Those who oppose a Convention of States often characterize the use of Article V for this purpose as flippant and irresponsible. Using a Convention of States to limit the power of Washington, D.C., is a “quick fix,” they say; the Constitution should be enforced, not amended.

To quote a page on one such organization’s website:

“The remedy so desperately needed to return our country to good government is to enforce the Constitution, not amend it.”

Not amend?

Consider the consequences of that statement. What would the United States be like today if the Congress of 1791 agreed with that argument? Here are a few freedoms we may not be able to partake in today, if Congress decided not to amend:

  • Freedom of Speech, religion, peaceable assembly (1st Amendment)
  • Right to bear arms (2nd Amendment)
  • Safeguard against searches and seizures without probably cause (4th Amendment)
  • Trial by jury (6th & 7th Amendments)

To see more rights United States citizens could be without, please refer to The Bill of Rights.

But we can’t stop there. What about Amendments 11 through 27?

Can you imagine an America in which slavery had not been abolished with the 13th Amendment? Or where racism during the voting process was not safeguarded against with the 15th Amendment? As a woman, I particularly appreciate the 19th amendment, with which women were finally given the right to vote.

Should we amend the Constitution? History has shown us that, the vast majority of the time, amending the Constitution is a viable, effective means of addressing a pressing need in this country. If the state of our federal government—everything from the massive debt to overbearing regulations—doesn’t qualify as a pressing need, I’m not sure what does.

Amending the law of the land shouldn’t be done flippantly or without serious consideration, but that’s precisely what we’re forced to do under the guidelines of Article V. It’s not an easy process—even if an organization wanted to amend the Constitution with a less-than-serious attitude, they wouldn’t be able to do it.

Our Founding Fathers thought it was equally as appropriate for the states to amend the Constitution as it was for Congress to amend it. It’s time we use the tool they gave us to affect real, lasting good in this country.


About The Author

Anne Reiner

Anne Reiner is the Administrative Support Manager for the Convention of State Project. Reiner graduated magna cum laude from Geneva College with a degree in Journalism. While at Geneva she interned in Washington, D.C., spent a semester studying abroad in Rome, Italy, and graduated from the World Journalism Institute in New York City. She has a passion for writing and has freelanced for World Magazine and World on Campus during her college years. Reiner grew up in the little town of Trout Run, near Williamsport, Pennsylvania.