If you've been paying attention, then you know that over the past five years there have been mainstream editorials (NYT, WSJ, WP, etc.) discussing whether or not we ought to convoke a federal convention for the purpose of proposing and deliberating amendments. Unfortunately both the right and the left political establishments have framed a convention as if it would have the power to ratify its own proposals. Of course that's ridiculous, because of course the three branches of government would deny such. Why is the GOP and groups like Common Cause promoting the idea that a convention might destroy the Constitution? Why are both political parties against it? When strange bedfellows appear, you can bet something profound is hidden from view.
Back in 2007, along with Michigan Chief Justice Tom Brennan and constitutional scholar Bill Walker, I was co-founder of Friends of the Article V Convention. We placed congressional records into PDF format showing the states have legally satisfied the convention clause many times over and that each member of Congress is engaged in federal criminal activity for failing to issue the call. Whether you believe that or not, you may have noticed that in the last several months many things now take place online. So why not an online convention to carry out what our society has been pussyfooting around for decades?
If you're an American and still paying attention you're probably outraged in one regard or another about how politicians act and how government responds. OK, here's your chance to lead by example. Here's your chance to do what our society is being denied by the federal government. The online convention is secured in a cloud, there are no cookies, no phishing, no advertising; just Americans discussing/building consensus about constitutional amendments.
On matters of procedure, threads commented upon go to the top. Meaning, if someone posts an amendment to the National Floor it will enter in at the top. If the proposal generates discussion it will remain at or near the top until consensus is reached, and then will fall down the list as commenting dissipates. Proposals no one feels like wasting time on, because a delegate figures such could never get seven out of ten Americans to approve, will also fall down the list (that said, if a proposal has been overlooked/deserves more consideration, a delegate can comment and send it right back to the top).
When it appears no one has any more amendments to propose, someone else makes a motion to vote. At that point, I will take each thread/proposal and pin it to the top of the National Floor with a voting function. I will post five proposals at a time and give delegates 48 hours to vote on each slate of five; when we've voted on everything, we're done. How long this will take is of course uncertain, but delegates can use discretion and wait until other proposals have reached consensus and begin to fall down the list before posting a new proposal. Meaning, delegates don't need to post all their proposals on May 25th.
Of course there will be delegates aiming for same/similar amendment language, and they should comment/caucus on the initial proposal, asking the delegate who proposed it if they would consider friendly/additional language. If the delegate proposing does not want to allow any alterations to their language, then any other delegate can propose what they think is a better version of the idea and let the final vote determine which is more worthy (we may end up with proposals of the same spirit, but different language).
Delegates can make motions at any time by typing MOTION: (and description) in the subject line of a thread. If a motion generates discussion, it too will remain at or near the top of the National Floor and can be dealt with by the convention.
Delegates who post an amendment proposal should place the initial attempt at language in bold and/or italic, and then edit the initial post to reflect any additions/alterations generated by discourse within the thread.
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