Many American’s, including presidential candidates from major political parties, have suggested we have a National Convention to amend the U.S. Constitution, most for the purpose of passing a balanced budget amendment. I must admit at times I thought that would be a good idea, but then, like Sen. Marco Rubio of FL, I think about what might happen if it becomes a “runaway” convention where the delegates try for a wholesale rewrite of the Constitution, much like what happened in 1787. That Convention was called to amend and improve the Articles of Confederation, but wound up scrapping them and sending the states a whole new Constitution, the one in effect to this day. While I like the result of that Convention, believing that our US Constitution is inspired and a brilliant work crafted by exceptional individuals, when I see the attitude of many US “citizens (would only legal citizens be involved?)” today, I worry about what could result. I don’t see those exceptional individuals today.
Article V of the Constitution says “Congress, whenever 2/3 of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to the Constitution, or on the application of the Legislatures of 2/3 of the several states shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments …. which, in either case, shall be valid … when ratified by the Legislatures of ¾ of the several states … .” So the states themselves may call a Convention. Territories such as Puerto Rico or those on the Pacific Rim are not mentioned, so I suspect they would not be involved. Or would they? While 2/3 of today’s 50 states, or 34 states, could issue the call, such a Convention has never been called in our history. And there are many questions about how it would work if ever called.
Some people believe that more than 34 states have already called for a Convention, and Congress should have organized one by now. But some of those states have rescinded their calls. And there are those who say a petition cannot be rescinded. Why not? Also, all the calls are not the same. Some states have called for a Convention focusing solely on a balanced budget amendment, and I like that. But others have said they want a broader Convention, which would worry me.
Even if a Convention were called for only one purpose, there is the danger it could expand its own mandate. You could open it up to people who want to re-examine our First Amendment, people that want to abolish the Second Amendment, or people that want to re-examine some other fundamental protections that are built into our Constitution.
Sen. Rand Paul of KY, who favors a Convention to deal with a balanced budget, says he thinks a Convention could be limited by rules. I wish that were so, but am not confident it is. I simply do not trust many of the people today that would be involved. And I’m sure they would not trust me. We are that fractured as a society.
I think we will be hearing much more about the need for a Constitutional Convention in 2016. I believe our fundamental rights as humans come from our Creator, and not from government. I worry those who believe otherwise, and there are many of them in the U.S. today, would use a Convention to change that.