Author Topic: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?  (Read 791 times)

Syt

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U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
« on: August 13, 2018, 01:25:56 am »
Are these fringe idiots or is this a thing that might genuinely be considered?

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/aug/11/conservatives-call-for-constitutional-convention-alec

Quote
Conservatives call for constitutional intervention last seen 230 years ago

Lawmakers push for ‘constitutional convention’ to restrict federal government – and it’s not as far fetched as it sounds

It’s been more than 230 years since America’s last constitutional convention, but there is growing confidence in some conservative circles that the next one is right around the corner – and could spell disaster for entitlement programs like medicare and social security, as well court decisions like Roe v Wade.

“I think we’re three or four years away,” said the former Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn on Friday, speaking at the annual convention for American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec) – a powerful rightwing organization that links corporate lobbyists with state lawmakers from across the country.

Coburn, a veteran Republican lawmaker, now works as a senior adviser for the advocacy group Convention of States, which seeks to use a little known clause in article V of the US constitution to call a constitutional convention for new amendments to dramatically restrict the power of the federal government.

Coburn, who retired from the Senate in 2010, said that the American republic is “failing”, and that such a convention is the “only answer” to the problems the country faces today.

“We’re in a battle for the future of our country,” Coburn told the assembly of mostly conservative state lawmakers meeting in New Orleans. “We’re either going to become a socialist, Marxist country like western Europe, or we’re going to be free. As far as me and my family and my guns, I’m going to be free.”

Convention of States, with Alec’s support, is one of three prominent conservative groups pushing for a new constitutional convention. Under article V, if two-thirds of state legislatures so choose, they can force congress to convene such a meeting. On the agenda for Convention of States: an amendment to require a balanced budget, term limits for congress, repealing the federal income tax and giving states the power to veto any federal law, supreme court decision or executive order with a three-fifths vote from the states.

“The only chance we have to restore this country, that is peaceful, is this convention,” said Jim Moyer, a Convention of States supporter and attendee at the Alec annual meeting.

It’s not as far fetched as it sounds. A coalition seeking just the balanced budget amendment currently has 28 out of the required 34 state legislatures on board, with active bills calling for a convention. Since Trump’s election, Arizona and Wyoming have both passed bills to join in the call while Maryland, Nevada and New Mexico have repealed versions they had previously put on the books.

Convention of States and its more expansive to-do list doesn’t have as many states in play as the balanced budget group, but it does boast a big roster of well-known conservative supporters such as Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin, Bobby Jindal and Rand Paul, and a reported 2.5 million volunteers ready to mobilize: “double that of the NRA [National Rifle Association],” pointed out Rita Dunaway, the staff council at Convention of States.

Their partnership with Alec makes success that more likely. No group in US history has been so successful at getting similar and sometimes nearly identical pieces of legislation passed in multiple states, often within a period of one or two legislative sessions.

Unity among conservatives seeking an article V intervention is paramount. For the convention to be triggered, all 34 states have to ask for the same thing. Once they do though, critics argue the floodgates open. “Once you call a convention literally anybody can bring up anything,” said Jay Riestenberg, a spokesperson for the non-partisan watchdog group Common Cause. “We can bring up an amendment to overturn Roe v Wade or the Civil Rights Act,” Riestenberg added.

Coburn and Dunway both bristled at the possibility of what is known as a “runaway convention”, where conventioneers go beyond their original mandate, perhaps so far as to write an entirely new constitution. This is technically what happened during the framing of the current constitution in 1787, when attendees were tasked with amending the Articles of Confederation, but wound up crafting something new entirely.

Coburn cited the three-fourths barrier – three out of four states need to agree for any proposal made to become law – a firewall to concerns over “runaway”. “All it takes is 13 judiciary chairmen, in 13 states, to stop anything stupid that might come out of that,” Coburn said. “Nothing’s going to happen, I’ll stake my life on that.”

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”.

Conversely, some liberal groups have also pushed for an article V convention in response to the supreme court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling as a means to winnow back the influence of money in politics. A group called Wolf Pac leading that charge and has secured legislation in five of the 34 required states.

Tom Buford, a Republican state senator from Kentucky, said he’s been to both of the “simulations” that Convention of States has staged – including one held in 2016 at Colonial Williamsburg complete with period costumes and wigs.

“I support their thought, I’m OK with it, but I’m not the poster child,” Buford said. He thinks some of the proposals, like veto power over the supreme court go too far, and said that decades in state government have shown him the limitations of things like balanced budget amendments.

“A balanced budget amendment is a nice idea, and it will make people feel happy if that amendment were to pass but it wont solve the problem,” Buford said. Kentucky (like every other state besides Vermont) has a balanced budget clause in its state constitution, but lawmakers routinely find ways around.
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Syt

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Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2018, 01:26:19 am »
Also, I seem to have missed the Marxist takeover of Western Europe.
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Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2018, 01:34:05 am »
It's ridiculous fearmongering.  Our Constitution is impossible to change without overwhelming agreement.
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jimmy olsen

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Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2018, 04:05:19 am »
If Hillary was president, this would actually be a danger because the midterms would probably deliver them enough statehouses to do it. They're frighteningly close.

