However, many constitutional scholars believe that limits cannot be placed on a convention; if one were convened, anything could be up for consideration. A convention “can propose what they think is appropriate,” says Michael Paulsen, a professor at the University of St. Thomas law school in Minneapolis who is an expert on the issue. “There is no good theory under which the convention can be ‘limited’ to specific topics — far less to a specific proposed `text.'”

Accordingly, say experts such as Walter Dellinger, a former U.S. solicitor general and a constitutional scholar, no limits can be imposed on calls for a convention. That’s why he believes the current petitions from states, even if they reach the two-thirds mark, are invalid.

“Thirty-four times zero is still zero,” he says.

If, however, the backlash against Washington intensifies, the Republican-led Congress stalls, these imperfections are corrected and a convention were held, Congress would play a relatively minor role. It might decide how the size of different delegations should be determined. After the federal lawmakers “specify the time and place for kicking it off,” Paulsen says, “they then have to get out of the way.”