Why the Constitution's 'Convention for Proposing Amendments' Is a Convention of the States
State lawmakers weighing whether to apply for a federal amendments convention are often asked, "How do you know an amendments convention is a convention of the states?"
This Heartland Policy Brief—“Why the Constitution’s ‘Convention for Proposing Amendments’ Is a Convention of the States”—gives a firm answer.
The Policy Brief’s author, Professor Robert G. Natelson, is widely acknowledged as America’s leading active scholar on the Constitution’s amendment process. His work reveals:
- Newly uncovered Founding-era official documents identifying an amendments convention as a “convention of the states.”
- The little-known U.S. Supreme Court case stating an amendments convention is a “convention of the states.”
- The two delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention who specifically called an amendments convention a “convention of the states.”
- How the first legislative application for an amendments convention—passed in 1788—identified an amendments convention a “convention of the states.”
- How leading Founders emphasized over and over again the state legislatures’ leading role in proposing amendments.
- Why the convention of states model remains the ONLY model in tune with modern realities.
A convention for proposing amendments is a convention of the states. That conclusion is supported by history previous to the Constitution’s ratification, by numerous explicit and implicit statements from the Ratification Era, and by the constitutional design.