Let’s Fix Five
by Mark Guyer – October 2021
Here is a way we can move forward on constitutional amendments. If the groups that want an Article V Convention work together, we will be a much stronger political force. Convention of States Project, Wolf-Pac, BBA Task Force, the Center for State-led National Debt Solutions, and US Term Limits supporters can and should unite our efforts around a common goal: to reform Article V itself. Article V has not worked. Currently, it is possible that Congress might find some reason not to call a convention, even when 34 states have constitutionally called for one. In more than two centuries of experience, and despite over 400 applications by states for an amending convention, there has never been a convention. The process is broken. Let’s Fix Five.
This approach will appeal to state legislators in both red and blue states. These legislators should have what the Constitution promised: the right to propose amendments to the Constitution. The states created the Constitution. Reform is essential. We, as Americans, believe in federalism, limited government, and checks and balances. State legislators must have a role in determining what our nation should be and do. For a few persons in Washington D.C. to have absolute power is both extreme and unwise.
The convention process and the “runaway convention” scare tactic are problems. So let’s eliminate the convention or substantially restructure it. Possible solutions include mandating that the convention can only address one subject, allowing the states to draft amendments using communication and collaboration technology in lieu of a convention, or allowing a few or even just one of the state legislatures to propose an amendment for consideration by the others (just as any one member of Congress may do at any time). What are your thoughts on possible revisions?
The convention was controversial when first written into the Constitution, and does not help our nation today. We have to use the existing Article V process, but just once, to propose a new amendment that eliminates convention and congressional roadblocks.
With a functional Article V, we can move directly into ratification of amendments. Ratification by three-fourths of the states could stay the same. To drop the convention requirement is both reasonable and non-partisan. There would still be extensive nationwide deliberation (lasting years) about any potential amendment. Only a very good amendment can possibly gain the support required for ratification.
Ten states have previously called for a convention to change Article V. Not all the applications are similar enough to aggregate. Most state legislators who have studied Article V believe it has problems of one sort or another.
Vickie Deppe wrote in the last Caucus Newsletter: “Many advocates think they must first convert someone to their political ideology before they’ll be able to convince them to support an Article V Convention, but that’s not true. The key isn’t to make them care about what you care about: it’s finding out what they care about and showing them how an Article V Convention can help them get it.”
Let’s combine our organizational resources to Fix Five, and then get into seriously debating what amendments our country really needs. Can you think of an amendment? How can we pass your proposed amendment? First, we must Fix Five.
Mark Guyer has been active for over ten years in the Article V movement for a federal debt limitation amendment. He has participated in many political campaigns, and has served on Capitol Hill as a legislative assistant for a Congressman.