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Michael Ramsey
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Michael Ramsey


George Will on Calling a Constitutional Convention
Michael Ramsey

In the Washington Post, George Will: Amend the Constitution to Control Federal Spending (disussing a proposal for an amendment by the Goldwater Institute).  Of course, Congress would not likely approve such an amendment, so 

[The proposal] provides ... two amendment procedures, one of which has never been used — the calling of a convention by two-thirds of the state legislatures. Many prudent people — remembering that the 1787 Constitutional Convention’s original purpose was merely to “remedy defects” of the Articles of Confederation — recoil from the possibility of a runaway convention and the certainty that James Madison would not be there to make it turn out well. The compact, however, would closely confine a convention: State legislatures can form a compact — a cooperative agreement — to call a convention for the codified, one-item agenda of ratifying the balanced-budget amendment precisely stipulated in advance.


Congress has no discretion — it “shall” call a convention “on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states.” A convention called in accordance with the institute’s compact would adopt its limited agenda with the force of federal and state law, any deviation from which would render the convention — which is limited to a 24-hour session — void. The compact designates as the sole delegates to the convention the governors of participating states, officials who will not run the political risk of wrecking the convention by ignoring the law.

Constitutional?  See here.