Civil Discourse Now

Where the far left and far right overlap for fun and enlightenment

Ogden's wrong: Const'l Convention is horrible idea

Paul Ogden blogged yesterday about the need for a new Constitution. Like many of my friend’s ideas, they are meant well, but horrible. A Convention can be called by two-thirds of both Houses of Congress or by two-thirds of the States’ legislatures. Const. Art. V.

The results of that convention would have to be ratified by the legislatures of “three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof...” THERE CAN BE NO LIMITS ON A CONVENTION ONCE CALLED.

First, large corporations and foreign governments dump money into Presidential and Congressional campaigns. This would be a chance to take it all over. We would end up with a constitution that gives corporations rights and completely ignores people.

Second, given decisions in Citizens United, Daimler AG v Bauman and other cases, I believe SCOTUS would hold we cannot limit a corporation’s political involvement because some of its shareholders are not American.

Third, the 1787 Convention operated in secrecy to keep deliberations and debate out of public view. A convention today would allow media to whore themselves for ratings. “Monsanto is proud to present Constitutional Convention 2021.” As Paddy Chayevsky predicted in his film “Network,” the entertainment division long ago took over the news division.

Fourth, who would be the delegates? Worse than a Sarah Palin or a Michelle Bachmann would be an Ivanka or a Gohmert. Think majority rule is screwed by the “Electoral College”? Wait until these people carry out Putin’s directives.

Mr Ogden assures us any “proposal that a constitutional convention came up with would still have to be ratified by 3/4 of the states, a huge lift which ensures no far-right or far-left constitutional changes have a prayer of being approved,” ensuring reasonable, moderate changes.

According to Ballotpedia, this iteration of the GOP controls both houses in 29 States. The GOP would need only nine more States to pass whatever it wants. Their packing of our Federal courts since 1981 by the GOP can have grave consequences beyond what we already have seen.

Finally, THERE CAN BE NO LIMITS PLACED ON A CONVENTION. Sorry that I had to shout that, but it needs to be heard. The 1787 Convention is the only precedent to which we can look for how such a convention functions.
In February, 1787, Congress called for a convention of delegates “for the sole purpose of revising the articles of Confederation and reporting to Congress... such alterations therein as shall appear ... Necessary ...” Not wholesale replacement of the Articles of Confederation.

We safely can say the 1787 Convention went far beyond this charter. 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.”

The late 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 notion that our problems will disappear with a few changes to The Constitution is tempting to some, but we just witnesses what 43 gutless bastards are willing to do in front of the World. A new Constitution would be horrible.

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Comment by pogden297 on February 14, 2021 at 6:47pm

As I so brilliantly outlined in my article, there are a number of constitutional provisions that desperately need to be fixed.  How does Mark Small propose to fix them?  Mark no doubt would suggest, instead of using the democratic process outlined in the Constitution, that unelected federal judges make the constitutional changes via new interpretations that ignore the actual wording of the Constitution and its history.  Impeachment doesn't work?  Just reinterpret the impeachment clause so judges do the judging instead of the Senate.

Mark assumes it will be easy to get all 29 Republican-dominated legislatures to agree to whatever changes the constitutional convention comes up with (not a whole new Constitution as Mark suggests) and then they would need to add "only" nine more states where there is Democratic control. Mark apparently thinks it's a piece of cake to ratify constitutional amendments.  History says otherwise. There's only been 27 amendments ratified in our nation's history and only 17 after the Bill of Rights.

In short, Mark Small, much like a former President whose name rhymes with "Rump," apparently does not believe in American democracy

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