Constitutional convention over this?!


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Manedwolf
June 15, 2006, 05:26 PM
Doesn't matter what the particular feelings on the issue is, so I advise to not get the thread locked..but THIS is from the Evans-Novak report. Read Part 2 carefully.

Marriage Amendment: The failure of the Federal Marriage Amendment in the Senate was a bitter disappointment to its supporters, particularly because it received only one more vote than last time.

1. Despite having picked up four conservative votes in the last Senate election, supporters of the federal marriage amendment gained a disappointing single vote last week over their 2004 tally. They had 48 last time, and just 49 this time. Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), a supporter, was not present to vote, and Senators Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) and Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) -- both of whom were up for re-election in 2004 when they voted "yes" -- voted "no" this time.

2. Meeting after the big failure at the offices of the social-conservative Family Research Council, the top leaders of the marriage movement -- Catholic, Protestant and Mormon leaders among others -- discussed the possibility of an unprecedented Constitutional Convention. Two-thirds (34) of the state legislatures would have to call for such a convention -- which could be done only with great difficulty. Even then, no one knows what such a convention would look like or what sort of amendments could result from it. Article 5 of the Constitution is quite vague on the subject.

Not only are there a LOT more important issues going on right now than this, but look at who is blatantly sticking their fingers into politics in the second bit. They want to push for a Constitutional Convention, despite the unlikelihood of that? Are they actively TRYING to fracture and destroy the Republic?

I think it's time to yank some religious organizations' tax-exempt status, NOW. You can be a religion or a blatant lobbyist group, but not both, and that's BY LAW.

I call it a clear-cut case of rule of law, if they want to do that.

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joab
June 15, 2006, 05:55 PM
I also don't think it matters what position you assume on the gay marriage issue.
Is it really a matter for constitutional amendment?

The constitution is a list of what we permit the government to do not of who an individual or two can cuddle with.

Zundfolge
June 15, 2006, 06:02 PM
I love it, I'm GLAD (no pun intended) they are trying so hard to get this passed as a constitutional amendment.


No, I don't agree with amending the constitution over this and nor do I think they will get it passed.

But if the legislature is wasting their time wrestling with this issue they aren't doing other things to us.


So in the end its a win-win :evil:

boofus
June 15, 2006, 06:05 PM
Makes sense. The more time those nitwits in Congress spend bloviating over worthless legislation like flag burning bans and gay marraige bans the less time they can spend scheming on how to take away people's property.

Brian Williams
June 15, 2006, 06:05 PM
Moved to L&P lets see what we can discuss about 2nd amendment issues that might come out of a Constitutional convention and keep it off of Homosexual marriage

Thefabulousfink
June 15, 2006, 06:16 PM
I'm a little fuzzy on the details of a Constitutional Convention, (PolySci was a few years ago) is it called to address a specific issue, or can any old constitutional ammendment be put on the ballot?

the pistolero
June 15, 2006, 06:19 PM
I think it's time to yank some religious organizations' tax-exempt status, NOW

I think it's past time some of them had that status revoked. We know how many of them are advocates for yet more gun restrictions.

The more time those nitwits in Congress spend bloviating over worthless legislation like flag burning bans and gay marraige bans the less time they can spend scheming on how to take away people's property.

:D It's been said that "no man's liberty or property is safe as long as the (Texas) Legislature is in session." I think the same could be said for Congress, as well.

Mikee Loxxer
June 15, 2006, 06:19 PM
I hate the idea of amending the constitution over this as I feel that it will cheapen it. I feel that this is being used by the Republicans to distract us from much more important issues like Social Security insolvency and Energy (things they are too cowardly to risk their precious political careers trying to fix).

Trying to stop culture is pointless as people will do what people will do and if it does no harm to others it should not be something politicians deal with. That being said, what does this have to do wtih the Second Amendment?

Henry Bowman
June 15, 2006, 06:21 PM
FabFink: My understanding is that once convened, the whole think is open season.

