In 1787, the U.S. Constitution’s framers created two methods of proposing amendments for state ratification in Article V. One empowered Congress to propose, because Congress would be familiar with the daily workings of government. The second was designed as a more popular procedure, one by which (as framer George Mason said) “amendments of the proper kind [could] be obtained by the people.” The idea was to enable the people, acting through their state legislatures, to address congressional inertia by proposing amendments through a method that bypassed Congress. The specific goal was to create a procedure to address possible federal dysfunction. Yet over two centuries later, that procedure has never been used to completion. When citizens and state legislatures neglect such a key civic right, government may become dysfunctional.
The Article V Information Center is a non-partisan resource that promotes truthful, unbiased information as a non-partisan organization. We believe that with correct information available, unreasonable anxieties and fears will be dissipated, thereby motivating greater citizen participation.
Article V Information Center Director
Professor Robert G. Natelson is the Senior Fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence at the Independence Institute in Denver and at the Heartland Institute in Arlington Heights, IL. He served as a law professor for 25 years at three different universities. His research has been cited repeatedly at the U.S. Supreme Court by both justices and parties as well as by the highest courts of 13 states.
Professor Natelson is widely conceded to be the nation’s foremost scholar on the Article V application-and-convention process. He has published extensively about the process, and he regularly advises groups working for different constitutional amendments.
Professor Natelson also has experience as an administrator: He managed his own businesses before entering academia and subsequently operated both a non-profit statewide civic organization and a public service radio program. More information about his career and publications are available at this website.