Research on Specific Article V Issues

Counsel on Drafting an Article V Application
Help with Filing State-Approved Article V Applications with Congress
• Misc. Article V-Related Resource Papers
• Resources on the “Runaway Convention” Question
• Resources on the Question of Limiting an Article V Convention
• Resources on the Potential for Litigation when 34th Application is Reached
• Resources on the Question of Congress’ Involvement in an A5 Convention
• Resources on History of the Phrase “Convention of States”

Counsel on Drafting an Article V Application:

State Initiation of Constitutional Amendments: A Guide for Lawyers and Legislative Drafters – 2016 – Robert Natelson.

This 354-page treatise is one of the most thorough, and possibly the most practically useful, Article V papers available.  It is comprehensive, thoroughly documented, and includes references to the significant quantity of decided Article V case law that already exists.


Article V Guide for Legislative Drafters – by Robert Natelson.

This publication is designed to assist legislators, lawyers, and legislative drafters as they consider legislation aimed at state-initiated Article V applications. This compendium for Lawyers and Legislative Drafters was published by the Convention of States Project.


Principles for Drafting A Balanced Budget Amendment – December 1, 2014 – by Robert Natelson.


Article V: A Handbook for State Lawmakers – 2016 – Written by Robert Natelson and published by the American Legislative Exchange Council.


State Lawmakers! Don’t Put Extraneous Matter in Your Article V Application – January 20, 2017 – by Robert Natelson.

A warning to State lawmakers who are sponsoring an Article V convention application.

Help with Filing State-Approved Article V Applications with Congress

The Proper Way to Transmit State-Approved Article V Applications to Congress – September 2019

This article, commissioned by the State Legislators’ Article V Caucus, has been prepared to assist state legislators and the person they designate to transmit to Congress any Article V applications to Congress. At the drafting stage, the application resolution should conclude its content with a specific directive as to who is to transmit the application to Washington, once it is approved. It would be sad to see all the work involved in getting such applications adopted go for naught just because (a) it is unclear who has the responsibility to effect that transmission, or (b) that person did not know the very specific steps that need to be taken to assure proper transmission. It is advised that this article be printed and given to the person charged with transmitting the adopted resolution.

Misc. Article V-Related Resource Papers:

Counting to Two Thirds: How Close Are We to a Convention for Proposing Amendments to the Constitution? – Federalist Society Review, Volume 19, May 9, 2018 by Rob Natelson

This article argues that, in aggregating applications from states to call a convention for proposing amendments under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, Congress should count plenary (unlimited) applications toward a limited-subject convention.

America’s Last Chance: An Article V General Convention – June 2018, Updated December 2018 by the American Constitution Foundation

This white paper argues that all state Article V applications submitted to Congress over the years should (unless rescinded or unless they contain disqualifying verbiage) be counted toward the required 2/3 of the states required to trigger a Call by Congress for a convention to proposed constitutional amendments.

John Cogswell Opinion RE: ACF Study – December 2018

Attorney John M. Cogswell’s review and analysis of the American Constitution Foundation study and conclusions.  This analysis also takes into consideration earlier studies by Rob Natelson (above) and by Professor Michael Stokes Paulsen.  Appendices to this analysis are provided separately, below.

Appendices – John Cogswell Opinion – December 2018

Appended documentation related to the Cogswell opinion above.

23 Unanswerable Article V Questions… And Their Answers – by Rob Natelson


Twenty False Claims Regarding a Balanced Budget Amendment Convention – by David Guldenshuh


The Lamp of Experience: Constitutional Amendments Work

This is an April 2016 article by Rob Natelson that was originally published in American Thinker.  Some opponents of an amendments convention claim that such an exercise is pointless because Constitutional amendments will not be followed/honored.  Natelson points to over two centuries of American experience — experience that demonstrates that amendments work.  Although all US Constitutional amendments thus far adopted were originated in Congress, he notes that those amendments have had a major impact on American political life, mostly for good.


Fear, Pervasive Distrust Hold Back Constitutional Amendments – May, 2018 – by Kevin C. Walsh

Writing for the National Review, Mr. Walsh says, “Constitutional originalists should … welcome successful constitutional amendments because they legitimate the formal mode of amendment as the way that constitutional change ought to be accomplished.” His article makes some excellent general points about amending America’s national charter. For instance, Walsh says, “When we look beyond our amendment culture to our constitutional culture more generally, we see pervasive distrust and fear. These attitudes are manifest in the concerns that people of a range of political persuasions have expressed on one occasion or another about what ‘they, the People’ on ‘the other side’ will do if we start tinkering with the Constitution.”


The Article V Movement – July 2015 – by David Guldenschuh

A Comprehensive Assessment to Date and Suggested Approach for State Legislators and Advocacy Groups Moving Forward


Our Constitutional Moment – by Tyler Watts, Ph.D.

This May 6, 2014 essay was published in the Indiana Policy Review.  The heavily footnoted essay makes clear why the only way to reign-in federal over-reach and out-of-control spending is through the use of Article V.


Wisconsin Testimony of Tim Dake

This file is the testimony of Tim Dake (author of Far From Unworkable) given at the March 28, 2017 Wisconsin Joint Federalist Committee hearing.  His presentation is an example of how to counter the considerable misinformation that is often distributed by Article V opponents.


Young Americans Beware

A publication prepared in booklet form by and for millennials, warning them of the national debt their parents and grandparents are leaving for them.


Why an Article V Application for a Balanced Budget Amendment is Safe – February 15, 2015 – by Michael Stern

This letter was written by Attorney Michael Stern in February 2015 to a state legislator who was concerned about a possible “runaway convention.”


