Friday, February 05, 2010

Do you support a constitutional convention being formed in your state this 2010?

Do you support a constitutional convention being formed in your state this 2010 and getting some important constitutional amendments sent off for other states to consider ratifying?

Lawrence Lessig Says the biggest problem with American Democracy today is the overreliance on even legal moneys en masse from institutions and businesses who have had little interest in the commonwealth of the people of the United States. He says that while Congress is busy looking into the mess made by the supreme court decision to allow even wealthy foreign firms and states to take over U.S. elections even more than corporate America and special interests do today, he thinks the rest of us should organize a CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION now and get to the bottom of getting Congress back under the interest of the Commonwealth of Americans.

“[T]he framers left open a path to amendment that doesn't require the approval of Congress--a convention, which must be convened if two-thirds of the states apply for it. Interestingly (politically) those applications need not agree on the purpose of the convention. Some might see the overturning of Citizens United. Others might want a balanced budget amendment. The only requirement is that two-thirds apply, and then begins the drama of an unscripted national convention to debate questions of fundamental law.”—Lessig

Lawrence Lessig has written in The Nation that the U.S. Constitution fails to control CONGRESS the current system properly. Lessig says that Congress as it is elected these days with out of control legal moneys is the wrong way to go and not what our forefathers had planned at all. He says that it is at such a time as now that we need to use the state-based constitutional convention offered us in the US Constitution to change the endless spending phenomena and allow more direct and real democracy not manipulated by the wealthiest special interests as we experience today.

Readers, please give your sentiments below. Let’s debate this thoroughly.
Do you support a constitutional convention being formed in your state this 2010 and getting some important constitutional amendments set off for other states to consider ratifying?



Blogger Kevin Anthony Stoda said...

AMY GOODMAN: Lawrence Lessig, where were you when you heard the Supreme Court hand down its decision to open the floodgates on corporate money in electoral politics? And what was your reaction?

LAWRENCE LESSIG: Well, I was in Cambridge. I was sitting at my desk expecting the decision to come down. It came down, and I read it as quickly as I could, because I had to go catch an airplane. And so, actually, sitting at the airport in San Francisco, I recorded a video to talk to people about how significant this decision was.

And the significance of it, I think, is that it opens the possibility that a problem that’s already bad will get infinitely worse. I mean, this is the thing people need to remember. Lots of people are talking about, how do we overturn Citizens United? But overturning Citizens United or getting back to the day before Citizens United is no solution to the problem. We already had a broken democracy before Citizens United came down. And I’m worried that there’s a lot of distraction around this issue, in Citizens United, because I don’t think the problem is corporate speech. I think the problem is corporate control. I don’t think the problem is lots of different diversity of perspectives or viewpoints in the context of political debate. It’s when that perspective or a particular powerful influence begins to be so powerful that you understand members of Congress are spending their time dancing to the tune that this powerful interest wants, rather than worrying about what their constituents want, because as members need to raise money or need to raise support for their campaigns, this becomes a debilitating distraction.

And it’s that kind of distraction that, I think, accounts for the failure of a whole range of programs that this administration has tried to push. And it would account for the failure even on the right—if people on the right were here, too—because, just as clearly, the status quo Fundraising Congress wants to stop that reform, as well.

AMY GOODMAN: Lawrence Lessig, we’re going to break, then come back. Professor at Harvard Law School, co-founder of the nonprofit Change Congress, his cover story in The Nation, “How to Get Our Democracy Back.” He’s calling for a constitutional convention. We’ll find out more after break.

10:14 PM  
Blogger Kevin Anthony Stoda said...

The Democracy Now interview with Lawrence Lessig explains why we NEED A STATE LEVEL CONSTITUTIONAL for providing AMENDMENTs to be considered by other states.

LAWRENCE LESSIG: Well, you have to remember that the convention that the framers imagined in Article 5 of the Constitution only has the power to propose amendments. And any amendment that gets proposed still has to be ratified by three-fourths of the states—so that’s thirty-eight states—meaning any twelve states can block any proposed amendment. Now, there are twelve solid red states, and there are twelve solid blue states. So I don’t think either side has an opportunity to, in some sense, take over the other.

But I think that the critical point about a convention is that it is the only method for constitutional change that Washington itself can’t direct and control. And there’s an enormous amount of energy right now happening in Congress trying to—people talking about entering an amendment through the congressional process. And my view is that that’s both a waste of time, because there’s no sixty-seven votes in the United States Senate to support, for example, an amendment to overturn Citizens United, and also it’s the wrong context for that kind of reform. What Congress needs to be doing right now is passing the citizen-funded election bill, the Larson-Jones bill, to make it so that people can once again believe in how Congress does its work. And we need to begin the long process of constitutional reform through this convention process.

Also, the politics of this are very different. People can have an idea of what’s broken and how to fix it. So some people think we’re going to have to overturn Citizens United. Other people, like I, think that the important thing is to make sure Congress has the power to create its own independence from private interests and dependence upon the people. Some people think the President needs a line-item veto. These are hard questions. They’re not going to be resolved through a tweet or through some online internet poll. What has to happen is there has to be a long conversation across the political spectrum that either first produces the call for a conviction and then, second, in the convention itself.

Now, obviously it’s a long shot, but the one thing we know from history is the only time the United States Congress has ever voluntarily amended the Constitution to reduce its power or make it more directly responsive to the people was in the context of the Seventeenth Amendment, which was inspired largely because a convention movement, that was going to force the same amendment into the states, had grown and become substantial enough that people thought it was a likelihood to happen. So I’m eager for the pressure of a convention, either directly or indirectly, to force the reform that I think that we need to get this democracy back to being a democracy.

10:16 PM  

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