Guarding against an Article V Constitutional Convention

The call for a federal constitutional convention is a dangerous threat to our democracy. While Common Cause Maryland obviously supports fighting big money in politics, we steadfastly oppose a constitutional convention.

Though we are committed to a constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United, we believe a convention under Article V is the wrong approach. We oppose a constitutional convention because we believe there is too much legal ambiguity that leads to too great a risk that it could be hijacked by those pushing a radical agenda that poses a very real threat to American democracy.

What is an Article V Convention?

Under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, Congress is required to hold a constitutional convention if two-thirds of state legislatures (34 states) call for one.

But here’s the catch: there are absolutely no rules for an Article V Convention outlined in the Constitution.

That means the group of people convening to rewrite our Constitution could be totally unelected and unaccountable. There is nothing that could limit the convention to a single issue, so the delegates could write amendments that revoke any of our most cherished rights – like our right to peaceful protest, our freedom of religion, or our right to privacy. There are also no rules preventing corporations from pouring money into the convention to ensure they get their way. In short, an Article V Convention would be a disaster. It would lead to long and costly legal battles, uncertainty about how our democracy functions, and likely economic instability.

A Constitutional Convention Cannot Be Limited Because:

  • The U.S. Constitution does not lay out any guidelines or rules for a convention.
  • There is no clear judicial, legislative, or executive body that would have authority over the convention.
  • Given the lack of rules and authority, the convention would likely open to outside and special interests.
  • The convention could create its own ratification process, rewriting the U.S. Constitution’s states process.
  • During the 2017 session, the Maryland Legislature rescinded call for a dangerous Article V constitutional convention.

A nationwide push has these well-funded advocates fast approaching the number required to call for an Article V constitutional convention. The Maryland legislature has taken a key step away from this dangerous precipice, and to safeguard our constitutional liberties and civil rights by rescinding its call for an Article V convention!

Join Common Cause Maryland in our ongoing fight to protect the Constitution.