• Twitter
  • Facebook
News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Let it be

Two legal scholars debate whether we should have a new constitutional convention and start from scratch. University of Texas law professor Sanford Levinson says yes, noting that Thomas Jefferson himself warned against treating the Constitution as "too sacred to be touched." But I'm more persuaded by the arguments of New York University law professsor Richard Epstein, who says a convention would introduce a degree of uncertainty that would make matters worse rather than better:

It is not because I think that the current state of affairs is ideal, when manifestly it is not.  It is rather that I think that any revision of the document will move us dangerously along a path of greater and more powerful government at the national and state levels that will only make matters worse....

The founders tried their best to create a system giving the federal government the power it needed but lacked under the Articles of Confederation, and only that much power. But almost every safeguard they put in to limit federal power has been superseded or ignored. And how many people could we round up who would be the intellectual equals of the founders? It's scary to imagine what a convention today might come up with.


Fri, 03/09/2012 - 10:37am

Mr. Morris asks, "And how many people can we round up who would be the intellectual equals of the founders"?

Well.............. there is always Craig and "The Capn".

Tim Zank
Fri, 03/09/2012 - 10:42am

It's times like these I really wish you had a "like" button Leo.

Christopher Swing
Fri, 03/09/2012 - 12:06pm

Wow, Craig and I must have really gotten under Rebecca's skin. She just can't stop thinking about us and trying to pick fights, even when we're not present in the thread. XD

And then there's the reliable oaf at the sidelines to cheer it on!

Nice place you've built here, Leo. A bastion of mature, reasonable discussion and debate on the internet. Something to be proud of for sure.

Fri, 03/09/2012 - 2:03pm

First of all, obligatory condolences to the Swingman for his uncomfortably bruised ego, suffered as a result of remarks from a mean-spirited  conservative woman;  now back to the subject at hand .

The constitution ain't what it used to be, having been manipulated by dishonest judges and politicians  over the past two-plus centuries.  However it does cover the basic rights and freedoms  for all Americans - and attacks declaring the document racist and out-of-step come from the racists and the Obamanuts who would turn this great nation into another failed Marxist regime directed solely by its ruling class. 

The Constitution is, after all,  just a document espousing freedom and liberty. Protection of America's liberty falls into the hands of its citizens, who have spent more time over the past half century with hands out to grab the government's gifts - rather than beating back the fake generoity of the monied ruling class. Sadly, we need a revolution to re-establish constitutional freedoms; we do not need to toss the founder's document in order complete the transition to a Marxism.

Christopher Swing
Fri, 03/09/2012 - 3:11pm

Oh, Gadfly, you clearly misunderstand. I couldn't be more pleased and entertained! Please see http://bit.ly/xWiVeD

Nice fear-mongering about Obama-Marxism though. Is that the current bogeyman of the month?

No intelligent human could really think the founders ever thought there wouldn't be changes to the constitution (they built in an update mechanism) and changing interpretations as time went on. It's supposed to adapt and change with society as our society changes.

Sure, there's always going to be people crying about good old days  that really weren't/never existed, and upset that society changes in ways they don't approve of. That's just to be expected.

Fri, 03/09/2012 - 3:30pm

The potential for mischief in a new constitutional convention is mind-boggling. After all, the first one, which was pretty good, gave us slavery and the Electoral College.

And who would select the conventioneers? The voters? Look at the politicians they've given us. No thanks.

Fri, 03/09/2012 - 5:44pm


The first constitutional convention did not give us slavery.  It was already here.  Slavery in the constitution was a nasty compromise to get the southern states to join the union.

The Electoral College, as goofy as it appears, is there because the states vote for the President.  Originally the only direct line individuals had to the federal government was through a Representative.  Senators, until the 17th Amendment, represented the state legislatures.  If the Electoral college is really that bad maybe a constitutional amendment should be proposed to abolish it.  Don't expect it to pass though.

Andrew J.
Sun, 03/11/2012 - 9:10pm

Maybe we can get back Prohibition!


Mon, 03/12/2012 - 1:23pm

I presume slavery, like prostitution, has always existed. The Constitution codified it. I realize the southern states insisted on it. If we have another convention, they theoretically could insist on it again. As for the Electoral College, it originally selected senators as well as presidents. An amendment changed that (and another abolished slavery).

My point is that all kinds of ridiculous stuff might emerge from a new convention. I'm certain that the religious establishment clause would not survive, and schools would be prohibited from teaching evolution. I say those things with some conviction because polls have shown most Americans would favor those changes.

And while I'm just kidding about slavery, I wouldn't be surprized to see at least a return to Jim Crow (the southern states would insist). Article Six, prohibiting any religious test for officeholders would defiinitely disappear.