The Young Turks Come to Washington State on a Quest to Overturn Citizens United

Comments

1

Hey, today is George Washington's birthday! How charming.

2

A convention scares the hell out of me. Yes, the Philly convention gave us a pretty damn good Constitution, but it was not called by a bunch of Bible-thumping Trump-voting fools who expressly want to destroy many of the rights in the original document & Bill of Rights. Be afraid. Very afraid.

3

The only way elections or financial markets will ever be free again is if the individuals who vehemently deny central banks are in total control stop denying this, get off their butts, and demand federal execution of these people. Given how addictive, pervasive and undetectable central banker propaganda is, this is really just a pipe dream. The lemmings only are capable of looking at their social media or the crowd to determine what to do next, or what is right. So.... nevermind. This article is a complete waste of time, in other words. Young Turks who?

4

@2: Our Constitional Convention was called to fix the Articles of Confederation, not to write a new Constitution. That we got a totally different document — our Constitution — out of it merely emphasizes the danger of calling a Constitutional Convention in the first place.

@3: Needs more Trilateral Commission.

5

@2 Says the nutjob anti-vaxxer/ pro-homeopathy person.

6

Uh, sorry 2, that was for 3

7

A few things to correct here. 1. Wolf-PAC is attempting to work on several aspects of this problem at once, it is not ONLY trying to get a convention, though it believes that a convention might be the only path currently capable of solving the problem in any sort of sufficient way. It believes that by pushing for a convention, this makes it more likely that Congress will propose this amendment, as has happened for more than half of our existing 27 amendments (the states started pushing for a convention and eventually Congress relented and proposed on these topics themselves).

Montana, a long-time bastion of great campaign finance laws, attempted to pass sweeping campaign finance laws at the state level in 2012. The SCOTUS struck down the laws, since Citizens United and other decisions basically make most regulations on campaign finance illegal now. So Washington State could pass the most wonderfully fair, just, sensical laws with overwhelming support. Those laws will (likely) not survive the Supreme Court. It is not a fix that works anymore. The reason an amendment is so sorely sought after is that this is the only mechanism that would neutralize the Supreme Court's ruling.
There is exactly as much detail about how to propose a Congressional Amendment as there is a convention. They're both listed in Article V, and the language is nearly exactly parallel for the creation and different stages of both. We figured out how to have Congressional amendments, even though they are not specifically detailed in Article V. We would determine the rules and exact specifications for a convention. The opposition to holding a convention is ALSO pushing against a process that would codify stricter rules, because they feel that this might hasten a convention, and they don't want one even if it were absolutely assured to have sufficient checks and protocols. The CBPP is using the vagaries of Article V as an excuse, because they don't really want this amendment at all (it would rankle their donors), and they know (as anyone with a sense of political reality knows) that if the only pathway is through Congress, and buttressed only by non-binding resolutions and "pretty please?" arguments, it is extremely likely that Congress will never act. It is not in Congress' best interests to pass this legislation or to call for an amendment; they got to this position of power they're in by the current system, and there's no reason for them to voluntarily opt to roll the dice. And, by the way, Article V DOES say more than they're letting on. The parallel language implies that the founders meant for an amendment proposed by either path is a parallel and similar process. If they had wanted a convention to be a free-for-all with no limits, and a Congressional Amendment to be a single-issue proposal (which we know they did, since they themselves proposed some), they would have written that in Article V, i.e., that these two paths were for vastly different purposes and to be undertaken with those vast differences in mind. They didn't.

8

@4: The states under the Articles of Confederation were more of a loose alliance (like the EU today). Any state could back out of any proposal, and there was no meaningful way to keep states from defecting. Now there IS a meaningful way: Article V, which specifically states that 3/4 of the states must ratify. Any other thing that happens is Unconstitutional. Seeing that there was no way to sufficiently change the Articles to achieve the mandate of the 1787 convention, and no way to keep every state in alliance with the end result, they had to make a new document. Now we have a document (the Constitution) where it CAN be amended and has, such that there is no need to re-write anything beyond the amendments, if they are ratified into law. Ergo, the 1787 convention didn't run away, it fulfilled its mandate. And a convention today wouldn't run away, it would fulfill its mandate of proposing one or more amendments. The idea that the other branches of government would have created (and put into the Constitution) a way that a completely sovereign body could be convened, and could literally tear up all of our laws, and be subject to no checks (in a system in which every other plank has tons of checks and balances) is preposterous. Why would they have created a body with ultimate power, who could unilaterally make themselves permanently irrelevant with the stroke of a pen?

9

The Justice Burger quote was taken from a letter written after he left the court at the behest of Phyllis
Schlafly, who is best known for killing the Equal Rights Amendment. He wrote it when they
worked together on a commission in the Reagan administration. It was purely political and was
never intended to stand up to peer review.

