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Call a Convention to Amend the Constitution

The BriefGet Up To Speed

Almost everyone can think of something they would like to change in the U.S. Constitution. Some would like to update it to fit new technologies and evolving social mores. Others think the Supreme Court has illegitimately “updated” it too much already, and would like to restore its original meaning. Either way, it is always tempting to invoke Article V to amend the Constitution — to “fix" it, or “restore" it, or “improve" it. But, on the other hand, there is a substantial risk to tinkering with the Constitution: many amendments seem to have unintended consequences. And calling a convention for proposing amendments is even riskier, because it has never been done before — and it might inadvertently put the entire constitutional structure up for grabs. Is it worth the risk? Should the states call a convention to amend the Constitution?

Presented in partnership with the National Constitution Center


The text of Article V of the U.S. Constitution. 

Summary and common interpretation of the Article V. Amendment by the Annenberg Classroom at the National Constitution Center. 

The process specified in Article V for a convention to propose amendments raises many questions that require careful consideration. Questions arise concerning how such a convention would work, what types of amendments it might produce, and whether some of the proposed amendments would successfully rein in the federal government and reinvigorate federalism.

Friday, February 19, 2016
John Malcolm

Some liberals and conservatives are teaming up in an effort to rewrite the Constitution.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Ashley Balcerzak

This is the Founders’ solution to Washington’s hunger for power and institutional corruption, and the states are rallying. 

Thursday, September 29, 2016
Michael Farris & Jenna Ellis

Beneath the cloud of dust that has been raised by those who will oppose Article V’s convention mechanism at any cost, there are real answers to be found to genuine questions and concerns about the process.

The Texas Plan is not so much a vision to alter the Constitution as it is a call to restore the rule of our current one.

Friday, January 8, 2016
Governor Greg Abbott

The founding fathers anticipated that federal legislators might be unwilling or unable to amend the constitution in the national interest when it conflicted with their self-interest. They incorporated Article V to give state legislators an alternative route for what they referred to as an ‘amendment of errors’.

Saturday, February 27, 2016
Barry Paulson

Our republic is under siege by the Washington establishment in both parties.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Marco Rubio

Our country faces enough problems and division. We don’t need to add to them and inflame an already toxic political environment by placing at risk the constitutional structure that has served us well for more than two centuries. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Robert Greenstein

With a surge of pressure being put on state legislators this year to apply for an Article V convention, this article provides three reasons to oppose all such constitutional convention applications.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Larry Greenley

This report sounds the alarm about a dangerous proposal bubbling up in state legislatures throughout the country. The threat is a constitutional convention, convened on the petitions of at least 34 state legislatures as specified under an Article V of the Constitution and empowered to rewrite or propose new amendments to that document.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Professor Scalia may have entertained the notion of an Article V convention back in 1979, but by 2014 he was firmly set against it, and rightly so, noting the uncertainty that could arise from such a modern convention.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Christian Gomez