Author Topic: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?  (Read 1373 times)

Malthus

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Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
« Reply #45 on: August 13, 2018, 01:14:32 pm »
The US Constitution is a remarkable arrangement for allowing fallible humans to govern themselves, containing numerous provisions to prevent dumbasses from screwing everything up.

The framers of the Constitution are not to be blamed for not foreseeing the sheer extend of modern-day dumbassery, and their implacable will to screw everything up. 
The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane—Marcus Aurelius

Oexmelin

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Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
« Reply #46 on: August 13, 2018, 01:20:34 pm »
On the fact that there is no mention of political parties or their roles, or any limitation of their powers (such as gerrymandering, the obvious outcome of a political spoils system), and especially on the fact that there is no assigned role for an opposition (unlike the unwritten constitution they had grown up with).  Why?  Do you disagree?  If so, on what basis?

It's probably just a matter of vocabulary.

Partisanship was thought, quite "commonsensically" to be very much a threat to the idea of Republicanism, yet that fault lines were quite visible already during the debates, and thus the threat very much in the attendees' mind, so I find it surprising that you'd claim they didn't think of it. They didn't try to contain factionalism, or the spirit of party through institutionalization, and in that, we can certainly think they failed, or that their bets to channel "petty factionalism" were ill-conceived, but I don't see it as a failure to imagine the crumbling of a single party. 
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crazy canuck

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Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
« Reply #47 on: August 13, 2018, 01:40:23 pm »
The funny thing is, I actually think we rather desperately need a convention. The current constitution is dated and nearly unworkable.

The problem is that some of the things we would want to change are actually exactly the opposite of what those who are bleating for one want - the last thing we need is giving more representation to "states" rather than actual people, which appears to be what these dumbasses want (because they know they are a clear minority overall, but majorities in the total number of low population states).

I don't see anything "unworkable" about the current US constitution.  It needs some tweaks to reduce the influence of the parties (like giving the federal governments, not state legislatures, the power to regulate congressional district outlines, and forcing all the states to divide EC votes proportional to the popular vote in each state), but most of the current government failure is due to shitty politicians, not an unworkable constitution.


I agree.  The US constitution is a remarkable document and a high water mark for the protection of individual liberty.  But assuming Berkut is correct and the US constitution should be redrafted to fix whatever he believes makes the US constitution "nearly unworkable", the drafters of such a document will have no better success than the original drafters in avoiding the possibility of citizens electing politicians who promise to appoint supreme court justices who will interpret a perfectly good constitution in ways that the drafters had not intended.  Rather in the current political climate the US is likely to end up with a document the original drafters would never have agreed to and which cuts out the need for the Supreme Court to interpret away pesky protections for individual rights in order to advantage corporate interests.

We are in agreement.  :hmm:

Not sure how to react to such a novel and unexpected development.

 :lol:

I suspect there is a lot we agree on, we just don't let that get in the way of our disagreements.

Tyr

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Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
« Reply #48 on: August 13, 2018, 01:53:28 pm »
How odd. You'd think it'd be the other side looking to fix the outdated constitution and amending some amendments that bring nothing good to a 21st century developed country.
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grumbler

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Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
« Reply #49 on: August 13, 2018, 02:24:13 pm »
How odd. You'd think it'd be the other side looking to fix the outdated constitution and amending some amendments that bring nothing good to a 21st century developed country.

The other side has their own list of preferred amendments.  The only one that seems to be generating any traction is the one to overturn Citizens United.
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Admiral Yi

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Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
« Reply #50 on: August 13, 2018, 08:27:49 pm »
As Tim pointed out, it doesn't require overwhelming agreement. It simply requires enough institutional control: a convention can be called by 2/3 of the states - and since that would be entering uncharted territory, even the means of ratification proposed by that Convention could diverge from the current rule (3/4 of the states). And in case of conflict over *that*, it is unclear where the adjudication would be coming from - and I would neither be too sure of the Supreme Court, nor of a meeting of reasonable minds at this point.

These right-wing groups calling for the convention have been preparing with material, lobbyists, talking points, and super pacs for years, and they are patient. Considering how so many things that were unthinkable only a few years back are now very much thinkable, and a reality at that, I think brushing that aside as ridiculous is perhaps premature, and unwise.

I think you meant grumbler.

