Congress needs to Comply with State Demands for Article V Constitutional Convention
Since the very beginning of our nation’s history, our states have applied for a convention to propose amendments under Article V of the Constitution. It requires two-thirds of the states to apply for Congress to call it. Congress never has, yet the states keep applying. In fact, states have applied for a convention more than 700 times. The power Congress holds over the states in this effort is the ability to ignore the applications. For the first time in US history, We are making Congress count the applications. The emperor wears no clothes.
On April 22nd, a certified letter arrived at the Clerk of US House of Representatives office that read:
Karen Lehman Haas
Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives
Office of the Clerk
U.S. Capitol, Room H154,
Washington , DC 20515-6601
Subject: Requesting verification and tabulation of State applications for an Article V convention to propose amendments.
Greetings Ms. Haas,
I spoke with Kirk Boyle in your office and Tom Wickham, House Parliamentarian, and have been instructed to deliver this information to the Clerk of the House of Representatives. I am providing you with the attached documentation of 42 legal and standing State applications for an Article V convention for determination of their validity. The collection of all known applications on record may be found here: http://foavc.org/file.php/1/Amendments
We, involved with ArticleV.org, acknowledge the fact that the States have satisfied the required two-thirds numerical threshold to call for an Article V Convention under Article V of the US Constitution and Congress should call an Article V Convention to order. We make formal request for the Clerk of House of Representatives to verify and inform Congress of this matter.
The Congressional Research Service arrived at a similar conclusion. “With well over a century of experience in proposing an Article V Convention, the states have arrived at certain precedents for the consideration of these applications.” from the Congressional Research Service Report by Thomas H. Neale, The Article V Convention for Proposing Constitutional Amendments: Historical Perspectives for Congress, October 22, 2012. http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42592.pdf
Those advocating for an Article V Convention from various groups often find ourselves in debate about what the current count is today. As the Congressional Research Service pointed out, there has never been an official tabulation to indicate which state applications would be valid toward the two-thirds threshold, and which would not. We truly desire an official verification and tabulation of these applications and any others we may have overlooked so there is an official number we may all reference.
Thank you for your time and diligence in this matter.
“Under House rules (Rule II, 2(b) and Rule VII ) the clerk of the House is responsible for providing any reports required by law to be made to Congress. This of course includes a report listing the number of applying states requesting a convention call. The “law” in question is Article V of the Constitution. The procedure for recording applications was established on May 5, 1789 and has remained unchanged. Therefore, according to House rules, the record is public domain as it has existed over 30 years. Under House rules the clerk is considered the “custodian” of all records of the House of Representatives including state applications for a convention call.”
By my count it appears there are 42 states with standing legal applications for an Article V convention. Since the threshold today is 34 states, we have plenty of wiggle room. The point of the action is not to be “correct” about how many states have applied. The action we are taking should produce an official number. If we are at 32 states instead of 42, that is fine with me. We will know what counts as an application to the federal government, and whatever states may remain in the “not applied” column can be added quickly. This is a fundamental step in the effort. We need to know where we are starting from if we are going to be successful.
We hope to open the doors of government to the people. We will have a chance to control our own destinies. Knowing this event could be imminent gives us time to begin to build consensus around proposals and drive the agenda before the convention assembles. Those who fear the Koch Industries showing up, relax. Of course someone from Koch will be there. But, they won’t get far. There is no bad idea that is clever enough to make it through convention or Congress and get ratified by 38 states. Keep in mind that the Defense of Marriage Act and the ERA were not able to clear that hurdle. It is really hard to ratify amendments. The convention is merely a place to originate these ideas for states to consider. Big money can only obstruct good things from happening.
Please support this request for an official tally of applications by the Clerk of the House of Representatives. You may write a letter in support to the address above or contact the Clerk’s office by phone at (202) 225-7000. We have a real chance to choose what kind of nation we will be for the next 200 years. It is time to roll up our sleeves and get serious or We the People will blow it.