BUT IT IS FOR ONE WORLD ONE GOVERNANCE FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONE GLOBAL CORPORATE RULE.
As we saw with the UK BREXIT---the Libertarian and far-right 1% Wall STreet global pols passed these laws easy peasy with a nation full of citizens protesting. The same will occur here in US because every Congressional pol is a global 1% Wall Street CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA. They will not argue about it---they will do it---and Trans Pacific Trade Pact is central to that new Constitution.
As this Wikipedia entry states-----A CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION to Amend the Constitution must be voted and approved by THE STATES. This is why global 1% pols are using this FARCE OF AN ELECTION----to motivate US citizens to vote in their states for this CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION.
ANY POL OR NON-PROFIT PUSHING AMEND THE CONSTITUTION WHILE CONGRESS IS FILLED WITH GLOBAL 1% WALL STREET-----IS WORKING FOR WALL STREET AND NOT WE THE PEOPLE.
Convention to propose amendments to the United States Constitution
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is part of a series on the
Constitution of the
United States of America
A Convention to propose amendments to the United States Constitution', also called an Article V Convention, or Amendments Convention, called for by two-thirds (currently 34) of the state legislatures, is one of two processes authorized by Article Five of the United States Constitution whereby the Constitution, the nation's frame of government, may be altered. Amendments may also be proposed by the Congress with a two-thirds vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Do We Need a New Constitutional Convention
Article V of the Constitution provides two methods for adding Amendments. Congress introduces amendments by one method; the states initiate them under the other.
The only method ever used is the congressional method. It lets Congress pass constitutional amendments by a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Such amendments must then be ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures or special state conventions, as Congress determines. Over 10,000 amendments have been introduced into Congress since 1789. Only 33 have been approved. Of these, 27 have been ratified and added to the Constitution.
The other way of amending the Constitution has never been successfully used. Under this procedure, the states initiate the amending process by petitioning Congress for a constitutional convention. When two-thirds of the states have submitted petitions, Congress must call a convention. Any amendments approved by such a convention must be ratified by three-fourths of the states. Congress decides whether state legislatures or state conventions will ratify these amendments.
Since the Constitution went into effect, there have been about 400 petitions from state legislatures calling for a convention to consider one thing or another. None of these efforts ever succeeded, but some came close. For years Congress ignored requests to pass an amendment allowing for the direct election of U.S. senators. Finally, in 1912, Congress passed the 17th Amendment, but only after supporters of the amendment were just one state short of triggering a constitutional convention.
Since the 1960s, state legislatures have submitted petitions for constitutional conventions when Congress refused to pass controversial amendments. Three of these amendments would have allowed prayers in the schools, prohibited busing for racial balance, and permitted the states to make abortions illegal. In each of these cases, however, supporters fell short of getting the 34 states needed for calling a constitutional convention.
Most recently, there has been a major movement to pass a federal balanced budget amendment. Unable to get action in Congress, supporters again turned to the convention method of amendment. To date, those behind the balanced budget amendment have convinced 32 states to submit convention petitions to Congress. Backers of the amendment need only two more states to compel Congress to call a convention.
Many people have voiced concern over the convention method of amending the Constitution. Our only experience with a national constitutional convention took place 200 years ago. At that time the delegates took it upon themselves to ignore the reason for calling the convention, which was merely to improve the Articles of Confederation. The Founding Fathers also violated the procedure for changing the Articles of Confederation. Instead of requiring approval of all the state legislatures, the signers of the Constitution called for ratification by elected state conventions in only nine of the 13 states.
Another point of anxiety is that Article V of the Constitution says nothing about what a convention may or may not do. If a convention is held, must it deal with only one proposed amendment? Or could the delegates vote on any number of amendments that were introduced? The Constitution itself provides no answers to these questions.
Howard Jarvis, the late leader of the conservative tax revolt in California during the 1970s, opposed a convention. He stated that a convention "would put the Constitution back on the drawing board, where every radical crackpot or special interest group would have the chance to write the supreme law of the land."
Others, like Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, disagree with this viewpoint. Senator Hatch has said it is ironic when the people attempt to engage in "participatory democracy set forth by the Constitution, we are subject to doomsday rhetoric and dire predictions of domestic and international disaster."
Of course, any amendments produced by a convention would still have to be ratified by three-fourths of the states. We may soon see how this never-used method works if the balanced budget people swing two more states over to their side.
For Discussion and Writing
- Which amendment method do you think is the best? Why?
- What are some potential dangers in calling a new constitutional convention?
- Should the delegates of a future convention called to consider a certain amendment have the right to propose other constitutional amendments? Why or why not?
- Do we need a new constitutional convention? Why or why not? If so, what amendments should be considered by it?
A C T I V I T Y
The "Safe America" Amendment
It is sometime in the near future, and several incidents of terrorism have rocked America. The most recent took place at National Airport in Washington, D.C. Six young men suddenly opened fire with automatic weapons at crowds of summer vacationers in front of the airline check-in counters. Within seconds the terminal was filled with bodies. Twelve people were killed, including a 6-month-old infant. Thirty others were wounded.
