It goes by several names, such as an Article V convention, a constitutional convention
(often abbreviated as a Con-Con), a convention of the states, or a convention for proposing amendments.
But while Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones may have been somewhat ahead of the curve by calling (in January 2012) for a UKwide constitutional convention
to consider how the UK should be governed, this idea has finally garnered growing support in the wake of a shock opinion poll last week which put the Yes side narrowly ahead for the first time.
First Minister Carwyn Jones's call for a constitutional convention
more than two years ago went unheeded at Westminster where the three main parties now propose a new Scottish "Home Rule Bill", if Scotland votes No on Thursday.
Clearly constitutional conventions
are not a new phenomenon.
During both the December 2008 'parliamentary crisis' and the 2011 federal election campaign, the Conservative Party of Canada, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, appeared to hold markedly different views on key constitutional conventions
than those espoused by opposition leaders and constitutional experts.
6) Constitutional conventions
are unwritten political norms, which evolve from practices and customs.
Still, the question of whether Article V permits limited constitutional conventions
remains an interesting one, and its answer (or potential range of answers) might supply a background principle against which to construe state applications identifying a particular topic for amendments.
Part IV then identifies two themes that describe this development: (1) diffusion of power in the constitutional process to ensure that no one individual or group, whether the people, the legislature, or constitutional conventions
, has too much control in the constitutional process; and (2) the treatment of constitutional revision and amendment as a filtered and controlled manifestation of the will and sovereign power of the people.
SACRAMENTO - With skeptics discounting the Schwarzenegger administration's government streamlining plan as failed ideas of the past, the governor's aides acknowledge a potent but volatile concept has re- emerged for the first time in seven decades: a constitutional convention
to implement reforms quickly.
GEORGE MORRAN Director, West Midlands Constitutional Convention
(2002) Ltd Chairman, Campaign for the English Regions
Contrast this with the state constitutions, which are usually amendable by popular vote and by easily called constitutional conventions
, with the result that most state constitutions have hundreds of articles and are hundreds of pages long.
Such steps are supported by many present-day populists who are also promoting Article V constitutional conventions
as steppingstones to the participatory democracy they are working toward.
However, it is imperative that they are 'open source' constitutional conventions
, like the recent one in Iceland, with a real role for ordinary citizens in suggesting how we reshape our democracy.
The norms described in such statements frequently lack the clarity and the precision to be workable as constitutional conventions
It is no surprise, then, as Albert Sturm noted, that legislatures, as the principal "repositories of general policy making authority," are natural enemies of unlimited constitutional conventions