Sen. Tom Coburn Pushing for Constitutional Convention

Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn says he will focus his energies on calling for a Constitutional Convention after he retires from the Senate in a few months.

Coburn tells The Hill he wants to shift powers back to the legislative branch that have moved toward the executive over the past few decades, mainly because gridlock has left Congress unable to get anything done.

“I think we ought to have a balanced budget amendment, I think we ought to have term limits. I think we ought to put a chokehold on regulation and re-establish the powers of the Congress,” he said.

President Obama’s use of executive action to pursue an array of policy goals related to climate change, immigration and healthcare reform has precipitated what many conservatives are calling a constitutional crisis.

Some liberal activists and scholars say they could support an Article V convention, but only if it were set up to be “cross-partisan.” That way, it could be used to rein in political spending by special-interest groups, which has exploded since the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC.

“If the convention is set up in a partisan way, you can be certain that whatever the convention does will fail because it takes 38 states to ratify any amendment,” said Lawrence Lessig, a professor at Harvard Law School and a self-described Democrat who supports holding a convention to reform the Constitution.

Article V of the Constitution allows for a convention to propose amendments to the Constitution if two-thirds of the states call for one.