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FAQ Series: Doesn’t the Article V Convention Draft the Amendment?

March 21, 2016

Policy brief examining common questions on the Article V Convention.

It is a common belief that the convention called by Congress in response to the application of two-thirds of the State legislatures under Article V of the U.S. Constitution has the job of drafting the amendment(s) to be proposed. This belief has its origins in the contention that conventions inherently have wide-ranging deliberative authority that cannot be constrained to a specific pre-drafted amendment. But the overwhelming weight of the evidence indicates that the Article V convention was ordinarily meant to propose the amendment or amendments specified by two-thirds of the State legislatures in their call-triggering application. This evidence consists of the drafting history of Article V, the meaning and usage of the word “application” and “convention,” and the contemporaneous statements of the Founders and Framers at the time the Constitution was ratified and soon thereafter.