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LWV-US Study: Amending the Constitution

Reading Guide on Amending the Constitution by Convention

During 2015, the LWVUS Constitutional Amendment Committee will conduct a study and member agreement process on amending our nation's Constitution.

Article V of the U.S. Constitution provides two ways of proposing amendments to the nation's fundamental charter. Congress, by a two-thirds vote of both chambers, may propose constitutional amendments to the states for ratification. OR, the legislatures of two-thirds of the states (34 at present) may ask Congress to call a convention to propose amendments to the Constitution; this is commonly called an Article V Convention. Amendments proposed by either method must be ratified by three-fourths of the states, 38 at present.

The first method has been used by Congress to submit 33 amendments to the states, beginning with the Bill of Rights. Of these, 27 were approved; 26 are currently in effect, while one the 18th Amendment (Prohibition) was ultimately repealed.

The second method, an Article V Convention, has never been successfully invoked.

In addition to other topics, our League study will explore the process for proposing an Article V Convention in order to determine whether LWVUS would support such a convention and if so, under what circumstances. Here are some articles for Local Leagues that want to begin to prepare for the study: 


The Article V Convention to Propose Constitutional Amendments:
Contemporary Issues for Congress
Thomas H. Neale
Specialist in American National Government
Congressional Research Service
April 11, 2014 (43 pages)

This article, prepared by the Congressional Research Service, focuses on the procedural issues that Congress might face invoking an Article V convention. It covers recent developments, including the balanced budget amendment. Available here: LWVNJ Study Guide 1.pdf

The Article V Convention for Proposing Constitutional Amendments:
Historical Perspectives for Congress
Thomas H. Neale
Specialist in American National Government
Congressional Research Service
October 12, 2012 (22 pages)

This article, prepared by the Congressional Research Service, places the Article V convention in historical perspective. It addresses historical and current efforts to invoke a convention, as well as the role of the states in the process. Available here: LWVNJ Study Guide 2.pdf

More information is available on the LWV-US website:
Subpages (1): Princeton Area Responses