A Convention to Amend the Constitution, and More from CRS

By July 10, 2012

Article V of the U.S. Constitution prescribes two ways by which the Constitution can be amended:  Either Congress may propose amendments for ratification by the states, or else a majority of state legislatures may ask Congress to call a convention for considering amendments.

A new report by the Congressional Research Service examines the possibility of a convention to amend the Constitution.  That option has never been used in practice but, CRS says, it could become newly appealing under present circumstances.

“Various contemporary developments could contribute to a renewal of congressional interest in the Article V Convention alternative,” the new CRS report said.  “The emergence of Internet and social media-driven public policy and issue campaigns has combined with renewed interest in specific constitutional amendments, and the Article V Convention procedure in general, as a means of bypassing perceived policy deadlock at the federal level.”

However, “The Constitution provides only a brief description of the Article V Convention process, leaving many details that would need to be considered if a convention were to become a serious prospect.”

A copy of the new CRS report was obtained by Secrecy News.  See The Article V Convention to Propose Constitutional Amendments: Contemporary Issues for Congress, July 9, 2012.

Other new and updated CRS reports that have not been approved by Congress for broad public access include the following.

Health Care: Constitutional Rights and Legislative Powers, July 9, 2012

U.S. Postal Service: Background and Analysis of H.R. 2309 and S.1789 in the 112th Congress, July 9, 2012

Conventional Prompt Global Strike and Long-Range Ballistic Missiles: Background and Issues, July 6, 2012

Criminal Prohibitions on the Publication of Classified Defense Information, June 26, 2012

 

Categories: CRS