Suggestions that the United States call a new constitutional convention, as allowed in the Constitution's Article V, have popped up in some state legislatures and even on a page in the Wall Street Journal. Grandstanding politicians are proposing a wide assortment of many constitutional amendments to produce big changes.Speaking to us from across the years, the Father of the U.S. Constitution, James Madison, warned us in the strongest language he could muster, against calling another general constitutional convention. Madison's prophetic warnings in 1788 against calling a second convention to amend our Constitution are even more compelling today. Let's examine them.
1) Madison said, a new convention would "naturally consider itself as having a greater latitude than the Congress" to amend the Constitution. Indeed, that's exactly what the convention advocates want: a convention to do what Congress won't do. We don't want to give such broad power to Congress or to anyone else.
2) Madison said, a new convention would "give greater agitation to the public mind." That's right, a new convention would attract dozens of groups agitating for various changes, creating a bigger media event even than a presidential election. It would be dominated by Big Media and theatrical demonstrators.
3) Madison said, the election of Convention delegates "would be courted by the most violent partisans on both sides." That's right. An election for convention delegates would surely attract "violent partisans on both sides" of many issues.
4) Madison said, the convention would "probably consist of the most heterogeneous characters . . . heated men of all parties." Yes, indeed, it could be a repeat performance of the way the Obama crowd turned out voters in 2008 through his "Organizing for America" using ACORN and illegal voters.
Tomorrow I'll tell you more about James Madison's prophetic warnings against calling a new constitutional convention.
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