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Article V of the United States Constitution
provides that "the Congress,...on the Application of the Legislatures
of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing
Amendments.... " This language, seemingly clear in meaning on the
surface, has spawned a constitutional controversy of significant dimensions.
In short, does the Article V language authorize state applications
for a national Constitutional Convention limited as to subject matter,
or does the Article solely recognize state applications for a general convention,
to propose such amendments as seem proper to the Convention?

Recently, Professor Black wrote the following letter concerning
the controversy to Senator Edward Kennedy (D. Mass.), Chairman of
the Senate Judiciary Committee. The letter provides a valuable dissertation
on the history and meaning of the applicable language of Article
V, according to a leading constitutional scholar. In particular, the letter
takes issue with the finding of a special committee of the American Bar
Association that Article V authorizes Congress to establish procedures
limiting a Constitutional Convention to the subject matter propounded
in the state applications. The letter is reproduced as written, save for
the addition of footnotes to sources cited in the manuscript

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