1) My argument that the 38 State ratification requirement trumps concerns about the rules that would apply an Article V Convention still stands.
2) The make-up of the state legislatures make now the best time for conservatives to trigger an Article V Convention, one is ever to be triggered.
3) The fact that you disagree with the views of some who favor an Article V Convention is not a reason to panic and fear-monger about the possibility of such a convention.
Mr. Kenyon focuses, as many do, on the unknown in the world of Article V Conventions. Many “scholars” on both sides of the debate claim to know how an Article V Convention would be formed, what rules would apply, how states will be represented, etc. The fact is we don’t know any of this, because there has never been an Article V Convention before and the Constitution is silent on the matter. What we do know is that the Convention must be called by Congress, without intervention from the Executive Branch. Then we know that the Convention may, if agreement is reached, propose Constitutional Amendments. Then we know that such proposals must be ratified by the legislatures of at least 38 States in order to be accepted. (For a great non-spin outline of the process as it stands, the National Archives spell it out fairly well).
In reality, the form and methods adopted by an Article V Convention likely mean little, and such a body is unlikely to propose any earth-shattering amendments. Why? Because anything earth-shattering would ever pass the 38 state test, and politicians simply don’t like to propose things that are doomed to never pass. (See the power of the Veto-Threat, for example). However, as I stated in my original response – and as was not countered by Mr. Kenyon – it just doesn’t’ matter. Even if the Convention were to “run away” with its mandate and propose silly things, only the most universally accepted ideas would possibly be ratified by the legislatures of 38 states.
Further, the make-up of state legislatures is now more conservative than any time in modern history, with Republicans holding 35 State Senates compared to Democrats holding only 14 and Republicans holding 33 State Houses while Democrats hold only 16. This means that, in the current political climate, any Constitutional Amendments that could potentially be ratified would have to be conservative in nature. So, while it is unlikely that any vaguely controversial amendments would possibly be ratified by 38 States, any amendments that are ratified would tend to be conservative amendments. In short, now is the time for Conservatives to push for an Article V Convention.
This leads to the arguments surrounding “who is in favor of an Article V Constitutional Convention” and why might that matter? The truth is, some people on both ends of ideology favor the idea of amending the Constitution at various times. Mr. Kenyon pushes the names of people he finds distasteful (or liberal) that support a Convention as a reason to be against it. This sort of ad hominem rhetorical device really has no place in this argument. However, to counter such rhetoric, one need merely to look to the facts. Republicans in the Virginia General Assembly who are pushing for a Convention, and hard-right Virginia luminaries such as Ken Cuccenelli are pushing Virginia to opt-in. It makes sense that the political right is currently pushing for a Convention as the political Right controls the ratification process. The fact that some leftists also push for a convention merely shows that people on both sides of the aisle realize that the system is not working well right now, and something has to give.
While Mr. Kenyon can continue to fear-monger, stating that it is “crunch-time” and “desperately important” that you contact your legislators, the reality is that it is unlikely any actual amendments would reach the 38 State ratification threshold. If some amendments did, they would be conservative or neutral in nature. Most probably, they would likely look something like this:
After one year from the ratification of this article, the congress may borrow money on the credit of the United States only by borrowing such money from a Citizen of the United States, except in time of war as declared pursuant to Section 8. of this Constitution. No Citizen of the United States may transfer such debt to a non-Citizen.
SECTION. 1. No person shall be elected to the office of the Senator more than twice. But this Article shall not apply to current or previous terms of any person holding the office of Senator as of the time that this Article was ratified by the States, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of Senator, or acting as Senator, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of Senator or acting as Senator during the remainder of such term.
SECTION. 2. No person shall be elected to the office of the Representative more than five times. But this Article shall not apply to current or previous terms of any person holding the office of Representative as of the time that this Article was ratified by the States, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of Representative, or acting as Representative, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of Representative or acting as Representative during the remainder of such term.
The first would allow for the United States to acquire debt only by selling bonds or borrowing from U.S. Citizens, unless Congress declares war. The second would finally place Term Limits on Congress. Those are likely the only two concepts that have any potential to gain traction in 38 states. Would either Amendment be so bad?