Constitution Daily

Smart conversation from the National Constitution Center

Video: Call a convention to amend the Constitution?

December 7, 2016 by NCC Staff


Almost everyone can think of something they would like to change in the U.S. Constitution.  Some would like to update it to fit new technologies and evolving social mores.  Others think the Supreme Court has illegitimately “updated” it too much already, and would like to restore its original meaning.


Either way, it is always tempting to invoke Article V to amend the Constitution — to “fix" it, or “restore" it, or “improve" it.  But, on the other hand, there is a substantial risk to tinkering with the Constitution:  many amendments seem to have unintended consequences.

And calling a convention for proposing amendments is even riskier, because it has never been done before — and it might inadvertently put the entire constitutional structure up for grabs.  Is it worth the risk?  Should the states call a convention to amend the Constitution?

Lawrence Lessig of Harvard Law School and Mark Meckler of Citizens for Self-Governance argue for the motion; David Super of Georgetown Law and Walter Olson of the Cato Institute argue against the motion. John Donvan of ABC News moderates. The event was held in New York on December 7, 2016.

You can watch a replay below:


Sign up for our email newsletter