I am trying to understand the process of amending the U.S. Constitution. I believe I understand the usual process of amendments (2/3 of Congress, 3/4 of state legislatures), but I don't quite get how conventions work.
In order to find out, I found Article 5 (relevant parts are bolded):
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.
I would guess that these conventions are large gatherings, but I was wondering several things about them:
- Who participates in these conventions?
- How are conventions for proposing amendments different from those meant to ratify amendments?
- How is it decided whether an amendment is ratified at the convention. (majority? supermajority?)
- How are conventions conducted?