A Final Vindication of the Principle of State Sovereignty in Article V
August 22, 2016
Fed Up? This #GivingTuesday Be Heard
November 28, 2017
The Ultimate Compact for America Pitch! Seven Reasons Why the Compact for a Balanced Budget is Best
November 12, 2014
Why the Compact for America approach makes the most sense:
The Compact approach was designed specifically to ratify a powerful constitutional amendment in as few as twelve months!
With 4 states already on board, the Compact approach is only 34 state enactments, 1 congressional resolution, and one 24-hour convention away from ratifying a powerful Balanced Budget Amendment that you can actually read today (here is our one page BBA analysis and one page Compact outline).
By contrast, even if you count every one of the disputed existing Article V Balanced Budget Amendment applications from the 1970s and 80s, the BBA Task Force approach will still require at least 68 more state enactments (8+ more applications, 22+ delegate appointment laws, and 38 state ratification resolutions), a convention of indefinite duration, and two congressional resolutions before generating a ratified amendment. And you don’t even know what amendment you will get.
Likewise, with 3 states on board after a massive deployment of resources, the Convention of the States approach still has at least 95 more state enactments (31 applications, 26+ delegate appointment laws, and 38 state ratification resolutions), a convention of indefinite duration, and two congressional resolutions before generating a ratified amendment. Also, you don’t know what the amendments will look like.
Reasonable Fears are Neutralized
The Compact approach was designed specifically to neutralize all runaway convention fears that might be entertained by reasonable, but risk averse people, by fully answering all process questions up-front and strictly limiting the convention to a 24 hour up-or-down vote as a matter of state and constitutional law (under the Contracts Clause) as well as arguably also as a matter of federal law (our answers to Eagle Forum's famous twenty questions are here and our one page “17 Safeguards” breakdown is here).
The BBA Task Force Approach and the Convention of the States approach rely primarily on a 38 state ratification hurdle, which has an 11% failure rate (16th Amendment (income tax), 17th Amendment (popular election of U.S. senators), and 18th Amendment (prohibition)).
The broad agenda of the Convention of the States approach will eventually force its advocates to concede radical amendment proposals fall within its scope. Even though the proposal of such amendments is politically unrealistic, the fact that such questions will be raised will tend to stoke fear of the process akin to fear of a runaway convention in blue and red states alike.
Powerful and Poll-Tested Bipartisan Reform
Compact for America's pre-drafted Balanced Budget Amendment payload was designed to secure bipartisan approval in 38 states and Congress, and still be powerful enough to warrant your support (here is the summary and full polling data report supporting our judgment in this regard)
The BBA Task Force and Convention of the States approaches cannot offer any assessment as to whether any amendments their conventions might propose will actually garner equivalent support in 38 states because it is not known what amendments will be proposed.
Claims that the BBA Task Force and Convention of the States approaches will generate more popular or impactful amendments are purely speculative.
Compact for America's tactical flexibility in being able to secure congressional approval in a single resolution at any time allows the states to circumvent nearly any effort by Congress to sabotage the amendment process.
Both the BBA Task Force and the Convention of the States approaches are vulnerable to Congress calling the convention with strings attached, including unrealistic logistical mandates, and conflicting designations of delegates and rules for the convention.
Both the BBA Task Force and the Convention of the States approaches are vulnerable to Congress frustrating the possibility of ratification by referring out any eventual amendment with a short sunset date.
Persistence of Effort
By forming a commission of member states as soon as two states join, the Compact approach will enable the member states to maximize their influence on other states to join, on Congress to play along, and on political candidates to endorse the process.
Both the BBA Task Force and the Convention of the States approaches are primarily organized by interest groups with no institutional persistence or platform for state-to-state engagement, state-to-Congress engagement, or state-to-candidate engagement.
By specifying the voting rule of one-state/one-vote, securing the support of 38 states for that rule, and securing congressional approval of that rule before any convention is called, the Compact approach minimizes any possibility of disputes arising at the convention over voting practices.
Both the BBA Task Force and the Convention of the States approaches are vulnerable to Congress or large population states using litigation or brute force to secure population-based voting.
The Compact approach can be deployed again and again, in parallel or sequentially, with different payloads when the political winds align behind new amendment ideas, just like a ballot measure.
The bottom line is that the Compact approach is called “Article V 2.0” for a reason. We have controlled all controllable political and legal variables to maximize the chances of meaningful constitutional reform that will appeal to most Americans.