Monday, November 1, 2010

Caffeinated Thoughts on Constitutional Convention

Today there was a good post by Eric Goranson at Caffeinated Thoughts blog, dealing with (among other things) the constitutional convention ballot question.  Here it is an excerpt:

The following question is on the back of your ballot: “Shall there be a convention to revise the constitution, and propose amendment or amendments to same?”

My vote will be a resounding YES! The Legislature has failed to act, I can’t see Republicans (sadly, at this point anyway) having the spinal fortitude to get two Assemblies to vote for a marriage amendment should they win control, and this is a Constitutional remedy we should jump on.

The opposition from the Right and the Left will point out that all kinds of bad things can happen in a convention and then the people might vote on them. The simple truth is this: All proposed amendments would be voted on individually. With that in mind, the opposition always wants the people to vote when the polling shows that the people agree with them and avoid popular votes when the polling tells them they might lose. Anyone who opposes the Constitutional Convention is either disingenuous, saying that calling a convention is “playing fast and loose with the Constitution” (It’s a CONSTITUTIONAL REMEDY, numbskull!) or they use fear to scare people into making a “risky” convention take place. They have succumbed to elitism. We either trust the people with the vote or we don’t.
With polls showing the people of Iowa pretty evenly split on the gay marriage issue, a marriage amendment wouldn't be a slam dunk for either side.  But a convention could also allow many other important reforms that the legislature won't move on, such as term limits, sunshine laws, and recall of elected officials to at least be voted on by the people.  You can read Goranson's entire post here.

2 comments:

  1. tyranny of the majorityNovember 2, 2010 at 12:21 AM

    In preparation for a possible Constitutional convention, I thought I would take a stab at making a few edits to clarify the true intentions of the authors of the Bill of Rights to ensure that a bunch of activist judges don't misinterpret it again. Enjoy the new, improved version!

    Rights of persons. Sec. 1. All men and women are, by nature, free and equal, and have certain
    inalienable rights - among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring,
    possessing and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness. HOWEVER, GAYS WISHING TO ENJOY MARRIED LIFE OR PURSUE SAFETY AND HAPPINESS THROUGH MARRIAGE TO THE PERSON THEY LOVE SHALL NOT ENJOY THESE RIGHTS.
    Religious test - witnesses. Sec. 4. No religious test shall be required as a qualification for any
    office, or public trust, and no person shall be deprived of any of his rights, privileges, or
    capacities, or disqualified from the performance of any of his public or private duties, or rendered
    incompetent to give evidence in any court of law or equity, in consequence of his opinions on the
    subject of religion; and any party to any judicial proceeding shall have the right to use as a
    witness, or take the testimony of, any other person not disqualified on account of interest,
    who may be cognizant of any fact material to the case; and parties to suits may be witnesses, as
    provided by law. HOWEVER, RIGHT TO A CIVIL MARRIAGE SHALL BE SUBJECT TO A RELIGIOUS TEST. NO MARRIAGE NOT ACCEPTABLE TO THE MAJORITY RELIGION SHALL BE GRANTED A MARRIAGE LICENSE BY THE STATE OF IOWA.

    Laws uniform. Sec. 6. All laws of a general nature shall have a uniform operation; the General Assembly shall not grant to any citizen, or class of citizens, privileges or immunities, which, upon the same terms shall not equally belong to all citizens, EXCEPT FOR CITIZENS WHO MAKE CERTAIN MEMBERS OF THE MAJORITY FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE. THE LITMUS TESTS SHALL BE: IF YOU WOULD NOT WANT YOUR SISTER TO MARRY ONE OF THOSE; WOULD NOT WANT YOUR SON TO BECOME ONE; OR, WOULD WRAP YOURSELF UP QUICKLY IN A TOWEL IF YOU SAW ONE IN THE LOCKER ROOM; THEN SAID PERSON SHOULD BE DENIED PRIVILEGES IF THE MAJORITY DEEMS IT APPROPRIATE.

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  2. I think a lot of good and meaningful reform could come out a convention. Although I'm not opposed to gay marriage, I guess I'm willing to gamble the gay marriage issue on those other far-reaching issues. But polls show a slight majority of Iowans favoring gay marriage, so a conservative amendment wouldn't be a shoo-in. I will be very surprised if the convention passes anyway.

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