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Thread: Article V: Convention of States

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    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    Article V: Convention of States

    Article V

    The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, 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, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.

    https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/

    Conservatives have been actively promoting the use of this mechanism to bypass the gridlock and dysfunction in Congress. They have been deterred by opponents on both sides.....progressives who fear recent Supreme Court rulings may be overturned and others who fear progressives might remove rights like the 2nd amendment from the Constitution.

    Is the political environment - given our current status in the White House and Congress...fertile ground for the "public nuclear option?"

    Could someone like Bernie Sanders actually initiate a progressive call for use of Article V to create the right of the citizen to public funded healthcare? A universally publicly financed healthcare system......might that ironically be the result of conservatives like Mark Levin....calling for a convention of states?







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    I think a convention would open up a Pandora's box of various causes. There are people on the Right who would like to see a balanced budget or right to work amendment. There are people on the Left who would like to revise parts of the Bill of Rights pertaining to campaign finance or firearm ownership. I personally think this would be a particularly bad time to tinker with our national operating system. The general public and the people who represent them seem too confused and divided for the sober thinking that would be required.

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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    I think that I, as a member of the public, shouldnt be agitating for a vote since I barely understsnd your post.

    Are you saying we The People should enact legislation on healthcare since the Congress will not?

    Naw, I find Congressional Deadlock to be not especially concerning. Let 'em continue to butt heads in the halls of D.C., they are checking and balancing themselves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iris lilies View Post

    Naw, I find Congressional Deadlock to be not especially concerning. Let 'em continue to butt heads in the halls of D.C., they are checking and balancing themselves.
    Totally agree. I think the system functions best when it frustrates the ambitions of wannabe messiahs like Trump and Obama.

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    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    I agree with LDAHL. The pandora's box that would be opened would potentially include really bad things like permanently enshrining in the constitution the ridiculous notion of corporate personhood. As powerful as corporations and their lobbyists have gotten over the past several decades I can easily see them controlling the process and leaving all us little people with nothing good to show for it.

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    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LDAHL View Post
    Totally agree. I think the system functions best when it frustrates the ambitions of wannabe messiahs like Trump and Obama.
    I haven't formed a dogmatic opinion yet but your assertion requires one to accept that a system functioning as it is.....not making any progress in any direction......is a system which while it will not improve upon conditions, won't decay them. I feel that inaction at the federal level through gridlock or whatever name you want to call it, necessarily results in decay.

    Current government is totally unworkable. Removing Congress, the Executive Branch, The Courts and Governors from the process is a method the founders provided to guard against a federal government-Congress- that refuses to do what is best for the states.

    If the states can make progress on anything, whether it be a balanced budget amendment or a right to healthcare amendment....or many other issues currently being tossed around without compromise.....then if we refuse to try the alternative method provided by the Constitution....aren't we failing to use a tool that might improve our nation out of an unfounded anxiety that something might go wrong?

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    if we refuse to try the alternative method provided by the Constitution....aren't we failing to use a tool that might improve our nation out of an unfounded anxiety that something might go wrong?
    I must disagree with your use of the term "unfounded". Right now, in an area I consider pretty moderate, I - personally - am hearing from people on the streets who want to remove legal protections for gays, or cops, or immigrants, or those they THINK are immigrants, or any other group they oppose. Giving those views more weight and appearance of being appropriate only emboldens those who hold them, and encourages more agitation among those opposed. I don't think the nation is that much less divided than the congress, and I don't believe that citizens acting without an over-arching government will uniformly care about protecting the rights of those who are perceived as "others".. I'm not saying the constitutional convention option should be removed from the table, but you do your argument no favor by implying that those who appose calling a constitutional convention have no foundation for their anxiety about the fury such a move - at this point in time- might encourage and unleash. JMHO.

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    So your saying the states legislatures, should call for a constitution convention?
    I would think they would fear that, due to fallout from the federal level as well as not wanting the public to make the call for what I think a majority of American's would agree on. (amendment to eliminate Congressional exemptions, because the states politician's would face that same rule)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Williamsmith View Post
    I haven't formed a dogmatic opinion yet but your assertion requires one to accept that a system functioning as it is.....not making any progress in any direction......is a system which while it will not improve upon conditions, won't decay them. I feel that inaction at the federal level through gridlock or whatever name you want to call it, necessarily results in decay.

    Current government is totally unworkable. Removing Congress, the Executive Branch, The Courts and Governors from the process is a method the founders provided to guard against a federal government-Congress- that refuses to do what is best for the states.

    If the states can make progress on anything, whether it be a balanced budget amendment or a right to healthcare amendment....or many other issues currently being tossed around without compromise.....then if we refuse to try the alternative method provided by the Constitution....aren't we failing to use a tool that might improve our nation out of an unfounded anxiety that something might go wrong?
    I suppose the answer would depend on your definition of "progress". Too often, that simply means eliminating checks on central government power to accomplish somebody's project. Claiming "government is totally unworkable" because we can't arrive at a broad consensus in a given area is aromatic of an argument for autocracy. I don't think that there is a clear consensus in the country right now on which direction is "forward", and the current deadlock reflects that. You can't really argue that the federal government "refuses to do what is best for the states" when there is so much divergent opinion among and within the states.

    I don't see a constitutional convention producing some kind of superior wisdom of crowds. I see it more likely as a playground for zealots.

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    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    "I don't see a constitutional convention producing some kind of superior wisdom of crowds. I see it more likely as a playground for zealots."

    I feel justified in pointing out that the last constitutional convention was convened in order to address a situation whereby the federal beuracracy had become untenable and requiring all 13 states to come to a consensus prior to creating governing legislation proved impossible. Therefore, improvements were made or some would argue.....a completely revamped government arose i.e. Our current Constitution .....which has served us quite well.

    But, there are now issues that can be taken up one at a time with delegates under the control of each states legislature ensuring the representation .......the procedure is that Congress "shall" call for a convention upon receipt of the requisite number of state applications.

    Whta I am trying to say is, if there were a consensus as to what "forward" movement looks like.....we would need no convention. Unfortunately, every time you turn on the television or read newspapers....you see what backward movement is. I need only cite our last election as proof of the need for debate, problem solving and action.

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