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Article V Convention Resource Page

The following is a list of Questions that should be answered before applying to Congress for a Convention for the purpose of proposing amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

There have been at least 430 applications to Congress for a convention pursuant to Article V. Click here to see them all.


Click for the VERY BEST RESOURCE PAGE on the CoS issue.

Applying for a convention is premature until we know the rules that will apply to:

1) The delegate selection process for Missouri,

2) The Delegate selection process in the other states, and

3) The convention, itself.

4) The ratification process.

Questions about delegates:

  • How will Missouri's delegates be selected?
  • Who will the Missouri Delegates be?
  • How will other states select their delegates?
  • How can we ensure that the Missouri delegates will not stray from their authorized mission?
  • How can we ensure that the other state's delegates will not stray from their authorized mission?
  • How will we know, before it's too late, that any of the delegates have not strayed from their authorized mission?
    • How do we know that any penalties proposed for delegates who stray will be enough of a deterrent, or even legally binding?

Questions about the convention:

  • Will the convention be open to the public or closed, like the only other constitution-affecting convention the United States has ever held?
  • How will we know what our delegates are doing?
  • Will the votes taken be by voice or written?
  • Will the written votes be recorded or by secret ballot?
  • Can Missouri and the other states rescind their application for a Convention?
  • Once 2/3 of the states apply for a convention, Congress calls one, and it has convened, what happens if states pull out of the convention because they don't like the way it's proceeding?
    • Can the remaining states, however few, continue with the process?
    • Can they, then, propose amendments by a simple majority of the REMAINING states?
  • Who will set the initial rules of the convention?
  • Who will be the temporary chairman who starts the convention?
  • Who will be the parliamentarian at the start of the convention?
  • Will there be an opportunity for the convention to adopt it's own set of rules?
    • What will be the process?
  • Are there any limitations on what rules can be adopted?
  • Once the convention is convened, and convention rules adopted by all the delegates, are there any limits on what amendments can be debated and proposed?
  • Are there any limits on how many amendment can be proposed?

Questions about ratification of proposed amendments:

  • The last amendment to the U.S. Constitution took 202 years to be ratified. Will there be any limits on how much time 3/4 of the states have to ratify a proposed amendment?
  • Will state be allowed to withdraw their ratification, if they change their mind before the 3/4 threshold is met?
  • Who gets to decide the method by which proposed amendments will be ratified in the states (conventions of the people verses state legislatures voting on them)?
  • Missouri's Constitution requires that all amendments to the U.S. Constitution be ratified by a convention of the people, what if the only option allowed is by state legislatures, how will we deal with that?

Questions about Missouri's ratifying convention, as required in MO Const. Article I Sec. 4:

  • How will a Missouri ratifying convention be structured?
  • How will delegates be selected?
  • Who will be the delegates?

 

HB 376 has some basic structural problems.

  • The Missouri Senate is essentially nullified when a committee of the whole is used to select delegates.
  • We could end up with 5 legislators as delegates.
  • The potential for Removal of Delegates by the General Assembly may not be much incentive for delegates to behave since the damage may be done by the time the General Assembly acts.
  • This bill does not obligate delegates to vote any certain way.
  • Again, by the time it is discovered that delegates have exceeded the scope of the call, the damage may be done.
  • The removal of Missouri's application if things go astray (sec. 21.008) will have no effect.
  • The penalty provisions will have no effect on anyone no intending to hold public office and little effect on an elected official who is wiling to jeopardize his political future.

 


What does Congress think its role is in an Article V convention? This report reveals much:

The Congressional Research Service issued a comprehensive report to Congress about what it believe to be the extents of that body's powers leading up to and during a convention.

Read the report by clicking here.


In 1979, Anton Scalia admitted you can't be certain that a convention could be limited:

In 1979, in a panel discusson about Article V, Scalia said: "There comes a point at which one has to be willing to run the risk of an open convention to get the changes that are wanted. Essentially, what I have said is that there is some risk of an open convention, even with respect to the limited proposal of financial responsibility at the federal level."

See page 22 in the PDF linked, below:

A Constitutional Convention, How Well Would It Work?

After many years on the Supreme Court, in 2015 Scalia still thought that you can't limit a convention, but now he felt like the risk was no longer reasonable. At a Federalist Society meeting he said it would be a “horrible idea” to hold a constitutional convention in the age of special interests.

Then he went on to say, "Once you get those people together, you never know what they’re going to do,” he said, citing other nations where such issues as minimum wage have been included in the text. “You’ll get everything but the kitchen sink written into the Constitution."

Source: http://www.mofirst.org/issues/cos/Scalia-on-Constitutional-Convention-2015.pdf


The Main Responsibility of Government Officials
“That all constitutional government is intended to promote the general welfare of the people; that all persons have a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and the enjoyment of the gains of their own industry; that all persons are created equal and are entitled to equal rights and opportunity under the law; that to give security to these things is the principal office of government, and that when government does not confer this security, it fails in its chief design.” (emphasis added) (MO Const. Art. I, Sec. 2)


The Ratification Clause of the U.S. Constitution
"The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same."


The Supremacy Clause
"This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land” (emphasis added) (U.S. Constitution, Article VI)


Hamilton on the Supremacy Clause
“I maintain that the word supreme imports no more than this — that the Constitution, and laws made in pursuance thereof, cannot be controlled or defeated by any other law. The acts of the United States, therefore, will be absolutely obligatory as to all the proper objects and powers of the general government... but the laws of Congress are restricted to a certain sphere, and when they depart from this sphere, they are no longer supreme or binding(emphasis added) (Alexander Hamilton, at New York’s ratifying convention).

 


 


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"Our citizens have wisely formed themselves into one nation as to others and several States as among themselves. To the united nation belong our external and mutual relations; to each State, severally, the care of our persons, our property, our reputation and religious freedom." -- Thomas Jefferson: To Rhode Island Assembly, 1801

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