When We Amend the Constitution, Make Sure We Follow the U.S. Procedure, not the “Confederate States” Procedure – September 19, 2016 – by Robert Natelson.

Deals with the issues surrounding efforts to pre-write a proposed amendment for an up/down vote by an Article V convention.


What is an Amendments Convention “Application?” What is a “Call?” – February 25, 2016 – by Robert Natelson.

Deals with the Latinate etymology of two words which are key to the Article V process.


The Impending “Convention for Proposing Amendments” – December 13, 2015 through February 7, 2016 – by Robert Natelson.

This series of six articles originally appeared in the Washington Post’sVolokh Conspiracy,” a leading constitutional law website.                                                                              Part 1 Part 2 Part 3   Part 4   Part 5   Part 6


Resources on the “Runaway Convention” Question:

How progressives promoted the ‘runaway convention’ myth to save judicial activism – As published in The Hill on May 7, 2017 – by Rob Natelson

The specter of a “runaway convention” has been raised by fringe elements on both the left and the right. The claim starts with efforts to confuse an amendments convention with a constitutional convention, or “con-con”.  The claims first arose in the 20th century.  During the 1960s and 1970s, leading establishment liberals, such as Kennedy speechwriter Theodore Sorensen and Kennedy confidant Arthur Goldberg, capitalized on that confusion by raising the runaway specter.  Their plan was to scare people away from using the Constitution’s amendments convention mechanism.  Read the details in this article.


Article V and the “Runaway Convention” – September 21, 2011- by Michael Stern


A Response to the Runaway Scenario – April 17, 2016 – by Robert Natelson.


How the Hamilton Electors Show that an Article V Convention Cannot Run Away – January 1, 2017 – by Michael Stern. 

This scholarly piece discusses Delegate Limitation Acts (DLAs) and details evidence that states have the unquestioned authority to instruct and control their delegates to an Article V convention.


Runaway Convention? Meet the ULC: An Annual Conference of States Started in 1892 That Has Never Run Away – January 11, 2017 – by Kenneth Quinn.

The states have been meeting together every single year since 1892 (except 1945) to propose laws through the Uniform Law Commission (ULC, also known as the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws  The Uniform Law Commission follows the same rules that have governed multi-state conventions throughout American history, and their sessions have never run away.


Resources on the Question of Limiting an Article V Convention:

The Constitutionality of a Limited Convention: An Originalist Analysis, Constitutional Commentary – 2012 – by Michael B. Rappaport, University of San Diego School of Law


Article V and the Single Amendment Convention – March 2017 – by Michael Stern


May state legislative applications limit an Article V convention? Subject, yes; specific language, probably not – October 20, 2016 – by Robert Natelson.

Deals with the question of limiting an Article V convention to a subject or to a specific pre-written proposed amendment.


What Happens If 34 States Submit Article V Applications and No One Is Counting? – April 2017 – by Karla A. Jones.

Ms. Jones of the American Legislative Exchange Council reports that Congressman Luke Messer (IN) has introduced a bill that calls on the Archivist of the United States to separate all the applications and rescissions from all other Congressional records housed at the Archives and transmit them to Congress.  Additionally, the Archivist would be obligated to organize copies of applications and rescissions and submit a report to Congress detailing the extent of suspected missing applications or rescissions not found in the compilations.


Resources on the Potential for Litigation when 34th Application is Reached:

Justiciability of Claims Related to the Article V Convention and the Political Question Doctrine (Coleman v. Miller, 307 U.S. 433 – 1939) – September 16, 2016 – by Michael Stern


More on The Justiciability of Controversies Related ti the Article V Convention – March 4, 2017 – by Michael Stern


More on Justiciability: Dyer v. Blair – March 6, 2017 – by Michael Stern


Resources on the Question of Congress’ Involvement in an A5 Convention:

Could Congress Control an Amendments Convention? Not According to the Founders! – October 5, 2016 – by Robert Natelson.

Deals with the question of possible Congressional control over an Article V convention.


Mike Stern Rebuts Claim that “Congress would control a convention” – February 24, 2015 – by Michael Stern.

The response of Article V scholar and former House of Representatives legal counsel Mike Stern to the irresponsible claim that Congress could control a Convention for Proposing Amendments.


The Famous Case of Coleman v. Miller

This is a September 2014 paper by Rob Natelson which dissects a Supreme Court case known as Coleman v. Miller that dealt with a series of Constitutional amendment issues.  He notes that while some folks believe that through that case the Supreme Court granted all decisions over the amendment process to Congress, many judicial decisions have followed “history” in interpreting Article V issues.


Resources on History of the Phrase “Convention of States”:

Why the Constitution’s ‘Convention for Proposing Amendments’ Is a Convention of the States – October 2017 – by Rob Natelson, published by Heartland Institute.

This 28-page Brief is broken into 6 parts ranging from review of a related Supreme Court decision, to a detailed history of interstate conventions, to details on amendment ratification… and includes 10 pages of documentation/references.  It is a publication every state legislator should read.

How We Know a National Amendments Convention Is a ‘Convention of the States’Published at on May 18, 2017 – by Rob Natelson.

This is the Article V scholar’s latest review of the historic facts that support the conclusion that “a convention of the states” provided for in Article V of the Constitution is a known type of assembly with clear parameters.


Why the Constitution’s ‘Convention for Proposing Amendments’ Is a Convention of the States  – May, 2017 – by Rob Natelson.

This 38-page treatise, citing research by multiple scholars and a Supreme Court decision, proves that an amendments convention is a convention of the states… a kind of gathering that has been a frequent feature in American history, and whose protocols and composition are thoroughly documented.