The Route To The Liberation and Empowerment of the American People:
An Article 5 Constitutional Convention to Alter and Reform the U.S. Government

 

As is stated in the article on The 21st Century Declaration of Independence, convening and completing an Article 5 of the U.S. Constitution to alter, reform, update and improve the U.S. Constitution will be very difficult. However, all the best things are difficult to achieve and create, and doing this is the best way to liberate and empower ourselves in a legal, peaceful manner.

Article 5 stipulates that new amendments to the U.S. Constitution may be proposed either by two-thirds of both houses of Congress, or by a national convention assembled at the request of the legislatures of at least two-thirds of the states. The amendments adopted by the Convention must then be ratified either by approval of the legislatures of three-fourths of the states, or by ratifying conventions held in three-fourths of the states. Congress has discretion as to which method of ratification should be used.

The U.S. Congress, as it is, would surely not propose a Constitutional Convention or new amendments to the Constitution, and most state legislatures would probably not act on their own to do so either. Therefore, the best way for the citizens to begin the process of making it happen would be to begin with public demonstrations, rallies, and other mobilization and public awareness efforts that would gain the attention of the news media, thus drawing the attention of state legislators.

The reason for that is because only about half of the states in America have laws allowing ballot measures to get on the ballot through citizen initiatives and referendums produced through a petition and signature collection process. But in the rest of the states the citizens don't have that kind of power. Only the legislators in those states have that power.

That’s why the citizens of the rest of the states would have to make their legislators aware of their desire for an Article 5 Constitutional Convention, because in those states the legislators are the only ones who can approve state ballot measures, or create an application to Congress for an Article 5 Convention.

In the states that do not allow a petition and signature collection process, there are mechanisms through which ballot measures can be produced. However, those mechanisms require legislative referrals and constitutional amendment validation procedures, and the state legislatures must approve them.

That is why state and federal legislators must be totally convinced of the people’s resolve and desire. For even if the required number of states were to submit applications for an Article 5 Convention for our purposes, it would still not guarantee that Congress would act upon the applications.

Unless all legislators are convinced that they have no choice but to obey the will of the people, Congress could and probably would simply ignore the states' requests as they have in the past (for smaller, individual issues). It is even possible that Congress would ignore all applications regardless of what basis they are submitted. After all, members of Congress are on public record as supporting a right to exclusive control of the amendment process, so a new set of applications, however composed, may be ignored by Congress just as they have ignored the last 400 applications that have been submitted by the states.

That is why we, the people, must make this a huge issue the whole nation becomes aware of, so it becomes impossible for state and federal legislators to ignore it, knowing that if they do ignore it and ignore the wishes of the great and vast majority of the people, they will be voted out of office


The Process To Convene an Article 5 Constitutional Convention

States must file applications to Congress for an Article 5 Convention, and under the terms of Article 5, two-thirds of the state legislatures must apply for a convention in order to compel Congress to call an Article 5 Convention. (And because the word "application" is used in the Constitution to describe the act of applying, the term "application" has been applied to describe these documents.)

Regarding the agenda of an Article 5 Constitutional Convention, when Congress calls the convention (when the required number of states submit applications), then the issues in the applications from the states form the basis of the agenda of the convention. However, the agenda can and will also be determined by any new issues the states submit to the convention for its consideration, and by any amendment issues submitted by the delegates themselves. And any individual state delegation can offer multiple amendment proposals.

It is entirely within the purview of states through state legislatures, initiatives, private citizen actions or any other legal means to present or advance amendment proposals to delegates of an Article 5 Convention for consideration by the convention. However, only an actual delegate to an Article 5 Convention may actually submit an amendment proposal to the convention for its consideration.

The Article 5 Convention as a body can propose new amendments, and it can also propose repeal of existing and current amendments. (An example of that was when Congress proposed the 21st Amendment to the Constitution repealing national prohibition which had been created by the 18th Amendment.) The Article 5 Convention could therefore repeal any existing amendment it chooses to repeal, or revise. However, any amendment proposal or repeal proposal must be ratified by the states before such an amendment or repeal can be implemented, and if the proposed amendment or repeal is not ratified, the repeal fails and the original amendment remains in place as part of the Constitution.

The Article 5 Convention can also clarify or revise a current or existing amendment. Congress did this following the 1800 election with the 12th Amendment which clarified language regarding the election process of the President of the United States (regarding the electoral college). And the 12th Amendment as regards presidential succession has been clarified or revised by at least two other amendments, the 20th and 25th.

The Article 5 Convention can also propose amendments to overturn Supreme Court rulings (such as Citizens United and McCutcheon rulings of the Court, which heavily favored the wealthiest few and entitled them to have much greater influence over the political campaign and electoral process with the power of their money).

An Article 5 Convention can also propose amendments dealing with economic issues, and issues regarding banks and financial institutions, credit card companies, etc. Past amendments have dealt with economic issues or were related to economic issues, such as the 11th, 13th, 16th, 18th, 21st and the 24th Amendments.

Since there has not been an Article 5 Convention yet (because so far Congress has created existing Amendments to the Constitution on its own), the question of choosing convention delegates would probably be debated. But most states would probably hold elections specifically for the purpose of choosing delegates. (One state, New Mexico,  provides by state law that the members of its legislature be the delegates at a state ratification convention, and would probably do the same for an Article 5 Convention.)

Candidates wanting to become delegates would be able to accept campaign contributions prior to an election to elect delegates. As with any federal election campaign, delegates seeking the office would be able to accept campaign contributions under the same guidelines, rules, regulations and laws as members of Congress.

 

What You Can Do
 

Ordinary citizens can do much to help bring about an Article V Convention. In addition to holding public demonstrations in public parks and other approved spaces, writing letters to the editor, organizing rallies, and making other mobilization and public awareness efforts that would gain the attention of the news media and state legislators, citizens can help many other ways.

For example, you can write letters to the members of Congress and your state legislature asking them to call for an Article 5 Convention to alter and reform our government to establish our full and equal rights and equal opportunities, stop and prohibit the rule of money, and establish all the other reforms listed in The 21st Century Declaration of Independence. And you can spread the word about The 21st Century Declaration of Independence and an Article 5 Convention in any ways you can.