Overview:

Republicans have begun efforts to call a constitutional convention, which could radically remake the US Constitution.

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Conservatives worked for decades to overturn Roe, with their efforts culminating in the end of the right to abortion in the United States this summer. Now, there are reports that the right is pushing for even more radical change–to the Constitution itself. A constitutional convention would allow state legislatures to rewrite the constitution through new amendments without any input from the federal government. The President, Congress, and the Supreme Court has no role in a constitutional convention. 

Former Republican Senator Rick Santorum spoke about the possibility of a constitutional convention at the American Legislative Exchange Council’s policy summit. “You take this grenade and you pull the pin, you’ve got a live piece of ammo in your hands,” Santorum said. “34 states — if every Republican legislator votes for this, we have a constitutional convention.” 

Republican lawmakers have begun preparing for a potential constitutional convention, with conservative efforts such as the Academy of States working to plan what a convention would actually look like. 

Republicans currently control 30 state legislatures, short of the number it would take to call a constitutional convention. The convention, which could be called through the Constitution’s Article V, has never before been accomplished

However, calling a constitutional convention does not mean changes can be automatically made. Although two-thirds of state legislatures are required to call a convention, three-fourths of state legislatures must vote to ratify any potential amendments. Republicans may reach the threshold to call a convention without any power to actually make Constitutional changes without the help of states controlled by Democrats. 

Still, the effort indicates that Republicans are willing to go to potentially radical extremes in order to change the fundamental rules governing the nation.

Marcus Johnson

Marcus Johnson is a political commentator and a political science Ph.D. candidate at American University. His primary research focus is the impact of political institutions on the racial wealth gap.