I don't think it works that way.  A convention could of course declare that what ever Donald Trump tweets on the can is the Constitution, but it would still have to be ratified by 3/4 of state legislatures.
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Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
« Reply #51 on: August 13, 2018, 08:30:05 pm »
You sure? Ratification was included as an article in the Constitution. The new Constitution could just say the number of states that they are sure to ratify are what is required for it to go into effect.
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Admiral Yi

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Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
« Reply #52 on: August 13, 2018, 08:38:05 pm »
Quote
Hawke v. Smith, 253 U.S. 221 (1920): "[Article V] makes provision for the proposal of amendments either by two-thirds of both houses of Congress or on application of the legislatures of two-thirds of the states, thus securing deliberation and consideration before any change can be proposed. The proposed change can only become effective by the ratification of the legislatures of three-fourths of the states or by conventions in a like number of states. The method of ratification is left to the choice of Congress."[40]

wiki
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Eddie Teach

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Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
« Reply #53 on: August 13, 2018, 09:10:03 pm »
You sure? Ratification was included as an article in the Constitution. The new Constitution could just say the number of states that they are sure to ratify are what is required for it to go into effect.

Sure it could, but you still have to convince people to accept the new constitution.
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dps

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Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
« Reply #54 on: August 13, 2018, 09:10:41 pm »
On the fact that there is no mention of political parties or their roles, or any limitation of their powers (such as gerrymandering, the obvious outcome of a political spoils system), and especially on the fact that there is no assigned role for an opposition (unlike the unwritten constitution they had grown up with).  Why?  Do you disagree?  If so, on what basis?

It's probably just a matter of vocabulary.

Partisanship was thought, quite "commonsensically" to be very much a threat to the idea of Republicanism, yet that fault lines were quite visible already during the debates, and thus the threat very much in the attendees' mind, so I find it surprising that you'd claim they didn't think of it. They didn't try to contain factionalism, or the spirit of party through institutionalization, and in that, we can certainly think they failed, or that their bets to channel "petty factionalism" were ill-conceived, but I don't see it as a failure to imagine the crumbling of a single party. 

They quite reasonably thought that factions were inevitable, but that they would be the basis of shifting, temporary alliances, not permanent parties. At least, that's what I was taught in school, and my own reading on the subject would seem to largely reinforce the idea.



grumbler

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Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
« Reply #55 on: August 13, 2018, 09:15:48 pm »
Quote
Hawke v. Smith, 253 U.S. 221 (1920): "[Article V] makes provision for the proposal of amendments either by two-thirds of both houses of Congress or on application of the legislatures of two-thirds of the states, thus securing deliberation and consideration before any change can be proposed. The proposed change can only become effective by the ratification of the legislatures of three-fourths of the states or by conventions in a like number of states. The method of ratification is left to the choice of Congress."[40]

wiki

But that could change at the constitutional convention, as we know:  it did in the one that was held.  Prior to the CC. changes had to be accepted unanimously by the states, but the CC changed that, and their changed procedures became the new method of ratification.
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grumbler

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Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
« Reply #56 on: August 13, 2018, 09:17:26 pm »
Sure it could, but you still have to convince people to accept the new constitution.

Not necessarily.  The radicals who want this convention would still be satisfied if they had to ram the new constitution down the throats of the majority of the people.
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Oexmelin

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Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
« Reply #57 on: August 13, 2018, 09:21:56 pm »
They quite reasonably thought that factions were inevitable, but that they would be the basis of shifting, temporary alliances, not permanent parties. At least, that's what I was taught in school, and my own reading on the subject would seem to largely reinforce the idea.

Again, to ascribe to them idea of a permanent party, the way we understand it, would be anachronistic. Partisanship is a different thing, but should not be equated with factionalism either, which implies the idea that the conquest of power for reward, rather than cause.

If you are interested, Pauline Maier’s Ratification is a good book.
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Valmy

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Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
« Reply #58 on: August 13, 2018, 11:10:14 pm »
Pauline Maier is excellent :yes:
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Valmy

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Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
« Reply #59 on: August 13, 2018, 11:13:55 pm »
You sure? Ratification was included as an article in the Constitution. The new Constitution could just say the number of states that they are sure to ratify are what is required for it to go into effect.

Sure it could, but you still have to convince people to accept the new constitution.

Do you? I mean I think you do but:

Quote
The panelists broadly tabbed “liberals” as the opposition to their hopes, but the politics of an article V convention aren’t so cut and dry. Some of the most virulent opposition to the movement has arisen in the far right John Birch Society which argues that a convention could “rewrite our constitution and destroy its protection of our rights”.

Kind of sounds like they consider "liberals" their opposition. If you start with that premise then why try it at all if you think a huge majority of the people need to be convinced? If you believed that you needed a large majority you would be trying to build bridges to all constituencies and interest groups, not framing one of the largest ones (granted it is a very vaguely labeled and diverse group) as opponents. But hey that is just this article not some sort of official document released by this movement.
If we can hit that bull's-eye, the rest of the dominoes will fall like a house of cards. Checkmate!

Valmy is practically french. :frog:

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