308win
June 15, 2006, 06:34 PM
I believe Henry is correct, anything could be fair game under whatever rules the convnetion adopted.

Desertdog
June 15, 2006, 06:35 PM
Please do not even think about having a Constitutional Convention.

Amend the Constitution 1 Amendment at a time.

If there should ever be a Constitutiona Convention, it will open each and every Amendment to be re-written.

Do you the Shumer crowd rewriting the BOR to suit themselves?

rms/pa
June 15, 2006, 08:55 PM
henry,308win and desertdog have it spot on.

once a constitutional convention is called there are NO limits on what can happen. the only hold back is the new constitution has to be ratified.

everything would be up for grabs and if some of the shenanigans that accompanied the income tax amendment are an example life could get very interesting.

rms/pa

Mannlicher
June 15, 2006, 09:16 PM
This just gets WAY too deep into the prerogatives of the individual States. Marriage has always been subject to State Law. There is zero reason for the Feds to be involved at all. Zero. This issue should be resolved by the various States, not the Feds.
I shudder to think what a balls up will result if Constitutional Conventions. The Constitution SHOULD be very difficult to ammend. All you have to do is look at the Florida Constitution to see what an unworkable patchwork a document becomes when willy nilly ammendments clutter up the landscape. Things are bad enough without this mess going any further.

wheelgunslinger
June 15, 2006, 09:49 PM
yeah, but if the people backing this amendment cant push it through congress, then they sure can't get a Con-con rolling, much less finished.
These religious groups better back off the government. The backlash could be severe.

mbt2001
June 16, 2006, 12:49 AM
Well, I don't think that we should amend the constitution over this issue, however I am puzzled about what this really means.

Obviously we are fighting a culture war and trying to identify ourselves as a country and as a society. Frankly, I think that the only way to resolve the issues is for the Governors of all 50 states to get together and the agree that each state is going to pass a cultural constitution and that those can never be revoked or changed and that state law must be viewed in accordance with it.

That will mean that certain states can stay conservative and others can stay liberal and we can all laugh at one another. If some issues are of a true importance, then move... Isn't a big deal. I am just tired of libs coming here and changing things and conservatives going there and changing things... We have a right to have God taught in school if a majority of the voters say we do... end of story. Obviously it wouldn't be that way in every state and therefore no one is being FORCED, because we can decide where to live...

Not perfect, but I canna think of another way.

beerslurpy
June 16, 2006, 01:19 AM
A constitutional convention wont fix anything because most of the problems today result from perfectly good text being twisted by the supreme court or ignored by all 3 branches.

Any government that can twist "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" into "only disasembled long guns and no handguns whatsoever, with no bearing whatsoever" is really beyond the reach of written laws.

xd9fan
June 16, 2006, 02:56 AM
yup the Marriage Amendment and flag burning. Thats all the GOP controled Govt can think of for Amendments..........and they wonder why they are in trouble........

roscoe
June 16, 2006, 02:58 AM
Methinks a little clarification of the 2nd and 4th amendments are in order in any convention.

LAK
June 16, 2006, 08:21 AM
A convention would be a disaster. A Pandora's box.

Anyone who thinks such a thing would be of any possible benefit to us concerning the the 2nd or 4th amendments (or any other issue for that matter) under the current political climate and sentiment that is deeply entrenched in our present gov would do well to see what happened to the Swiss recently. Read - and understand - the former Swiss Constitution - and then the current new Constitution that was adopted just a few years ago.

------------------------------------

http://ussliberty.org
http://ssunitedstates.org

RealGun
June 16, 2006, 08:25 AM
We have a right to have God taught in school if a majority of the voters say we do... end of story.

Except that public schools depend upon federal funding, and that funding would be withdrawn (for good reason). That is only true because of the power achieved by the income tax amendment. This is the reason that church schools are privately funded and, along with a desire to maintain racial integration, is why voucher programs as a hat trick workaround are strongly opposed.

