On Saturday, July 23, we shall, from 11 am to 1 pm, discuss the idea advanced by some today to hold a constitutional convention, under Article V of the Constitution.
What type of document would such a convention today produce, as compared to the document produced by the Framers in 1787.
For a document that established the structure of our government, the Constitution is short, even with the Bill of Rights, adopted after the Convention, are added.
Could today’s politicians limit themselves to the number of words the Framers used?
How many Articles—if, indeed, the proposed convention employed the language of the 1787 Constitution—would there be? We might see expansion of categories. Perhaps there would be an Article or two devoted to corporate personhood. With the Second Amendment so imperiled, in the eyes of some, there might be an Article devoted—to handguns. Other weapons could receive separate treatment.
We would see how the concept of “rights” is treated. Corporations had none in the 1787 Constitution. I am confident the lobbyists employed by Monsanto, et al., would see fit to have a healthy Article or three to safeguard corporations, more securely than even human beings.
There might be a treatment of those political entities we call “states.” Under neither the 1787 Constitution nor the Tenth Amendment do “states” have rights. The Tenth, long cited by advocates as the font of rights for States, says: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
The States of the South seceded from the Union in 1861. More American lives were lost in the battles of the Civil War than in any war the United States has fought. The dominant reason the States of the North fought was to maintain the Union. The predominant reason the States of the South fought was to maintain those States’ “rights” to maintain the purchase and sale, as chattel, of human beings—i.e., slavery. Would this mean that conflict was fought for nought?
What of the 225 years or so of jurisprudence developed by our Courts? One could argue that, with one sweep of a convention vote, the body of law as construed since 1789 would be null.
Paul Mannweiler has agreed to be a guest on Saturday’s Show. This topic should be fun. Please tune in.
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