Two days later one of the terrorists called a Washington, D.C., talk-radio program. He identified himself as belonging to the "Blood for Blood Movement." He said, "America is the source of evil in the world. Americans must pay with their own blood." The radio interview went on for 45 minutes. The next day many newspapers published parts, or in some cases, all of the interview.
Terrorist acts like the one at National Airport have taken place in restaurants, churches, ball parks, movie theaters, and even at an elementary school. The strategy of the terrorist groups seems to be to attack ordinary innocent Americans. A wide variety of terrorist organizations have openly used the press and broadcast media to take credit for many bombings and murders. Perhaps most frightening of all, an individual carrying parts of a miniaturized nuclear explosive device was recently intercepted while trying to enter the country.
Many efforts have been made to tighten security against terrorism in the United States. While the actual death toll and the chance of being injured in an attack remains small, Americans have become increasingly frightened. Opinion polls call for tougher action. Critics claim that media coverage has blown the situation out of proportion. Others are not so sure.
An organization called "People for a Safe America" has attempted to get Congress to pass the following amendment to the Constitution:
"Safe America" Amendment
The citizens of the United States shall enjoy the right of safety from terrorist attack.
To enforce this article, Congress shall have the power to establish special military courts solely for the prosecution of persons accused of terrorist acts. Such courts shall not be required to observe the provisions contained in Amendments IV, V, VI and VIII of this Constitution.
To further enforce this article, Congress shall have the power to ban the manufacture, sale, and possession of all handguns and concealable weapons within the territorial boundaries of the United States.
To further enforce this article, Congress shall have the power to pass legislation prohibiting the publication or broadcast of interviews with terrorists or propaganda materials supplied by them.
* * * * * *
More than 50 percent of the members in each house of Congress voted for the amendment. Still the votes fell short of the two-thirds majority required by Article V of the Constitution.
A new movement then attempted to get state legislatures to petition Congress for a constitutional convention to consider the "Safe America" Amendment. This effort succeeded. The first constitutional convention in more than 200 years is about to begin.
In this activity, class members will play the role of delegates at a constitutional convention called by Congress to consider the "Safe America" Amendment. Below are the rules and agenda adopted by the convention.
- By a simple majority vote, the delegates will choose one person to be president of the convention. The president will conduct all proceedings according to the agenda and will make all necessary rulings. The president will not vote on any matter.
- Each delegate will serve on a debate committee for or against the proposed amendment. Each committee will consist of at least three persons and convene for at least 15 minutes to consider its arguments. Each member of the committee is responsible for contributing at least one argument.
- After a motion, second, and discussion, the delegates may, by a simple majority vote, change the wording of the proposed amendment.
- The final vote on the proposed constitutional amendment will require a two-thirds vote of all delegates present.
- The president of the convention will read the proposed amendment.
- The president will recognize debate committees in favor of the proposed amendment to present arguments.
- Delegates may question or rebut the debate committees.
- The president will recognize debate committees opposed to the proposed amendment to present arguments.
- Delegates may question or rebut the debate committees.
- The president will call on two debate committees to present closing arguments for and against the amendment.
- Delegates may introduce changes in the wording of the proposed amendment.
- The president will call for a final vote on the proposed amendment.
- If ratified, what effect would the "Safe America" Amendment have on the rights of individuals in America?
- What was the quality of the argument raised for or against the amendment? What were the most important arguments? What important arguments were missed?
- Based on your experience, do you think a constitutional convention is a good way to amend the Constitution?
As global 1% far-right Wall Street global corporate neo-liberals PRETEND THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION WOULD BE ABOUT ELECTION REFORM GOOD FOR WE THE PEOPLE-----the global 1% Bush neo-cons will sell to the right wing voters --
-WE NEED A CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION FOR OUT OF CONTROL SPENDING ---YOU KNOW ---THAT MASSIVE, SYSTEMIC CORPORATE FRAUD AND GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION SUCKING REVENUE FROM OUR FEDERAL AGENCIES.
It has always been the southern states----whether politically Dixie Democrats or today's version of Republicans----the south was always more loyal to royalty and England. That is why they stayed more colonial plantation with their state Constitutions----like Maryland----but they are also strong in STATE'S RIGHTS---even at the original US Constitutional Convention in 1776. States' Rights people are those rich who do not want the 99% of people gaining wealth. Maryland and Baltimore rich has totally captured politics forever---and they do that by keeping the 99% clueless as to what public policy means or what goals really exist. For some reason the middle/working class and poor Republican voters get behind STATES' RIGHTS----and they will be easily FOOLED by their pols saying a CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION is about getting Federal spending under control.
States Likely Could Not Control Constitutional Convention on Balanced Budget Amendment or Other Issues
July 16, 2014
BYMichael Leachman and David A. Super
In the coming months, a number of states are likely to consider resolutions that call for a convention to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution to require a balanced federal budget, and possibly to shrink federal authority in other, often unspecified, ways. Proponents of these resolutions claim that 24 of the 34 states required to call a constitutional convention already have passed such resolutions.