I believe the income tax is the number one reason why we live in a very different country than the Founders. Flat tax and the like do not address the problem. Income tax should be collected by the States and trickle up to, not down from, the federal government. Reallocation could still occur by per capita assessment, but only sparsely populated or relatively poor States would be particularly dependent as they are now.

Federal defense, interstate infrastructure, and legitimate administrative responsibilities (of common interest to the States) would need to be covered primarily by commerce taxes.

Don't Tread On Me
June 16, 2006, 08:50 AM
I agree, the constitution is nearly perfect as-is. The trick these days is to get people to read it correctly, instead of extrapolating it to mean 100 different things. Also, the constitution should never be a tool used to deny freedom or limit the citizenry. It is a limit on government. If they want to limit something, they should do that by law -which can be chaned, altered, challenged in the courts etc...


OMG! It never crossed my mind ever, the concept of a modern day constitutional convention. It would be the biggest disaster in American history. Even the most sane, pro-liberty, pro-WhatAmericaShouldBe folks are no where near as correct as the founding fathers were. Imagine the insane things they'd amend as "rights" ...


Here's an excerpt of the 1936 Soviet constitution:

ARTICLE 118. Citizens of the U.S.S.R. have the right to work, that is, are guaranteed the right to employment and payment for their work in accordance With its quantity and quality.

The right to work is ensured by the socialist organization of the national economy, the steady growth of the productive forces of Soviet society, the elimination of the possibility of economic crises, and the abolition of unemployment.

ARTICLE 119. Citizens of the U.S.S.R. have the right to rest and leisure. The right to rest and leisure is ensured by the reduction of the working day to seven hours for the overwhelming majority of the workers, the institution of annual vacations with full pay for workers and employees and the provision of a wide network of sanatoria, rest homes and clubs for the accommodation of the working people.

ARTICLE 120. Citizens of the U.S.S.R. have the right to maintenance in old age and also in case of sickness or loss of capacity to work. This right is ensured by the extensive development of social insurance of workers and employees at state expense, free medical service for the working people and the provision of a wide network of health resorts for the use of the working people.

ARTICLE 121. Citizens of the U.S.S.R. have the right to education. This right is ensured by universal, compulsory elementary education; by education, including higher education, being free of charge; by the system of state stipends for the overwhelming majority of students in the universities and colleges; by instruction in schools being conducted in the native language, and by the organization in the factories, state farms, machine and tractor stations and collective farms of free vocational, technical and agronomic training for the working people.

ARTICLE 132. Universal military service is law. Military service in the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army is an honorable duty of the citizens of the U.S.S.R.



Expect some of these goodies to be codified into our system (I cut out the one's we've already adapted), once they are "Rights"...the government MUST guarantee them. Funny though, I have a right to keep and bear arms...does that mean the government MUST guarantee that I can exercise that Right? What if I cannot for financial reasons? Does this mean there is a constitutional directive here that we arm all American citizens who cannot afford arms? You know, Swiss style! Think of it like a Second Amendment welfare.

***

I don't think it would happen though. The Feds have things set up just the way they like them. A CC would disrupt the current establishment, something they've perfected into a finely tuned machine since 1865. This machine has worked well to completely block and true dissention and any alternative party or movement from challenging their stranglehold on power and on our money and lives.


I wouldn't mind a perfectly clarified Second Amendment though. No more militia preamble to stir up confusion for our less-than-literate portion of the population. Not that it prevents the Second Amendment from meaning what it does. Bah, I change my mind. It should stay put, we just need to deal with the people who intentionally misinterpret it. The people are the problem, not the words. If you hacked off the first part so it read "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed", the gun-haters will still deny it means what it means. Which brings us to the ultimate truth about our society - words mean nothing. Action is everything. If you're not willing to protect what's rightfully yours - you don't deserve to have it in the first place.


It is interesting though, that some state constitutions do not say "the right of the people to keep and bear arms"....

wheelgunslinger
June 16, 2006, 10:07 AM
Well, I don't think that we should amend the constitution over this issue, however I am puzzled about what this really means.

