Why Not a Constitutional Convention? (Letters to the Editor)

Article excerpt

In your September 10th issue you published an interview with G. Vance Smith about the John Birch Society ("Leading America to Victory"). In the article Mr. Smith described the "battle" to defeat the effort to call a constitutional convention.

If I remember correctly, that happened around the time of the effort on behalf of the Equal Rights Amendment, which I certainly did not support. However, I strongly believe that the legislatures of the states, in exercising their constitutional right, are the only force, other than outright revolution, able to diminish the usurpation of power by the federal government.

I remember the fears expressed as to many changes to our Constitution by such a convention, but do not remember any note of the fact that three-fourths of the state legislatures are required to ratify any amendment.

I doubt that today enough states would join the call for a constitutional convention because most are so dependent on federal funds.

DAVID L. SOPER

San Diego, California

A constitutional convention could be used as a means to put the brakes on usurpation -- the understanding were in place to ensure that the delegates to such a convention would act wisely. Unfortunately, that understanding is not in place, and a constitutional convention would more likely recommend an expansion of governmental powers than a reduction. Moreover, a constitutional convention could only hope to correct problems on the federal level if those problems were the result of flawed constitutional provisions. But the problem with the federal government overstepping its proper boundaries has nothing to do with structural flaws in our form of government; it has to do instead with violation of the clear intent of the constitution. The solution to the problem, therefore, is to reacquaint the American people with constitutional principles, so that they may become politically involved and exert informed pressure on Congress. …