Article V of the U.S. Constitution gives a supermajority of state legislatures the power to call a convention to restrain an overreaching federal government through targeted constitutional amendments. There is no reason to worry about a “runaway” convention because three-fourths of the states—38 states—would have to ratify whatever amendment might be proposed. Moreover, nothing in the nation’s history justifies fear of a “runaway” convention.
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It is a myth that the U.S. Constitution was born of a “runaway” convention. The truth is the Convention of 1787 had an incredibly broad mandate from Congress—to establish “in these states a firm national government . . . [and] render the federal Constitution adequate to the exigencies of Government and the preservation of the Union.” In proposing the Constitution to amend the Articles of Confederation, the 1787 convention stayed well within the congressional call, as well as within the commissions of most delegates.
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