An Article V Convention Becomes More Likely As Convention of States Action Hits the Halfway Mark

(National Archives via AP)

On Jan. 31, Convention of States Action (COSA) announced that Nebraska and Wisconsin passed resolutions officially calling for an Article V Convention. They join 15 other states bringing the total to 17. These resolutions mark the halfway point for the 34 required to convene a Convention. South Dakota’s resolution also passed in the house and will head to the Senate shortly. COSA President Mark Meckler is looking forward to a year full of continued success with Iowa, South Carolina, North Carolina, West Virginia, and New Mexico. Like South Dakota, these states need passage in one more chamber.

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“We are now officially at the halfway mark for the number of states the Constitution requires to call a Convention of States to permanently limit the gross overreach of the federal government and restore balance to the republic based on the original design of our founders,” Meckler said. Meckler started COSA in 2012 after leaving the Tea Party Patriots, a group he co-founded. The grassroots organization now boasts 5 million supporters and volunteers representing every state legislative district in the country.

Its mission is to convene a limited Article V Convention to propose constitutional amendments after passing enough resolutions at the state level. If COSA reaches the 34 state threshold, the model resolutions passed by the states limit consideration to amendments that impose restrictions on the size and scope of the federal government. These may include subjects like a balanced budget requirement and term limits for federal officials. Meckler agreed that courts expanding federal intervention using the interstate commerce clause is a source of significant abuse that needs to be reigned in. He also sees term limits for federal officials applying to judges and agency bureaucrats, not just elected officials.

Meckler built support for a Convention of States in the past decade by dispelling many misconceptions about the process. The idea of a runaway convention is one of the major misconceptions he has had to fight, even within the conservative movement. Because the state resolutions contain a specific scope for the convention, if a state attempts to bring up an issue outside the stated purpose, the delegates can quash it.

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Any amendment also requires 38 states to pass it. For example, Meckler often hears concerns that an Article V Convention might restrict cherished freedoms such as the Second Amendment. He points out that the math doesn’t work. Currently, 27 states allow open carry without a permit. Laws permit firearms in 21 statehouses, with some states even allowing open carry of long guns in the gallery. Citizens of these states support their gun laws, and the likelihood that enough convention delegates would vote to limit gun rights is effectively zero.

There is active legislation to pass a resolution in 14 states requiring two chambers in 2022. Meckler says anyone interested in supporting the effort in their state should visit COSA’s website. Under the “Take Action” tab, there are several options to volunteer and a link to sign COSA’s national petition. The organization also provides training and resources so Americans can better understand the Convention of States and inform others. Visitors can also learn more about why some leading conservatives endorse the initiative.

COSA has also made all the right enemies, according to Meckler. In April 2017, the George Soros-funded left-wing policy group Common Cause declared war on COSA. With over 230 groups signing on, opposition to an Article V Convention is the largest official alliance of radical left-wing organizations mounted in the United States. These organizations are terrified of any action that will limit the central government’s power and their ability to ram their preferred policies and values down on all Americans.

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After the Trump presidency and the pandemic, Meckler sees the desire to reign in government overreach growing. “These grassroots victories have been years in the making but have accelerated rapidly in the last year, as more and more Americans realize the dangers of an out-of-control Washington, D.C., and the true power that average citizens have if they organize and refuse to surrender their God-given rights,” he noted. In 2022, COSA will be working to capitalize on those sentiments.

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