Can't believe I couldn't find this anywhere on the site! In the aftermath of Wesberry v Sanders and Reynolds v Sims, Supreme Court decisions that mandated one-man-one-vote legislative representation on the state and federal level, Senator Everett Dirksen led a campaign for an Article V convention with the specific focus of amending the constitution to overturn the rulings. His proposal passed in 33 states by 1969. One more - perhaps pushed over the top by Dirksen surviving a little longer instead of dying mid-campaign - and the convention would have been called.

Obviously, simply overturning those decisions would be a huge change in itself, returning power to rural conservatives. But as I understand it, there's no scholarly consensus on whether or not an Article V convention is restricted to the subject for which it's called. Imagine a runaway convention - with delegates proposing amendments willy-nilly - in the tense political atmosphere of 1969!
 

CaliGuy

Banned
Can't believe I couldn't find this anywhere on the site! In the aftermath of Wesberry v Sanders and Reynolds v Sims, Supreme Court decisions that mandated one-man-one-vote legislative representation on the state and federal level, Senator Everett Dirksen led a campaign for an Article V convention with the specific focus of amending the constitution to overturn the rulings. His proposal passed in 33 states by 1969. One more - perhaps pushed over the top by Dirksen surviving a little longer instead of dying mid-campaign - and the convention would have been called.

Obviously, simply overturning those decisions would be a huge change in itself, returning power to rural conservatives. But as I understand it, there's no scholarly consensus on whether or not an Article V convention is restricted to the subject for which it's called. Imagine a runaway convention - with delegates proposing amendments willy-nilly - in the tense political atmosphere of 1969!
Who exactly needs to approve an amendment which is proposed by a constitutional convention, though?
 
Who exactly needs to approve an amendment which is proposed by a constitutional convention, though?

Three-fourths of the States, as for any other Amendment.

However, Congress decides whether ratifications shall be done by the State Legislatures or by Conventions in the several states. So there'd be considerable scope for dragging their feet.
 
Three-fourths of the States, as for any other Amendment.

However, Congress decides whether ratifications shall be done by the State Legislatures or by Conventions in the several states. So there'd be considerable scope for dragging their feet.

I gather that by 1969, five years after the SC ruling, most of the redistricting had already been carried out either voluntarily or by federal court order. So these would be post Wesberry and Reynolds legislatures. Mo Udall explains that the immediately pre-redistricting House opposed the decision, while the Senate (whose members are elected at-large and so are accountable to the large cities in their states) supported it. So by 1969 I imagine you'd have a Congress even more supportive of the rulings and opposed to an amendment than you did in 1964.

So, yes, lots of foot-dragging is likely - especially since an Article V convention would be an unprecedented development and there would be a lot of pressure to do it right and avoid a chaotic flurry of constitutional change. How long could Congress delay organizing the ratification process, I wonder?
 
Here's another question: what other amendments would be proposed at such a convention? Presumably OTL's 26th Amendment, as well as the abolition of the Electoral College, which had been widely discussed after the 1968 election. Were the conservative movement's demands for a balanced budget amendment and for doing away with direct Senatorial election on the radar at all in '69?
 

CaliGuy

Banned
Here's another question: what other amendments would be proposed at such a convention? Presumably OTL's 26th Amendment, as well as the abolition of the Electoral College, which had been widely discussed after the 1968 election. Were the conservative movement's demands for a balanced budget amendment and for doing away with direct Senatorial election on the radar at all in '69?
What about the Equal Rights Amendment?
 
What about the Equal Rights Amendment?

Right - I always mentally associate the ERA with the 70s, but it had been on the table for a long time.

Presumably in the milieu of Vietnam there would be calls from the anti-war movement to bring back the Ludlow Amendment or otherwise rein in the executive branch's power to declare and wage war.

Some of these possible amendments (ERA, EC abolition) did historically enjoy support in late-60s/early-70s Congresses. But I'd imagine that the aforementioned lack of support for Dirksen's districting amendment and the possibility of radical change - anti-war or otherwise - would lead Congress to act cautiously. Apparently, in OTL 1971, Sam Ervin introduced a bill to limit the scope of a possible Article V convention, which passed the Senate unanimously but died in committee in the House.

In this scenario, Congress would probably not call the convention until an equivalent of Ervin's legislation had been passed. There might be some major legal battles before any actual convening happened - and the ultimate scope of the convention would probably depend on a Supreme Court interpretation of Article V.
 
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