OPINION: Dangerous call for Constitutional Convention

Director of Constitutional Convention & Protect Dissent Program
Common Cause

Far right groups pushing for Article V – a dangerous plot to reshape our Constitution – are running scared.

How do I know? Because they’re already walking back and deflecting – claiming that a “runaway” convention that puts our entire Bill of Rights at stake couldn’t happen – and that they promise they’ll only use Article V to accomplish what they say they will, no more and no less.

Well, it’s just not true. There are no rules for an Article V convention, which means that once they get the six more states they need, they can devise any rules they want – and take away every right you and I hold dear in the process.

Here’s what that could mean for you and me:

• The First Amendment gutted – ushering in the anti-protest and anti-journalist laws Governor Ron DeSantis is pushing in Florida to every state in the U.S.

• Our right to vote denied – making it even easier for politicians to pass racist laws and limit, obstruct, or even override your votes.

• Environmental protections ended – inviting polluters to pollute our neighborhoods and destroy our climate.

• And wealthy donors laughing all the way to the bank – because Big Pharma, gun manufacturers, and Wall Street would all win big after a pro-corporate convention rigs our laws in their favor.

And that’s just scratching the surface of what’s at stake if Article V is called and corporations and megadonors are allowed to shred our Constitution.

That’s the terrifying reality of what we are up against – which is why the groups behind the Article V plot are desperately trying to deny what’s at stake. They claim there are safeguards to prevent a rogue convention, and that you and I should just look the other way and let it happen.

But the fact is: the Constitution itself doesn’t set any rules for what Article V would look like. That means there is absolutely nothing stopping a convention’s attendees from throwing out the rules once they get there and coming up with new ones out of thin air.

This is why many constitutional experts believe Article V is the biggest present threat to our democracy – and it’s happening right now, fueled by right-wing special interest groups, behind closed doors and out of the public eye.

I’m not telling you this to cause panic, and I want to be absolutely clear that all hope is not lost.

That’s because Common Cause knows how to win these state-by-state fights against Article V– in fact, we already have.

Already this year, we’ve stopped Montana’s Article V call by one vote. Last year, we mobilized to roll back Article V calls in New Jersey and Illinois. And before that, we rescinded them in Colorado, New Hampshire, Delaware, New Mexico, Maryland, and Nevada – in addition to stopping nearly 150 new calls for a convention each year in states across the country.

But I’m writing to you with urgency today because already, 33 states have introduced resolutions in legislative sessions that started just two months ago.

We’re anticipating that this year, we’ll have to work harder than ever before to stop Article V. And this fight is going to be a resource-intensive one. We’re up against multi-million dollar donors with a lot to gain and near-endless resources.

Our team is preparing to drastically ramp up our state-by-state organizing strategy to stay on top of all the new calls for a convention.

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