Convention To Propose Amendments To The United States Constitution

A Convention to propose amendments to the United States Constitution, also called an Article V Convention, or Amendments Convention, is one of two alternative procedures for proposing amendments to the United States Constitution described in Article Five of the Constitution. The other method is a vote by two-thirds of each house of Congress. While the possibility of such a convention happening in the twenty-first century seems remote, in recent years there has been a small but influential group of constitutional scholars insisting that state governments call for such a convention. They include Lawrence Lessig, Sanford Levinson, Larry Sabato, and Jonathan Turley among others, and there are reports that such a proposal is gaining "traction."

According to Article V, Congress must call for an amendment-proposing convention, “on the application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States”, and therefore 34 state legislatures would have to submit applications. Once an Article V convention has proposed amendments, then each of those amendments would have to be ratified by three-fourths of the states (i.e. 38 states) in order to become part of the Constitution.

Congress has the power to choose between two methods of ratification: ratification by the state legislatures, or instead ratification by state conventions called for that purpose. In contrast to those separate state ratification conventions, a convention to propose amendments to the United States Constitution would be a single federal convention. While there have been calls for a second federal convention based on a single issue such as the Balanced Budget Amendment, it is not clear whether a convention summoned in this way would be legally bound to limit discussion to a single issue; law professor Michael Stokes Paulsen has suggested that such a convention would have the "power to propose anything it sees fit". All 27 amendments to the Constitution have happened in a procedural sense by going through Congress and not through proposal by state legislatures.

Read more about Convention To Propose Amendments To The United States Constitution:  History, Permissible Scope of Applications To Congress, Permissible Scope of Proposed Amendments, Ability of States To Rescind Applications To Congress, Supreme Court Interpretations of Article V

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