Propose Amendments to the Constitution All the ideas and discussions
129 votes Vote

New constitutional convention every 20 years

Thomas Jefferson felt it might be good for our nation to have a new revolution every twenty years or so, believing this would provide necessary changes in a timely manner; it would seem he was already familiar with the propensity of institutions, once established, to perpetuate themselves. But revolutions have the danger of getting rid of the bad as well as the good and often wind up replacing the old order with a similar proportion of good and bad. Perhaps, instead, we might find the will to cause the Constitution to be changed to provide for the calling of a Constitutional Convention every twenty years for amendments to be proposed. Over the years some have stated that, since such a convention would have no limit to what changes they might propose, including the entire dissolution of our current system, this is far too risky an option. To them I would respond that the convention’s authority only extends to proposing changes, they have no power to enact them; that authority is limited to the people of the states, where a majority vote in thirty-eight states would be required for the ratification of any such changes. Those kinds of odds would provide a substantial challenge to even the best of ideas, a truly bad one would surely face an even bleaker prospect.

The preceding is an excerpt from a piece I posted on the subject at http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/10284956-unconventional-conventions. Feel free to read and forward the entire article if you find it a viable idea.

Patrick McIntyre , 14.09.2011, 00:27
Idea status: under consideration


Virginia, 14.10.2011, 16:39
20 years in way too soon.
edward machnik, 17.12.2011, 19:50
I think every 4 years to coencide with the Presidential Election. The Proposed changes should include those brought by the individual States or the People.
shanedk, 05.11.2011, 15:57
Can we also have all Federal laws and regulations subject to a 20-year sunset?
edward machnik, 17.12.2011, 19:55
Sunseting the laws would boggle the minds of an already ignorant Congress.

The Department of Justice should recommend to Congress those laws it deems obsolete.
WK, 04.01.2012, 02:13
What an exciting idea. That would get people off their couches. If people thought they had a real chance of changing things for the better, they would pay more attention. How can we let all the intersting democratic experiments happen overseas? We pioneered this system and shouldn't be afraid to use it. I like the idea of a convention.
Merle Lefkoff, 19.03.2012, 01:30
Why not go all the way? The U.S. Constitution has been pretty adaptive for over 300 years, and we are justly proud of its resiliency. But it has outlived its usefulness and simply doesn't work for the 21st century, for many reasons. It enshrines individual rather than collective rights and has led to a focus on individual "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" while failing to emphasize how important it is to take care of one another. And so we have become greedy, self-absorbed, and oblivious to the inequalities and injustice that our lack of compassion have brought us. The Founding Fathers were elites in a time of patriarchy. The Constitution was written at the time for a privileged few, and now it has come full circle. We need a Constitutional Convention to write a completely new Constitution for the 21st Century. Otherwise our democracy will continue its slide into irrelevance
Patrick McIntyre, 21.07.2012, 22:29
If you want to toss out the entire Constitution and start from scratch, this proposal would certainly allow it. If a particular Convention felt, as the original one did, that the current system was too structurally flawed to warrant piecemeal alterations, they could by all means propose an entirely new design, subject to the approval of 3/4 of the states like any other amendment.
sirhotalot, 31.03.2012, 01:22
20 years is too often, it could be abused if we do it this often. People will figure out how to game the system.
Nick, 28.04.2012, 01:01
... Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes...

Every 20 years is too often, and because of money right now is not a good time to consider this.
Patrick McIntyre, 21.07.2012, 22:37
No one said anything about "light and transient causes", the fact that an amendment would have to pass muster with a minimum of 38 states would be a significant prevention against unwise amendments
Patrick McIntyre, 21.07.2012, 22:34
It would only be too often if every proposed amendment were to be adopted, but since any such proposal would have to be accepted by a minimum of 38 states the opportunity for abuse is greatly lessened. Remember that the original Constitution only passed muster in the minimum of 9 states by there being made a guarantee that a bill of rights would be proposed as amendments as soon as it was ratified. If it were that much of a challenge to get only 9 states on board back then, how much harder do you think it would be to get over 4 times as many states to ratify now?
Esteban, 20.04.2012, 10:11
Thank you, thank you, thank you! The words aren't near enough to eprxess my gratitude and love for all of you and what you acomplished this weekend at Relay for Life. You live your faith from the inside out and it was proudly displayed to everyone!The relay committee was overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude for all your work with the Luminary event. It would not have been as successful with out all of you!God Bless all of you.
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NomosSoter, 17.10.2012, 09:13
A time frame would cause problems and power cycles leading to set convention dates. The constitution is the health of the people's society. When government fails in promoting the general well fare then and only then should a convention convene. Stipulate its precurser through an ammendment that directly plagerises the words of Jefferson in his most known work. When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands etc. Perhaps a people's state of the union assemble every generation to discuss the health of our country and if enough valid grievences are listed, discussed and can not in the greatest of tribulations be redressed yet by a majority are agreed apon then call the convention. Too often we take life, liberty and pursuits of happiness as explicit rights guaranteed to us when they are not in our most sacred document. Maybe its time they should be.
ScottAmorian, 03.11.2012, 19:20
As long as the requirements for approval as stated in Article V are not weakened, this could work. Notice the many ways that the Federal government does not follow the Constitution today. The existing processes for controlling the feds are not working. Organizing this would be a substantial effort. To get an idea of how complex something like this would be, read a document I wrote that walks though the entire Civil Convention process for a different proposed change in government. Look at the fourth draft and read the comments.

See http://usconstitutionalcourt.wordpress.com/

I vote a big "Yes" for this one.

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