Our self-described “naysayer’s” next argument against a Convention of States is as follows: “There are no rules for a modern-day ‘constitutional convention.’”

Not true. We know the fundamental rule that governs a Convention of States: each state gets one vote.

The Founders did not create a convention of individuals. They created an interstate convention for proposing amendments, which is why it is called a Convention of States. There were several interstate conventions in America’s history, and the rules for a Convention of States are the rules of international bodies when sovereign units of government gather.

Every convention of American states practiced one-state, one-vote. Every convention of nations today practices one-state, one-vote. It is a rule that is inherent when sovereign governments meet.

Our naysayer’s argument is like saying that the Founders didn’t create rules for juries. The Constitution doesn’t specify that juries have to be unanimous to convict a person of crime. It doesn’t require that juries find defendants guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. But those rules are firmly in place just as if they had been written down. Why? Because that is the nature of a jury in the Anglo-American system. When they required jury trials, unanimous verdicts and proof beyond a reasonable doubt came along automatically because that is the nature of a jury.

The same thing is true here. The nature of a convention of sovereign governmental entities requires one-state, one-vote. The Founders gave us the only rule that matters.

The fact that there are no rules for assigning the number of delegates from each state is absolute proof of the nature of the system they were designing. At the 1787 Constitutional Convention, each state could send whatever number of delegates they wanted. When it came time to vote, the delegates from each state had to caucus, and the majority within that delegation cast the vote for the state. That is exactly what will happen with a Convention of States today.

The most important rule in any gathering is this one: Who has the power to make the rules? That question has been answered. The Convention of States can decide what internal committees to appoint. It can decide the order of business. It can decide when to take breaks for dinner. None of those kinds of rules need to be specified in the Constitution. All that is important is to specify the rule for voting. And that has been done.

One-state, one-vote.

About The Author

Michael Farris

Michael Farris is the Chancellor of Patrick Henry College and Chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association. He was the founding president of each organization. During his career as a constitutional appellate litigator, he has served as lead counsel in the United States Supreme Court, eight federal circuit courts, and the appellate courts of thirteen states. Farris has been a leader on Capitol Hill for over thirty years and is widely respected for his leadership in the defense of homeschooling, religious freedom, and the preservation of American sovereignty. A prolific author, Farris has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Salvatori Prize for American Citizenship by the Heritage Foundation and as one of the “Top 100 Faces in Education for the 20th Century” by Education Week magazine. Farris received his B.A. in Political Science from Western Washington University. He later went on to earn his J.D. from Gonzaga University School of Law, and his LL.M. in Public International Law, from the University of London. Mike, and his wife Vickie, have ten children and 14 grandchildren.