State lawmakers considering such resolutions should be skeptical of claims being made by groups promoting the resolutions (such as the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC) that states could control the actions or outcomes of a constitutional convention. A convention likely would be extremely contentious and highly politicized, and its results impossible to predict.
A number of prominent jurists and legal scholars have warned that a constitutional convention could open up the Constitution to radical and harmful changes. For instance, Justice Antonin Scalia recently said, “I certainly would not want a constitutional convention. Whoa! Who knows what would come out of it?”
 Similarly, former Chief Justice of the United States Warren Burger wrote in 1988:
[T]here is no way to effectively 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 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.
Such serious concerns are justified, for several reasons:
- A convention could write its own rules. The Constitution provides no guidance whatsoever on the ground rules for a convention. This leaves wide open to political considerations and pressures such fundamental questions as how the delegates would be chosen, how many delegates each state would have, and whether a supermajority vote would be required to approve amendments. To illustrate the importance of these issues, consider that if every state had one vote in the convention and the convention could approve amendments with a simple majority vote, the 26 least populous states — which contain less than 18 percent of the nation’s people — could approve an amendment for ratification.
- A convention could set its own agenda, possibly influenced by powerful interest groups. The only constitutional convention in U.S. history, in 1787, went far beyond its mandate. Charged with amending the Articles of Confederation to promote trade among the states, the convention instead wrote an entirely new governing document. A convention held today could set its own agenda, too. There is no guarantee that a convention could be limited to a particular set of issues, such as those related to balancing the federal budget.As a result, powerful, well-funded interest groups would surely seek to influence the process and press for changes to the agenda, seeing a constitutional convention as an opportunity to enact major policy changes. As former Chief Justice Burger wrote, a “Constitutional Convention today would be a free-for-all for special interest groups.” Further, the broad language contained in many of the resolutions that states have passed recently might increase the likelihood of a convention enacting changes that are far more sweeping than many legislators supporting these resolutions envision.
- A convention could choose a new ratification process. The 1787 convention ignored the ratification process under which it was established and created a new process, lowering the number of states needed to approve the new Constitution and removing Congress from the approval process. The states then ignored the pre-existing ratification procedures and adopted the Constitution under the new ratification procedures that the convention proposed. Given these facts, it would be unwise to assume that ratification of the convention’s proposals would necessarily require the approval of 38 states, as the Constitution currently specifies. For example, a convention might remove the states from the approval process entirely and propose a national referendum instead. Or it could follow the example of the 1787 convention and lower the required fraction of the states needed to approve its proposals from three-quarters to two-thirds.
- No other body, including the courts, has clear authority over a convention. The Constitution provides for no authority above that of a constitutional convention, so it is not clear that the courts — or any other institution — could intervene if a convention did not limit itself to the language of the state resolutions calling for a convention. Article V contains no restrictions on the scope of constitutional amendments (other than those denying states equal representation in the Senate), and the courts generally leave such “political questions” to the elected branches. Moreover, delegates to the 1787 convention ignored their state legislatures’ instructions. Thus, the courts likely would not intervene in a dispute between a state and a delegate and, if they did, they likely would not back state efforts to constrain delegates given that delegates to the 1787 convention ignored their state legislatures’ instructions.
Background: Campaigns for a Constitutional Convention
Article V of the Constitution provides for two methods of enacting constitutional amendments. Congress may, by a two-thirds vote in each chamber, propose a specific amendment; if at least three-fourths of the states (38 states) ratify it, the Constitution is amended. Alternatively, the states may call on Congress to form a constitutional convention to propose amendments. Congress must act on this call if at least two-thirds of the states (34 states) make the request. The convention would then propose constitutional amendments. Under the Constitution, such amendments would take effect if ratified by at least 38 states.
In part because the only constitutional convention in U.S. history — the one in 1787 that produced the current Constitution — went far beyond its mandate, Congress and the states have never called another one. Every amendment to the Constitution since 1787 has resulted from the first process: Congress has proposed specific amendments to the states, which have ratified them by the necessary three-quarters majority (or turned them down).
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, many states adopted resolutions calling for a constitutional convention to require the federal government to balance its budget every year. From the mid-1980s through 2010, no such new resolutions passed, and about half of the states that had adopted these resolutions rescinded them (in part due to fears that a convention, once called, could propose altering the Constitution in ways that the state resolutions did not envision).
Recently, though, additional states have called for such a convention, reflecting the efforts of a number of conservative advocacy organizations such as ALEC, which in 2011 released a handbook for state legislators that includes model state legislation calling for a constitutional convention. Since 2010, eight states have adopted such resolutions, including six states in the last year alone. According to some proponents of such a convention, a total of 24 states have now adopted resolutions (and not rescinded them). Proponents have targeted another 15 states for action this year and next. (See Figure 1.)
