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Why the Constitution's 'Convention for Proposing Amendments' Is a Convention of the States

28 Pages Posted: 8 May 2017 Last revised: 25 Oct 2017

Robert G. Natelson

Independence & Heartland Institutes

Date Written: October 24, 2017


A prominent feature of public discussion about whether the state legislatures should require Congress to call a “convention for proposing amendments” are claims that the protocols and composition of such a convention are unknown. These claims are incorrect.

This Article presents the evidence demonstrating that the Supreme Court spoke accurately when it classified an amendments convention as “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. The Article further concludes that the convention of states formula is the only model for an amendments convention likely to win public acceptance.

Keywords: constitutional law, constitution, Article V, Article 5, constitutional amendment, constitutional convention, amendments convention, convention for proposing amendments, convention of states, convention of the states

JEL Classification: K10, K19, K30, K39

Suggested Citation

Natelson, Robert G., Why the Constitution's 'Convention for Proposing Amendments' Is a Convention of the States (October 24, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Robert G. Natelson (Contact Author)

Independence & Heartland Institutes ( email )

727 E. 16th Ave.
Denver, CO 80203
United States
303-279-6536 (Phone)


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