This diary is about real fear and real hope. It's about watching a transformation of western civilization in our lifetime. Really.
Dogemperor had posted a diary about Huckabee and his connections to religious fanatics.
In one paragraph I read this:
First it was the call for the US Constitution to be "changed" to be in accordance to "God's law"--and the US de jure converted to the Republic of Gilead, or (more properly, considering Huckabee's theology) a one-nation version of the "Tribulation Force" popularised in the Left Behind novels. (And he could do so; something like 34 states have made calls for a constitutional convention to attempt to pass a "Human Life Amendment" that would ban not only abortion but practically all forms of birth control. According to Article V of the US Constitution, only 27 states need call for this; it is still legally iffy whether a "ConCon" resolution can be revoked or whether it can be limited.)I replied in a comment:
if all 34 states have called for an article v convention, i.e. con-con, in order to propose an anti-abortion amendment, then why is huckabee not talking about congress and its refusal to issue the call? according to this site: http://www.foavc.org all applications for the call are already on the congressional record.To which dogemperor replied:
this diary seems to smear the u.s. constitution by implying an article v convention can ratify amendments, when it cannot.
this country is not 3/4 bible-thumpers. an anti-abortion amendment would never get ratified (in the meantime we have the supreme court and congress and executive doing whatever they want in accordance with a corporate rule.
A bit of clarification.I know that we've disagreed on this point in past, but yes, there is a risk that a Constitutional Convention can be hijacked:Dogemeror fears a convention of state delegates being hijacked, when special interests are already in the process of hikacking the entire country. Some months from know, via the FEC and the FCC, the electoral process and the airwaves are going to be privatized.
a) As noted, with the Human Life Amendment alone there may be enough states to call a ConCon (the folks at http://www.article5.org do seem to think so).
The main points of contention re ConCons legally are whether recission of previous calls for ConCons are legally binding (this is very much up in the air, and some court precedent seems to indicate that it is not legally possible to rescind a ConCon resolution) and whether ConCon resolutions can legally be restricted in scope (again, this is very much up in the air, and the only real authority we have on the matter--the Constitution itself and the writings of the Founding Fathers--would indicate strongly that ConCon resolutions and ConCons cannot be limited in scope and that this is explicitly by design).
If ConCon resolutions can be rescinded--and this is an awfully big "if"--it could be less than that. But with one particular dominionist-friendly amendment alone being at the threshold (I haven't even counted the combined DOMA ConCon resolutions--both the present DOMA amendment proposals and the 1910s-1920s "anti-polygamy" amendment of almost identical wording)...well, even if a ConCon could conceivably be restricted in scope (again, very legally iffy), we could still be in trouble.
b) There are a variety of procedures in actually picking delegates, and some of them are considerably more prone to sabotage than others by dominionists.
Legally, this means that once a ConCon is called, it is either the legislatures or the Conventions themselves in three fourths of states get to vote "yea" or "nay" to proposed Constitutional rewrites. The Constitution in fact does not even specify how a Convention is to be held, nor how delegates are to be selected (and again, from notes from the Founding Fathers, this was by design; as it is, even the federal government is not entirely in agreement on this process even with amendments proposed via conventional means).
In general, the general consensus is that either state legislatures or state conventions may ratify an amendment; the only amendment that explicitly stated that conventions per state were required for ratification was the amendment specifically repealing Prohibition. It is not entirely agreed on that such a process would in fact be possible in a ConCon (and a non-negligible number of Constitutional scholars would think it would not be).
In at least one state (New Mexico), the legislature serves as the ConCon committee; in Vermont, the vote is for a pool of 28 people, fourteen approving ratification, fourteen opposed; in Florida, 67 people are voted in using exactly the same procedures for election of state House members; in yet other states, the Governor directly appoints Convention members.
In states with systems unlike that in Vermont, the process is susceptible to sabotage. One potential method--which has been frighteningly successful in state legislatures across the nation and which could be used to sabotage a Florida-style or New Mexico-style process of ConCon delegation--is to run either stealth candidates for ConCon delegates or to subvert the state legislature beforehand. (This is something dominionists have a great amount of experience in, by the way; it's a tactic followed since at least the 70's.)
In states with a gubernatoral-appointment method of selection, things could be even worse--all you need to do in that case is get someone in like Huckabee as governor in a state selecting ConCon delegates by gubernatorial appointment.
Vermont's is probably safest from direct sabotage but the risk does still exist of an unfaithful delegate (this same risk does also exist with Electoral College delegates whose state laws do not require them to vote based on voter returns in their home state).
There are also a number of states that have no procedures as to how to run a ConCon convention; these are also up in the air as to how they would operate.
In other words, if Huckabee got into office--and an organised effort was started to push for a ConCon (and there are such efforts--Princeton Professor Robby George, Chuck Donovan of the Family Research Council, Frank Cannon, and Tony Perkins are all pushing for ConCon conventions for passage of DOMA amendments on a federal level, and theoretically the "anti-polygamy amendment" could be seen as an early DOMA amendment)--he could well state that the 34 states that have issued calls for a ConCon for the Human Life Amendment legally call for a ConCon.
At which point, I would start seriously hoping that dominionist groups don't start targeting the ConCon committees for sabotage and takeover from within as well as any groups potentially ratifying anything passed in the ConCon--and knowing the dominionist groups, I know damn well they'll try, no matter if it's 3/4ths of the legislatures or 3/4ths of the various ConCon committees per state who would approve it. (And I think people proposing ConCons for more progressive causes seriously underestimate the risk of a potential steeplejacking-by-state of ConCon ratification committees and ConCon delegations. It's not like we're going to have direct vote for this; in the majority of states, you and I aren't even going to have a say, and we just better hope we're not in a state with a solidly dominionist-friendly legislature with a high percentage of not only "true red" GOP members but a lot of "blue dog" Democrats too. In my state, alas, there are a lot of "blue dogs", including at least one who had full support of our local dominionist asshats.)
This may be an area where we do agree to disagree, though, and I'm all fine with that :3
There are over five hundred state applications for an Article V Convention on the congressional record and one Congress after another has ignored them on purpose.
Delegates to our first national convention must be chosen exactly as members of Congress--by the people of each state. An important distinction to make is that the delegates do not legislate, therefore the worst any of them could do is propose something with no chance of being ratified, or that the status quo remain in place to allow the country to fade to black--but that's already happening.
The convention is simply a civic ceremony where delegates arrive in Washington D.C. on a particular date, build consensus as to what amendments have a chance of being ratified, place them on the table, and return home.
We have nothing to fear about dominionists taking over the convention because there's nothing to take over. With the country as polarized as it is the only ideas with a chance at being ratified will be concerned with electoral or tax reform.
A convention is not complicated, and it's not dangerous. What is dangerous is not putting the Constitution to work before it's too late.