Many oppose the concept of an Article V convention. They fear a runaway convention. Their concern is that the process of an Article V convention is untested and could result in unintended consequences.
An Article V convention is clearly a Constitutional convention. Changing our Constitution causes understandable apprehension. It is important to understand all of the parameters that lead to the convention and all of the things that affect the outcome.
First of all, 34 states need to approve of the same topic of discussion. In this information age, each state will maintain an up to the minute status on the proceedings at the convention. This is a legislative body. Deliberations take time just as they do in Congress. Media outlets will follow the proceedings. If the delegates are sent to talk about apples and the topic switches to oranges, the state may order the delegates to leave the convention. The concept of a midnight secret vote is more fantasy than reality.
And if the improbable happens, and an unexpected constitutional amendment is passed by the convention, that’s still not of national concern. 38 states must ratify the amendment before it goes into effect. That’s not only a high bar but it will necessarily include ratification by states that did not seek approval of that law prior to the convention. Approval by state legislatures is a slow deliberate process. From one perspective any law that is approved by 38 of the 50 state legislatures, is more of a national solution than a national problem.
Before we begin to fear the results of an Article V convention we need to ask ourselves why the convention is held in the first place. The fact that this type of convention was never held before has no legal merit. It is easy to conclude that it simply was not previously necessary. As applications to the convention mounted up in prior cases, the issue morphed into the hands of Congress. That’s a natural part of the legislative process.
Two major factors may cause a need for an Article V convention. First Congress is capable of doing 100% of the work that can be done by the convention. If Congress is obstructionist and refuses to take up measures supported by the majority of the people, then the convention is warranted. Secondly, if the issue has a perceived negative affect on the compensation or authority of members of Congress, it’s just natural that Congress would not take up that issue. This second scenario was foreseen by the Founders and is certainly ample cause for an Article V convention.
Perhaps naysayers have a natural temporal arrogance. They may believe that just because it has not been done, therefore it should not be done.
It’s best to let the Constitution to speak for itself.