Reading Guide on Amending the Constitution by Convention


During 2015, the LWVUS Constitutional Amendment Committee will conduct a study and member agreement process on amending our nation’s Constitution.

Article V of the U.S. Constitution provides two ways of proposing amendments to the nation’s fundamental charter. Congress, by a two-thirds vote of both chambers, may propose constitutional amendments to the states for ratification. OR, the legislatures of two-thirds of the states (34 at present) may ask Congress to call a convention to propose amendments to the Constitution; this is commonly called an Article V Convention. Amendments proposed by either method must be ratified by three-fourths of the states, 38 at present.

The first method has been used by Congress to submit 33 amendments to the states, beginning with the Bill of Rights. Of these, 27 were approved; 26 are currently in effect, while one – the 18th Amendment (Prohibition) — was ultimately repealed.

The second method, an Article V Convention, has never been successfully invoked.

In addition to other topics, our League study will explore the process for proposing an Article V Convention in order to determine whether LWVUS would support such a convention and if so, under what circumstances. Here are some articles for Local Leagues that want to begin to prepare for the study.

The Article V Convention to Propose Constitutional Amendments:
Contemporary Issues for Congress
Thomas H. Neale
Specialist in American National Government
Congressional Research Service
April 11, 2014 (43 pages)

This article, prepared by the Congressional Research Service, focuses on the procedural issues that Congress might face invoking an Article V convention. It covers recent developments, including the balanced budget amendment. Available here

The Article V Convention for Proposing Constitutional Amendments:
Historical Perspectives for Congress
Thomas H. Neale
Specialist in American National Government
Congressional Research Service
October 12, 2012 (22 pages)

This article, prepared by the Congressional Research Service, places the Article V convention in historical perspective. It addresses historical and current efforts to invoke a convention, as well as the role of the states in the process.  Available here

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Greetings from a Study Committee Member

Apologies that we did not see these comments before now. Our Study Committee is on track to have a firm timeline consistent with what has been posted elsewhere -- see the May 19, 2015 post above.  There is a chance we may have something a little earlier but don't want to promise that just yet.  We are having such an interesting time working on this!  And those of us on the Committee have been following the action in our home states, with assorted groups from both sides of the political spectrum calling for Article V Constitutional Conventions on a number topics, the balanced budget amendment among them. I hope you and your members will start with the readings posted here and do some research about what action has been developing in your home state. I, for one, have had my eyes opened. Ann Luther, Maine

Constitutional Amendament Study

Does anybody in the LWV US office read these comments?  We are working on our planning calendar for 2015/2016 and need to know the dates and timelines for the Constitutional Amendament Study.  What happened to the Money in Politics study?

Timing of these studies

Yes, timeline, please!  We are planning our next year now.

Constitutional Amendment Study

 I agree with the previous comment.  We will need to plan consensus for this study as well as the Money In Politics update. The more information you can get out to local Leagues as early as possible, the easier it will be for us.

const. amendment study

It would be very helpful to have some idea of the date when this consensus will be due back to LWVUS.  those of us planning programs for next year need a little guidance.