Comment: I disagree with her

(See in situ)

In reply to comment: Curious on your view of this (see in situ)

I disagree with her

First of all, with all of the attention and resources of the progressive machine aimed at Wisconsin - it being the only game in town so to speak - the people and Governor still prevailed in passing common sense policies.

Second, people don't get that it doesn't matter what the convention proposes. 3/4 of the states must ratify each amendment separately. The convention is called by 2/3 of the states, so there will be a general mandate. People will go into it with at least some guidance.

It's not as if there's a 'break glass in case you want to rewrite constitution' button. This isn't a convention to redo the constitution.

Again, 2/3 of the states call for it. The convention then proposes a series of amendments. Each amendment is individually ratified by each state legislature. If 3/4 ratify, that specific amendment passes.

Congress can already, by 2/3 vote, propose an amendment to the states. They can propose a thousand crazy amendments.

The difference between this convention and Congress is that congresspeople are scrutinized in the national media. If they have unapproved opinions, they are called nut jobs and run out. State legislatures can more easily get away with 'nut job' ideas like subjecting supreme court rulings to a congressional veto. Also, do you think Congress will ever propose term limits for its members?

The idea is that whatever amendments might be needed - and so we assume that our constitution suffers some flaws (such as unaccountable judicial review) - if Congress won't pass and the people want them, then there must be something specifically wrong with Congress preventing it. The term limits thing is a great example, but another example is the 17th amendment. The Senate would hate to be able to be recalled from office by the legislature. Budget balancing - this prevents Congress from all its lucrative special interest deals. State legislatures aren't in on those deals, so they have less reason to be against a balanced federal budget. This is the purpose of the convention.

The only danger of the convention is that you might argue that Congress people worry about reelection, so they might not propose a very unpopular amendment. Delegates to a convention can be paid off, and with no reelection to worry about, disappear into the woodwork. Okay, but any amendment still requires 3/4 of the states to ratify it. I just can't see this being a problem, whereas I do see the idea of waiting for Congress to propose an amendment as being a problem. Who knows, maybe the threat of a convention will cause congress to propose amendments preemptively? That's an advantage we haven't spoken of.

If anything, the only danger from a convention comes from publicity. In other words, bad people already conspiring to engage in a coup could use a convention as a smoke screen to temporarily confuse the public. On the heels of a convention to 'propose amendments' to the constitution, they could announce a new government. They could pretend that the convention grants them some kind of legitimacy. This would not be legally accurate, and would be transparent.

If that's the plan, then I think we're dealing with bigger problems than a few rogue amendments that would never be ratified.