The circumstances of the Justice Burger letter are explained in the book "Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots Conservatism: A Woman's Crusade", By Donald T. Critchlow. It explains how in the 1980's, Ms. Schlafly's Eagle Forum worked opposing the Convention call for the Balanced Budget Amendment with "liberal groups such as... Common Cause" as well as groups like the John Birch Society (not mentioned in this section of the book, but appearing in other sources). All of these groups opposed the Balanced Budget Amendment politically and used the Convention talking points as a propaganda tool:

"Schlafly produced one of her most effective anti-Con-Con pieces when she convinced former Chief Justice Warren Burger to write a one-page letter opposing a constitutional convention. Burger had left the Supreme Court to allow Reagan to appoint William Rehnquist as the new Chief Justice and Antonin Scalia, another conservative, to replace Rehnquist. Reagan appointed Burger chairman of the Presidential Commission on the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution, on which Schlafly also served as a Reagan-appointee from 1985-91."

10

All of the peer reviewed research and major institutional and governmental reports, ALL OF IT, says the convention method is safe.

I spoke to the author of the op-ed that you cited claiming a "majority" of scholars think the Convention is dangerous. He had not done propper research. When he sat down to write a "simple newspaper op-ed" he asked a law librarian for some sources, "if they exist" because he had never researched this topic at all. He "didn't think anyone would get so excited" about it. He found some things without knowing their context, like a political letter by Charles Black without knowing that Black said very different things when he wasn't in the middle of a fight over a convention that he opposed on policy grounds.

As for the article by the CBPP, they are not experts on this either. Leechman is an econonist and Super is a lawyer who studies budgetary issues. They got into this because of the Balanced Budget Amendment. They haven't done the propper research into the convention method itself. They quote Scalia out of context when Scalia actually compared the idea of a runaway convention to the idea of Congress cancelling Christmas. They quote Tribe even though Tribe criticized sharply those who claim he opposes ever having a convention just because he has a few logistical questions.

Look at the Congreasional Research Service, the Department of Justice under both Carter and Reagan, the American Bar Association, scholars like Ronald Rotunda who wrote the most widely used treatise on the Constitution, books like Constitutional Brinksmanship and The People Debate the Ratification of the Constitution. I have read all this and dozens of scholarly articles on the subject. ALL of it supports Wolf-PAC.

Oh, and there were about 230 volunteers at the hearing in the end. 9 people were there in opposition.

11

@8: You're simply ignoring the reality that the Philadelphia convention was called to FIX the Articles of Confederation, not to eliminate and to replace them. The latter act went beyond the mandate given to the conventioneers. We don't argue with the results, because the world's first written constitution required a mere immediate fix (Bill of Rights) and then a bloody civil war to bring into modern condition, but that's still a pretty good result by the dismal standards of human governance.

Still, the lesson is very clear: a Constitutional Convention sets its own rules. And that is a very scary thing to create.

There is no need to call a convention in the hope of eliminating Citizen's United. What we can do is public financing of election campaigns. We can simply use government funding to level the playing field, as Seattle has begun to do with Democracy Vouchers. It's a cheaper -- and much more easily achievable -- solution to the problem.

BTW, the origin of the problem is the Supreme Court's granting of personhood to corporations, which it did shortly after the 14th Amendment was ratified. If you want to change a key part of American law, eliminate our legal fiction of corporate personhood. (This would solve many other problems as well.)

12

@5 inquiastador -- You seem to be a juvenile troll that needs to be reported.

13

Nearly every presidential candidate for the last 30 or more years has been a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) or similar, central bank-funded think tank. The CFR is the US branch of the Royal institute for International Affairs (RIIA). The RIIA answers to the Windsor monarchy bloodline in the UK who, like their Black Venetian Nobility brethren, own and control the global central banking system. These are the same families that created the world's first central bank, called the "Fondo," in Venice. The lavish Doge Palace in Venice is where the appointed trustee of the Fondo lived. The Catholic Church waged war on them in 1509 AD in the War of the League of Cambrai and chased them out of Venice, because they were Gnostic/Luciferian, anti-Christian, and extremely financially powerful. Later, these families helped the Rothschilds create the first modern central bank in Denmark, 300 years ago. Then in 1913 the US installed its own central bank, controlled by these same families.

You want representative government and not just the fake illusion of one? Address the issue of the Bank for International Settlements and the Tavistock Institute for Human Relations, its avenue for coordinating global propaganda for managing mass populations. Until then, keep spinning your wheels and pretending.

14

"Even if all their fearmongering were correct, [the members of the Philadelphia Convention] produced what we now all agree is the greatest document known to man. Wow, that’s so scary," he said.

"Greatest document known to man" is something only an American would say. Our Constitution is a dangerous relic, fundamentally anti-democratic and unsuited to a complex technological society. We're all trained to parrot this line, but it's ridiculous.