States Move Close To Constitutional Convention Call

Virginia may be added to the list of states calling for a Constitutional Convention, an event critics say would open the door for a rewrite of the Constitution and put civil liberties at risk.

Virginia Sen. Emmett Hanger said he intends to sponsor a bill calling for the convention in order to add a balanced-budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution can be amended two ways: with two-thirds of the House of Representatives and the Senate approving an amendment that is later ratified by three-fourths of the states, or if two-thirds of the states (currently 34) pass resolutions calling for a convention.

Thirty-two of 34 states have passed resolutions calling for a Constitutional Convention. Several of those states have rescinded these resolutions in past years, but legal arguments can be made that invalidate these rescissions.

If Hanger’s bill succeeds, Virginia will be the 33rd state to call for a convention, which has not been held since the original constitution was drafted in 1787. Some Ohio legislators have indicated they would like to move toward passing a resolution calling for a convention as well, which would bring the total to the required 34. 

“States that approve this are operating under the misnomer that they can control the issues at a Constitutional Convention,” Tom DeWeese, president of the American Policy Center, told the Staunton News Leader. “I liken it to putting the Constitution on the operating table and using a pen as a scalpel, and then you can just remove or add whatever you like.”