Comments about ‘Richard Davis: Is it time for another constitutional convention?’

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Published: Wednesday, July 9 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

Updated: Tuesday, July 8 2014 7:44 p.m. MDT

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seattle, WA

I rather doubt 31 states will vote for a Constitutional convention. As illustrated in this article, the purpose would be more about social issues (gay marriage) than truly governmental issues (balanced budget). Why else mention same sex marriage as an example of a way to find "compromise". States with same sex marriage already have compromise. You don't have to get same sex married, you may only do so if you are so inclined.

And even if such a convention would be called, the extremist Constitutional changes that would inevitably come out of it would never, ever pass through the necessary majority.

It seems this proposal is a dying conservative Tea Party wish to pull the country back into the 18th century.

Cottonwood Heights, UT

Term limits should be first on the list of proposed amendments.

Genola, UT

Professor Davis admits that a convention of the states could lead to major changes to the constitution or even a complete abandonment of the document as the foundation of American government. But he is willing to risk such a course. For what reasons? To provide an opportunity for the nation to learn civics and to teach politicians the art of compromise. Talk about throwing the baby out with the bath water! I doubt that I have ever read such a poorly reasoned and foolish proposal as this piece by the professor. If our representatives are incapable of reaching compromise on issues such as gay marriage, what makes you think that a constitutional convention will magically transform them into something they are not? There is something very fishy about the professor's proposal and I suspect there is something else lurking below the surface that is bugging the man that he has not shared. Please, professor, tell us why you really want to shred the constitution.

E Sam
Provo, UT

Since there's not going to be a constitutional convention, I'm not sure why we're talking about it. In a political environment as toxic as ours today, I think any such convention would turn really ugly pretty quickly.

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

extreme liberals such as reid, murray, pelosi, and BO would use such a convention to continue their unbridled attack on religious liberties.

they are using the Hobby Lobby ruling already to do just that. The majority in the HL ruling provided a way for women to receive the abortion inducing drugs the owners of HL objected to (they did NOT object to providing contraceptives as the left disingenuously claims). but that has not stopped the cabal stated at the top of this paragraph from assaulting religion and those in the senate are introducing legislation to deny religious rights in their efforts to defy the SCOTUS.

Black Knight
American Fork, UT

In addition to denying religious rights, the far left would undoubtedly attempt to use a constitutional convention to get rid of the 2nd amendment and thus ban all guns.

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

I always enjoy reading Richard Davis’ thoughtful and non-dogmatic views. But this is not 1787 when there was a broad consensus that our blueprint for self-governing was just not working. The potential hazards of convening a Constitutional Convention far outweigh any potential benefits.

Cleveland , OH

And the far right would implement a state religion and disenfranchise all others, would roll back civil rights gains, would institute a form of sharia law, would allow the poor and hungry to starve in the streets, would bring back prohibition...

Take a look at the websites for dominion theology and see what the religious right wants to do to this country.

And as you read it understand that dominion theology is woven into the base teaching materials of many Evangelical churches. And remember that "LDS" would be as much a minority in the Christian Theocracy as Jews and Gays.

Bountiful, UT

Craig Clark makes a good point - statesmanship and compromise are in very, very short supply. Calling a convention would be like playing with dynamite.

Could such a convention be a mechanism for some states to leave the US?

This is a very serious possibility, there would be a lot of support for that option. Texas in no way truly wishes to be associated with California or Oregon or New York (except as a place to recruit businesses from). Governor Rick Perry has already suggested that secession could be a result of further unwanted liberal initiatives.

There are many people in Hawaii who wish the US would honor its promise to the Monarch of Hawaii and return the stolen islands. California would be happy to split off, I would think.

Maybe a column should be written about why the US should stay together. What do we have in common, anymore? Everyone drives on the right hand side of the road. That's a start.

Kent C. DeForrest
Provo, UT

Interesting thoughts from Richard Davis. I'm a bit baffled, though, by one comment that claims Davis wants to "shred the constitution." Amending the Constitution, which is badly needed in a few ways, is not the same as shredding it. Thankfully, Davis's reasonable tone is far different from the shrill, angry, irrational rhetoric we hear from those on the extremes.

One point of clarification: with 50 states now, it would take the consent of 34 of them to even hold a constitutional convention, not 31, as suggested by one comment. And any amendment would need approval from 38 state legislatures. With today's divisive political climate, either number is probably well out of reach. So those who are screaming about the liberals taking their Second Amendment rights away are getting lathered up over nothing.

Bountiful, UT

Some people seem to forget that just because a convention was called would not guarantee that anything came of it. Could a convention called to propose a term limits amendment branch off into totally unrelated issues and even propose an entirely new governing document? Absolutely. But even if it did that governing document would only become binding if it was then ratified by some defined super-majority of the states - just like in 1787 when the Constitution was nothing more than a concept to debate until it was ratified by 9 of the 13 states. If a convention were called and the delegates to the convention were to agree on anything (from a single amendment to a whole new constitution) the proposal of the convention would then come to the people for ratification before it was binding in any way.

We might end up with anything from complete change to no change whatsoever but we would be guaranteed to have a robust debate before any change could be implemented.

