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View Diary: Let’s Kick A Republican To The Curb (219 comments)

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  •  Naive insanity! (9+ / 0-)

    You believe congress it too corrupt to make laws but you feel that throwing open the constitution to tinkering will somehow be a pure process?
    Will we finally have flag-burning amendments and a national sales tax? Will austrian-born body builders be allowed to become President? A constitutional convention is a bad, very dangerous idea. If we could get congress, the courts and the white house to respect the existing constitution that would be a huge step. Playing around with the constitution with apocalyptic dominionists and corporatists holding so much power is truly insane. I'm a fan of Clint's from his first whistleblowings,  but his support for this insanity gives me some pause.

    •  thanks for the vigorous post (2+ / 0-)
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      Christopher Walker, kurt

      (no snark). I'm more ambivalent than you are, but "very dangerous" is a slam dunk.

    •  Can you please help me with a question I've had? (0+ / 0-)

      I don't know much about it, but when I first heard AAR's Thom Hartmann (who agrees with your position entirely) railing against the idea, I wanted to ask him a question about it but couldn't get through.
      Can you tell me whether or not the process of ratification itself would differ from the procedure followed for earlier Amendments (and if so how)?
      (I Hope that my question makes sense. I think what I'm asking is: would the type of convention that some people agitating for, just make proposals, or could it actually make changes on its own?)

      •  My understanding (2+ / 0-)
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        kwinz, jen

        I am not a Constitutional lawyer so this question might be best asked of Paul Lehto. But as to my understanding, the process would be an exchange of propositions between the states followed by a ratification process similar to present amendment process. The problem is that the Constitution did not define the process so the first step will undoubtedly be the argument over the process and battle for positioning by both parties. While that sounds daunting you will never arrive if you never start.

    •  dangerous idea (3+ / 0-)
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      Eddie Haskell, kurt, Snarcalita

      English-firsters, flag worshippers, and people who want to repeal the notion that citizenshp is automatic for persons born here would all get a clean shot at having their way in a new Constitution. Church and state issues might get clarified in a way progressives would not like. Grover Norquist types would push for making income tax unconstitutional, and never mind where revenue is supposed to come from, after that. There would be conventioneers wanting to limit the power of the courts to balance the executive.  And gay people could kiss their ass good-bye.

      I life up mine eyes to the Constitution we've already got, thank you very much, from whence cometh my help.
      Anyone calling for a different one has almost certainly got a sinister agenda.

    •  Wouldn't public debate be better (2+ / 0-)
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      kwinz, pickandshovel

      There is a risk but I think it would be small. I think we both agree that politics is corrupt and money holds too much sway on the process. This is a much bigger problem behind close doors than in an event that would be open to public scrutiny. Right now the Congress makes laws that effectively go against the Constitution as it stands (look at the recent acquiescence to Presidential power with the newly signed wiretapping legislation).

      The wheels of change would not be given any advantage through a new convention. It would only be given a little more public debate of proposed changes. Changes would be just as hard to get adopted whether they are recycled like flag burning or serious amendments such as publicly finance elections. I doubt that people with a specific agenda would be able to have much effect on the process. If they could they would have already done so through the existing process. The Constitutional Convention Amendment process requires a 75% approval of all states. That is exactly the same as the existing system. It is by no means a fast track to passage of special interest changes. If anything it is much more cumbersome and difficult than the ratification process since it would require the organization of meetings instead of leaving the debate in the state legislature where the process now resides. The last Amendment ratified was the 27th in 1992. It began its ratification process in 1789.

      I personally have unlimited faith in the American public and much less in the elected leadership.

      •  I'm most worried about manipulation (1+ / 0-)
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        of the populace by media using standard emotional triggers. Either they could get things rammed through with some sort of theater, or nothing would get through. The latter is, indeed, more likely; nothing substantial would get passed the high bar. The remedy to current unconstitutional laws is built into the constitution, but requires enough political education and influence to change the courts and congress. I don't see what particular amendment would be useful enough yet likely enough to pass to justify the risk of a convention that could produce, say, and end to the income tax, or other radical but conceivably popular measures which would do incalculable harm. Public debate is great, and will be required to repair the nation in any case. Raising the stakes right away is just too risky.

        •  You might be right (2+ / 0-)
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          jen, Snarcalita

          But from what I know of the process (remember I haven't had a course in Constitutional Law in over 20 years) is that it actually makes it harder to pass an amendment. Not only do you still have to get 38 out of 50 states to ratify it. You take the initial discussion process away from Congress and place it into a public arena. That means you have to get people to agree without any of the structure for such discussion.

          It is really the same as the present process except that the public (or states)(maybe - not really spelled out) proposes the amendment instead of Congress. A second hurdle is that prior to the convention, two thirds of the states must agree to have one. The amendments presented in each state must of course match and then must be passed by 3/4ths of the states.

          In the normal method, Congress sends the amendment down to the state legislatures. At that point 3/4ths of the states must ratify it.

          If I remember correctly, the reason this was placed in the Constitution was because the states did not trust the federal government and wanted a Citizens initiative in case Congress became completely out of step with the people. I think it has been avoided because it is much harder.

          •  If we can get 200 people like you (2+ / 0-)
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            kurt, pickandshovel

            elected, and impeach the worst of the Bush sleeper judges, then we won't need to mess with the constitution. The political dialog needed to make good, effective amendments would be more productively directed to good legislation and sweeping out the corrupt, in my opinion.

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