Obviously we are fighting a culture war and trying to identify ourselves as a country and as a society. Frankly, I think that the only way to resolve the issues is for the Governors of all 50 states to get together and the agree that each state is going to pass a cultural constitution and that those can never be revoked or changed and that state law must be viewed in accordance with it.
You started out really well with the culture war part. Unfortunately, writing a culture constitution is in direct conflict with the conceptual definition of culture as defined by any anthropologist worth his saltshaker.
Culture is a constantly evolving thing and is never ever static. Therefore, writing a cultural constitution that would keep the shiny people in Vegas and the happy people in Boulder just wouldn't work very well. And, what would we do with the people that are, as Michael Stipe sang, both Shiny and Happy- or neither?
I will agree though, that as a nation we are trying to find ourselves culturally.

kludge
June 16, 2006, 10:27 AM
Real gun said:
I believe the income tax is the number one reason why we live in a very different country than the Founders. Flat tax and the like do not address the problem. Income tax should be collected by the States and trickle up to, not down from, the federal government. Reallocation could still occur by per capita assessment, but only sparsely populated or relatively poor States would be particularly dependent as they are now.

This is exactly why the founders did not have direct election of senators! The senators were to be elected by the state representatives to represent the STATE (and the legislature) on issues of moneys and taxation, and their alliegance would be to the STATE government. Income tax was declared unconstitutional in the late 1800's -- it is a direct tax -- and direct taxes are (were) not allowed.

SteveS
June 16, 2006, 10:34 AM
While many religious groups are opposed to gay marriage, you are being short-sighted if you think that is the only opposition. I think the whole constituitional push is a result of one group (the states) saying no, another group (gay marriage) finding federal judges that are willing to say that gay marriage is a fundamental right. Then another group says, "nope, I guess we will have to amend the Constitution."

I don't agree with amending the Constitution for this, but I can see how it came to this point.

Waitone
June 16, 2006, 10:48 AM
Constitutional convention is an incredibly stupid idea. Want a visual? Imagine the political equivelent of the Star Wars bar scene.

Our problems related directly to those areas where we have abandoned the original concept.
--Direct election of senators was a big mistake
--Income tax was a bigger mistake
--and The failure of congress to remove right of appellate jurisdiction from the supreme court for specified legislation was a galactic scale mistake (Article III, Section 2, Paragraph 2).

cuchulainn
June 16, 2006, 11:11 AM
Beware chickenlittleitis, folks.

A bunch of guys "discussed the possibility" of a convention. Note that they didn't actually call for a convention -- they "discussed the possibility" -- and even if they had called for it, that wouldn't mean it would occur. Any fool can say, "By golly, we oughta have us a constitutional convention!"

I think that if you look at the history of failed constitutional amendments, that you'll see a bunch instances of the losers "discussing the possibility" of a convention. We haven't had one yet ... and we won't this time.

Frankly, we're more likely to see SCOTUS accept a clear 2nd Amt case than see a constitutional convention.

That said: there are some interesting hypothetical and speculative points being made.

benEzra
June 16, 2006, 04:33 PM
once a constitutional convention is called there are NO limits on what can happen. the only hold back is the new constitution has to be ratified.

everything would be up for grabs and if some of the shenanigans that accompanied the income tax amendment are an example life could get very interesting.

It's also important to point out that any "new constitution" could contain ITS OWN rules for ratification. As in, "this document shall become the law of the land if it is ratified by popular referendum in 26 states."

Don't forget that when the original Constitutional convention was called, the Articles of Confederation (the old constitution) said that changes had to be approved unanimously. The new constitutional convention ignored the ratification requirements extant in the old one, and substituted its own (3/4 of state legislatures, as I recall). There's nothing to stop that from happening again.

k_semler
June 16, 2006, 06:15 PM
So, what would happen if 50.1% of the states adopted a new constitution that just said "the government can do whatever it desires, this document shall be the supreme law of the land should it be adopted by a simple majority of the states." but 49.9% of the states refused to adopt it under any circumstance?