Sandy, UT

What's the point? The president and lawmakers appeal to the Constitution only when convenient, otherwise they do whatever their constituency (the 1%) requires of them. The Supreme Court is usually happy to rubber-stamp any popular legislation or regulation. Why spoil a good thing?

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

When the last convention was held, America had just lost 10% of its population in a war against England. America was united against being subjected to a king. Today, with 47% of Americans being fed by Washington, do you think that they would vote to shut of the public trough?

Obama would like nothing more than to have a Constitutional Convention. Then, he would change HIS term limit. He would suggest a bill of rights that came from the government, instead of recognising that all rights come from our Creator. He would see to it that the President had legislative powers and that the Court be reduced to do no more than our traffic courts do.

Those who propose a Constitutional Convention are telling us that our Constitution, with its checks and balances are not good enough for them. They want to change things so that THEY dictate what liberties we have.

Sandy, UT

A constitutional convention will not work. The Constitution was designed to limit the role of government and keep it from oppressing the people. Now, however, you have a sizable percentage of the people who think they have the right to force other people to give them stuff. While Mitt Romney took a lot of heat about his comment on the percentage of people who depend on the government, he as right. Even many allegedly conservative people get handouts of one kind or another and bristle at the idea of cutting of their welfare (be it individual or corporate).

I do not care if the people of New England want to live in a nanny state where government does everything for/to you and it takes more than 2 months to see your doctor. I do want, however, to be able to live somewhere that I am free to decide for myself what kind of insurance I am going to buy, what I am going to eat or drink, and what benefits I am going to offer my employees.

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

Mike Richards provides a perfect illustration of the type of polemics we could expect to see presented in a new Constitutional Convention except that the nasty name calling once it convened would be like nothing we've seen in our time.

Gene Poole

In a word: "No." Reasoning: Sen. Reid wants to see a Constitutional Convention so that the 1st and 2nd Amendments can be altered or obliterated, Barrack Obama wants to repeal the 22nd Amendment and I am sure that each politician in office will want to propose and pass term limits for themselves. Maybe, as a suggestion, we, the people, (since this is a Republic and we are in charge, not in servitude, should propose and pass a referendum wherein if an elected official (Oh, let's say maybe a President who is usurping the Constitution by creating His own laws.) can be removed and all of the officials who would succeed the POTUS - all the way down to the Postmaster General with an individual who has integrity, truly knows the Constitution is a sacred document and is the supreme law of land would be voted into place by the people and for the people. Oh posh, foolish thought! Sure why not have a Constitutional Convention. The country is sinking into - what do we call Communism/Socialism now?- a "Progressive Permissive government" that is a bottomless pit. Our Founding Fathers are rolling in their graves at all of this poppycock.

Greenwich Time
Salt Lake City, UT

State Legislatures are given exclusive authority under the Constitution to approve changes to it. But the President, Congress, and Supreme Court are effectively changing it all the time. Sometimes radically. Like the Supreme Court’s decision in 1985 that for all intents and purposes it would no longer enforce the Constitution’s separation of powers between the states and the federal government, but that from then on states would have to look solely to the national political process for protection against unconstitutional incursions into their powers by the national government. From then on, the chickens would have to look solely to the fox for protection from the fox. Subsequent experience has proven how poorly that works. At a Constitutional Convention, states could ratify an Amendment which would: allow them to propose Amendments without the need for a Convention; reaffirm the Constitution’s separation of powers and require the Supreme Court to start enforcing it again; and allow a super-majority of states, who have exclusive power to amend the Constitution anyway, to review and overturn actions by any federal officials they feel are inconsistent with the Constitution, thus preventing further changes to the Constitution by those not authorized to change it.

clearfield, UT

A Constitutional convention in the country right now would create another civil war. Just imagine the sides that would want to include things like a total 2nd amendment ban. Or a complete ban on abortion. Our country is not mature enough anymore to handle the writing of a new constitution.

Houston, TX

I am surprised to read so many comments suggesting that a Constitutional Convention would suffer the same gridlock we see in Congress. That Congressional gridlock is caused by the self-interest of congressmen and senators who are seeking re-election over everything else. A Constitutional Convention would be made up of appointed delegates from each of the State Legislatures, and they wouldn't be self-interested because they aren't in an elected position.

That being said, I agree that a Constitutional Convention runs a decided risk of fundamentally altering the Constitution. We don't need a change in the Constitution; instead, we need a change in public sentiment from personal self-interest to self-responsibility.

Cedar Hills, UT

I would rather just secede from the Union. Take Texas, Utah and all the other conservative states and let the blue states continue to disvolve into a Communist collection of mush. Wouldn't that be cool!!! If the military would join with the conservative states then I would be the first one in line for the vote!! I have no use for the radical left and their cluess - worthless - rabble anymore. I 100% guarantee you that in 10 years the conservative union would be prosperous and free while the other group would be begging for mercy. At the very least we wouldn't have to have that ball and chain of liberalism dragging us down anymore. There comes a point where it is simply time to divorce and go separate ways and America has reached that point thanks in large part to Barack and his grand fundamental change plan. Never before since the civil war has America been so divided....on purpose!!!

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