Debate: US Constitutional Convention
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Is a US Constitutional Convention a good idea?
Background and context
Famous scholars and constitutional lawyers Lawrence Lesig Mark Mckinnon The framers left open a path to amendment that doesn't require the approval of Congress: a convention. Article V of the Constitution requires Congress to call a convention to propose amendments if 34 state legislatures demand it. Any proposed amendment would then have to be ratified by both houses of 38 state legislatures (three-fourths of the states). This entails 76 separate votes in the affirmative by two houses of 38 state legislatures. Easy to do? No. But possible? Certainly, yes. There hasn't been a time when there has been such anger and frustration directed at our nation's capitol. There hasn't been a moment when the opportunity to organize to build a movement among the states has been as real. The beauty of a convention is that it would provide a forum of possibility for conservative Tea Party types who might want an amendment calling for a balanced budget, or a line-item veto for the president as well as progressives who would like to amend the constitution to make it possible to enact meaningful campaign finance reform. The only requirement is that two-thirds of the states apply, and then begins the drama of an unscripted national convention to debate questions of fundamental law. It would be a grand circus of democracy at its best.