Box 1: Balanced Budget Amendment Likely to Harm the Economy
Even if a constitutional convention could be limited to proposing a single amendment requiring the federal government to spend no more than it receives in a given year, such an amendment alone would likely do substantial damage.a It would threaten significant economic harm. It also would raise significant problems for the operation of Social Security and certain other key federal functions.
By requiring a balanced budget every year, no matter the state of the economy, such an amendment would risk tipping weak economies into recession and making recessions longer and deeper, causing very large job losses. Rather than allowing the “automatic stabilizers” of lower tax collections and higher unemployment and other benefits to cushion a weak economy, as they now do automatically, it would force policymakers to cut spending, raise taxes, or both when the economy turns down — the exact opposite of what sound economic policy would advise. Such actions would launch a vicious spiral: budget cuts or tax increases in a recession would cause the economy to contract further, triggering still higher deficits and thereby forcing policymakers to institute additional austerity measures, which in turn, would cause still-greater economic contraction.
The private economic forecasting firm Macroeconomic Advisors (MA) found in 2011 that “recessions would be deeper and longer” under a constitutional balanced budget amendment. If such an amendment had been ratified in 2011 and were being enforced for fiscal year 2012, “the effect on the economy would be catastrophic,” MA concluded, and would double the unemployment rate.
The fact that states must balance their budgets every year — no matter how the economy is performing — makes it even more imperative that the federal government not also face such a requirement and thus further impair a faltering economy.
Most recent proposals to write a balanced budget requirement into the U.S. Constitution would allow Congress to waive the balanced budget stricture if a supermajority of both chambers voted to do so. However, data showing that the economy is in recession do not become available until months after the economy has begun to weaken and recession has set in. It could take many months before sufficient data are available to convince a congressional supermajority to waive the balanced-budget requirement. In the meantime, substantial economic damage — and much larger job losses — would have resulted from the fiscal austerity measures the balanced-budget mandate would have forced.
Requiring that federal spending in any year be offset by revenues collected in that same year would also cause other problems. Social Security would effectively be prevented from drawing down its reserves from previous years to pay benefits in a later year and, instead, could be forced to cut benefits even if it had ample balances in its trust funds, as it does today. The same would be true for military retirement and civil service retirement programs. Nor could the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation respond quickly to bank or pension fund failures by using its assets to pay deposit or pension insurance, unless it could do so without causing the budget to slip out of balance.
Proponents of a constitutional balanced budget amendment often argue that states and families must balance their budgets each year and the federal government should do the same. Yet this is a false analogy. While states must balance their operating budgets, they can — and regularly do — borrow for capital projects. And families borrow, as well, such as when they take out mortgages to buy homes or loans to send children to college. In contrast, the proposed constitutional amendment would bar the federal government from borrowing to make worthy investments even if they have substantial future pay-offs.
a For more on the risks of a constitutional balanced budget amendment, see Richard Kogan, “Constitutional Balanced Budget Amendment Poses Serious Risks,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, July 16, 2014, http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=4166
Most of the recent resolutions closely follow ALEC’s model legislation, the key sentence of which reads:
The legislature of the State of ______ hereby applies to Congress, under the provisions of Article V of the Constitution of the United States, for the calling of a convention of the states limited to proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States requiring that in the absence of a national emergency the total of all Federal outlays for any fiscal year may not exceed the total of all estimated Federal revenues for that fiscal year.
Five of the six resolutions enacted in the last year add a final clause: “together with any related and appropriate fiscal constraints.” That language opens the door to any constitutional amendments that a convention might decide fit under this broad rubric, including placing a rigid ceiling on federal spending so that all (or virtually all) deficit reduction has to come from cutting federal programs such as Social Security or Medicare, with little or none coming from revenue-raising measures. Such a ceiling would reduce or eliminate any pressure to produce deficit reduction packages that pair spending reductions with increased revenue from closing unproductive special-interest tax loopholes or from combatting tax avoidance by powerful corporations. ALEC’s most recent version of the model legislation specifically includes this additional clause.
As ALEC recommends, each recent state-passed resolution also says that it should be aggregated with the balanced budget amendment resolutions that other states have approved (and not subsequently rescinded), even though those other resolutions are not identical and most are over 30 years old. Whether Congress would agree to count all such other state resolutions is unknown. The question is important, because the Constitution grants solely to Congress the power to determine whether the 34-state threshold has been met. The Constitution makes no provision for a presidential veto of a congressional resolution calling a constitutional convention; and such a resolution consequently appears not to require a Presidential signature. In other words, if enough additional states adopt resolutions calling for a constitutional convention and the Congress elected in November 2014 rules that the 34-state threshold has been met, a convention must be held.
Besides the “balanced budget amendment” resolutions, some states have enacted or are considering related resolutions seeking a constitutional convention to impose broader restrictions on federal power. Alaska, Florida, and Georgia have all enacted resolutions this year that call for a convention to propose amendments to “impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of office for its officials and for members of Congress.” Proponents of these resolutions claim to be building “a political operation in a minimum of 40 states,” and some major figures, including retiring Senator Tom Coburn and former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, have voiced support.
