Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb: Exploring ramifications of calling for a constitutional convention

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  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    July 7, 2014 8:16 p.m.

    Conventions are rough. Long, boring speeches and power points. Then, hospitality suites, and shenanigans at the bar, followed by a poor sleep and greasy sausage for breakfast. When it's all over, you've got to try to figure out if you learned anything, and make your expense claim work.
    If they want to go this route, I hope they're all up for it.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    July 7, 2014 8:06 p.m.

    The Convention to Convention amendment procedure has never been used to add an amendment to the Constitution because basically it is pretty much impossible it will ever work.

    July 7, 2014 5:34 p.m.

    Greenwich Time: Excellent comment. Too bad others spout off without knowing what they're talking about.

  • Greenwich Time Salt Lake City, UT
    July 7, 2014 5:00 p.m.

    In the 1800s, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government cannot tax interest paid by state and local governments on moneys they borrow to fund the governmental facilities and services they provide their citizens, because “the power to tax is the power to destroy”, and allowing the federal government to tax such state and local government activities would give the federal government power to control those activities, violating the Constitution’s separation of powers between the states and the federal government, and the 10th Amendment which guarantees the states’ powers. Now that the Supreme Court has virtually abdicated its duty to enforce the 10th Amendment, members of both parties in Congress are threatening to abolish this constitutionally protected tax exemption for interest paid by state and local governments. This would give the federal government unprecedented power over state and local governments’ purse-strings, would sound the death knell to the Constitution’s separation of powers, would turn state and local governments into mere subdivisions of the federal government, and would increase state and local taxes exponentially. Only a Constitutional Amendment can revitalize the 10th Amendment and prevent such an unconstitutional power-grab by the federal government.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    July 7, 2014 4:09 p.m.

    Webb: It’s time for the states to fight to restore their rightful role in the federal system. Never has the federal government been so dysfunctional or been held in such low esteem.


    Baloney -- You might want to read up on events leading up the Civil War of 1861-1865.

    That said --
    This is the exact same hyperbole the Southerners used to fan the flames of their little "rebellion" as well.

    And you might also want to Google up all the States "Constitutional Conventions" held prior to the beginning of the shooting...
    [hint: it was only less than 5 to 8 years later]


  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    July 7, 2014 2:53 p.m.

    Hey Anti Bush-Obama -

    “You sound like the extremeist to me. Are you one of those Weather Underground people that wants to put your political opposition in concentration camps?”

    Sorry Anti, I don’t know what you’re talking about. Do you?

    Hey Fitz -

    “ . . . Pignanelli is a democrat, Webb is a republican.”

    Really?! How can you tell?

    They both sound tuned in to the Great Right Wing hive mind.

  • Brer Rabbit Spanish Fork, UT
    July 7, 2014 11:19 a.m.

    I agree that there should be such a convention if it could be held to one or two amendments. The most important would be a balanced budget amendment, but I would also support an amendment allowing states to offer a single amendment without a constitutional convention. The ratification process should limit over reach.

    The problem that I see now with the Constitution is not a need for more amendments but a willingness of government to comply with the Constitution that we have now. If the Constitution can be ignored now, what good would changes be?

    One amendment that folks seem to want is Term Limits. I don't think that term limits would make a difference, because we already have term limits of 2, 4 or 6 years depending on the office. If the voters are unwilling or too apathetic to term limit someone, I doubt that constitutional term limits would make a difference.

  • Fitz Murray, UT
    July 7, 2014 10:50 a.m.

    That the Congress and the person holding office of President has strayed from the Constitution, I believe, is a given. Read some of the "Ant-Federalist" papers written back in the days the Constitution was in the process of being ratified. The Anti-Federalists made some very good points which show themselves today.

    The concept of a Constitutional Convention is spooky. Uncertainty is always a concern. Instead of pushing a Constitutional Convention, the states should be challenging the inappropriate actions of the federal government in federal courts. If enough states came together (2.3 would not be required) the states could bring much make into balance.

    Part of the power granted to the states was the state legislatures authority to appoint US Senators. That was lost when it became a vote of 'we the people' to pick our senators. A recovery of balance in this case would be term limits for senators (an House members as well.)

    Much can be fixed in the balance between the states and the federal government. But it would take time and agreement between the states.

    One comment to 'GaryO', Pignanelli is a democrat, Webb is a republican.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    July 7, 2014 10:43 a.m.


    I agree with you, but I am suggesting that yes, conservatives would be OK with living in a less powerful nation, if that meant they were able to maintain their version of freedom.

    Texas could execute people for shoplifting, Utah could become an explicit theocracy, Wyoming could drill for gas & oil inside Yellowstone Park.

    More seriously, if Utah were to split into two states - like has been suggested in Arizona, Colorado, and California - one state could be Salt Lake combined with Park City, maybe stretching down to include Moab.

    A bit like Iraq, the state lines in the US are often somewhat arbitrary. Most Eastern Oregonians want nothing to do with the liberals on the coast, Nevada is Democratic-leaning Las Vegas & very right-wing everywhere else (except maybe Reno).

