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Web letter by John F. Popp: No way to control agenda of a constitutional convention

As much as I support my good friend and neighbor Sen. David Long’s idea of limiting the intrusive federal government’s heavy hand as it relates to its interference of our state’s rights, I think we shouldn’t rush into what could be another “Occupy Wall Street” chaos on steroids. The scary problem is that although it would be the intent of the states to limit the agenda of such a convention, there are many legal scholars who have studied this issue for years who warn that, in fact, the clear language of Article V of the Constitution allows the delegates to an constitutional convention to do pretty much as they please.

James Madison, considered the father of the Constitution, warned against convening a constitutional convention and said he would “tremble at the thought of the consequences.” Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger stated “there is no way to effectively muzzle the actions of a constitutional convention. … After a convention is convened, it will be too late to stop the convention if we don’t like its agenda.”

Outside of a constitutional convention hall, demonstrators would be demanding constitutional changes: gay activists and their opponents, pro-abortionists and pro-lifers, radical feminists, the environmentalists, gun control advocates, animal right extremists, mortgage defaulters, balance the budgeters, eliminate the income tax advocates, those who want to eliminate the Electoral College, unions’ righters and more.

Who is going to run the convention? Who will pick the delegates? Who will have the gavel and rule unworthy delegates out of order, cheat on credentials, cut off the microphone and rig the voting machines? All the above have occurred at our national political conventions. Article V gives us no specifics. All it says is that: “Congress, upon the applications of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a convention for proposing amendments….” Do you suppose Sen. Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner will have lunch and work it out? Of course not, so then the Supreme Court will get involved, and who knows what mischief they might decree?

The Indiana Senate has already passed the resolution, but it can be stopped in the House. Let your state representative know how you feel. Let’s not take a chance. We have passed 18 amendments to the Constitution without resorting to the uncharted waters of a constitutional convention. We could roll the dice and lose the craps table in the process.


Fort Wayne