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Monday, August 1, 2022

Movement for a Constitutional Convention

There has not been a constitutional convention since the original in Philadelphia. A 2016 report from the Congressional Research Service discusses the process of calling a convention, as well as the questions and uncertainties surrounding that process. In the 1990s, the issue came up in the context of a balanced budget amendment.

"You take this grenade and you pull the pin, you've got a live piece of ammo in your hands," Santorum, a two-time GOP presidential candidate and former CNN commentator, explained in audio of his remarks obtained by the left-leaning watchdog group the Center for Media and Democracy and shared with Insider. "34 states — if every Republican legislator votes for this, we have a constitutional convention."

This isn't an exercise, either. State lawmakers are invited to huddle in Denver starting on Sunday to learn more about the inner workings of a possible constitutional convention at Academy of States 3.0, the third installment of a boot camp preparing state lawmakers "in anticipation of an imminent Article V Convention."

Some states have tried and tried — without result — to prompt a constitutional convention. They've together issued hundreds of pro-convention resolutions or calls over 200 years to reroute constitutional amendment powers away from Washington. What's new now is the ever-evolving power coupling of a corporation-backed ideological juggernaut led by ALEC, a nonprofit organization with close ties to large tobacco and drug companies, and a determined Republican Party increasingly dominating many of the nation's 50 statehouses.

The planks of the Convention of States' movement — such as term limits for federal bureaucrats in addition to members of Congress — stand to attract acolytes of Trumpism savoring the means to MAGA-fy the Constitution, and therefore, the nation.

In fact, it already has. Constitutional convention boosters include many of Trump's current and former allies, including conservative legal scholar John Eastman, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and Fox News personalities like Sean Hannity and Mark Levin.

A new report by the Center for Media and Democracy first shared with Insider finds that Republicans would control at least 27 and up to 31 out of 50 delegations to a convention, based on delegate selection processes in applications passed thus far.