How did this nonsense about a runaway convention get started? Let’s look back in time, to Baker v. Carr (1962) and Reynolds v. Sims (1964). These decisions were the Warren court at its worst, brazen cases of judicial activism that required “one man, one vote” in state legislative districts.
This meant, in the case of Illinois, that Chicago would now have unfettered control of the Illinois state legislature. As a result, a once growing and prosperous state has spent itself to the edge of bankruptcy, and private enterprise flees in droves.
Senate Minority Leader Ev Dirksen saw what was coming in his native state, and began an Article V movement to overturn these pernicious decisions. He was dead serious, and the movement had significant support in state legislatures across the country. He might have succeeded if had acted quickly enough. But in response to these cases states began redistricting themselves, and the newly redistricted states had no interest in pursuing a constitutional amendment.
The proponents of these two decisions opposed Dirksen, and rather talk about the issue on the merits, they cooked up this runaway convention story. It’s been around ever since. It will die in Phoenix.