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What is Article V of the U.S. Constitution all about?

Published in Blog on July 10, 2022 by Carol Petrusewicz

 What is Article V of the U.S. Constitution all about?
To date, all Amendments to the US Constitution have been made through the first part of Article V – the U.S. Congress.  However, the second part of Article V allows We the People through the state legislatures to convene to propose amendments.  

Whether the proposed amendment comes from Congress or comes from a state amendment-proposing convention, the back end is the same. The proposals go to all the states and require 38 state legislatures to ratify before the US Constitution is amended. Each state receives one vote to ratify. It takes 13 votes to kill a proposal.
So far, 19 states have passed their Resolution and we are looking to make NH one of the remaining 15 required to call for a convention, totaling the 34-state requirement. All 34 Resolutions need to have the same topics for this convention to be called. The topics are: 
1. Impose fiscal restraints on the federal government.
2. Limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government.
3. Term limits on Congress and federal officials.
There are so many safeguards for an Article V amendment-proposing convention.
Article V specifies that amendments shall be proposed to "this Constitution," so no new Constitution could be drafted. The mere use of Article V creates limitations. With Article V, 34 states must apply to Congress with passed Resolutions in their state legislatures, defining specific subject matters – the only ones allowed to be discussed. These subject matters must be on the same topics for that state to be counted as one of the 34. 400 Applications have been given thus far, with NO Article V convention because there were not 34 applications with the same topics.

The historical behavior of Congress, the lack of calling an amending-proposal convention, has confirmed this requirement. Having uniform subject matters is yet another safety mechanism designed for our benefit. Practically, historically, and legally speaking, the state legislatures need to specify the limitations to effectively instruct their delegates. Congress sets the date and time (sets the "call" for the convention).  A simple majority is needed for the proposed amendments to return to the states for ratification.  
Creating a new U.S. Constitution is unlimited in scope, a different process all together, outside of Congress. The sovereign states call the convention, write an entirely new document, all states are required to give their consent, and only states that ratify it are bound. Article V is not a constitutional convention, but rather limited to proposing amendments to our existing US Constitution.
The Framers did not specify what was common knowledge to them as to the details of the procedure. Historical research shows that the Founders held 33 multi-state conventions in the period leading up to the adoption of the Constitution. Rules and procedures at these pre-constitutional conventions were surprisingly uniform. Outside of historical examples as guidance, James Madison wrote about George Mason's intent. This second part of Article V was to bypass Congress and the federal government. If Congress were needed to set the rules for the convention or if they were needed to select the delegates, the entire purpose of the convention would be undermined.
The Application through the COS Resolution defines the subject matter. No other subject may be discussed at the convention, or the delegates are "out of order." Could delegates take the already passed Resolution – with these 3 topics discussed above – and change it to add an amendment to take away my freedoms? Absolutely not. The state legislatures choose their own delegates and give them their marching orders, defined in the Resolution. If the delegates do not perform their assigned duty and try to exceed their power (adding in amendment proposals on taking away inalienable rights is an example of exceeding power), the legislatures can recall and replace those delegates. Summarizing the information from, if proposed amendments are outside of the scope authorized in the Resolution, they are "unconstitutional," so Congress would not have to select a mode of ratification. 
If states have a faithful delegate law, they can further prosecute those delegates according to their state law. NH does not have a faithful delegate law, but does have law regarding delegate selection for NH's conventions. NH could also pass a faithful delegate law with specified consequences as a further safeguard.
NH is ahead of the game in many ways.
NH has specified in law our selection process of delegates, 667:1 Election of Delegates, and a vacancy caused by the death, resignation, or removal of Delegates in 667:19 Filling Vacancies for NH's Constitution amending proposal convention. NH Legislature could follow these similar rules for selecting the delegate to the Article V convention, or they could determine any method they choose for selecting a delegate.
Like Article V of the US Constitution, Article 100 in the NH Constitution has an Alternate Method of Proposing Amendments: the question is put on the ballot every 10 years, "Shall there be a convention to amend or revise the constitution?" (this question will be on Nov 8, 2022 ballot). A majority vote is required to start the process for NH's amending convention, and NH already has legal structures in place to support our current General Court as a model when working through the details of Article V of the US Constitution.
Why would we want to call an Article V convention?  
Simply put, to restore the original intent of the US Constitution. The federal government today has seemingly runaway, crossing jurisdictional lines. However, the federal government does follow the "Court-stitution," the Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court, not the pocket Constitution you and I carry around. So, if we are really going to fix the problems with our government, we must restrain all branches of federal power, thus the three broad topics. We amend the Constitution to clarify the meaning of any clause that has been perverted.
What are some common questions here in NH?
The most common is regarding the Second Amendment – will a Convention of States take away my right to keep and bear arms?
·      Does "imposing fiscal restraints on the federal government" take away my gun rights? No
·      Does "limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government" take away my gun rights? No
·      Does "term limits on Congress and federal officials" take away my gun rights or any inalienable rights? No
Could 34 states make a Resolution to take away any inalienable right (Bill of Rights), pass this application in both chambers in their state, and submit to Congress to call an Article V convention for this topic? Well, they certainly can try – it just won't work.

