Since its ratification in 1789, the U.S. Constitution has been amended 27 times. The last time was in 1992, when the Constitution was amended to delay any congressional pay raise until after the next election.
There are two ways to amend the Constitution: Congress can propose an amendment with a two-thirds vote in each chamber. Or the two-thirds of the states can call for a constitutional convention to propose amendments. In either case, any amendments must be ratified by three-fourths of the states.
Never in our history have the states called for a constitutional convention, but the Mississippi Legislature voted last week to do so, joining 13 other states. Mississippi Senate Concurrent Resolution 596 specifically limits the purpose of the constitutional convention to restraining the federal government, especially the federal debt, but nobody knows if such scope limitations are enforceable because this has never been done before. Presumably, once convened, a constitutional convention could completely rewrite the Constitution.
These are untested waters. Our Constitution has been the most successful and enduring in human history. We would be foolish to change such a winning strategy. Voting for such a convention just to pursue a narrow public policy objective is foolish and irresponsible.
Fortunately, the likelihood of national passage is nil.