1. Nothing would confine a Constitutional Convention to one issue. No matter the original primary impetus for calling the Convention, once convened it could consider any issues it decides to consider. You can be sure that every agenda imaginable would be pushed. Pro-lifers would demand a pro-life amendment. Pro-choicers would demand that Roe v. Wade be Constitutionally enshrined. As surely as 2d Amendment advocates seek an open carry and full automatic weapons amendment, gun control proponents will seek an amendment undermining the 2d by expressly limiting it to a militia. Those opposed to immigration will seek to weaken the concept of citizen by right if born in the United States as provided by the 14th Amendment, and so on. My personal favorite would be for a balanced budget amendment. The Convention could consider, and propose, any amendment.
  2. I agree the requirement for 3/4s of the states to ratify any amendments proposed by Convention is an important and legitimate limitation greatly weakening the “runaway Convention” concern. Accordingly, overly controversial proposals, on issues lacking a strong consensus among Americans (such as abortion) are unlikely to be ratified, but as discussed below perhaps not as unlikely as we would like to think.
  3. While billed as a means for the people to control the amendment process, a Constitutional Convention actually distances the process from popular rule based on equal representation of the people. It does so because such a Convention operates with each state getting one vote. Conservative Wyoming counts just as much in this process as liberal California even though California has 66 times more people. Put another way, a voter in Wyoming has 66 times the impact on the Convention process than does one in California. The Constitutional Convention process actually amplifies the favoritism shown to voters in small, conservative Western states already reflected in an electoral college. That’s the same electoral college system that elevated a man to the Presidency even though he lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million and has twice in recent elections given the Presidency to the popular vote loser. The Constitutional Convention does an end around to the proportional to population representation that is at least found in the House of Representatives. For this reason, it will be strongly favorable conservative values, at the expense of the more popular values. This will not be corrected in the ratification process where small state ratification also equals big state ratification.
  4. While ratification mitigates the runaway Convention concern, it does not eliminate it. Because of the distancing of the process from representational popularity discussed above, I fear such a Convention could consider, propose and lead to possible state ratification of amendments undermining the rights of already unpopular groups. This nation just elected to President a man who promised to ban all Muslims from entering the country, talked about creating a national Muslim registry, and favorably compared his ideas to FDRs Japanese Internment. Frighteningly, these hateful statements actually made him more popular. As shown by the courts so far rejecting the President’s more limited travel bans, the Bill of Rights is an important check of the “tyranny of the majority” against unpopular minorities, such as the “3Ms” (Muslims, Mexicans and the Media) the President so viciously attacks. I fear a Convention could propose an amendment targeted at attacking such minorities and that it could have a chance at ratification in the toxic and prejudiced pandering atmosphere created by this President.

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Retired lawyer & Army vet in The Villages of Florida. Lifelong: Republican (pre-Trump), Constitution buff, science nerd & dog lover. Twitter: @KeithDB80

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