None of those checks are really checks. But I am curious about something. At least the original article on this matter wanted a Constitutional Convention for the singular purpose of using the amendment process to reverse the Supreme Court’s interpretation of free speech rights in the case of Citizen’s United v. FEC.
Okay, fair enough. It takes 2/3s of the State legislatures, or 34, to call for a Constitutional Convention. Suppose that number is reached, but the states provide different reasons for wanting to call it. Suppose it breaks down like this.
12 states request a Constitutional Convention solely to reverse Citizen’s United.
6 states request a Constitutional Convention solely to address their desire to reverse Roe v. Wade.
3 states request a Constitutional Convention solely to enshrine abortion rights in the Constitution.
1 state requests a Constitutional Convention solely to even more strongly state the free campaign spending rights enumerated in Citizen’s United are incorporated into the Constitution.
2 states request a Constitutional Convention solely to amend the Constitution so it is clear that states have the authority to regulate guns as they see fit.
4 states request a Constitutional Convention for some combination of the above purposes, involving two or more of those above.
6 states request a Constitutional Convention without stating any particular purpose for it.
Now then 34 states have called for a Constitutional Convention. The Constitutional prerequisite to call such a convention has been met and it will be called. You really think it is confined to the one issue that was single most popular reason to call it?
Now let’s address your supposed five checks on this.
- States can withdraw delegates. True, but not relevant. If a majority of state delegations (26) votes to propose a Constitutional amendment it is proposed.
- Congress can legislate that the convention stays on track. No, it cannot. The whole point is circumvent Congress, remember? Congress has zero control over the convention and zero authority to define what its “track” is.
- The judiciary which can adjudicate any dispute between the states and Congress on whether or not it has gone off track. Neither Congress nor the judiciary has any authority to say what the “track” is for the Convention. That’s half the point of the Convention. The court’s would find this a non-justiciable question or political question or just flat determine the Convention can do whatever the Hell it chooses to do.
- The delegates themselves. This is like saying the members of Congress themselves can be trusted to do the right thing. The delegates will all have their own agendas, much of it ideologically driven and not based on what you or I agree might be agree is “the right thing.”
- Ratification. As I expressly stated, that is a legitimate and important limitation. For reasons I explained, I do not feel it is absolute.