John R. Vile, (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2016, xv + 266 pp., ISBN: 978-0-8203-4900-8).
This book is the culmination of more than 30 years of thinking about the unused Article V convention mechanism and related subjects. I spend the first part of the book exploring the origins of Article V processes and convention precedents in the late eighteenth and throughout the nineteenth centuries. I also examine early legal commentaries on the subject. Although I believe the weight of this evidence, including Alexander Hamilton’s comments in Federalist No. 85, suggest that such conventions can be limited, I note that this specific issue does not appear to have been as prominent in earlier legal and political discourse as it is now, and I examine recent arguments both for and against the limited convention option.
by Professor John R. Ville, Middle Tennessee State University.
I have spent much of my academic life researching the constitutional amending process in the United States. My very first book Rewriting the U.S. Constitution: An Examination of Proposal from Reconstruction to the Present (1991) detailed approximately 40 proposals that individuals had offered from the period of Reconstruction through the publishing of the book in 1991 to either rewrite the U.S. Constitution or introduce a series of major changes to it. In the interim, I had been documenting additional proposals as individual entries for various editions of my Encyclopedia of Constitutional Amendments, Proposed Amendments, and Amending Issues. However, it was only in revisiting the subject for my book Re-Framers: 170 Eccentric, Visionary, and Patriotic Proposals to Rewrite the U.S. Constitution (ABC—CLIO, 2014) that I realized how significantly the number of such proposals had proliferated, particularly in the last two decades.