The original intent of Article V is to limit the federal government, NOT take away individual rights. The federal government is supposed to be limited in jurisdiction, and PROTECT individual rights, that is why they were spelled out in the Bill of Rights. So, what if many people in 34 states did unite and coordinate this effort? 
1.    Well, Congress could ignore it, because they know the original intent of the Article V, just like history shows they ignored the 400 applications because they were not of the same topic.
2.    Any person or state could take the matter to the courts to get a ruling that the topic is unconstitutional.
3.    The states could vote no and not ratify the amendment. 
But would this really happen?  
Gorge Soros is influential. Common Cause, a George Soros funded group, in 2017 did unify 230 radical groups to rally against Convention of States.  You can find the organizations here.  David Horowitz explained why conservatives such as the John Birch Society, Eagle Forum, Common Cause, Planned Parenthood all object to using the Constitution as intended, which includes Article V. 
If you research the reasons these groups object to using Article V and they sound good to you, I advise doing some more research.  Often, I have found when going to the citations, that most of them take a bit of truth and put an agenda spin on it. That technique is very effective in persuading those who do not research on their own. It sounds polished, so the misconceptions are easily received. Yes, I have found some mis-citations, but everyone makes mistakes. That is why following the citations and reading the original sources are so important. And if an original source contradicts itself every two paragraphs, you can feel confident that the author of that document might not be the one to hang your hat upon.  When discerning for yourself, always take a step back and see if fear or peace is being promoted. Think, “Is the statement I just read unifying me to the goal the Founding Framer’s created, or is it leading me down a path of continued disarray?”

But do you think that in America today, even with these groups unifying, 34 states would actually pass a Resolution to take away its citizens inalienable rights? Both chambers and in both committee meeting hearings, and not vetoed by a governor, but 34 states actually agree that we no longer want inalienable rights? Do you think there are enough Americans in 34 states who would be so organized to unite and put in all this effort to have the convention called, then propose the amendment, then get the states to ratify it in both chambers, with all the safety levels that could stop them at every step?
History teaches us that those that unite stay together, while those divided fall. When we look around, it certainly seems that our nation is divided. Today's society often changes terms or definitions based on the agenda it is proposing.  In Article V's case, changing a "convention for proposing amendments" which has long been termed by various states and the Supreme Court as a "convention of the states” and began calling it a "constitutional convention." Do you think this change in terminology creates fear or peace?  
What other non-violent solution is there? 
Is there another part of the Constitution you would also like to ignore? 

Is there another solution that benefits "We the People"- "we" meaning every single American citizen?
There are so many checks and balances provided with forethought for a time such as ours.  
Choosing great Congressmen can help, but can't solve the structure problems. 
Anyone, mainstream media or even those who truly love our Constitution that promotes fear, I invite you to think twice. Does fear divide or unite?  
I choose to unite to the Founding Fathers of our Nation, to whom understood duty and inalienable rights. They freely gave their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor, will you?  
Your actions affect three generations: grandparent, parent, and child.  

I choose to unite with the Veterans that serve our beautiful nation, who defended and continue to defend our rights today. I choose to unite with the 19 States who understand what is needed to correct the structure problem we are facing with our federal government. 
Now is the time to get involved. Please go here  and sign the petition which informs our General Court that we the citizens of NH support a Convention of States to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Please sign up to be a volunteer. 
We love our state, so let’s together restore authority from the federal government back to NH, as intended originally.  

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