That it's likely to go the other way is the only silver lining of the Trump presidency.
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grumbler

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Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2018, 07:18:42 am »
I think that, if the nation came to the brink of an actual convention, states would discover that they would have no control over the process (all of the applications try to limit the scope of the convention, which is not possible) and back away.  Once the ideologues realize what they are trying to do, they'll become terrified.

Such a convention would be extremely dangerous.  It could, for instance, re-write the rules for ratification of its product to guarantee its ratification.  The Rules Committee for such a convention could allow passage of amendments with a minority vote.  There are literally no limits on what such a convention could do.  Far from being "the “only answer” to the problems the country faces today," it would be  disaster. 
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Tamas

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Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2018, 07:49:01 am »
I think that, if the nation came to the brink of an actual convention, states would discover that they would have no control over the process (all of the applications try to limit the scope of the convention, which is not possible) and back away.  Once the ideologues realize what they are trying to do, they'll become terrified.

Such a convention would be extremely dangerous.  It could, for instance, re-write the rules for ratification of its product to guarantee its ratification.  The Rules Committee for such a convention could allow passage of amendments with a minority vote.  There are literally no limits on what such a convention could do.  Far from being "the “only answer” to the problems the country faces today," it would be  disaster.

Well yeah but what about all them coloreds pouring through them borders then?

grumbler

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Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2018, 08:19:28 am »
Well yeah but what about all them coloreds pouring through them borders then?

 :huh:  None of the proposals for a convention mention immigration, insofar as I know.
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Tamas

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Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2018, 08:50:07 am »
Well yeah but what about all them coloreds pouring through them borders then?

 :huh:  None of the proposals for a convention mention immigration, insofar as I know.

I just wanted to imagine myself in the place of a Concerned American Citizen, hungry for reform.


garbon

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Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2018, 08:51:38 am »
Well yeah but what about all them coloreds pouring through them borders then?

 :huh:  None of the proposals for a convention mention immigration, insofar as I know.

I just wanted to imagine myself in the place of a Concerned American Citizen, hungry for reform.

I mean do we really need that anymore? We've enough real life examples we can see on the internet, don't really need the role play posted.
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Valmy

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Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2018, 08:58:15 am »
A Constitutional Convention would be a disastrous and embarrassing shitshow.

How close they are to it is another matter. Are the Republicans actually united on this?

Also it is bizarre to see a party that controls most levels of government, and has for most of our history since 1994, be so loud in proclaiming the failure of the country under their watch.

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”.

Yeah....ok.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2018, 09:04:38 am by Valmy »
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Valmy

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Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2018, 09:05:43 am »
Also, I seem to have missed the Marxist takeover of Western Europe.

Most people regard Marxism as a failed ideology. But I guess these Conservatives see it as a foundation to one of the most prosperous regions of the world. Maybe I should reconsider Marxism, it must work after all.
If we can hit that bull's-eye, the rest of the dominoes will fall like a house of cards. Checkmate!

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grumbler

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Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2018, 10:05:23 am »
Well yeah but what about all them coloreds pouring through them borders then?

 :huh:  None of the proposals for a convention mention immigration, insofar as I know.

I just wanted to imagine myself in the place of a Concerned American Citizen, hungry for reform.

I mean do we really need that anymore? We've enough real life examples we can see on the internet, don't really need the role play posted.

I think that, if he wanted "to imagine myself in the place of a Concerned American Citizen," we should let him.  It's not fair to keep a man away from his dream.
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Savonarola

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Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2018, 10:09:37 am »
Are these fringe idiots or is this a thing that might genuinely be considered?

If that was actually intended as a serious question, then the answer is in the article:

Quote
Tom Buford, a Republican state senator from Kentucky, said he’s been to both of the “simulations” that Convention of States has staged – including one held in 2016 at Colonial Williamsburg complete with period costumes and wigs.

COSPLAYERS THREATEN TO REWRITE CONSTITUTION!  WILL AMERICA SURVIVE?
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garbon

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Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2018, 10:11:05 am »
Well yeah but what about all them coloreds pouring through them borders then?

 :huh:  None of the proposals for a convention mention immigration, insofar as I know.

I just wanted to imagine myself in the place of a Concerned American Citizen, hungry for reform.

I mean do we really need that anymore? We've enough real life examples we can see on the internet, don't really need the role play posted.

I think that, if he wanted "to imagine myself in the place of a Concerned American Citizen," we should let him.  It's not fair to keep a man away from his dream.

True he can want and think that on his own. We don't need to see any posts where he tries on the 'role' though. :P
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crazy canuck

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Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2018, 10:22:53 am »
Amending (in 1982) and then subsequent attempts to further amend our constitution (in the 90s) came very close to ending Canada as we know it.
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