During the week of July 18-20, BillTrack50 manned a booth at the Western Conservative Summit. As Karen and I sat and answered questions about BillTrack50, we started to sense a trend in the questions being asked. Aside from the usual “what does your product do, and how can it help me?”, we heard concerns about Article 5 of the Constitution. It seemed to be an issue that almost every other person had an opinion on. So for anyone that cares about Article 5 or if you’re interested to learn more about the subject, please read my post and let me know what you think.
Article 5 – The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, 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; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.
It details the method of amending, or changing, the Constitution. So what does that mean? Well, I found some pictures to make the process a little more user friendly.
What many of the attendees wanted was for an Article V to call a Convention of States. As stated above, this requires Thirty Four state legislatures to pass a bill called an “application” calling for a convention of the states. After that happens the states vote on the amendments and it requires thirty-eight state votes to ratify any proposed amendments. Once states ratify, the amendments become part of the Constitution. One topic that was proposed quite a bit was having them discuss imposing term-limits on Congress and the Supreme Court.
Interesting enough, according to The Convention of States project. Every state legislature in the union, other than Hawaii, has at one time or another applied for a Convention of States. There have been over 400 such applications, yet we have never had a convention. Why not? Because there is a “unified subject rule.” The applications must aggregate to 2/3rds of the states (currently 34 states) and MUST BE called for the same purpose. We have never had 2/3rds of the states apply for the same purpose.
Here is Legislation from a few states that calls for a constitutional convention.
So, would you like to see this happen? Also, let me know your thought, or enlighten us on anything you think I might have missed.