Federalism

A Convention of States Explained

In Why the Constitution’s ‘Convention for Proposing Amendments’ Is a Convention of the States which can be accessed here, ALEC Board of Scholars member Professor Rob Natelson explains the history behind the concerns of many who oppose a convention for proposing amendments pursuant to Article V of the U.S. Constitution. Providing solid historical evidence for his conclusions, Natelson notes that “since the 1970s a substantial body of academic research has resolved many of the … uncertainties,” surrounding a convention of states.

Divided into six parts, this Heartland Institute Policy Brief explores the only pronouncement made by the U.S. Supreme Court on the nature of an amendments convention; offers why the U.S. Constitution does not include detailed protocol descriptions for an amendments convention; draws on ratification-era documents as evidence that a convention for proposing amendments was to be a convention of states and explains how the model fits into the Constitution’s overall structure.

Congressional approval has reached record lows, and the national government appears incapable of governing effectively. America’s founding fathers included a mechanism for the states to submit applications to compel Congress to call a convention of the states for a time like this, and Natelson’s work is an important resource to describe the historical underpinnings for an amendments convention and to address the concerns of those who are still skeptical of the process.


In Depth: Federalism

Genuine accountability to hardworking taxpayers results when state and local legislators work with members of the community to determine a plan of action that is right for each individual state, city or town. Real solutions to America’s challenges can be found in the states – America’s fifty laboratories of democracy …

+ Federalism In Depth