States are starting to call for a Constitutional Convention

Saw thison NPR about four state legislatures already passing resolutions to call for a new Constitutional Convention. Slate reports that 27 states have called for a convention. So at this point there seems to be a little uncertainty as to how close we are to making this happen.

A Google search shows a mixed bag of stories ranging from “unlikely to happen” to “Republicans presidential candidates endorse such a thing” to “this is bad.”

So what are the odds this comes to fruition?

In what ways could our Constitution change? The driver behind this is the desire from conservatives to get a balanced budget amendment passed. They’ve failed via the traditional means, so they’re going this route now. What else do you think could be changed if a CC is called? Is everything open for debate, or are their limits to what can be altered?

What are the logistics for a CC? Who runs it? What are the rules? Who sets the rules?

ALEC has been very active in funding this and crafting legislation for states. Who or what could counter their efforts, and is that even necessary?

Would a CC be a good thing, bad thing, neither good nor bad, or both?

This whole idea just seems so bizarre to me.

I predict that the numbers of states calling for it will fall in 2016, when Democrats recapture some state legislatures and shut down this silly notion.

All calls for a CC have come from the same type of angry Tea Party conservatives who think there are too many minorities and religions fighting for a share of the power they traditionally hold. Most of these people are under-educated and fearful, the kind who laps up lies by Limbaugh and thinks Cruz or Trump would make a good president.

There are little rules for something last held 200 years ago. Likely if it happens, those of ALEC’s influence will try to dictate it. Their agenda is clear. More freedom for corporations to operate with impunity while stealing American’s money, less oversight, and exaggerating social issues to stoke anger in the masses.

It could be a very good thing, but in all likelihood it would be a very bad thing. ALEC is very good at making things that enrich big business at the expense of the average citizen sound like they are good for the consumer or average citizen. We’d probably come out of this with a 70 hour work week and a $5,000 cap on damages in tort cases. I’m not prepared to trade medical marijuana for 100 years of progress on economic and civil rights.

A Constitutional Convention would mark the end of this country as we know it. Total chaos and anarchy would prevail. The only people who want one are total nutjobs.

The only other time we had a CC, things did not turn out at all like most people thought. We forget that the original purpose was merely to revise the Articles of Confederation. Instead, the country got something totally different.

That’s why a lot of people think that a CC would be a bad thing. It’s totally unpredictable, and I really don’t think that any attempted limits on the delegates would be workable.

Another potentially bad thing is the tendency for recent constitutions to be far longer and more detailed than older ones. Generally speaking, it’s much harder to change a constitution than to change a law, so if the detail in the constitution turns out to have unintended consequences, it’s much harder to correct.

The major use of calls for an Article V convention is to scare the Congress into passing at least one or more of the amendments the proponents of such a convention are supporting.

Whatever amendments a convention came up with would still need to be approved by 3/4 of the state legislatures before they took effect. I can’t imagine anything too crazy passing that hurdle.

I don’t know. Have you seen some of our state legislatures? :smiley:

No limits. Were a constitutional convention to be called, the outcome might well be a completely new and different Constitution, with the old one, in its entirely, now defunct.

No kidding. California is run by nutjobs.

Haven’t you read ANYTHING about a CC, including my previous post in this thread? You are very foolish to believe that the 3/4 rule would still be in place after the CC was done.

Jefferson once commenting on wanting one every generation didn’t he? “The dead should not rule the living” and all that. Of course, Jefferson held many views I find repugnant, so just because he said it doesn’t mean we have to do it.

Honestly, though, I have absolutely no idea what sort of changes would occur if we did have a CC. I don’t expect a change like the first CC. There’s too much reverence/worship among for the Constitution (or at least the idea of it) the among the American people today too chuck it out entirely and not get voted out.

I remember reading about learning in elementary school about the lengths taken to keep the press (and the people) from learning what was being discussed/decided upon in 1787. I don’t know if that would fly today.

