More States Join Call for Constitutional Convention

Utah is one of the 27 states to call for a Constitutional Convention, where states can propose and adopt amendments to the Constitution. Just seven more states need to join the call to reach the two-thirds threshold.

At the end of the 2015 session, Utah was state number 26 to call for a convention. Backers of the idea are targeting nine Republican-controlled states to see if they can bring that number to the required 34. 

If they get there, what happens next? From the Washington Post:

The problem is that while the Constitution allows amendments to be adopted and sent to the states by a two-thirds vote of both the House and Senate, or by a national convention called by two-thirds of the states, the founding document is silent on how such a convention would operate. How many delegates each state would receive, the rules under which a convention would operate and who would set the agenda would be left up to Congress – all of those would be open questions.

Most worrying to some who oppose the convention: There’s no indication that a convention could be limited to just one topic. Hypothetically, delegates could take up any issue they wanted, from reinstating Prohibition to eliminating the direct election of senators. More extreme scenarios envision delegates revisiting the 13th Amendment, which banned slavery, or inserting corporate giveaways into the Constitution.

“There’s no authority establishing in the Constitution above that of a convention. If you call a convention, what you’re doing is opening up the Constitution to whatever the delegates want to propose,” said Michael Leachman, director of state fiscal research at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the center-left think tank that has opposed calls for a convention since the 1980s.