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General Category => Off the Record => Topic started by: Syt on August 13, 2018, 01:25:56 am

Title: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Syt 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.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Syt on August 13, 2018, 01:26:19 am
Also, I seem to have missed the Marxist takeover of Western Europe.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Admiral Yi on August 13, 2018, 01:34:05 am
It's ridiculous fearmongering.  Our Constitution is impossible to change without overwhelming agreement.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: jimmy olsen 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.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: grumbler 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. 
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Tamas 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?
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: grumbler 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.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Tamas 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.

Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: garbon 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.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Valmy 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.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Valmy 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.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: grumbler 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.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Savonarola 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?
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: garbon 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
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: crazy canuck 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.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Oexmelin on August 13, 2018, 10:23:12 am
It's ridiculous fearmongering.  Our Constitution is impossible to change without overwhelming agreement.

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.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Eddie Teach on August 13, 2018, 10:26:36 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.

You never managed to assimilate the Frenchies.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Oexmelin on August 13, 2018, 10:27:53 am
And apparently, you never managed to assimilate the racists.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Valmy on August 13, 2018, 10:32:27 am
(https://img.youtube.com/vi/SEaKbGXPJ_o/mqdefault.jpg)
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: garbon on August 13, 2018, 10:35:18 am
It's ridiculous fearmongering.  Our Constitution is impossible to change without overwhelming agreement.

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.

At the same time, I think there's plenty of other stuff to worry about ahead of this.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Oexmelin on August 13, 2018, 10:38:30 am
At the same time, I think there's plenty of other stuff to worry about ahead of this.

Sure. But I think it is less ridiculous than what Yi was saying. And we should keep an eye on this, lest the left finds itself once again forced to react to a well-designed Conservative machine, well-lubricated by millions from committed ideologues.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Eddie Teach on August 13, 2018, 10:45:50 am
And apparently, you never managed to assimilate the racists.

Eh... I think our problem is mainly people deciding where to live based on politics. But even with that state races are usually 60-40 or closer.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Valmy on August 13, 2018, 10:49:39 am
And apparently, you never managed to assimilate the racists.

Eh... I think our problem is mainly people deciding where to live based on politics. But even with that state races are usually 60-40 or closer.

Pretty sure people decide where to live based on work and people they know.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Barrister on August 13, 2018, 10:53:55 am
Pretty sure people decide where to live based on work and people they know.

Politics was a definite factor on me choosing where to live.

I mean - I guess the joke's on me since I now live under the socialist dictates of the Alberta NDP, but it still explains in part why I'm here.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: crazy canuck on August 13, 2018, 10:58:36 am
At the same time, I think there's plenty of other stuff to worry about ahead of this.

Sure. But I think it is less ridiculous than what Yi was saying. And we should keep an eye on this, lest the left finds itself once again forced to react to a well-designed Conservative machine, well-lubricated by millions from committed ideologues.

Agreed.  The Canadian experience is a cautionary tale of a constitutional convention opened with the best of intentions (discussing how to repatriate and what a constitutional bill of rights might look like) and still going horribly wrong.  What is being proposed now by the US right is something far from a good faith exercise but one that is motivated entirely to meet ideological objectives.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Valmy on August 13, 2018, 11:02:58 am
Texas had a Constitutional Convention in the 1970s to finally replace our 'temporary' reconstruction state constitution (still going!). Texas was (and still is) basically a one party state.

It was a complete and total shit show. I cannot imagine what a farce a national Constitutional Convention would be these days. We sometimes forget what a miracle the 1787 Convention was.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: garbon on August 13, 2018, 11:03:52 am
And apparently, you never managed to assimilate the racists.

Eh... I think our problem is mainly people deciding where to live based on politics. But even with that state races are usually 60-40 or closer.

Pretty sure people decide where to live based on work and people they know.

Yes, though it also true that I don't want to live next to very fine people.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Oexmelin on August 13, 2018, 11:09:17 am
It was a complete and total shit show. I cannot imagine what a farce a national Constitutional Convention would be these days. We sometimes forget what a miracle the 1787 Convention was.

That mythologizing is partly a problem, because it erases the fact that it was an extremely contentious political process. A miracle cannot be replicated, but a political process on such matters ought not to be thought of as a zero-sum game.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Valmy on August 13, 2018, 11:28:37 am
It was a complete and total shit show. I cannot imagine what a farce a national Constitutional Convention would be these days. We sometimes forget what a miracle the 1787 Convention was.

That mythologizing is partly a problem, because it erases the fact that it was an extremely contentious political process. A miracle cannot be replicated, but a political process on such matters ought not to be thought of as a zero-sum game.

How does that erase that fact? The fact that they were able to compromise through such contentious issues is what is hard to replicate. That is the very thing what makes it seem so miraculous today.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: FunkMonk on August 13, 2018, 11:46:00 am
A Constitutional Convention in today's political climate would be such an epochal disaster that I shudder to think of the chaos that would be unleashed in this country. In a time of bad ideas, this one might be the worst of all.

Therefore, I think it will likely happen before the 2024 election to enable Donald to run for a third term.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Tamas on August 13, 2018, 11:56:17 am
Politics was a considerable part in deciding for me where to live. I wanted a country where the political situation is more stable and predictable.


So I have moved to the UK


(http://replygif.net/i/856.gif)

Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: crazy canuck on August 13, 2018, 11:59:11 am
Politics was a considerable part in deciding for me where to live. I wanted a country where the political situation is more stable and predictable.


