Parties Include Amending Conventions

An excerpt from the August ASL newsletter: Article V Caucus 

[editor’s note: this article posits that both major political parties are interested in amending conventions covering different subjects. We’ve heard candidate Clinton call for a convention. This reinforces the idea that a majority of Americans of all stripes believe the federal government it too big and out of control. The COS Project should be talking to legislators and grassroots of all parties, but in their native tongue.]

Party Platforms Call for Constitutional Amendments –

The just concluded Republican National Convention adopted a 66-page platform as one of its items of business.  It calls for 5 Constitutional amendments.  Not to be outdone, the Democratic National Convention adopted a 51 page platform that calls for 3 Constitutional amendments.

The DNC platform calls for amending the Constitution to (1) overturn the Supreme Court’s ‘Citizens United’ decision, (2) enact a form of an Equal Rights Amendment, and (3) enact a Voter’s Bill of Rights.

Five different topics are mentioned in the GOP document as being worthy of Constitutional amendments, including term limits and a BBA.  But nowhere in either of the extensive documents was the power of the second option (state-led method) in Article V mentioned as a way to actually see such amendments happen.

The transfer of public lands to the jurisdiction of individual states is not an issue for which its leaders have contemplated the use of Article V, but it is clearly a states-rights federalism issue.  That issue did get solid support in the GOP platform.  The issue is repeatedly referenced on pages 18 through 21.

The platform says, “Congress shall immediately pass universal legislation providing for a timely and orderly mechanism requiring the federal government to convey certain federally controlled federal lands to states.”

Leaders of the Convention of States Project (CoS) worked hard to get the GOP platform to endorse their Article V effort… without success.  In an article entitled “Convention of States Movement Gathers Steam, Despite RNC Setback”, the July 19 Weekly Standard lamented the GOP snub, but concluded that the rejection may be good since “Making an application for a special convention is a matter entirely for the states to decide.

Over the years the Republican Party has called for at least 15 different Constitutional amendments in its platforms.  None suggested the use if Article V.  Only one of those calls resulted in an actual amendment.  The 1864 Republican convention in Baltimore adopted a campaign platform plank calling for an amendment that would ban slavery.  That amendment was formally proposed the next year, and ratified the same year.