Major newspapers agree: An Article V convention is a dangerous way to amend the Constitution

Chuck Westover
3 min readMay 3, 2017

(Note: This list first appeared on the CBPP website.)

“Many of us can point to one constitutional provision or another that we believe we could improve upon if given a chance. But a convention could do great damage to a charter that, on balance, has worked pretty well for a pretty long time. To take such a risk on behalf of a stupendously unworthy cause such as a balanced-budget amendment would be foolhardy in the extreme.” — The Washington Post

“A convention would be impossible to control. Nothing in the Constitution gives Congress or the Supreme Court the power to tell the conventioneers what to do, or not do. A convention might be tasked to draft a balanced budget amendment and then decide that it wants to radically change the nature of the federal government or its relationship with the states. It might take up a passion of the moment by, say, limiting immigration by nationality or religious affiliation. It would have nearly unfettered powers to tinker with the DNA of America’s 240-year-old democracy.” — USA Today

“Supporters will tell you that the convention would be limited to writing an amendment on a balanced budget. But once assembled, those in attendance might find they have an appetite for more changes. Maybe there’d be a temptation to curb all those annoying protests by limiting the freedom to assemble. Or to make this a more Christian nation by messing with the freedom to worship. Or to act against mass shootings by taking out any right to bear arms. Or to move against what the president has labeled as “the enemy of the people,” a free media.” — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Convening a summit to amend the U.S. Constitution in today’s world of polarized-and-social-media-ized politics would be like giving a baby a ball-peen hammer — there’s no telling what the damage would be.” — The Dallas Morning News

“There’s good reason why this has never happened: There are no rules, and for every “good” idea for an amendment that a convention could produce, there are several “bad” ones that could also result from it.” The Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“Once convened, however, delegates to the convention could radically rewrite the Constitution, a potentially dangerous development that should be avoided.” — Knoxville News-Sentinel

“Calling a Convention sets a precedent that could endanger the very document so many Americans hold dear…There’s a reason a Constitutional Convention hasn’t been called since 1787. Conservatives and others who value the nation’s founding document should be wary of the can of worms a Constitutional Convention could open.” — Charleston Gazette-Mail

“The danger of such an event is that its delegates would run amok. No one can say with certainty what the government would look like after they got done reinventing the country.” — The Lincoln Journal Star

“With so little precedent to guide the proceedings, a constitutional convention would be messy, unpredictable and dangerous.” — Wisconsin State Journal

“A runaway convention, and that is very possible, could be a threat to the Bill of Rights. Liberal states might try to alter the Second Amendment. Conservatives might want to change the First Amendment making Christianity the official religion of the country. There are no limits or restrictions on what such a convention could address.” — Tulsa World

“The first convention was guided by a presiding officer who put country above politics. That’s another reason why a second convention should be avoided. There is no George Washington among us today.” — Greensboro News & Record



Chuck Westover

Obsessed @UWBadgers & Detroit sports fan. Progressive, fmr @JenGranholm, @GovHowardDean, @ChrisVanHollen, @AFSCME, @LinkedIn, now @TheDemCoalition & on my own.