Steve Aftergood: Constitutional Convention 101 from CRS

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Steven Aftergood

A CONVENTION TO AMEND THE CONSTITUTION, AND MORE FROM CRS

Article V of the U.S. Constitution prescribes two ways by which the Constitution can be amended:  Either Congress may propose amendments for ratification by the states, or else a majority of state legislatures may ask Congress to call a convention for considering amendments.

A new report by the Congressional Research Service examines the possibility of a convention to amend the Constitution.  That option has never been used in practice but, CRS says, it could become newly appealing under present circumstances.

“Various contemporary developments could contribute to a renewal of congressional interest in the Article V Convention alternative,” the new CRS report said.  “The emergence of Internet and social media-driven public policy and issue campaigns has combined with renewed interest in specific constitutional amendments, and the Article V Convention procedure in general, as a means of bypassing perceived policy deadlock at the federal level.”

However, “The Constitution provides only a brief description of the Article V Convention process, leaving many details that would need to be considered if a convention were to become a serious prospect.”

A copy of the new CRS report was obtained by Secrecy News.  See The Article V Convention to Propose Constitutional Amendments: Contemporary Issues for Congress, July 9, 2012.