Testimony on HCR9
By Gary Zuckett, WV Citizen Action, garyz at wvcag.org
The U.S. Constitution offers two ways to add amendments in Article V. All 27 amendments added to the Constitution since 1789 were passed with a two-thirds vote in each chamber of Congress and then ratified by three-fourths of the states.
The other, untested way is for two-thirds of state legislatures to call for a constitutional convention, also known as an “Article V convention,” to add amendments to the Constitution once they are ratified by three-fourths of the states.
Throughout the 230-year history of the U.S. Constitution, an Article V convention has never been called by Congress. Why? There is just too much at stake.
An Article V convention is a dangerous path that puts all of our civil liberties, and freedoms at risk. There is nothing stopping a new convention from rolling back our constitutional rights and civil liberties. Our right to vote, our right to free speech, our reproductive rights, our citizenship rules, and more could all be on the chopping block.
With no rules and complete uncertainty about the constitutional process, an Article V convention would cause political and economic chaos.
There is no language in the U.S. Constitution to limit a convention to one issue, no guidelines for rules to govern a convention, no rules on who picks the delegates and how they are selected, no guarantee that the American people would be equally represented, and no limits on corporate special interest influence.
Ultimately, this process would lead to long and costly legal battles, uncertainty about how our democracy functions, and likely economic instability.
Right now, as we struggle to dig ourselves out of our social and economic Covid Pit, is not the right time to launch into this unknown territory of laying open our founding document for surgery. Instead, we should do everything in our power to make sure that every Citizen of our state and nation has access to the ultimate power to limit the terms of all elected officials, the power of the election ballot.