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Article V of the
U.S. Constitution

The Congress, ... , on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.


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Judge Thomas Brennan’s Major Points Regarding Article V


1) An Article V convention is an assembly of representatives of the states. It must be called when two thirds of the state legislatures request it.

2) An Article V convention is called for the purpose of proposing amendments (plural) to the US Constitution.

3) An Article V convention is a parliamentary assembly has all of the authority over its own deliberations as any other parliamentary assembly.

4) An Article V convention is called by a majority vote of both houses of Congress, and its proposals are sent out to be ratified by the states as determined by a majority of both Houses.

5) An Article V Convention:
a) sets its own agenda.
b) makes its own rules.
c) makes its own schedule

In short, neither Congress or the state legislatures can limit the agenda of an Article V convention. Therefore, a petition for a convention limited to one or more specified subjects or amendments, is NOT a petition for an Article V convention.

CAN CONGRESS CALL A LIMITED CONVENTION?

Certainly. Congress can call a convention for any purpose, just as it can appoint a committee to study and make recommendations on any subject.

Congress doesn’t need state petitions in order to call a convention to draft or suggest an amendment or a number of amendments to the constitution.

Congress may decline to approve its proposals. If it does approve them and decides to send them out to the states to be ratified, it must do so by a two thirds vote in both Houses.But such a convention is not an Article V convention. It is merely an advisory convention. Congress can limit its agenda, dictate who shall be delegates, how it shall vote, etc.

I believe that the advisory, or non-Article V convention would be inadequate to task that lies before us. America needs true reform. That means amendments which change the power structure. They will never be achieved with consent of the Congress.


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