If there were total chaos and anarchy, then precisely the opposite would happen; the USA would continue on as it always has.

Speaking as a guy from a country that’s gone through this in reasonably recent years, what happens if everyone’s running in every direction at once, defending only their own interests, is that the amending formula cannot be achieved and you can’t change anything, so the Constitution remains the same. The only way you could wreck the country Constitutionally is if people agreed on how to change things.

Not for one instant do I believe a Constitutional convention making any sort of substantive change would get the say-so from 38 states and the federal government, which you need to alter or replace the existing Constitution.

Now, you might, conceivably, MAYBE, get one or two changes people would generally find not too objectionable - Congressional term limits, say. But once it becomes clear that’s all they could accomplish everyone will go home and say “well, we didn’t need a convention to do this anyway” and the amendment would go through the usual channels and quite possibly wither and die in time.

In order for it to take effect, it would have to be ratified by 3/4 of the states, otherwise the current constitution remains in effect.

That’s what happened the last time (in 1787).

As near as I can read in Article V, 2/3s of the States can propose amendments to the Constitution, in lieu of 2/3s each house of Congress. The proposed amendments would still have to be ratified by 3/4s that States regardless of how the amendment was proposed. There’s nothing here that changes our form of government, as this all happens within the Constitution.

The problem I see here is that, apparently, it is Congress’ choice as to which method to propose amendments is used. If I may use Campaign Finance Reform as an example, it is these very congresspersons who have the most to lose by changing the system. So perhaps it is extremely unlikely that Congress will allow an amendment that regulates this financing be proposed by a Constitutional Convention.

I’d like to see a third method implemented, that 3/4s of the States can compel Congress to vote on a proposed amendment, as We the People can remove the bums within two years. This change would need some extra-Constitution Convention, one not specifically allowed under our current Constitution.

A high bar indeed …

Both the Articles of Confederation and our current Constitution were ratified unanimously.

I look forward to our new 2,000-page constitution. That 4-page one was getting old.

The vote as such was eventually unanimous though, as required by the Articles of Confederation; in any case, the AoC was so vague and powerless little of it could be said to have been replaced.

The difference between now and 1787 are rather vast ones. In 1787 you have thirteen colonies who barely constituted a unified country realizing the unifying document, on which the ink was barely dry, didn’t work. In 2016 there are fifty states, unified by over two centuries of continuous and stable - with the regrettable exception of the Civil War - rule, using a Constitution that while not perfect has apparently served to create a rather successful nation, supported by two hundred years of use, judicial interpretation, apparatus of government, and so on. It was relatively easy in 1787 to convince people the AoC wasn’t terribly useful. It would be VERY hard in 2016 to convince someone to wholly dump the Constitution. It is impossible to convince enough people in 2016 to replace the Constitution with one particular alternative.

Can you imagine the absolute shitstorm you’d have just changing the way the Senate works? Do you think the Montanas and Idahos would ever agree NOT to have an equal say in the Senate with California? But if you open the Constitutional can of worms, what does California (or New York, or Texas, or Florida…) get out of a new deal that keeps Idaho on an equal footing in the Senate? I mean, that’s just the first argument I can think of all the top of my head.

The thing that’s good about the current Constitution is that its very existence for two centuries grants it a legitimacy and means everyone is playing out of the same playbook; such arguments as there exist are fought around the margins.

Not so. Let’s say a new Constitution is written and it says it goes into effect when a majority of the states agree to it. As soon as the 26th state ratifies it, the new Constitution is in effect. The remaining states can then either join up or stay behind. We could conceivably end up with two separate countries - one governed by the original Constitution and one governed by the new Constitution.

This could have happened in 1789. Rhode Island and North Carolina could have decided to stay under the Articles of Confederation and let the other eleven states form a separate country.

Would we invite the various Canadian Provinces again? There’s a lot to be said about having BC in the Union.