A Founder Gives Us a Lesson on the Constitution’s Amendment Process

A Founder Gives Us a Lesson on the Constitution’s Amendment Process

Among the best tools for interpreting the Constitution are public explanations by its advocates made during the ratification fight. These explanations helped shape how the public understood the Constitution. They reassured the public about what the Constitution did NOT mean. Those statements were at the heart of the ratification deal. One reason the Federalist Papers are so useful because they were exactly this sort of literature. But they are tough going for many readers, both now and then. That helps…

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Scalia Probably Favored An Amendments Convention — But Does It Matter?

Scalia Probably Favored An Amendments Convention — But Does It Matter?

A majority of state legislatures have voted to trigger the U.S. Constitution’s most important procedure for reforming the federal government. This is the gathering that Article V of the Constitution calls “a convention for proposing amendments”—more popularly known as a “convention of states.” Advocates of a convention of states rely on a supportive statement made by the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in 1979, when he was still a law professor. Opponents counter with a 2014 statement they claim contradicts his earlier one….

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First National Convention of States in 150 Years!

First National Convention of States in 150 Years!

Americans finally have a real chance to “clean up the mess in Washington.” That’s the implication of the news that the Arizona legislature has called the first national “convention of states” in over 150 years. The conclave will meet in Phoenix on September 12. Its purpose is to plan for a later convention to propose a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Contrary to some histrionic claims, neither the planning assembly nor the subsequent gathering will be constitutional conventions….

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Using a convention of states to bypass Congress

Using a convention of states to bypass Congress

Convinced that Congress is unlikely to cure federal dysfunction, most state legislatures have triggered the Constitution’s most important reform mechanism: They have applied for what the Constitution calls “a convention for proposing amendments”—a kind of convention of states This year, Wyoming became the 29th state to apply for a convention to propose a balanced budget amendment. The Utah House of Representatives applied for a convention to propose congressional term limits. Arizona became the ninth state to endorse a convention that…

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