States’ Ability to Control a Convention Is Highly Questionable
ALEC and its allies assert that states can control the operations and agenda of a convention and sharply limit the actions of their delegates. But there is no consensus on this question among constitutional scholars or others who have studied the question carefully; the selective quotations that convention proponents cite from the 1780s do not reflect a consensus among the Framers of the Constitution and do not have the force of law. Even more importantly, no court or other body exists with the authority to enforce any such rules and to override the decisions of a constitutional convention.
A number of prominent constitutional experts have warned of the dangers of calling a new constitutional convention (see Box 2.) These concerns are justified, for several reasons:
Once Called, Convention Could Write Its Own Rules
Because a constitutional convention has not been held since 1787, the nation has established no orderly procedures for the formation and operation of one. While the Congress that calls a constitutional convention in response to states’ petitions likely would propose certain ground rules, debate among constitutional scholars is contentious on what those rules might be. As a result, many fundamental questions remain unanswered.
For example, would votes in the convention be allocated among states according to population or would every state have one vote? The original Continental Congress operated on a one-state, one-vote basis, and every state has equal weight under Article V’s ratification procedures. If every state likewise has one vote in a new convention, small states with a minority of the country’s population could control the amendment-writing process. The 26 least populous states contain less than 18 percent of the nation’s people.
Box 2: Constitutional Experts Warn That States Cannot Control a ConventionA number of prominent legal experts have warned that states cannot control a constitutional convention or that calling one could open up the Constitution to significant and unpredictable changes.
“I certainly would not want a constitutional convention. Whoa! Who knows what would come out of it?”a
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia
“[T]here is no way to effectively 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 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 Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger
“There is no enforceable mechanism to prevent a convention from reporting out wholesale changes to our Constitution and Bill of Rights.”
Former Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg
“First of all, we have developed orderly procedures over the past couple of centuries for resolving [some of the many] ambiguities [in the Constitution], but no comparable procedures for resolving [questions surrounding a convention]. Second, difficult interpretive questions about the Bill of Rights or the scope of the taxing power or the commerce power tend to arise one at a time, while questions surrounding the convention process would more or less need to be resolved all at once. And third, the stakes in this case in this instance are vastly greater, because what you’re doing is putting the whole Constitution up for grabs.”
Professor Laurence Tribe, Harvard Law School
“[S]tate legislators do not have the right to dictate the terms of constitutional debate. On the contrary, they may be eliminated entirely if Congress decides that state conventions would be more appropriate vehicles for ratification. The states have the last say on amendments, but the Constitution permits them to consider only those proposals that emerge from a national institution free to consider all possible responses to an alleged constitutional deficiency. . . Nobody thinks we are now in the midst of constitutional crisis. Why, then, should we put the work of the first convention in jeopardy?”
Professor Bruce Ackerman, Yale Law School
a Marcia Coyle, “Scalia, Ginsberg Offer Amendments to the Constitution,” Legal Times, April 17, 2014, http://www.nationallawjournal.com/legaltimes/id=1202651605161/Scalia,-Ginsburg-Offer-Amendments-to-the-Constitution?slreturn=20140421101513.
b Letter from Chief Justice Warren Burger to Phyllis Schlafly, June 22, 1988, http://constitution.i2i.org/files/2013/11/Burger-letter2.pdf.
c Arthur Goldberg, “Steer clear of constitutional convention,” Miami Herald, September 14, 1986.
d Remarks as part of the Conference on the Constitutional Convention, Harvard Law School, September 24-25, 2011, Legal Panel, recording available at http://www.conconcon.org/archive.php.
e Bruce Ackerman, “Unconstitutional Convention: State legislatures can’t dictate the terms of constitutional amendment,” The New Republic, March 3, 1979.
Also unclear is whether the convention would need a supermajority (of states or delegates) to propose amendments. Congress may only propose constitutional amendments by a two-thirds vote in each chamber, but Article V is silent on whether a simple majority vote in a constitutional convention would suffice. With the country closely divided on many issues, a simple majority requirement could allow amendments to move forward despite opposition from many or even most voters, especially if all states had equal votes in the convention.
Another critical question is how states would choose their delegations. In today’s highly partisan environment, majorities in state legislatures may be tempted to select delegations that reflect only their views rather than a broader spectrum of opinion within the state.
Finally, even assuming Congress sets ground rules for a convention, the convention itself could disregard those instructions once it convened; after all, there is no enforcement mechanism. Even if Congress purported to make its instructions binding, the courts likely would refuse to enforce Congress’s instructions, both because Article V does not clearly grant Congress the power to make binding instructions and because the courts generally regard such matters as “political questions” that the judicial branch does not wade into.
Convention Could Set Its Own Agenda, Possibly Influenced by Powerful Interest Groups
The only national constitutional convention ever held — the 1787 assembly in Philadelphia that produced the current Constitution — disregarded its original charge, which was to amend the Articles of Confederation to promote trade among the states. Instead it wrote an entirely new governing document, effectively abolishing the Articles of Confederation and superseding them with a new design of government. A convention held today could set its own agenda, too.
