Report on the Constitutionality of the “Compact for America” Plan Expanded

The Article V Information Center has updated and expanded Rob Natelson’s report on the constitutionality of the “Compact for America” (CFA) plan to amend the Constitution.

The original report found that the CFA plan suffered from serious constitutional defects, and that it was unlikely to survive judicial challenge.

After it was issued, Rob received a number of questions, including:

* Does the fact that an interstate compact is federal law as well as state law change the analysis?

* Granted that some state constitutional provisions (e.g., those requiring referenda) cannot affect the amendment process, may laws adopted by the state legislature itself (the very body that applies for a convention) control it?

* Does the report misinterpret the seminal Article V case of Hawke v. Smith?

The updated report addresses these questions. It clarifies the holdings of some of the earlier cases and makes one or two minor corrections along the way. It also provides much more extensive quotations from the decided cases. This better enables readers to judge for themselves whether the report accurately reflects the case law. In particular, there is a lengthy quotation from the Supreme Court’s latest (2015) discussion of the amendment process. That quotation makes very clear that the initial report’s treatment of Hawke v. Smith was accurate.