So I have moved to the UK


(http://replygif.net/i/856.gif)

 :lol:
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Berkut on August 13, 2018, 12:16:29 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).
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: grumbler on August 13, 2018, 12:28:41 pm
How does that erase that fact? The fact that they were able to compromise through such contentious issues is what is hard to replicate. That is the very thing what makes it seem so miraculous today.

I don't think that compromise is what made the CC so surprising.  What made it surprising was how far-sighted they actually were.  Other than not foreseeing the breakup of their own (and the only) political party, they did pretty well at establishing a workable division of federal and state powers, and providing a workable system with checks and balances at the federal level.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: grumbler on August 13, 2018, 12:31:53 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.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Valmy on August 13, 2018, 12:34:04 pm
Quote
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.”

Can't they just change that rule if they have a Constitutional Convention?
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: grumbler on August 13, 2018, 12:41:35 pm
Quote
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.”

Can't they just change that rule if they have a Constitutional Convention?

Of course they can.  The only CC we have had did just that.  The CC can make whatever changes to the Constitution they like, including changes to Article V.  Indeed, it is hard to imagine that such a convention would NOT change the ratification rules, since the current rules would pose a high barrier to the convention's own work.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Valmy on August 13, 2018, 12:44:29 pm
So Coburn is claiming that nothing bad will happen with his convention because of the rules in the Constitution we would be superseding? He may not have thought this through.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Oexmelin on August 13, 2018, 12:45:30 pm
Other than not foreseeing the breakup of their own (and the only) political party

You've evoked that twice already, and I wonder what you base that reading on.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Valmy on August 13, 2018, 12:47:47 pm
There were no official parties in 1787, right? I mean there were factions. I thought they formed initially from the fight over ratification.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: grumbler on August 13, 2018, 12:48:51 pm
So Coburn is claiming that nothing bad will happen with his convention because of the rules in the Constitution we would be superseding? He may not have thought this through.

Exactly.  And the moron actually says he would "stake his life" on that interpretation.  If the cost of him losing that bet were not so high...
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: crazy canuck on August 13, 2018, 12:49:45 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.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: grumbler on August 13, 2018, 12:52:29 pm
You've evoked that twice already, and I wonder what you base that reading on.

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?
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: grumbler on August 13, 2018, 12:53:34 pm
There were no official parties in 1787, right? I mean there were factions. I thought they formed initially from the fight over ratification.

Indeed.  But the split over ratification came after the convention had finished.  It did result in the Bill of Rights, though.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: grumbler on August 13, 2018, 12:56:40 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.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Malthus 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. 
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Oexmelin 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. 
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: crazy canuck 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.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Tyr 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.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: grumbler 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.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Admiral Yi 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.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Valmy 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.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Admiral Yi 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
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Eddie Teach 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.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: dps 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.


Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: grumbler 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.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: grumbler 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.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Oexmelin 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.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Valmy on August 13, 2018, 11:10:14 pm
Pauline Maier is excellent :yes:
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Valmy 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.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: dps on August 14, 2018, 02:12:19 am
At any rate, I'm opposed to a new Constitutional Convention unless I get to write the new Constitution personally.

Though to be honest, there's not much I'd change.  The Founding Fathers actually did a pretty good job, IMO.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Scipio on August 14, 2018, 08:08:28 am
It's ridiculous fearmongering.  Our Constitution is impossible to change without overwhelming agreement.

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.

Ratification of anything coming out of a such a convention would require approval by 3/4 of both the House and the Senate. Not the states. This proposed convention is about proposing an amendment to the Constitution, after all.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Razgovory on August 14, 2018, 11:41:40 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.


Man, I thought we won the Cold War
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: crazy canuck on August 14, 2018, 11:47:48 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.


Man, I thought we won the Cold War

Trumpism, like all far right ideologies, requires an enemy.  Since Trump insists on treating Russia as a friend, the need to fabricate enemies is apparent.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Valmy on August 14, 2018, 12:27:27 pm
Ratification of anything coming out of a such a convention would require approval by 3/4 of both the House and the Senate. Not the states. This proposed convention is about proposing an amendment to the Constitution, after all.

I thought the whole point of this convention by the States was to bypass Congress :hmm:
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: grumbler on August 14, 2018, 12:33:33 pm
Ratification of anything coming out of a such a convention would require approval by 3/4 of both the House and the Senate. Not the states. This proposed convention is about proposing an amendment to the Constitution, after all.

I thought the whole point of this convention by the States was to bypass Congress :hmm:

That is correct.  Article V says that amendments "shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof."  Congress is only involved in the proposal of amendments or the convening of a convention.

But, of course, article V itself could be changed.  The last time the US did a CC, the method of ratifying the changes it made was the method contained in the changes.
Title: Re: U.S. Constitutional Convention - nonsense or real option?
Post by: Razgovory on August 14, 2018, 01:20:37 pm
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.


Man, I thought we won the Cold War

Trumpism, like all far right ideologies, requires an enemy.  Since Trump insists on treating Russia as a friend, the need to fabricate enemies is apparent.

Man, I got thinking what it would be like if Trump was President in the 1980's.


Quote
We welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace. There is one sign the Europeans can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. Chancellor Kohl, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Germany and Western Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate. Mr. Kohl, open this gate. Mr. Kohl, tear down this wall!