all the speculation that I have heard ended there.
Let us ask a few further questions:
Would the proceedings be open to public viewing or scrutiny?
Would the proceedings be in secret?
If such a new Constitution were produced, what means would be set to ratify it?
Would the drafting of a new Constitution nullify the old one, even if the new one were rejected?
Would the drafting of a new Constitution dissolve the union?
What about a new Constitution that was not ratified:
How long would the possibility of ratification remain?
Again, would the old Constitution be nullified or the union dissolved?
What about a new Constitution that was ratified:
Would a state that refused to ratify be bound by the new Constitution?
Would they be out of the union?
Would they be forced to obey a Constitution that they rejected?
Before dismissing any of this as idle speculation or stupid questions, let’s remember that we are in uncharted territory here. Anything could happen at a Constitutional Convention.
These questions and others need to be considered before an action as drastic as a Constitutional Convention is considered.
Personally, I hope it never comes to that.
I am not opposed to the idea of calling a convention in theory.
However. I am still not completely sold on the necessity of the idea. Also, I am still not sure that the outcome would be beneficial to the cause of limited government.
Satellite radio talker Mike Church is a major proponent of the Article V Convention and has planned a conference to discuss the issue on April 9, 2010. Linked article includes a summary of proposed amendments.
Mike Church has made available the audio from the town hall conference on April 9, 2010.
I have listened to the audio. They have answered some of the questions that I have asked above.
I am not completely sold yet, but am more in favor of the idea than I was.
I do believe that we need to amend the Constitution to safeguard our liberties, though. If things keep going the way they are, I should reach 100% support of this idea soon.
Other relevant posts of mine:
For more info:
Article 5 of the Constitution
Convention to propose amendments
State ratifying conventions
Forbes.com A Bill Of Federalism by Randy E. Barnett – proposed amendments