“Chilling”: Push For New Convention Could Open Door For Corporate Constitution
With the Republican Majority in the State Senate voting last week to make Wisconsin the 28th state in the nation to call for an unprecedented national convention to re-write the U.S. Constitution, Democrats and grassroots activists around the country are sounding the alarm that the future of the document, and therefore the country, is at stake.
A major focus for the GOP, which is currently in sole control of more than 30 state legislatures, six more states would have to pass similar resolutions in order to make a convention happen. Although ostensibly for the purpose of adding a balanced budget amendment, amendments to the constitution have never before required a full constitutional convention, and non-Republicans are concerned that there is really no limit to what could be changed.
Duke University History and Public Policy Professor Nancy MacLean fears the movement is intended to further the right-wing, pro-corporation agenda of the Koch Brothers and their allies:
[Nancy MacLean]: “I think this is a long term strategic plan on the part of the Koch donor network. I believe that they are doing it using the ideas developed by James McGill Buchanan. He considered all existing constitutions to be failures in not adequately protecting the corporations and wealthy minority from the ideas of their fellow citizens about what the common good and the public interest were.”
MacLean also says that even if the convention was limited to only the balanced budget amendment, it would be intended to bypass full democratic scrutiny:
[Nancy MacLean]: “They are pushing for it using the language of a balanced budget amendment, which sounds reasonable to people on first blush, but what we’ve seen repeatedly when those balanced budget amendments came before congress over the years is that they did not pass because once economists and other citizens alerted the people to the fact that this could potentially endanger Social Security, Medicare, all the kinds of regulations of our air and water quality, discrimination, all the other kinds of things Americans value, people backed away from it. And I think that it’s quite chilling that we’re seeing this move through the states as dramatically and as rapidly as we are now, with 28 of the 34 states needed to call such a constitutional convention now in place.”