Is it time for an Article V Convention?
POINT/COUNTERPOINT: Is it time for an Article V Convention of the States?
Neal Schuerer | Sunday, January 10, 2021 |The Colorado Springs Gazette
We agree that something is broken: it is self-evident that our voices are not being heard and that our
national government no longer serves us but itself. Where we might differ is not in our observations of
today’s problems but in how to solve them. Regardless of the ideas of how to remedy what is wrong, the
process to do so is clear and it is found in the fifth part (Article 5) of the United States Constitution,
namely, a convention of states called by Congress on the application of two-thirds of the state
Such a convention would likely be official meetings where commissioners from all 50 states gather to
discuss ideas, debate solutions, and propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Then we the people,
through our elected representatives, will be able to consider and approve the solutions. Amendments
proposed by the convention would require ratification by three-fourths of the states to take effect.
Why is this doable? The first four parts of the U.S. Constitution create four co-equal parts of government
through which the citizens can control their lives. And the fifth part provides a remedy for when
politicians start to control us.
Nearly every citizen has a basic understanding of the concept of separation-of-powers. The U.S.
Constitution, in Articles 1, 2, and 3 identify the roles and responsibilities of the legislative, executive, and
judicial branches, respectively. What surprises some is that Article 4 establishes a coalition of the states
as the fourth and equal part of our citizen-run government. The three branches of our national
government in Washington, D.C., and the 50 parts of our several states are equals.
Now, it was the humility of the founders that caused them to write Article 5 which provides two distinct
processes to change our constitution: amendment proposed by Congress and ratified by the States or
amendment proposed by a convention of states and ratified by the states. The founders understood
that this compound republic was a new experiment in self-government. They also believed that future
generations could make it better by voting to improve it.
Need convincing that amending the constitution is a good thing? The U.S. Constitution has, through
Article 5, been amended 27 times. The Bill of Rights came through the amendment process. So did every
woman’s right to vote.
The national government will never fix itself, thus it is time for the states to act on their authority, which
is often called federalism and sometimes referred to as “state sovereignty” or “local control.” The most
informed and best decision makers are the ones closest to us, our schools, our businesses, and our
houses of worship. Our elected officials working in Denver, Boston, Lincoln, and Austin are best
prepared to solve local, state, and national issues.
A convention of states will improve the way government works for future generations. By fostering a
conversation of state leaders from red and blue states and requiring more than 75% of the states to
approve proposed amendments in a special election, we will make our lives better.
With such a high bar to enact change, there is no chance of such a process running away. There is no
chance of us getting it wrong. We always get it right when there is broad coalition building and when the
voice of the American people is heard.
We are speaking. Our state legislators must listen. They have the authority and duty to fix how the
national government works, and our state leaders are our last best hope for America.