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Convention of States – Why It Is Desperately Needed

Convention of States – Why It Is Desperately Needed

Some of you have heard of the Convention of States, many times it was from both sides of the issue, one side claiming this will strip our rights to bear arms, can radically rewrite the constitution, the other side says it is needed to correct where this government has gone, to set it back on the path of following what our founders expected it to be like.

Still others say, and they may be correct in this point, the founders never envisioned that we could have war waged in a matter of hours around the world, the internet, the ability to look at what people are doing at all times, electronic surveillance, so does this mean that the constitution is outdated, or does it need tweaking, as in a Convention Of States to make sure our nation is kept on the intent of rule as our founders intended?

Even with this, we have seen legislation over the years create laws to bring the US into the modern world, to change as we find new advancements changing our world in ways not envisioned just fifty years ago, so what is the problem?

The problem is the constitution is a living entity, it changes as times change, but as with any government, as one is given power, they rarely wish to hand it back. The government today is the largest land holder, largest currency holder, the largest holder of debt, is the most powerful entity on the world, but this is not what the intent of our founding fathers wanted.

So what is to be done, do we scrap our way of government, throw it out and start over? No, there was a means our fathers put in place to give us the legal authority to correct the government if it started to infringe on our rights, that was the Convention of States, where they could tweak and change the constitution, reinforce our given rights to make sure they roll back any government infringement on them.


Has this ever been tried in the past? Basically this is how we went from a weak confederation of states to a more centrally controlled nation. We saw the 3/5’s compromise of the founders to appease the slave holding states get corrected, where every man was counted, their voices heard in vote, something this nation went to war with itself to correct.

We saw amendments giving women the right to vote, to be given the same voice as the rest of us in the nation. Another made sure that in the case of a president being incapacitated, the means of replacing them would be in means, this was after Wilson suffered a stroke and his wife, who was never elected ended up running this nation in her husband’s name.

These changes were covered in one of the ways the government could handle the changes needed, by votes in the two houses, then signed by the states to give their consent to the changes in the constitution, but what happens when the legislation is caught up in a dead lock, or has no desire to change, ignoring the will of the people?

This is where the Convention of States come in, it is the ability of the states to bring reform, even if the federal government is against it.

What is a Convention of States:

To look at this we need to first look at Article 5 of the constitution:

The Congress, …, on the Application of the Legislatures of two-thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments …

which, …, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths thereof, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress.

In more a more easily understood definition: It is the right of the states to call a meeting with two-thirds of the states attending, to have changes made to our constitution, to strike or add rights under it, and to further define amendments that define our rights.

Put even in more simple terms, if we can gather 34 states together to call a Convention of States, one will happen.

Dangers Are Blown Out Of Proportions

Many say that a Convention of States could fundamentally change this nation as we know it, the liberal states could propose a stripping of the 1st and 2nd amendment, could further take away rights of free speech and add a whole list of laws that would infringe on religious belief, but is this true?

People on the other side of the issue say that the possibility of a run away convention would be a great danger to this nation. One side could take control of the Convention, force their ideology on the rest, we would see then the nation turn to the path where one political party would make their ideals the law. But is there any truth in this either?

The problem is the way the voting is set up, in a convention of states, even if a bill is ratified, you still have to get 2/3rds of the states to sign on to a bill, that means all that is needed to kill it is 13 states voting against it.

Image result for Liberal and Conservative states
States by political affiliation

So let’s take a controversial topic, say abortion gay marriage, someone from a conservative state proposes that abortion be made illegal in all cases, or wants to define marriage as only between a man or woman, does anyone think that Washington, Oregon, California, Maine, New York, Rhode Island, Hawaii, Connecticut, Delaware, Vermont, Massachusetts, Illinois, Colorado, or Maryland to go with a law that would infringe on this? With only 13 states needed to vote something down, we would not see any fringe desires being laid on the table.

Further, what would be needed is to find something all sides would agree on. One of them is term limits for all federally elected or appointed positions. This would include term limits for both house, term limits for Supreme Court Justices, there is already one for the president.

We could look at a balanced budget amendment, the majority of Americans agree that a balanced budget is needed, just like the majority agree that Social Security should not be touched, but the money borrowed from the funds need to be paid back to keep it solvent.

There is a conflict with both sides over a definition of assault weapons, one side wants to rewrite the 2nd amendment, the other side will never budge, this is where the safeguards come in, there is no problem getting 13 states, even some of them purple that would never allow an infringement on this right.

Where does COS stand today?

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As you can see, the states currently signed on with legislation to call up a Convention of States stands at 28, these are ones that have submitted an application to call up such a convention, there are 22 states that have nothing at this time, and 10 are being targeting from both liberal and conservative COS supporters.

While I see California, New York, Oregon, and Hawaii as not having a prayer of signing up with this, I see the split enough in Washington, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kentucky signing up on this. Illinois, along with Minnesota have a liberal push on the side to join such a convention, both worry if they do, they would not be able to control the narrative of the Convention of States.

The legislation will most likely pick up two to three new additions to applicants for this, but will still leave this short, but there are 6 states that have passed the application in one chamber, the other refused to vote on it, all that is needed is to have a change by election, this would then quickly become a reality.

Is a Convention of States good or bad? I would say time will tell, but if one is called, if nothing but term limits is imposed, or a balanced budget act is passed into law, it would be a smashing success.

Too look into this more deeply I would recommend going to this site:

About The Author

Timothy Benton

Student of history, a journalist for the last 2 years. Specialize in Middle East History, more specifically modern history with the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Also, a political commentator has been a lifetime fan of politics.

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