Further, the opportunity to bypass Congress and write major policy changes into the Constitution — where they would be extremely difficult to remove — would likely tempt powerful, well-funded interest groups to influence the process and press for changes beyond those initially envisioned. After all, there are no federal or state limits on spending to influence delegates to a constitutional convention. No one can predict with confidence what would happen, for example, if Wall Street concerns sought to ban the taxation of capital income or prohibit market regulations designed to prevent another financial crisis, or if energy companies sought to ban a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system.
In such a highly contentious political environment, delegates could cut deals resulting in amendments covering multiple topics. Although most constitutional amendments have addressed only a single issue, nothing in Article V requires this. The Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments all combined provisions on several different subjects. Provisions considered radical or damaging, at least in some states, could be attached to highly popular proposals in a single amendment, making their passage more likely.
Further, the broad language of several state resolutions enacted recently may increase the likelihood that a convention would enact sweeping and unforeseen changes. As noted above, most recent resolutions explicitly call for amendments imposing “any related and appropriate fiscal constraints” on the federal government — terms so broad that they could encompass an enormous range of changes in the government’s basic operations.
The resolutions that passed recently in Alaska, Florida, and Georgia called for amendments to “impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of office for its officials and for members of Congress,” which envisions an even broader range of amendments. Even if Congress called a convention for the purpose of proposing a balanced budget amendment only, the convention once called could use the passage of these broader resolutions as justification to pursue a broader agenda, especially if more states have passed the more expansive resolution by the time a convention is called.
In sum, there is no way to predict what constitutional amendments the delegates to a convention might adopt.
Convention Could Change Ratification Process
The 1787 convention also completely rewrote the Articles of Confederation’s amendment procedures in a way that made it much easier to secure adoption of the convention’s changes. Under the Articles of Confederation, proposed amendments had to be approved by Congress and then ratified by all 13 states to take effect. Rhode Island, which opposed the kinds of changes that the 1787 convention was called to propose, declined to send delegates to the convention, apparently confident that the requirement for unanimous state approval meant it could block any resulting proposals that harmed its interests.
Instead, the other states’ delegates bypassed Rhode Island and created a new ratification process that made the new Constitution effective with the consent of only nine states and cut Congress out of the amendment process entirely. Rhode Island opposed the new Constitution and resisted ratifying for several years. Eventually, however, left only with the choice of seceding or going along, it was forced to succumb. The current three-quarters requirement was imposed only for later constitutional amendments.
This suggests that a new convention could propose to alter Article V of the Constitution, which requires three-quarters of the states to ratify proposed constitutional amendments emerging from a convention. A new convention could, for example, provide that its amendments be considered ratified if approved by two-thirds of the states, or even by a national referendum, citing the precedent of the 1787 convention. If the ratifying states went along, dissenters would have no recourse to enforce Article V’s three-quarters requirement and ultimately would face the same type of choice that Rhode Island did.
No Other Body — Including the Courts — Has Clear Authority Over a Convention
The Constitution provides for no authority above that of a constitutional convention. This makes it unlikely that the courts or any other institution could intervene if a convention failed to limit itself to the language of state resolutions calling for a convention or to the congressional resolution establishing the convention.
Moreover, even if the courts determined that they had the authority to rule, they would be unlikely to intervene if a convention veered away from its original charge. Article V contains only two limited restrictions on the scope of constitutional amendments (one of which expired two centuries ago). Absent guidance from the Constitution’s text, the Supreme Court likely would regard this as a “political question” inappropriate for judicial resolution (consistent with how the Court has treated other highly charged matters on which the Constitution provides no judicially enforceable standard). A court would have great difficulty explaining why a convention should be bound by state resolutions, given that the 1787 convention disregarded both its own stated purpose and the Articles of Confederation’s amendment procedures.
In addition, although some states’ resolutions seek to bar their convention delegates from voting for amendments outside the subject matter of the resolution the state has adopted, the courts likely would not intervene in a dispute between a state and a delegate, viewing it, too, as a “political question.” And if the courts did intervene, they likely would be unsympathetic to states’ efforts to constrain delegates, given that delegates to the 1787 convention ignored their state legislatures’ instructions.
Even if states could recall delegates, it likely would have no practical effect. Unlike a state legislature, a constitutional convention is a one-time body; once it has voted to propose a set of amendments to the Constitution, its work is over and it disbands. Recalling delegates at that point would be irrelevant.
States should be deeply skeptical of claims by ALEC and others that states will control the operations and outcome of a convention called under the Constitution’s Article V. Fundamental questions about how a convention would work remain unresolved. A convention likely would be extremely contentious and politicized, with results impossible to predict.
Further, nothing could prevent a convention from emulating the only previous convention — the one in 1787 — by going beyond its original mandate, proposing unforeseen changes to the Constitution, and even altering the ratification rules. Some states might challenge the actions of their delegates, but with the courts unlikely to intervene, these efforts would likely fail.