Art Eatman
June 16, 2006, 06:18 PM
My own belief about a "new constitution" is that there would be no real restraints on government power, and no real rights for the citizenry. Just read the "constitution" of the European Union. Sounds good, but every citizen "right" is subject to government control. It's all privileges.

Art

Northslope Nimrod
June 16, 2006, 06:33 PM
First, the argument that "there are more important issues" is not an argument. We are a complex society with the best system of government. We CAN walk and chew gum at the same time. I heard someone on the radio just today say the same thing about the war in Iraq....."there are more important issues".......He then mentioned health care programs. As if we can't handle both? As mentioned earlier, if they ARE spending their time on it...they aren't using their time messing things up.
Also, it IS an important issue. If activist courts continue "writing" the law, there is NO law that can be written to remedy the situtation......EXCEPT a Constitutional Amendment. I don't WANT an amendment....but the activist courts are forcing the issue. Whether or not you believe in the sanctity of marriage & whether it is worthy of protecting is an argument for another day....& many more words than I am willing to write today.

Second, churches do not sacrifice their right to take a stand on morals, principles or laws. Our laws are based in moral principles. Lobbying for various programs or $$$ distribution policies is one thing....but taking a stand on marriage, pornography, etc...is surely their right. If it was a clear violation of 501c3 status, don't you think it would have been pursued by groups other than internet bloggers?

*This is not to say that I support a constitutional convention.

MrTuffPaws
June 16, 2006, 06:40 PM
Also, it IS an important issue. If activist courts continue "writing" the law, there is NO law that can be written to remedy the situtation......EXCEPT a Constitutional Amendment. I don't WANT an amendment....but the activist courts are forcing the issue.

So, eh Nimrod....You do know that the US Constitution is limiting the powers of the Government, and not for limiting the rights and freedoms of the citizens, right?

BTW, why is marriage a government issue anyway. The churches are the ones throwing a fit over it, so let them deny who gets married under their roof. If the government wants to help out couples, then they should start issuing couple permits and stay the freak out of religious issues.

Sam Adams
June 16, 2006, 06:57 PM
1. On the issue of an Amendment restricting marriage to being between one man and one woman, I'm for it for the following reason: the "Full Faith and Credit Clause" (Article IV, Section 1), which states:

Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. And the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof.

This means that a marriage in one state MUST be recognized in all of the other states. So if some Massachusetts judge says that homosexual marriage is OK up there, then Texas must recognize that. This is an insane result, even forgetting the morality of it. You could have people with AIDS getting married to others with great medical coverage through their employers, just to get insurance (at everyone else's expense), people getting "married" just to get the Social Security of others, etc. The cost would be enormous, and quite contrary to the intent of such provisions in the law for the traditionally-married (which is to prevent real families from being destitute, etc.).

Really, for me, it is a matter of the proposed Amendment protecting the people of one state from the actions of the people (or worse, judges) in another.

2. As to the ConCon: I am 110% against it. Yes, it doesn't appear likely now, but such talk should be nipped in the bud ASAP every time it is brought up as a possible solution to an issue. As others have pointed out, once such a convention was convened, every aspect of the existing Constitution would be up for debate. I am certain that there would be no 2nd Amendment as we now know it - our firearms rights would be severely constrained and would, in fact, not be rights any more. Our ability to obtain, keep and use firearms would depend on the approval of the government (for a nice hefty fee, of course).

Stay away from an Constitutional Convention at all costs.

As to what would happen if a new, or substantially changed, Constitution emerged that was opposed by a significant number of states and people...I believe that a careful review of the 1861-1865 period would offer some clues.

Northslope Nimrod
June 16, 2006, 07:47 PM
Sam Adams....well said. The Full Faith & Credit Clause is both the legal problem and the practical problem. I didn't want to make my post too lengthy but you summed it up well. Again, it is not the conservatives pressing the issue....it is the liberal courts.

RealGun
June 16, 2006, 07:55 PM
BTW, why is marriage a government issue anyway.