    But hopefully you're right - this type of conversation may cause some reflection among our entrenched camps about exactly how much they want to remain a "Unites States", and how a lot of the political arguments we hear are highly over-amplified partisan rhetoric, helpful to very few.

  • Anti Bush-Obama Chihuahua, 00
    July 7, 2014 10:26 a.m.


    You sound like the extremeist to me. Are you one of those Weather Underground people that wants to put your political opposition in concentration camps?

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    July 7, 2014 9:54 a.m.

    @ 10CC, the problem with your grand divorce agreement, Utah would be consigning itself to a country that would be third world in nature. But, on the other hand, if the suggestion would be enough to make conservative wake up and be rational for a change, then maybe the idea should be floated. Conservatives love welfare, when they are on it, and the idea of losing all the federal money would get their attention.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    July 7, 2014 7:46 a.m.

    The Founding Fathers set their scruples aside and compromised like crazy to get our current Constitution created, notably the 3/5 compromise, where slaves were counted as 3/5 of a person for purposes of Congressional representation, but were still considered property with no voting rights.

    Further, everyone involved agreed not to talk about slavery for 20 years, for fear the young country and its constitution would be torn apart.

    I've not seen anything close to that level of compromise and statesmanship demonstrated in the past 30+ years. We're much too encamped in our separate ideologies. The Republicans can't even get along within their own tent!

    "Irreconcilable Differences" is a more accurate description of America today.

    Perhaps a grand divorce agreement is the right path, where the west coast is its own nation, most of Utah would join the Bible Belt, South and Midwest, and the east coast would be a third nation, or perhaps the two coasts would be one nation, or join Canada.

    Yes, we've reached that point.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    July 7, 2014 7:46 a.m.

    I'm not sure I've seen so much hooey in one place....

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    July 7, 2014 6:02 a.m.

    Never will happen. There are plenty of progressive states that will make sure it won't happen. Thank goodness.

    If this did occur, and by some fluke the Constitution did change, I would hate the results. Only right wing dogma might emanate from such a conclave.

  • Rod Mann Highland, UT
    July 6, 2014 8:33 p.m.

    Most people are in agreement that some segments of the Federal government operate beyond the limits identified in the Constitution. So to fix the problem of adherence to the constitution limits we are going to hold a convention to create amendments that further limits the power of the Federal government? Am I missing something? If those in power disregard constitutional limits today then what makes anyone believe they would adhere to any new limitations tomorrow.

    The Constitution is not the problem! ignorance of or a disregard for the Constitution is part of the issue. Here are a couple of relevant quotes:

    "Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion, and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens" Washington, Farewell Address,1796

    "A culture obsessed with technology will come to value personal convenience above almost all else, and ours does. That has consequences we will explore. Among those consequences', however, is impatience with anything that interferes with personal convenience. Religion, morality, and law do that …" Bork, Slouching Towards Gomorrah, 1996

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    July 6, 2014 6:14 p.m.

    I would support such a constitutional convention if someone would tell me who is to fill the role of Adams (mastermind) and of Washington (the steady hand).

    So far, none in sight.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    July 6, 2014 5:03 p.m.

    Am I alone in not trusting my local and state legislators. They did do one good thing in the State Capitol though: they reduced the sales tax on food though I wish they would finish the job and eliminate it along with all taxes upon necessities.

    The people of Utah are usually trustworthy in supporting basic morality but seem to love increasd taxation and the public schools far too readily. So far as taxation is concerned Utah has increased the percentage sales taxes from four percent to almost seven percent in a generation.

    Who do I trust? My Father in Heaven. I read that he is cursed that trusts in the arm of flesh and am daily reminded of the veracity of that statement.

    Finally if federal government is already ignoring the Constitution what makes anyone think they will honor an amended Constitution.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    July 6, 2014 2:15 p.m.

    “ . . . overzealous trampling of basic rights and strangling entrepreneurial endeavors — demonstrate the feds are out of control . . .”

    WRONG. That opinion shows that Right Wing extremism has polluted mainstream thought, causing massive “dysfunction and gridlock at the federal level.”

    “Citizens understand the federal government has grown too large, too unwieldy, too top-heavy, too bureaucratic and too ungovernable.”

    WRONG. Right Wing Extremists think that.

    The government is not perfect and it should be streamlined wherever possible. Continual improvement is a worthy enterprise, but the government needs to be large enough to be effective and “promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” Arbitrarily downsizing all aspects of government is just silly. But certain areas, like the military, obviously need to be downsized.

    “ . . . the utter irrationality and naivety of the paranoid ultra-right . . .” Look who’s talking.

    Come on Webb and Piganelli, your political positions are themselves ultra-right . . . Maybe not quite as far right as those “Conservatives” who murder police officers and cover their bodies with the cherished Tea Party flag and Swastika . . . But still pretty far right.

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 6, 2014 12:42 a.m.

    Many of the problems would have been solved the last few years if Sen. Reid wouldn't have blocked them. The House passed bill after bill and the Senate sat on them.

    If they would pass small and simple bills, on the ideas that they agree on, no matter who sponsored them, things would work. No, they are too 7th grade for that.

    We don't need a new constitution, we need a new congress and president, or at least new leadership.

    Do I trust a Constitutional Convention to the lot we have now? Not at this time.