States would be prudent to avoid these risks and reject resolutions calling for a constitutional convention. States that have already approved such resolutions would be wise to rescind them.
Now, Tea Party Republicans would be the last folks to end US sovereignty----as being Republican one has to have a REPUBLIC. So the Republican voters are being played by that far-right global 1% Wall Street Bush neo-conservative crowd-----some say the KOCH BROTHERS----it is simply the same CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA.
This is very scary for WE THE PEOPLE when global Wall Street has corralled 34 states----now all those EXIT CLINTON NEO-LIBERAL STATES----and we have state politicians PRETENDING citizens in ALL STATES want to rewrite our US Constitution------MINUS WE THE PEOPLE.
Have your pols been having open and public discussions about all the policies tied to having this CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION to create a NEW CONSTITUTION? Of course not---here in Maryland there have been vague media references to AMEND THE CONSTITUTION FOR CAMPAIGN REFORM.
34 States Call for Constitutional Convention — and Possible Rewrite
By Andrea Billups | Friday, 11 Apr 2014 04:57 PM
Even with Michigan recently becoming the 34th state to call for a Constitutional Convention, it's not at all certain that a rewrite of the nation's founding document is close at hand.
House Speaker John Boehner is reviewing whether the action by Michigan has triggered the constitutional mandate that Congress call such a convention.
Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter of California recently asked Boehner for clarification as to where the state count stands, and if Michigan has tipped the two-thirds majority needed to make the convention call.
"With the recent decision by Michigan lawmakers, it is important that the House — and those of us who support a balanced budget amendment — determine whether the necessary number of states have acted and the appropriate role of Congress should be in this case," Hunter wrote to Boehner.
Boehner spokesman Michael Steel told The Washington Times that the Republican leader will have his lawyers review the request.
What may give the speaker pause in his decision is that several states long ago rescinded their calls for a convention, although there is nothing in the Constitution that allows them to do that.
Also, states have made the requests in differing forms, with some calling to confine such a convention to specific amendments, such as one requiring a balanced federal budget.
For example, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and New Hampshire called for a convention in the 1970s, and all later rescinded the requests. While they were not the only states to rescind the measure, since 2010 the four states have again called for a convention to specifically deal with a balanced-budget amendment.
The resulting confusion, and lack of clear guidance in the Constitution, will have to be sorted out by the congressional leadership since Article 5 says that Congress "shall call a convention for proposing amendments" when requested by enough states.
Under Article 5 of the Constitution, such a convention can be convened when requested by two-thirds of the states, and it is one of two ways to propose amendments to the nation's founding document.
The other method — by which all previous constitutional amendments have been initiated — requires a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress. Ratifying amendments then require three-fourths of the states to approve.
Many but not all of the states have called for a convention that would specifically seek to balance the budget.
"A balanced budget amendment is long overdue and remains an effective tool to address runaway spending and deficits," Hunter said.
Unless called to deal with a specific issue, some legal experts warn a "runaway" convention could create chaos.
"Let's assume that we get Congress to call for a convention, and we are deliberating about one item. Maybe that would stick. But how can you be confident that once you open the door to a constitutional convention, even if for one narrow amendment, that it won't just become a runaway convention?" said Steve Hayward, a visiting scholar in conservative thought and policy at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
"It seems to me that our Constitution may have problems these days, but I think most conservatives would be very nervous about opening it up to a new convention," Hayward told Newsmax.
Columnist George Will suggested a good arrangement on the budget issue might be one prescribed by the Goldwater Institute called "The Compact for America."
Will, writing in his April 10 column, outlines an Article 5 convention focused on writing a narrowly drawn balanced-budget amendment "written precisely enough to preclude evasion by the political class."
"State legislatures can form a compact — a cooperative agreement — to call a convention for the codified, one-item agenda of ratifying the balanced-budget amendment precisely stipulated in advance," Will said.
Will notes that in calling for a convention, Congress has no discretion, meaning it is clear that if two-thirds of state legislatures ask, it must happen."
Conservative radio talk-show host and author Mark Levin also has been out front in pushing for such a convention. In his best-selling book "The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic," he proposes 11 constitutional amendments that he believes should be considered by the gathering.
And the group Citizens for Self-Governance (CSG), headed by Tea Party Patriots co-founder and former spokesman Mark Meckler, is promoting a convention on the web at conventionofstates.com.
"A Convention of States needs to be called to ensure that we are able to debate and impose a complete package of restraints on the misuse of power by all branches of the federal government," CSG wrote on its website.
Louis Fisher, a scholar-in-residence at the Constitution Project, calls the idea a "gimmick," especially when it comes to taking up an issue like a balanced budget amendment.
"We always, instead of asking politicians to be responsible, are looking for some outside gimmick. A constitutional convention and amendment would be a constitutional gimmick," said Fisher, who worked in Congress for 40 years and has testified before congressional panels as far back as the Graham-Rudman Act in 1985.
Fisher counseled caution before attempting to rewrite parts of the Constitution.
"Just think about the amendment to eliminate alcohol. Oh, that worked out!"
