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Why the Constitution's 'Convention for Proposing Amendments' Is a Convention of the States

October 31, 2017

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?"

U.S. Constitution

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.

Natelson concludes,

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.
Author
Robert G. “Rob” Natelson is widely acknowledged to be the country’s leading scholar on the Constitution's amendment procedure, and among the leaders on several other topics.
media@heartland.org

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