Civil Discourse Now

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Constitutional convention = death of this country.

A constitutional convention - a gathering of delegates to re-write our Constitution - would be a disaster for rights of Americans and of people.
1) No matter what “limits” might be set, once convened, delegates could write whatever they want. Former United States Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger wrote, in 1983: “...there is no effective way to limit or muzzle the actions of a Constitutional Convention. The Convention could make its own rules and set its own agenda. Congress might try to limit the Convention to one amendment or to one issue, but there is no way to assure that the Convention would obey. After a Convention is convened it will be too late to stop the Convention if we don’t like its agenda.”
Former United States Court of Appeals Judge Robert Bork wrote, in 1990: “...a federal constitutional convention could not be limited to a single issue ... the original Philadelphia Convention went well beyond the purposes for which it was called.”
The 1787 Convention is the only precedent to which we can look for how such a convention functions. In February, 1787, the United States Congress, operating under the Articles of Confederation, called for a convention of delegates to meet in May in Philadelphia “for the sole purpose of revising the articles of Confederation and reporting to Congress and the several legislatures such alterations therein as shall appear ... Necessary to render the constitution of the Federal Government adequate to the exigencies of the Union.”
There was no mention of wholesale replacement of the Articles of Confederation. The “sole” purpose was to revise the Articles of Confederation and to report such alterations back to Congress. We safely can say the 1787 Convention went far beyond this charter. James Madison and Alexander Hamilton had been two of 12 people at a meeting in Annapolis held the previous September, who saw the need for a strong central government. Their ideas were at odds with those of Patrick Henry, who later was chosen as a delegate to the Philadelphia Convention but refused to go because he “smelt a rat”—i.e., he thought the Convention would go beyond its authority and create discard entirely the Articles of Confederation.
Thus the only precedent we have for a Constitutional Convention, as well as learned authority, indicate there can be no limits on such a convention, States’ resolutions and acts of Congress to the contrary.
2) Especially post-Citizens United, 588 U.S. 310 (2010), corporations and their foreign shareholders would dump dollars - and rubles - on delegates to achieve corporate and foreign goals.
Putin spent a lot to flip a few States and steer his chosen candidate for chaos into the Oval Office. The possibility ti take over our government would be such a great temptation, Putin’s contributions to hijack a constitutional convention probably would dwarf what he spent for 2016. Any parts of our Constitution that oligarchs - in Russia or the United States - find troublesome not only could, but would be jettisoned.
3) The GOP - the minority party in our country - would reap the profits of its gerrymandering and voter ID laws and would choose the majority of delegates. The image of a Sarah Palin as a delegate to write a new constitution is scary.
Corporations would be declared “people.” The First Amendment would have qualifications. The powers of our courts could be wiped out. There are no restraints on a constitution once it is convened. These are objectives that have been stated by those who push the idea of corporations as “people.” The delegates would be no reason to impose restrictions on themselves. “One person/one vote” could be scrapped. We could have one person versus however many votes are given to a corporate entity based on its value per share. Corporations are “job creators,” after all. If people want to protest, that would be too bad. The First Amendment would be gone.
What is now the Second Amendment would be boosted by steroids and tens of millions - or billions - of dollars given to lobbyists. The right to “keep and bear arms” would be expanded to include automatic weapons, hundred-round clips and a prohibition of background checks of anyone for any reason. Corporations’ rights, including to “introduce into the air and waters, in the course of those corporations’ sacred roles as job creators, byproducts of their job creation,” would be sacrosanct. Human beings could be fined or imprisoned for suing corporations.
However imperfect it is, the Constitution provides protections for our rights. If specific flaws are seen in the Constitution, the proper method to address those imperfections is by amendment.
The Constitutional Convention in 1787 met in secrecy, the windows of what was called the Pennsylvania Statehouse, and what we today know as Independence Hall, were boarded-over. Today the “boards” would be higher-tech, and the secrecy imposed probably far more stifling. People should oppose a constitutional convention as it would lead to the death of this Nation as “land of the free.”

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