Fisher told Newsmax. "We finally had to repeal that, and it became one of the stupidest amendments possible."
Hayward, at the University of Colorado, noted there are ways for issues to advance without constitutional authority. He cited the Equal Rights Amendment as an example. It was close to being ratified but fell short.
"It's not always necessary to actually get an amendment of the Constitution to change our constitutional thought," he said. "Is there anything that feminists wanted in the ERA that they haven't gotten? They have pretty much gotten what they want over time."
While some have argued that a rethink of the Constitution might not be a bad idea, Hayward isn't so sure that it wouldn't create chaos in the forms of mass lawsuits that would likely land on the Supreme Court's steps for review.
Having to do the rewriting in public with CSPAN broadcasting every moment might also prove problematic for a modern-day convention, he said.
"The original Constitutional Convention in 1787 met behind closed doors, there was no press coverage and … there were lots of compromises and back-door dealing. You couldn't do that now. And so it would make it harder."
I personally wrote to this 'socialist' pol in Seattle----asking her to get out the protest against the Democratic primary fraud against Bernie----a 'socialist' would march for a social Democrat much more than for a far-right 1 % Wall Street global corporate neo-liberal whose Foreign Economic Zones in Asia has enslaved Asian citizens for decades with global neo-liberalism. So, Ms Kshama-Sawant ---would have been UNSTOPPABLE in seeking redress from Democratic primary election fraud----yet NOT A WORD FROM THIS 'SOCIALIST' against a Hillary win.
'Obama passed the NDAA, one of the most fascist pieces of legislation at 11:55pm on New Year's Eve in 2011 when NO ONE was paying attention. Who passes a law at midnight?? Can you imagine if Trump tried to get away with that'?
KIRO 7 News added a new video.
November 9 at 4:50pm · BREAKING: Seattle's socialist city councilwoman called for a massive protest today and a "nationwide shutdown" on Donald J. Trump's inauguration day. >> kiro.tv/SawantCalls
What do you think of Councilmember Kshama Sawant's statement?
A) I think this is good.
B) This further divides the country
C) This is a way for people to express themselves
D) She just wants attention
E) (Enter your own answer)
IF WE THE PEOPLE JUST DO A LITTLE RESEARCH WE WOULD KNOW SAWANT IS TIED TO THE GLOBAL 1% AND THEIR 2%----SHE IS NOT A LEFT SOCIALIST----SHE IS SETTING THE STAGE FOR FAR-RIGHT LIBERTARIAN MARXISM
Savants were the descendants of the Shilahara Dynasty who Ruled Konkan and even their feudatories as well.
Sawant is the surname of a Maratha clan among the 96 royal clans of the Kshatriya Cast. Sawant possess commonly used Maratha honorific titles such as Sardesai, Raje, and Sardar, in addition to having a historic presence in Baroda, Karnataka (predominantly in Karwar region), Kolhapur, Maharashtra, Kokan, Nagpur, Satara, Sangli, and other Maratha-dominated regions of India. However, Maratha Sawants are from different clans such as Chandravanshi/Yaduvanshi Savant ( Shilahar dynasty/Yadava dynasty )Sawant-Bhosale (Sisodiya descendant), Sawant - Salunkhe (Chalukya dynasty, settling the city of Ratnagiri), Sawant-Patel (Parmar descendant). Sawant was also a high rank feudal title given to Salunkhe-Patankar clan by Bahamani sultans. The Sawant branches are related to the kings and sardars of the Maratha clans. Bhiravande is one of the village who known for "Sawant Patel's" Armor.
This is why a 'socialist' would be fighting for a Hillary win----and saying nothing about a social Democratic primary loss to fraud for Bernie Sanders.
News • 2016
Kshama Sawant Shows Up at the DNC to Tell Bernie Sanders Supporters to Vote for Jill Stein
by Heidi Groover • Jul 25, 2016 at 8:07 am
Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant shifted her support from Bernie Sanders to Jill Stein after Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton. HG
On the heels of a law-and-order-obsessed Republican National Convention, Democrats are meeting this week in Philadelphia to do their thing. The protests are already more impressive than anything on the streets of Cleveland.
Like at the RNC, much of the mood so far seems to be anti-Hillary Clinton, with signs and shirts reading "Hillary for Prison." That bitterness worsened with Friday's release of Democratic National Committee emails mocking Sanders' campaign. DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz now plans to resign.
We're not on the ground in Philly, but other local media outlets are, including the Seattle Times and KUOW. (My favorite dispatches, though, are coming from Sydney's dad, a Bernie Sanders volunteer.)
Yesterday, the Times' Jim Brunner was at a rally where Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant called on Sanders supporters to support Green Party candidate Jill Stein instead of Clinton. Sawant has campaigned for Sanders for months, but changed course when he endorsed Clinton.
In Philadelphia, Sawant said support for Sanders has "shown that millions of people, young and old, are angry at the corporate domination of our country and we want to take our country towards a different vision," Brunner reports. Read the rest and watch video here.
Sanders will speak at the convention tonight.