Constitutional scholar Rob Natelson’s informative post in the Washington Post’s popular blog The Volokh Conspiracy sheds light on how to get the government to change, when it shows no sign of doing so voluntarily.  He writes:

You may have heard of campaigns to obtain constitutional amendments by persuading state legislatures to apply for what the Constitution calls a “Convention for proposing Amendments.” The movement for a balanced budget amendment is one such campaign, and it is well on the way toward enlisting enough state legislatures to trigger a convention. Several other campaigns are active as well, including the “Convention of States” movement, which seeks to limit the size and scope of the federal government, and the Wolf PAC drive to further regulate campaign funding. These and other groups seek constitutional amendment as a method of reforming the federal government. All have concluded that since Congress is unlikely to propose any amendment to reform itself, the alternative convention method of proposal must be revived…

While some wonder about the viability of such a plan, Natelson believes that this convention will take place in the next few years.  As do we.

According to the Breitbart News Network:

At least 27 states have already passed resolutions calling for an Article V Convention of the States solely for the purpose of considering the passage of a balanced budget constitutional amendment. If seven more states pass the resolution, Congress, acting solely in a ministerial capacity, “shall call a convention for proposing amendments.”

Four states have formally called for an Article V Convention of the States not limited to the consideration of just a balanced budget amendment. They are Georgia, Florida, and Alaska, which passed their resolutions in 2014, and Alabama, which passed its resolution in 2015.

Natelson knows that many people find themselves confused about how exactly this might work, so he explains the procedure for a CoS through a historical lens:

By 1787, the protocols for interstate conventions [were] standardized and generally accepted and understood. The procedure began when Congress, a prior convention, or (most commonly) a state drafted a document referred to as a “call” or “application.” This document specified the time and place of initial meeting and the subject matter. The sponsor directed the call or application to the states it wished to invite. The scope of the call might be, although usually was not, the subject of preliminary negotiation among the states concerned.

The legislature of each invited state determined whether to participate…Upon convening, the group elected officers and adopted rules. Although participants occasionally flirted with other suffrage schemes, ultimately every convention seems to have retained the rule of “one state/one vote.” This formula reflected the participating governments’ status as co-equal semi-sovereignties.

Today we might call a multi-state convention a “task force” — a group assigned one or more problems and commissioned to find solutions.

A modern day CoS would look very similar to the one described above.

At least 27 states have accepted the invitation to the “call.” And with a focal point of a balanced budget amendment, the push continues to involve 34 involved. This 2/3’s majority would constitutionally force Congress to recognize the convention and the decisions made.

As American citizens, we have the right to demand change and accountability from our federal government. When Washington refuses to act according to the will of the people, the constitution empowers us make changes happen without their permission.

To learn more about the process and how you can involve your state legislature, visit Convention of States. Click here to read the historical outline of Article V.