Do We Need a Constitutional Convention?

The Florida Times Union, August 22, 2015 | Go to article overview

Do We Need a Constitutional Convention?


Quietly, there is movement among the states to call a Constitutional Convention, the first since the founding.

Among the possible topics:

1. A balanced budget amendment.

2. Term limits for Congress and perhaps the Supreme Court.

3. Limits on campaign contributions, turning back the Supreme Court decision on Citizens United.

Larry Sabato, a University of Virginia professor, wrote a book on the subject, "A More Perfect Constitution."

"More than at any other time in our history, progress can be generated from the bottom up, not just the top down," Sabato wrote.

The time is now for a people's convention because Congress is held in such low esteem by the populace.

Sabato suggests that volatile issues like gay rights or abortion should not be included because they never would gain enough support to pass.

Among his proposals include a single term of 15 years for all federal judges.

He would mandate nonpartisan redistricting for all House elections.

He would have a balanced budget amendment with escape clauses for emergencies.

In fact, there could be a requirement for national Constitutional conventions every so many years as Florida and other states do - perhaps every 20 years or every 50 years.

Sabato proposes using the Internet as a first step to gaining popular support for amending the Constitution.

Two-thirds of the states, or 34, would have to request a national assembly to draft amendments. Any amendments would subsequently have to be ratified by at least 38 states to go into effect.

Republicans control the legislatures in 30 states, so it the GOP could not do this alone.

Opponents of a citizen-led convention say it could be a "runaway convention."

If so, then it stands to reason there wouldn't be enough support to gain approval from 38 states.

And various states such as Florida hold Constitutional Conventions without resulting in dramatic negative consequences.

Another reason for opposition is that the original Constitution is somehow sacred and should not be changed.

That also flies in the face of history since it took 10 amendments, the Bill of Rights, to gain approval of the Constitution. And the Constitution itself was the nation's second stab at a national document. The Articles of Confederation didn't work out.

Even if an unwise Constitutional Amendment were passed, we also have history to show us that a mistake can be corrected; the 18th Amendment (prohibition) was followed by the 21st Amendment that repealed prohibition.

In any case, we asked members or our Email Interactive Group for their reactions.

There were strong feelings on both sides of the issue.

IMPLEMENT FAIRTAX

A Constitutional Convention would be an excellent idea if debate were limited to the following three issues:

1. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Do We Need a Constitutional Convention?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.