Talk:Article V Convention
any suggestions about the page as it is now, and/or how it might be improved, are very welcome. or any comments about the issue, let fly.
Getting something done
Continuing our discussion...
- What, exactly, needs to happen at this point in order for a Convention to happen?
This seems to be the relevant text from Article V:
The Congress,... on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress;...
The answer would seem to be, then:
- The legislatures of 2/3 of the states (currently 34 states) must apply for a Convention
- Presumably, a date and time must be agreed upon, so that the convention can actually happen
- Any convention which takes place as a result of such a call meets the requirements of the Article V Convention
- In order to actually modify the Constitution, the legislatures of 3/4 of the states (currently 38 states) must ratify the outcome of an Article V Convention
...so, in other words, steps 1 and 2. This opens up the further questions:
- How many state legislatures have already applied for a convention? Presumably some information is available on the Images of Article V Applications page you linked earlier.
- How complete and how current is this information? (I haven't had time to read it in detail.)
- It looks like there's a question of whether a state-legislature-ratified applications for a convention has a shelf-life, but your argument about the 27th Amendment seems to lay that to rest.
- Are there any counter-arguments that are likely to have any traction?
- Just how old are the outstanding Calls, anyhow?
...but even if there are substantial objections to the validity of existing applications, perhaps the thing to do is ignore those objections for now and go forward with the Convention anyway (I presume the state legislatures would have to agree on a time/place as well, and if they agree on that now, isn't that the same thing as re-ratifying the Call?), bring the new Constitution forward and then let the objections have their day in court. (What must be done to formally propose the new Constitution so that step 4 can take place?)
So all that is really needed is to agree on a time and place.
Could it be that there are existing resources which could be used to help coordinate the time and place for this meeting -- something like MeetUp.com, perhaps?
--Woozle 14:10, 2 December 2008 (PST)
opinions objective and subjective
woozle, i switched out the word "call" for "application" as they are two different components to this subject. all fifty states have applied for the Article V Convention. the majority of applications (600+) were cast within the past forty-five years. arguments which challenge their validity have no legal basis, and run counter to the intent of the clause. it's true some of the applications have stipulations, but putting those aside then, we still have the 2/3 requirement satisfied.
the Article V Convention cannot take place until the national legislature issues the call. a convention convened by the states without the call being issued by congress, while potentially valuable, will be without effect. according to the rule of law the congress must issue the call (six months to a year from the call is more than sufficient time for the states to put together and conduct the special elections for delegates).
in terms of political science, all that's required is a way to popluarize the convention clause while at the same time disspelling common misperceptions about its powers. here's the idea to be discussed with lessig later this month: http://www.articlev.org
it's my opinion that in this audio/visual day and age only a popular feature film can create the political will to trump the cruel paradox we're caught in now--the one where we hope the solution arises from the problem--that the congress un-corrupts itself--that it generates the amendment proposals the nation needs at this point.
happy to answer any questions you may have about these points woozle.
- Ahh, right -- the state legislatures send in their Applications, then Congress issues the Call. But they haven't done it, thereby committing laches. ...Except that "laches" seems to be more about failure to excercise an option (something someone has the right but not the obligation to do) – whereas Congress, as I read it, does have an obligation: "Congress, ... on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention..." The Wikipedia article seems to interpret it this way too. (If it's wrong, it should be corrected...)
- What legal recourse do we have if Congress is violating the Constitution? Or is there some argument showing that they don't have the obligation to do this? --Woozle 16:13, 2 December 2008 (PST)
laches and recourse
i had been taught that Laches was french for "ignoring something on purpose." if this is not the case, then my use of the term is incorrect.
as far as legal recourse, there is currently a suit making its way through the federal court system which raises the issue of the failure of congress to issue the call. if it's a constitutional obligation, then the counter-argument would be that the word shall actually means "if and when you feel like it." as mentioned, the effort now is to make congress feel like it. if you search the foavc.org site you'll find letters from members of congress stating that if there's a movement for congress to issue the call, it will.
written constitution seem to be older
removed "this countries constitution is the first one". according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution written constitutions are as old as 600 bc. there are also similar concepts in the worlds religions. the oldest republican constitution is the one of san marino, 1600 ad. but the american one is one of the oldest still in place. see also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Constitutions --ThurnerRupert 23:35, 9 December 2008 (PST)
- excellent TR, nice edit. thanks
Sanford Levinson - Constitutional Scholar
See: [OUR UNDEMOCRATIC CONSTITUTION] by Sanford Levinson.
Published in 2006, the book's goal is explicitly stated in Chapter One: '"This book is organized around the conceit that Americans in 2008 will have an opportunity to vote on the following proposal: "Shall Congress call a constitutional convention empowered to consider the adequacy of the Constitution and, if thought necessary, to draft a new constitution that, upon completion, will be submitted to the electorate for its approval or disapproval by majority vote? Unless and until a new constitution gains popular approval, the current Constitution will continue in place."'
Here's a link to an interview with Bill Moyers from December,2007: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/12212007/watch2.html
I have just begun reading Our Undemocratic. It's a brief tome -- six chapters just nuzzling 200 pages. I will revise this post (and/or move it) once I've completed the work. I felt this was the appropriate place to post, given that my familiarity with Levinson is nascent and evolving.
--CynicalIdealist 13:24, 23 December 2008 (PST)
In the comments following Lessig's American Prospect article, an http://www.foavc.org/ affiliate claimed that there were already sufficient applications because qualifications limiting them to a single topic aren't legally valid. I'm interested in learning whether others see this as true. James Salsman 07:37, 7 January 2012 (EST)