Monday, November 2, 2015

A Constitutional Convention? Think first.

There's an idea afloat to revive an effort in this year's state budget session to have Wyoming's legislature pass a bill supporting having a Constitutional Convention.  An op ed in the Star Tribune recently endorsed it.

It's a poorly thought out idea.

The concept behind such a convention is that the delegates could go and pass an amendement ot the United States Constitution requiring a balanced budget.

Leaving aside the question of whether or not such an amendment is a good idea, which is a topic of legitimate debate, the problem with a Convention goes far beyond that topic.  

There's no legal way to limit the scope of a convention.  Backers claim that this isn't so, as the charge of the Legislatures would be solely on that topic, ignoring for a moment that slightly under half the states would be sending delegates to a convention that they hadn't actually endorsed.  As a convention, a legal entity, is only recognized in the broad, rather than the narrow, those who believe that its scope can be limited are absolutely incorrect. A convention could do anything it darned well wanted to do.

And there's no reason to believe that it would limit its scope.  You can be assured that delegates would try to expand it. They have in the past after all, that's how we ended up with the United States Constitution in the first place.

Both liberal and conservative delegates would be licking their chops at a convention, and a person has to be naive not to believe so.  Yes, they'd address a balanced budget amendment, and probably pass one, but they would not stop there.

Liberals, whom by the time of the convention are highly likely to riding high on the election of a second President Clinton (note, I"m not endorsing her, I'm just reading the political tea leaves here, and that's how things look to be shaping up to me), would see it as a chance to do the following:

1. Wipe out the Second Amendment.
2.  Create a new equal rights amendment that creates an absolute a society that turns a blind eye to anything to do with gender whatsoever.
3.  Create new social and economic rights.

Conservatives, if you are gasping in horror at the possibilities, particularly under a new Clinton Administration, well you ought to be.

But Liberals, before you laugh with delight, Conservatives, who really control more states than Liberals, would propose the following:

1.  Reverse the U.S. Supreme Court's decisions on same gender marriage and when life begins.
2.  Define citizenship to eliminate the location of birth element to it.
3.  Bolster the Second Amendment.
4. Redefine the First Amendment.

Now, note, some of these things I might be in favor of myself.  I think the Supreme Court was wrong in Obergefell and I also think that the Court's 1973 effort at defining the beginning life was one way pathetic example of legal reasoning. 

But does anyone want to open all of this up to a convention?

I doubt it.

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