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Most of the problems we now face are the result of constitutional interpretations that capitalize on ambiguities in the wording of certain phrases (i.e., the General Welfare Clause—now interpreted as unlimited power to spend). We can restore the federal government to its proper, limited place only by clarifying the original meaning of those phrases through constitutional amendment—effectively overturning the bad Supreme Court precedents that have eviscerated our federal system.
Once 34 states apply, Congress has no discretion whether to call a convention and no control over the delegates (see Federalist No. 85). The reason we have the convention mechanism in Article V is because George Mason thought Congress had too much control over the amendment process. The Framers unanimously agreed with him. It makes no sense to interpret Article V to give more power to Congress, when the whole point was to take power away.
The states control the Article V convention process from beginning to end. Congress' role is limited to issuing the “call,” once it receives 34 applications for a convention on the same topic. The “call” simply sets the date, time and location of the meeting. The state legislatures control the selection and commissioning of their convention delegates.
Remember that Virginia “called” the Philadelphia Convention of 1787. Did it get to choose the delegates for Massachusetts? Of course not. Massachusetts did. Each state chooses its own delegates regardless of who calls the convention.
The Necessary and Proper Clause does not apply to Article V at all, because when Congress acts pursuant to Article V, it is not acting in its regular, legislative capacity. The Necessary and Proper Clause is part of the regular legislative power found in Article I. The federal courts have ruled that Congress' attempt to use Article I power to affect the Article V process through ordinary legislation was unconstitutional. See Idaho v. Freeman, 529 F.Supp. 1107, 1151 (D. Idaho 1981) (“Thus Congress, outside of the authority granted by article V, has no power to act with regard to an amendment, i.e., it does not retain any of its traditional authority vested in it by article I.”).
Yes. Despite a common myth that was promoted by liberal groups beginning in the 1960's, there is absolutely no precedent for a “runaway convention.” And there are redundant protections against ultra vires amendment proposals:
The universal precedent for voting at an interstate convention is on a one-state, one-vote basis. It is not a convention of commissioners but a convention of states. This is the reason Article V does not specify the number of delegates. In 1788, the Virginia legislature correctly called this process a “convention of states” in the first application ever passed under Article V. Nothing has changed since then. The Supreme Court has also referred to it as a “convention of states.” States vote as states.
No. Please refer to the list of redundant protections on the process, above. There are many different groups working to achieve an Article V Convention to propose various types of amendments, and they have every right to seek to use this constitutional process. But groups seeking amendments for other purposes are not involved in our effort, because they know they cannot achieve their goals at a convention called pursuant to our application, which limits the topic of amendments to restraining federal power.
While one report lists a number of past attempts to affect the convention process, all such attempts have FAILED. Even Congress knows that it has no constitutional authority to interfere with an Article V Convention of States. And besides, Article V gives Congress its own means of proposing amendments. The trouble is that Congress won't propose amendments that limit its own power. We need the states to do that.