An open convention has precedent, is legal, and is safe. It is the only effective way forward.
There are a dozen or more groups promoting constitutional amendments for reform of the federal government, and in early 2019 the non-partisan Act 2 Movement broke ranks with them and charted a new course to an Article V convention of states. By this action we meant no disrespect for their reform programs; our intent was to chart a new path that will cut the Gordian knot that hobbles all of their efforts. And we believe this new path is precisely what the founders intended when they wrote Article V.
Our goal is to enable a convention to be called that will be a glorious celebration of the strength of our constitutional republic. It will encourage the best thinking of the nation to coalesce in a national conference to resolve our most pressing problems of government. It will replace a process of ineffective, wasteful activity with a clear, efficient one that gets on with the business of fixing our broken government. Every honest voice for reform would be heard and respected, with the best ideas selected for submission to the states for possible ratification. The high bar for ratification was built into the process to give us ample protection from rogue attempts that might damage the republic.
Conventional wisdom has required that to call a convention to consider proposed amendments, a group must get applications (a form of resolution) calling for a convention from 34 state legislatures that spell out their reforms with specificity. After observing the difficulties these groups encountered in this effort over many years, we became skeptical that they would ever be successful in convening a convention. So we examined the interpretation of the Constitution that led to this approach, hoping to find a better path to reach the goal.
Emergence of New Ideas
In this study, we learned that there were more than 250 state applications collected over the years that were still considered active and could be combined with new applications to meet the threshold of 34 required to call a convention. We also studied the debate on the form of agenda allowed for a convention (limited-agenda vs open), concluding that the conventional wisdom was wrong in its insistence on the limited-agenda approach. And, lastly, we learned of a small group of legislative leaders that aspired to start a new movement of state leaders to call and organize a convention; this had the promise of being more acceptable to legislatures, rather than to continue to be badgered by multiple private groups promoting narrow reforms.
All of this information led us to make the break from other reform groups and chart our new course directed toward convening an open (plenary) convention which may consider any amendment proposals presented to it. If we are successful in achieving this goal, every reform group will benefit from it as all of their proposals could be submitted to it for consideration. If the workload is too great to consider all such submissions in one convention sitting, it may control the level of work by periodically adjourning the conference and reconvening at convenient future dates.
Facing Down the Opposition
Our study led us to another conclusion: the opponents of reform, with their program to instill fear of a runaway convention in the public mind, had caused many reform advocates to adopt the limited-agenda convention form. But this would block us from realizing the benefits of a wide-ranging house-cleaning in Washington. Seeing the weak foundation of the runaway argument, we chose to confront the opposition and face it down on the merits of the case. This will enable us to enjoy the benefits of an open convention, with maximum reforms achieved. We will be able to cure the severe dysfunction of the federal government and reclaim our role as the beacon of freedom for people around the world. We will once again be the role model that others have watched and envied, and will encourage them to discard autocratic forms of government and embrace democracy. This will, in turn, lead to a more peaceful and stable world.
The prodigious job of organizing and conducting the convention would be well rewarded.
In early 2019, the Act 2 Movement suspended promotion of its proposed amendments and directed all of its efforts to calling an open convention of states. Our Executive Director began working with the small group of state leaders to form and build an organization (which they have named the Assembly of Legislative Leaders), and we began writing educational literature on the Article V convention issues to support their effort. Recognizing that political reforms will require support from both sides of the political aisle, a strong effort will be made to include both blue and red states in the group, and this outreach has begun.
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