by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
In recent years, a small but growing number of people have advocated a convention of states to propose amendments to the Constitution of the United States. The reaction to the proposal has been hostile, out of all proportion to either the originality or the danger of such a convention.
The political left has been especially vehement in its denunciations of what they call “messing with the Constitution.” A recent proposal by Governor Greg Abbott of Texas to hold a Constitutional convention of states has been denounced by the Texas branch of the American Civil Liberties Union and nationally by an editorial in the liberal “USA Today.”
The irony in all this is that no one has messed with the Constitution more or longer than the political left, over the past hundred years.
This began with Progressives like Woodrow Wilson, who openly declared the Constitution an impediment to the kinds of “reforms” the Progressive movement wanted, and urged judges to “interpret” the Constitution in such a way as to loosen its limits on federal power.
It has long been a complaint of the left that the process of amending the Constitution is too hard, so they have depended on federal judges — especially Supreme Court Justices — to amend the Constitution, de facto and piecemeal, in a leftward direction.
This judicial amendment process has been going on now for generations, so that today government officials at the local, state or national level can often seize private property in disregard of the 5th Amendment’s protections.