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Is this a "con con?"

If by “con con” (constitutional convention) we mean a meeting to draft a new constitution, then no, an Article V Convention is not a constitutional convention because it does not have the authority to draft a new constitution. The only thing delegates to an Article V Convention for proposing amendments can do is, well, propose amendments. And until any of them are ratified, that’s all they are: proposals…suggestions…ideas.


However, the phrase constitutional convention can also mean a convention that is authorized by a written constitution. So in that sense, an Article V Convention can be thought of as a constitutional convention because it is authorized by our Constitution. Beginning in the 20th century, many states began referring to the convention for proposing amendments authorized by Article V as a “constitutional convention” in their applications.


Why does this matter? Back in the 1970s, momentum for an Article V Convention approached critical mass. Opponents began to mobilize against these reforms, frightening and confusing people by conflating a convention for proposing amendments with a convention to draft an entirely new constitution.


Don’t be misled by the linguistic gymnastics employed by those who are invested in the status quo. Whether it’s referred to as a convention for proposing amendments, an Article V Convention, a convention of states, or even a “con con,” the only thing delegates to a convention for proposing amendments called under the authority of Article V can do is propose amendments. Period.

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