The promise of Article V

As a former state legislator, I know what would happen if 34 states pass resolutions calling for an Amendment Convention to propose a Balanced Budget Amendment.  The legislative leadership of each state would meet, and decide who they wanted representing them at this historic meeting.  Every legislature has members who are recognized as knowledgeable in constitutional law, and writing budgets.  These men and women, along with the House Speaker and Senate President will form the delegation of each state.

They will meet at the time and place set by Congress (after consulting with the states).    The Speaker or Senate President of the host state will open the Convention, and will immediately call for nominations to be Chairman of the Convention.  Then temporary rules will be adopted, committees will be formed.

The delegates all know the drill.  They know how to run a legislative chamber, and that’s how the Convention will be run.  Everyone present will understand the procedures to be followed.   It will be orderly, with strict decorum.  CSAN will be watching.

Everyone present will know that their first priority is to propose something that can  be ratified by 3/4 of the states.  So it can’t be partisan.  It has to pass muster in some blue states to get to the supermajority.  So Democrats, who will be in the minority, will be closely consulted throughout.  Nothing will be rammed through.  It will be a deliberative process all Americans could take pride in.

When the delegates succeed in agreeing on a proposed resolution, and prior to adjournment, a delegate will move that the floor be opened to a discussion of what the next Article V Amendment Convention should address.  Most delegates will agree, and a general discussion will take place concerning proposals to reform the federal government.  Term limits will be considered, and campaign finance reform, and other ideas that have broad enough public support to get a 3/4 supermajority.  The topic or topics which attract the most support will then be adopted as a recommendation of the Amendment Convention.

When the delegates return to their state capitols, they will attempt to pass resolutions call for a second Amendment Convention, to propose an amendment based on the recommendation of the first.  If this process succeeds, it can be repeated as along as the federal government needs reform.  It could last a long, long time.

The architecture of the Constitution itself will be amended by the addition of a new, supervisory branch, the Convention of States.  It has the power to control the other three branches, so long as it acts in unison.  Any democratic institution that requires a 3/4 supermajority to act is one that will never go to an extreme.

The Convention of States will emerge as the ultimate safeguard of American freedom.  Just as the Framers intended.



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