Is It Time For A Constitutional Convention?

Is It Time For A Constitutional Convention?

There’s a previously little known provision in Article V of the Constitution that allows states to directly amend the Constitution via a constitutional convention, thereby bypassing Congress entirely to address pressing national issues. Is it legal? Well, according to the Constitution, yes.

Article V allows for states to call for a constitutional convention if two-thirds of the states request one. Further, any amendment has to be ratified by three-fourths of the states to be amended into the Constitution itself.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) is helping to spearhead a call for one. In defense of this action, Coburn recently said,

“I think we ought to have a balanced budget amendment,” he told The Hill. “I think we ought to have term limits. I think we ought to put a chokehold on regulation and re-establish the powers of the Congress.”

Needless to say, this has left Congress, and the Federal government at large, a bit mystified as to how this can even be done. While the convention is part of the Constitution, every amendment thus far has started in the Senate. But Coburn has said, in response to the endless gridlock in Congress, this rather extreme measure may be just what is necessary to get things done.

Sen. Paul has likewise pushed for a constitutional convention in his home state before. In 2011, Paul called on and got the necessary votes from the Kentucky Senate to call for such a convention. You heard me right. One Senator, so fed up with Washington’s inaction on critical issues, called upon his state to pressure the Federal government into getting things done. Paul’s push was to try and head off out of control fiscal spending, saying:

“…Within a decade the entire budget will be consumed between entitlements and interest. That means no money for roads, no money for education, no money for national defense.” (Kentucky.com)

“His contention was that Congress, under pressure, probably would act to approve such an amendment before a constitutional convention would be required. (Courier-Journal)

Now, once again, Coburn is making the rally cry for a constitutional convention. Those who think it is extreme or some political ploy should be advised to remember Article V is part of our Constitution and our rights. Do you agree with Coburn that it’s time for states to step up and do what Congress is either unwilling or incapable of doing? Share your thoughts with us by sending a tweet or letting us know on Facebook.

Written by Mark Davis

(Photo courtesy of Kara Harms, Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0)

 

WATCH: Rand Paul Discussing The Call For A Constitutional Convention (8/2013)
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