Over the past 40 years, all petitions generated by the states for a convention have been from conservatives. First it was to reverse "One Man/One Vote" for the apportionment of state legislatures. Then it was for a balanced budget amendment. Then it was to reverse Roe. So far the liberals have not managed to generate petitions from the states for their pet causes. This may have something to do with the fact that liberals are uncomfortable with federalism, i.e. states' rights.
The point of the essay is to make clear that a Convention for Proposing Amendments has the same proposal rights as Congress. You don't fear Congress "messing" with the Constitution, do you? Congress has the right to "mess" with it every day.
A convention is the way the states can get around congressional intransigence to propose an amendment on a subject. No more, no less.
I respectfully and politely disagree with your statement. It is truly a statement of "Constitutional" language, from the founders and since; language written to help reduce many fears of a Constitutional or "Constitution amending" convention.
As to actual fears and why, I do think the main fear is not because Americans "have never used that tool".
I believe that the fears have been, when considered, that people do not believe that a convention will actually hold itself to:
"The petitioning language used by the states to request a Convention for Proposing Amendments would define the purview of the Convention...and...The Convention would not be allowed to address any subject outside that language."
that a Congress and Supreme Court consisting of majorities not opposed to the extended mandate a convention might try to give itself would intervene simply because that self-extended mandate by the convention was against the rules.
We now, at this moment, have the Democrats in Congress ignoring the Constitution's clear language with regard to representation for the federal jurisdiction of Washington D.C.; acting as if that language either isn't there or can be ignored regardless, and seeking to change the terms of that representation by mere legislation.
What do I need to say about the willingness of a shifting set of 5 of 9 Supreme Court justices to hold themselves, much less anyone else, to the limitations and divisions of powers so clearly laid out in the Constitution.
No my friend, the fear has always been not the design of the founders but whether or not there will be a majority will IN THE PEOPLE to hold such a convention to its Constitutional limits and will that majority be expressed by the existing institutions.
The fear has never been the unknown procedures. The fear has always been will the people have the will to prevent such a Convention from becoming a Pandora's Box, no matter what the rules already say. The fear is that some drive sufficient enough to actually mandate such a convention will be used, by some, and possibly a majority, as a further mandate beyond the protections the founders gave us, and at a time when the institutions that could, by design, block Pandora's box, will refuse to act.
Personally, I prefer individual amendments, one at a time, through the federal and state legislative processes. My own feeling is that if we need a convention, then we need a revolution instead, and yes, I mean one in which we are prepared to fight for what we believe.
A good essay, Publius. Intuitively, it’s rational and logical. I’ve read arguments that the Constitution allows itself to be changed from its original intent, such as the 17th Amendment. Do you think that amendment is Constitutionally valid?