Civil union certainly is. Churches will require a marriage license. But one doesn't need the church to get married.

There are all sorts of laws that address couples and their issues with each other. Their household economics are also acknowledged by the tax code, unfairly taxing other cohabitants with similar economics.

The real question is how do district courts find jurisdiction in these cases. It may seem compelling under the circumstances, but I have no idea how they find it in the Constitution or the statutes. I think the answer is they make stuff up as they go along and are not challenged by Congress. The way it works is that they are all lawyers, certainly the majority. Gives one a warm feeling.:rolleyes:

Don't Tread On Me
June 16, 2006, 08:36 PM
Hey guys, as a side note here...all these threads that talk about "when will the day be..." or "when will you resist..." etc...can be finally answered. We've all concluded that there won't be any all-out gun ban and confiscation. We all agree it is an incremental approach.


Pretty much the only thing that I can image that would cause a real, serious, civil/revolutionary war here in America, where people take up arms...would be a Constitutional convention. Because any CC would automatically produce results unpalatable for any American who has any clue as to what freedom is. I agree with the others in that all Rights will be erased and turned into privileges. Socialism will be codified into the constitution as well as other things that shouldn't be there. But forget the economics for a sec...there are 2 main reasons why it would be a disaster:

1] When our Constitution was ratified, our society and the nation was very homogenous in political beliefs compared to today. Democracy only works between 2-like minded sides. It does not work between 2 sides who are complete polar opposites who hate each other and despise the other's policies. That is majority rule tyranny. Which is what we have today, and the end result is a non-functioning compromise. When our Constitution was ratified, there was massive dissent and disagreement on a number of issues and compromises were made, these differences are nothing compared to the differences today. And, even if one side could win out in convincing the other - NEITHER side truly defends liberty or understands it (sees it) like the founders did.

2] Everything is different today. The demands of society are not compatible with individual liberty. The entire political leadership structure is full of people who do not truly respect or understand liberty like the founders did. Just look at the Constitutions that our government has helped author for other nations. All Rights are subject to government control, so nothing is inalienable - and thus, there's no limit to regulating them, so they are basically meaningless. You can't help but think that the Constitutional ideas and what our government imposes on others is what they'd really like to have here. We do have that here in a way, by the sheer number of massive laws that basically abrogates the Constitution. However, I do not put it past them to put this modern view in stone - in the Constitution. Laws are difficult enough to get rid of, Constitutional changes are nearly impossible.


Of all the things we've ever speculated about, about potentially initiating or instigating armed revolution....nothing has been convincing to me, except for the idea of a CC in our modern day. Star Wars bar scene? You're not kidding!


You know what I say? If it ain't broke - don't fix it.

Group9
June 16, 2006, 08:41 PM
I would say, that if you think you, or anyone you know of, is half as intelligent as the people who wrote our last constitution, then go for it.

I, for one, have no illusions about being smart enough to write something as brilliant as the Constitution, and the system of government we have that it set out.

Obviously, especially on this site, there are a lot of people who think they are that smart.

Byron Quick
June 16, 2006, 09:36 PM
another group (gay marriage) finding federal judges that are willing to say that gay marriage is a fundamental right.

SteveS,

What federal courts have ruled so? I am aware of state courts that have done so and as has been mentioned, this brings up difficulties nationwide under the Full Faith and Credit article.

The intelligence amongst our people is not the problem with having a Constitutional Convention. Lack of comparable education is the problem. The people who wrangle and developed the Constitution would consider most Phds to be illiterates outside of narrow technical fields and would consider our political science Phds to be illiterates within their field.

Also review the writings of the opponents of ratification of the Constitution. Those who felt that it was an instrument dangerous to liberty. Some of their fears have come to pass.

Also, examine the assumptions you hold...often subconsciously. The oft heard statement that the US has the best government in history. Best=good...right? Not necessarily. I agree that we have the best government in history. With one caveat...the best of a bad lot.

There is only one good and reasonable defense of a democratic republic as a form of government...considering the alternatives.

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