Arkansas has apparently joined 12 other states in asking for a constitutional convention on the federal level. The state House of Representatives passed a resolution Wednesday, and the state Senate has already voted for it. If 34 states issue such a call, Article V of the U.S. Constitution kicks in and a constitutional convention could be held.
There are a few pros to the idea, and a lot of cons. The most dangerous part of such a convention is that it could become a roaring freight train, full of all kinds of heavy things, and without constitutional brakes it could become unstoppable. The Constitution of the United States gives states this power, should they use it, but doesn't give them much direction. Who would be named as convention delegates? How many per state? Would it be open to the public? (The last one wasn't.) Do we really need ephemeral matters of today enshrined in the Constitution, when perhaps laws would be better?
But the biggest danger is that such a convention would upend the whole Constitution. Remember, the people who put together the current Constitution weren't supposed to. They were only there to tinker with the Articles of Confederacy. But once unleashed, they formed a more perfect union, thank God. But that was a special generation, a special group of men. These days, who among the Schumers and Pelosis and Durbins and Cruzes and Feinsteins would you find some Adamses, Washingtons, Madisons and Jeffersons?
Oh, come now, the supporters of an Article V convention say. Such a convention could be limited. No problem at all.
We've heard that argument from several Arkansas lawmakers, who say worries about over-reaching are overblown.
The day before the deadline in this particular session of the Arkansas General Assembly, lawmakers in Little Rock filed 31--count 'em, 31--amendments to the state constitution. And the Ledge may only propose three to the people.
Who says politicians over-reach when given an opening?
Editorial on 02/15/2019