Answers to Most Common Convention of States Questions Jordan Sillars February 18, 2014 COS Project Team We received some great questions in part two of our tele-townhall series. Professor Natelson answered many of them during the call, and we’ve answered the most common ones below. Remember, it’s not too late to sign up to hear Mark Meckler in part three of our series! Simply visit this page and complete the form. How do we limit the number of subjects [in the convention]? – Rick, MO The applications submitted by the states limit the subject of the convention. So, if 34 states submit applications calling for a convention to limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, the convention must limit its discussion to amendments that fall under that category. More information can be found in Professor Rob Natelson’s Article V handbook. Who determines the rules for the convention? – Rodney, MO The delegates (or, “commissioners”) will determine all the rules for the convention except one: every state gets only one vote. You can find more information in this article by Michael Farris. What amendments will we propose? How do we decide? – Brad, AZ The delegates at the convention have the final say on which amendments are proposed. However, the delegates will limit their proposals to the subject matter described in their state’s application. We cannot know exactly what amendments will be proposed, but we can guess with a reasonable amount of accuracy. You can find a list of potential amendments here. Is it the states that decide on number of delegates or is that decided for them? – Vickie, IL The states control the entire process. Remember, it is a Convention of States. Each state represents itself at the convention with delegates of its own choosing. This is basic agency law: no one can represent Virginia, for example, except the people Virginia designates. It would be ridiculous for Alabama—or Congress—to choose Virginia’s delegates. The Article V process involves the state legislatures. Will they try to amend it? – Nav, IL Such an amendment would fall outside the scope of the convention’s call—namely, limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government. This change to the Article V process would be considered out of order. Additionally, it should be noted that 38 states would have to approve such an amendment proposal in order for it to become law. It seems unlikely so many states would voluntarily remove themselves from the Article V process. How does each state decide its process for sending delegates and deciding commissioners? How does a citizen become a delegate/commissioner? – Jeff, MI This decision will be left up to the state legislatures. Most of the time the legislatures chose to appoint the delegates themselves. You can read about this process in detail on page 14 of Rob Natelson’s handbook. When we get amendments, can the government simply ignore them? – Tom, AZ Technically, the government does not ignore the current Constitution—the Supreme Court interprets it wrongly. New amendments would remove the ability of the Supreme Court to make these wrong interpretations, and the federal government would be forced to comply. Michael Farris explains this in detail in question number one of this document. Do all the states have to agree on a topic to call an Article V Convention? – Chuck, KS Probably, otherwise Congress would have had to call a convention in the early 20th Century. For almost a hundred years Congress has tacitly required that the state applications be on the same subject, and the states have acquiesced. It’s a little late to undue 100 years of practice, so we’re assuming the states have to agree on a single topic or set of topics to govern the convention. That is why we are encouraging the states to submit identical resolutions to Congress. You can find our model resolution here.