With the recent oral arguments surrounding Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, calls for constitutional reform have echoed around the country. A little-known passage in the U.S. Constitution allows the states to draft and the people to ratify amendments without Congress. Recently, both reformers and politicians have agreed a convention to propose amendments is no longer hypothetical, it’s happening.
“…There are currently applications from 27 states requesting a convention on a Balanced Budget Amendment and six generic applications for a general convention,” said outgoing NJ Senate President Steve Sweeney. “Despite the differing reasons, that makes 33 states with pending applications, and only one more would be required to call for a constitutional convention.”
"I wish to personally thank Sweeney for confirming in public what we have been saying in private all along,” said David Biddulph, founder of the Let us Vote for a Balanced Budget Amendment Citizen Campaign, “A national convention to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution is going to happen, not only in our lifetimes, but I predict it will happen in the next year or two.”
"I am eagerly introducing a resolution this legislative session, which I hope will be number 34 and the final measure needed to compel a national convention," said State Senator Rex Rice (SC-2), "I am also introducing legislation to hold convention delegates to their oath of office as they serve the public in what will surely be one of the most interesting periods in American history. I encourage other legislators around the country to do the same."
Recent Supreme Court decisions, such as Chiafalo v. Washington, have reaffirmed the safety of a convention process and allayed concerns about oath-taking delegates who would attempt to deviate from their original purpose.
"The Supreme Court has said delegates must do the will of the people who send them to an assembly. That much is crystal clear from the recent Electoral College decision," said Mike Kapic, author of Conventions That Made America. "As a further safety check, the Assembly of State Legislatures recently negotiated bipartisan rules for an orderly and organized convention process. I am convinced that commissioners from the states assembled at a convention will behave much better than the members of Congress that we see on our television screens every day."
At least 33 states currently have active certified resolutions calling for a convention, but historically, Congress has received many more calls on a variety of issues. Most amendments to the U.S. Constitution began with convention calls from the states and ended with Congress proposing the desired amendment, including the Bill of Rights. But on issues where Congress is the source of the problem, such as fiscal responsibility and election integrity, reformers are skeptical a solution will ever come out of Washington D.C.
"Americans agree, Congress is stuck consistently in overspending and increasing taxes on American business and families. There is a genuine lack of political will for reform in the nation’s capital," said Bob Carlstrom of the Association of Mature American Citizens, "The people and the states must come together soon to propose a permanent fix for the nation's financial disorder, or the ship of state may sink due to the lack of stewardship and loose spending from our federal representatives. There exists a process in the Constitution to do just that. Let's use it."
Not all politicians and reformers greeted this recent news of the imminent convention with fanfare. Some even reacted with alarm and began to immediately work to halt the number at 33 and possibly even rescind some of the currently active resolutions, a constitutionally questionable practice. For example, in New Jersey, SCR161 recently passed the New Jersey State Senate and its companion bill in the Assembly, ACR222, is scheduled for a vote this week.
“Rather than focusing on issues important to voters, like getting kids back in school or reducing property taxes, New Jersey's lame duck session is being used to throttle the high hopes of reformers on both sides of the political aisle," said Tom Llewellyn of the Let Us Vote for a Balanced Budget Amendment Citizens Campaign, Inc. "Prior to voting this week, Sweeney’s counterparts in the Assembly may want to ask if it's wise to walk down that garden path with a proven loser when voters of both parties disagree with what you're doing. Political logic like that will get you beat by a trucker who spent less on his whole campaign than you did on the bar tab at Di Paulo’s."
For more information, please visit: https://letusvoteforbba.org
Let Us Vote for a Balanced Budget Amendment