Amidst myths about climate change, corporate greed, government corruption, failing churches and a horrible education system, people are calling for the restructuring of the federal government through a constitutional convention. The reasons for holding a convention run the gamut from reigning in the federal government to wishing others to expand it. But what do we call this federal convention?
The U.S. Constitution is a Humanist document and its authority derives from delegates representing the people. Upon calling the convention, the rules could be dismissed and convention delegates exercise their inherit right to “alter or abolish” government. Once state legislators apply and Congress calls a convention, the convention takes on a life of its own.
Its name depends on the crowd being courted. It’s being called an Article V Convention, an Amendments Convention, a Convention of States and a Constitutional Convention.
To call it a Convention of States gives the impression that the people of the state or state legislators are in control. If Congress so determines, state legislators could have a say in how the delegates are selected but, once called, the convention takes on a life of its own.
To call it an Article V Convention suggests that the convention can stay within the realm of the current Constitution or procedures. This totally ignores the 10th Amendment and the Declaration of Independence. No matter what you call it, it’s a national convention and the authority for the U.S. Congress to call a national convention comes from Article V of the U.S. Constitution.
The authority for the U.S. Constitution came from delegates representing the people. It states “We the People of the United States…do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
What does “We the People” mean? The delegates represent the people, or as much as the people are being represented now. There won’t be a Madison, Hamilton, or a Washington who’ll preside over the convention. It could become a convention where the doors are shut or it will turn into the greatest show ever, far surpassing “American Idol”. But, once the convention is convened, there’s nothing the U.S. Congress, state legislatures or the American people can do to stop it. And, the thought that three-fourths of the states must ratify their recommendations is a false safety valve since that provision can be changed by the convention just as was done at the 1787 convention.
While the authority comes from 143 words in Article V of the U.S. Constitution, it’s difficult to determine what to call it?