Public Vetting Issue

Article V was written at a time when representatives of the people met and acted without major interaction with the constituents.  Press coverage was slow and cumbersome.  A proposed state-initiated convention of states was a meeting that could not receive substantial public input during the process of drafting a proposal. 

If a convention of states were to meet as a result of 34 states having submitted valid applications, the delegates would start with a simple general idea, such as ‘term limits’ or ‘fiscal restraint’.  The public would little understanding about the language of the proposed constitutional amendment at the time the Article V convention was called to order.  Rules in place today would cause the convention to be a ‘limited convention’. 

The agenda would be relatively small with few legislative topics.  Developing the final proposal may take days or weeks and during this time the delegates would likely be on site at the convention.  Substantial delays may cause the delegates to have to return to the convention site after a recess. Completing the proposal during one session would have a degree of priority.  The press would have more interest after a rough draft was completed.  The time frame from the drafting of the rough draft and the final vote of this unicameral body could be as short as a few days.  Public input in this time frame is problematic. 

First the press would want to give complete details. Then public would want to examine the details and then get back to their state legislators.  And then the state legislators would need to relay that input to their respective state delegates.  Public vetting of a rough draft and a final draft of the proposal would be very problematic in the short time that the convention meets.  Expectations regarding the public vetting of proposals are vastly different than they were in 1787.  Yet the original language remains.  And a convention without proper public vetting is a strong reason that the public has fears of a ‘runaway convention’. 

A pre-convention would slow down the process and allow months of vetting of the rough drafts of proposed constitutional amendments. 

Published by yooper1951

Recently retired real estate appraiser. My interest in Constitutional amendments resulted from the lack of recent Congressional action. It has been too long. Its hard to look at today's political climate and not see a need for a change.

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