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Editorial Commentary: Ken Ciboski

We Should Be Cautious In Tampering With The Constitution

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A move is on the way to have a “Convention of States” meet to amend our Constitution. Article V of the Constitution states that on the application of the Legislatures of two-thirds of the states, Congress shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments which, if ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the states or by Conventions in three fourths of the states, would then become a valid part of our Constitution. Of course, Congress may not honor a request for a Convention.

If a request is granted, it is possible that we could have a runaway Convention. The meetings could not be conducted in great secrecy as was so with the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Single-issue interests related to gun control, abortion, prayer in the schools, gay rights, and flag burning, among others, would want to be heard. We could end up losing many of our rights contained in the Bill of Rights.

Advocates for a convention also propose amendments to limit the terms of members of the Congress and to return to the election of United States Senators by a state’s legislature. Some other proposals: require Congress to balance the federal budget, limit spending to 17 and one-half percent of Gross Domestic Product, limit federal taxation to fifteen percent of individual and corporate earnings, empower Congress to veto regulations issued by federal bureaucracies, and require Congress to publish the final text of any proposed legislation at least 30 days before a final vote. Some proposals could have a crippling effect on the effectiveness of government in meeting the country’s and the people’s needs.

No political system is perfect, but America is one of the two longest continuing existing political systems in the world today without any major changes. This is one reason we should be cautious in tampering with the Constitution.