Ruling the US supreme court isn’t enough. The right wants to amend the constitution
A conservative movement to rewrite the US constitution is gaining momentum – potentially plunging the US into a vast legal unknown
In a recent primetime address, President Joe Biden spoke about “the soul of the nation” – calling out rightwing forces for their numerous efforts to undermine, if not overthrow, our democracy.
Biden’s speech was prescient, in more ways than one. In addition to many Republicans promoting the “big lie” that the 2020 election was stolen and working to fill elected offices
people ready to subvert the will of the people, there is a conservative movement underway to radically rewrite the US constitution.
The right has already packed the supreme court and is reaping the rewards, with decisions from Dobbs to Bruen that radically reinterpret the constitution in defiance of precedent and sound legal reasoning.
But factions of the right are not satisfied to wait for the court to reinterpret the constitution. Instead, they have set their sights on literally rewriting our foundational document.
Why bother with constitutional interpretation when you can change the actual text? This strategy by factions of the right could carry far graver consequences for our country and our democracy than even the right’s packing of the court or the Capitol attack on January 6.
Our founding fathers did not see the constitution as written in stone; they expected it to be revised and believed that revisions could help the document endure. As such, they included in Article V of the constitution two different mechanisms through which to amend the text.
All 27 amendments to the constitution have been achieved through only one of those mechanisms: by having two-thirds of both chambers of Congress propose an amendment to the constitution and then having that amendment ratified by three-quarters of state legislatures.
2nd mechanism, however. 2nd option is to have two-thirds of all state legislatures (34 states or more) apply for a constitutional convention and then to have three-quarters of all state legislatures or state ratifying conventions ratify any amendments proposed by the convention.
To be clear, a constitutional convention under Article V has never before been held. Moreover, the constitution provides no rules on how a constitutional convention would actually be run in practice.
There is nothing in the constitution about how delegates would be selected, how they would be apportioned, or how amendments would be proposed or agreed to by delegates. And there is little useful historical precedent that lends insight to these important questions.
This means that nearly any amendment could be proposed at such a convention, giving delegates enormous power to engage in political and constitutional redrafting.