During the 1960s & 70s, the left-leaning U.S. Supreme Court issued three controversial decisions (including Roe V. Wade) which conservative states sought to reverse using the Article V Convention. This prompted the far left to attack the process by floating the ‘run-away’ convention myth.
It wasn’t until the 1970s when the states launched a campaign to propose a balanced budget amendment, that a cabal of left-wing groups led by Vice President Walter Mondale really fought back by claiming that the convention delegates could ‘run-away’ and re-write the Constitution. Unfortunately, a number of conservatives bought into these myths and have propagated them for over thirty years. Accordingly, we will debunk them.
- MYTH 1: Conspiracy theorists assert that since the Constitution doesn't give Congress the power to control the Article V Convention, the delegates could 'run-away' and re-write the Constitution.
- FALSE. The 10th Amendment grants the states all powers not given to the federal government which means that the states can limit the convention to one amendment and remove any delegate who attempts to defy that limit.
- MYTH 2: Conspiracy theorists assert that the far-left could take over the convention and use it to re-write the Constitution or repeal the 2nd amendment.
- FALSE. The far-left doesn’t have enough states. The Democratic party only controls 17 state legislatures of which only a half-dozen could be considered far-left. It takes 26 states to control the convention.
- MYTH 3: Conspiracy theorists assert that the Article V Convention is really a Constitutional Convention the true purpose of which is to write a new Constitution.
- FALSE. When our founders drafted the U.S. Constitution, they specifically rejected language for Article V that would have allowed the states to call a wide open “Constitutional Convention.” The Constitution refers to the Article V Convention as a “Convention for proposing Amendments.” It does NOT have the power to re-write the Consitution. State convention delegates can only PROPOSE individual amendments, not a new Constitution.
- MYTH 4: Conspiracy theorists assert that the original Constitutional Convention was a 'run-away' convention and therefore somehow that guarantees that any Article V Convention would 'run-away' as well.
- IRRELEVANT. The 1787 convention didn’t have all the constitutional safeguards that the Article V Convention has. Accordingly, any comparison is a waste of time. For those who insist that the U.S. Constitution was illegally proposed, we suggest that they ask the Supreme Court to declare the Constitution, unconstitutional.
- MYTH 5: Conspiracy theorists assert that James Madison was against the Article V Convention as evidenced by this quote, Having witnessed the difficulties and dangers experienced by the first Convention . . . I should tremble for the result of a second.
- FALSE. James Madison helped write Article V and approved of it by SIGNING the Constitution! The above quote was taken from a private letter in which Madison worried about the attempt by two states to call an Article V Convention to completely re-write the Constitution before it ever took effect. Fortunately, the safeguards our founders established to prevent abuse of the Article V Convention worked exactly as they intended. The two troublemaking states failed (by a long shot) to reach the two-thirds state threshold required to call a convention.
- Warren Burger Letter: The former Supreme Court Chief Justice wrote a scathing letter attacking the Article V Convention by claiming that it could 'run-away' and destroy the Constitution.
- Conflict of Interest. Warren Burger launched these attacks to discourage Republican state legislators from using the Article V Convention to repeal a number of controversial Supreme Court decisions rendered in the 1950s, 60s & 70s — including some his own decisions.