Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Thursday, October 03, 2013

More About an Article V Convention

Some prominent Americans have been talking on television recently about the possibility of calling a national convention to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution. This is allowed in Article V of our present Constitution, but that provision has never been used. As I watch these people sounding off on television, I suspect that none of them has ever attended a large national convention where hundreds of people with very different beliefs are debating and voting on controversial issues. Don't they realize that the convention will set its own agenda and that states will have no sayso over which amendments are considered? Well, I've attended many conventions, and I can tell you that the outcome is often very unpredictable. Imagine Democratic and Republican conventions meeting in the same hall and trying to agree on constitutional changes such as these authors are proposing. Imagine the gridlock if caucuses led by Sarah Palin and Al Sharpton are trying to agree on a new constitutional provision. What is the plan to deal with inevitable protesters: the gun-control lobby, the gay lobby, the abortion lobby, and the green lobby?

Everything else about how a so-called Article V Convention would function, including its agenda, is anybody's guess. Advocates of an Article V convention can hope and predict, but they cannot assure us that any of their plans will come true.

A recent example of how a convention chairman wielding the gavel can manipulate what happens is the way the 2012 Democratic National Convention chairman called the vote wrong when a delegate tried to add a reference to God to the party platform. The chairman got by with declaring the amendment passed even though we all saw on television that the "Noes" won the vote. The whole process of a new convention is a prescription for political chaos, controversy and confrontation.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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