The mind-boggling amounts of the bailouts Congress has passed and is still debating, plus shocking Wall Street frauds, seem to have plunged some lawmakers into a silly season. Ohio state legislators this month held a surprise hearing on a resolution calling for a national constitutional convention, and then canceled a vote after dozens of citizens showed up to speak against it.
We already have a U.S. Constitution that has withstood the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune for more than two centuries, and we don't need a new constitution. There is nothing wrong with the one we have except that politicians are not obeying it and judges are indulging in too much activism.
The idea that adding new words to the Constitution to require balancing the federal budget, or to give President Barack Obama a line-item veto so he can veto the extravagant spending he has already endorsed, is delusional. The only thing more outlandish is the fanciful notion that a 2009 constitutional convention (colloquially known as a Con Con) could adopt such requirements while avoiding other mistakes.
The most influential players in any new Con Con would be Big Media, giving us round-the-clock television coverage. The 2008 presidential campaign proved that the media consider themselves actors in the political process, not merely reporters.
Outside of a Con Con hall, demonstrators would hold court demanding constitutional changes. These would be staged by gay activists and their opponents, pro-abortionists and pro-lifers, radical feminists, environmentalists, gun-control advocates, animal rights extremists, D.C. statehood agitators, those who want to relax immigration and those who would restrict it, mortgage defaulters and the unions -- all demanding consideration of amendments to recognize their claimed rights.
Article V requires Congress to call a new Constitutional Convention to consider "amendments" (note the plural) if two-thirds (34) of the states pass resolutions calling for it. There are no other rules in the Constitution or in federal law to list or limit a Con Con's purpose, procedure, agenda or election of delegates.
The whole process would be a prescription for political chaos, controversy, confrontation, litigation and judicial activism. Just about the only thing we can predict with certainty is that it could not be secret from the media and the public, as was the original 1787 Constitutional Convention.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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