Constitutional Convention Quietly Gains Traction
Never-before-used tactic is highly controversial
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2014 5:08 PM CST
Updated Dec 6, 2014 6:30 AM CST
In this file photo, a visitor uses a touch screen to look through a rough draft of the Constitution at the "Library of Congress Experience" in Washington.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

(Newser) – The US Constitution has 27 amendments, all of which have been added in the usual manner laid out in high school civics texts. But Bloomberg catches up with a movement to alter the Constitution in a way that's never been done—by holding a constitutional convention to draft changes. In order for such a convention to happen, two-thirds of the states need to call for one, and advocates say they've already cracked the two-dozen mark on the way to the necessary 34. As Bloomberg's Albert Hunt explains, most of the push is coming from fiscal conservatives who want to add an amendment requiring a balanced budget or some other kind of financial discipline.

Hunt thinks it's "still not likely" the movement will succeed, but what has critics and constitutional scholars worried nonetheless is the unprecedented nature of such a convention. Would anything be up for debate? Might the Bill of Rights be endangered, at least theoretically? Robert Greenstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities writes in the Washington Post that everything about a possible convention, from the selection of delegates to the voting rules, is uncharted territory. "That means that under a convention, anything goes," he writes. The website rounds up views from high-profile advocates, including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who calls a convention the only way to "restrain the size of the federal government."