The Phoenix Convention of States is, among other things, a political pageant, a physical manifestation of federalism, and a reminder that, when they act in concert, the States are the sovereigns in this country. They created the federal government, and retained for themselves authority over it. While this Convention will have no legal authority, and can do no more than make recommendations, the very fact that it meets sends a powerful message.
It’s a message the left won’t like. They’re great believers in direct democracy, and think it’s absurd that Wyoming and Alaska have as many United States Senators as California and New York. And, of course, they want to abolish the electoral college, since it skews Presidential elections in favor of small States. But a Convention of States will really annoy them.
The Arizona Legislature called this Convention, and they will plan it and organize it, in consultation with Bill Fruth of the BBA Task Force. That process will begin after they adjourn in a week or so. So we don’t yet know the venue, and how much room there will be for the public. But the floor of the Convention will resemble that of a national political party Convention, with the 50 State delegations each seated together. Some sort of sign may be used to identify the location of each State, as at a political convention. But there will be one noticeable difference. Each delegation will be the same size. California’s delegates will not outnumber South Dakota’s. In fact, South Dakota, led by Hal Wicks, may well send one of the larger delegations. I think that makes a great, and telling, visual picture.
We expect delegations of five or seven, though each State decides that for itself. Whether they send three or thirteen won’t matter. It’s one State, one vote. So there should be three hundred or more delegates. Each delegation will select a spokesperson, though that task could be rotated. The delegates won’t dress, or act, like delegates to a political convention. Everyone will be in suits, the women in business attire. While there will be a certain number of citizen delegates, most of the delegates will be State Legislative leaders, Speakers of the House, and Senate Presidents. They are accustomed to operating in this type of environment. The proceedings themselves will resemble those of a chamber of a State Legislature, operating under Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedure. Regular order will be followed. This is what all these men and women are used to. It will all be very professional and dignified.
All of this will be available for viewing by the public, hopefully on C-Span. It will be such an extraordinary contrast with what’s happening in Washington. It will be a wonderful way to introduce Article V to the public.