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Dark Wizard

The End for the US Constitution?

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Momentum is building behind what would be an unprecedented effort to amend the U.S. Constitution, through a little-known provision that gives states rather than Congress the power to initiate changes. 

At issue is what's known as a "constitutional convention," a scenario tucked into Article V of the U.S. Constitution. At its core, Article V provides two ways for amendments to be proposed. The first – which has been used for all 27 amendment to date – requires two-thirds of both the House and Senate to approve a resolution, before sending it to the states for ratification. The Founding Fathers, though, devised an alternative way which says if two-thirds of state legislatures demand a meeting, Congress “shall call a convention for proposing amendments.”

The idea has gained popularity among constitutional scholars in recent years -- but got a big boost last week when Michigan lawmakers endorsed it. 

Michigan matters, because by some counts it was the 34th state to do so. That makes two-thirds. 

Full Article: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/04/02/rare-option-forcing-congress-to-meet-change-constitution-gains-momentum/

 

This actually happened a while back (mid 2014), but I only recently ran into it while working on a personal Constitutional Rewrite project in my free time. For the Americans on here: What do you think about the possibility of a new constitutional convention of all 50 states. Keep in mind that everything is on the table. There are no written rules as to what could happen. We could be left with a significantly different Constitution. For you foreigners: what would you change about the current document and can you imagine it ever changing this drastically? 

 

I've actually been thinking about holding a Constitutional Rewrite on these boards because we seem to have some politically informed people here, but I figured we may as well finish our charter before that happens :P

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I didn't know it could be done this way. I think it might start to give some power back to the states themselves. It might just help put D.C. in check so maybe things will start getting done. On the other hand, as you said, anything can happen. Anyone that has traveled to different regions of America can appreciate the different personalities of each area. Some of those personalities are completely insane, so it'll be interesting to see the first proposals.

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Hopefully an amendment limiting big money politics, but knowing the government as it is it would be an amendment promoting big money politics. 

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I didn't know it could be done this way. I think it might start to give some power back to the states themselves. It might just help put D.C. in check so maybe things will start getting done. On the other hand, as you said, anything can happen. Anyone that has traveled to different regions of America can appreciate the different personalities of each area. Some of those personalities are completely insane, so it'll be interesting to see the first proposals.

 

It might not occur, Speaker Boehner is still counting the votes and having his legal team look at the issue. There is a question of how long it stands when one state calls for a convention, etc. So, even now it is unclear whether one will occur. It is my hopes that IF one does occur, Congress would pass some type of law limiting the scope of what can be done there, because there seems to be no restrictions on such a thing. There are very Liberal and very Conservative states that quite frankly have a significant amount of pull and I fear what such a new constitution would look like. Especially in this tumultuous time, we can't afford to have extreme players making decisions. 

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The Convention of States Project seems to think it can be done in a rather limited matter. Whether that'll actually happen or not, I'm not convinced.

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Just because a convention is called though does not necessarily mean the Constitution will be changed - it is rather a proposal for an amendment, not a full blown Constitutional Convention.

 

I don't see how an extreme change could come with this at the present moment in the form of an amendment.  There are too many solidly red states to agree with the solidly blue states and vice versa.  With the current polarization I don't see any Constitutional amendment being successful.

 

IF a Constitutional Convention were to happen at this time period, I think it would be very destructive.

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Just because a convention is called though does not necessarily mean the Constitution will be changed - it is rather a proposal for an amendment, not a full blown Constitutional Convention.

 

I don't see how an extreme change could come with this at the present moment in the form of an amendment.  There are too many solidly red states to agree with the solidly blue states and vice versa.  With the current polarization I don't see any Constitutional amendment being successful.

 

IF a Constitutional Convention were to happen at this time period, I think it would be very destructive.

The thing with that is that there is no set rules for such a thing. The Constitutional Convention of 1787 was never intended to scrap the Articles of Confederation, they were meant to be fixes to the issues, then they came out with a completely different document. I think there is a precedent that is a cause for concern in this instance. 

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Storm in a teacup, IMO.

 

Somebody has found a long-unused method of calling a meeting of Congress to discuss Amendments. Big whoop.

 

One key thing to note is that the guys who drew up the document were not thick - every bit has a 'check & balance' (this clause itself is a balance to the Senate IMO). In this case, you need to get 2/3 of the states to agree. How likely is that? If the issue is minor (a pay rise for state representitives) then yeah, simple. If it is remotely controversial (a blanket ban on all firearms :P ) then it'll never happen. Even if it suceeds, Congress still has to discuss it and it still needs ratifying by 3/4 of the States, which is a much bigger hurdle.

 

Bottom line, maybe an Amendement will come out of this, but I won't hold my breath. And even if it does, it won't be earth-shattering.

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