Monday, October 20, 2008

Constitutional convention - good idea?

"Shall there be a constitutional convention to amend or revise the constitution of the state?" is the question we'll be seeing on November 4. And it's the question posed by the Courant's Christopher Keating.

Apparently, support and opposition to the question are falling along ideological / party lines - Ds opposing a convention, Rs supporting one.

I'm still undecided. While I like the idea of initiative, a convention means everything is on the table. And similar to my opposition to a Charter revision at this moment... I question the ultimate outcome of a convention. Instead of giving voters the power of initiative, the legislature may rewrite the rules to do some crazy stuff that I'd never even considered.

Do you think a convention is a good idea?

Tim White

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's not clear that an open constitutional convention could achieve the right to initiative petition any more easily than the regular method of amending the constitution (spelled out in Article VI of the Amendments).

Because the majority party of each house would define the method of naming convention delegates, you can bet that delegates would be overwhelming Democratic.

Article VI provides that the legislature can amend the constitution by simple majority vote in two sessions. (Both methods of amendment require subsequent approval by the state’s voters).

Proponents of initiative petition (which I support) might have a better chance of getting what we want through the regular Article VI method rather than by the convention route. We’d just have to turn around a few Democrats to join the Republicans in voting for initiative petition.

Under the Article VI method, public pressure can still sway legislators to change their votes. Appointed delegates to a constitutional convention, who will be overwhelmingly Democratic anyway, will basically be insulated from public pressure.