Most objections to a Convention for Proposing Amendments tend to lie in the area of a "runaway" convention that goes beyond the mandate given by the states. First I'd like to look at the tools for keeping the Convention within its constitutional bounds as an agent for the states.
So in order for popular whims to turn the Convention into a "runaway" convention that exceeded its legal authority, we'd need all the following safeguards to fail:
That's a lot of safeguards to fail.
* The presiding officer -- who would defy the Convention's mandate and let it "run away".
* The Supreme Court -- which would defy the concept of agency and the 1992 law and let it "run away".
* Congress -- which would validate the "runaway" Convention's unauthorized actions by passing the fruits of the Convention on to the states for ratification.
* Three-quarters of the states -- which would ratify the fruits of the "runaway" Convention even though the Convention had violated the authorization given it by the states in the first place.
I know Publius, "that's a lot of safeguards to fail", and thanks again for spelling out the major "delimiting" acts/actors that must/can/would have to fail, to produce a "run away convention".
Yet, the "Presiding Officer" would, either as the Vice President initially, or as elected by the Convention subsequently, in any conceivable circumstance be chosen by a majority at the Convention. Most likely that majority would also represent the majority that called for the Convention. Yet, we can depend only in that individual's personal integrity being stronger than their ties, interests and allegiance to that majority; if it voted a measure that broke its mandate. If that majority was sourced the same as the present majority in Congress, tell me you would trust some delegate with the integrity of the present House leader of the judiciary committee (John Conyers) to preside and uphold the rules and tell their majority they cannot do what that majority demands? He, Conyers, is not the Chair of that committee because there are so few like him out in the states, from where the delegates would be drawn.
As for the next failure, yes I can easily see a lib majority court (who knows after 2008?) defying the Constitution and the 1992 law, deferring to the self-promoted "mandate" the Convention handed itself. Such a failure should in my view be expected of a lib-dominant court.
After that failure, it becomes as I said - where is the will of the people?? Will the will of the people be behind the self-proclaimed mandates of the Convention or behind those seeking to hold the convention to its Constitutional limits.
Given the propaganda role of the media in developing a "popular mandate" on its own agenda, who can be sure that either Congress or 3/4 of the states will deny the will of such a Convention, regardless of the rule breaking. At this moment, we have states enacting what to me are unconstitutional acts to throw out their own citizens electoral votes and hand those votes to whatever presidential candidate wins the national "popular" vote, no matter which Candidate their citizens voted for. The deference to "popular democracy", to the point of near acclaim for virtual mob rule is already stronger than one would hope that it not be. Get enough media driven polls to bend and demonstrate "the will of the people" to a point of view, and turn those results into a mantra in the media for a "solution" and you NOW AT THIS VERY MOMENT get legislation proposed for it in a very short period of time, even without a Dim majority [Sarbanes Oxley, just to name one].
My fear, and it is joined by many others, is that PURE DEMOCRACY, as opposed to the sentiments of a Republic based on democratic principles, is already - due primarily to leftist indoctrination in academia - stronger in the minds of "the masses" than is prudent for the safeguards that we have been given (vis-a-vis conventions) to work. I feel no personal assurance that the safeguards would be stronger, and the integrity of leading individuals more stable than a convention-generated, media-pushed "popular will" when it came right down to it.
I wish it were not so, and I wish I could view ahead of us, something even dimly equal to the endeavor of our founders and their convention. In my view, our own work has not YET provided the allegiance in public sentiment that would uphold the safeguards. Will we yet educate the people enough? Maybe I can hope we will, with more time.
I am really glad you created the opportunity here for this discussion and I thank you for your well informed standard you started it with.