“Inside the Conservative Push for States to Amend the Constitution”

Michael Wines for the NYT.

Personally, I’m not opposed to a general convention for constitutional amendments.  The focus of the article is on the substance of which amendments might come up and whether the convention would be a “run-away” convention that would threaten the Constitution itself.  Perhaps the more interesting question, however, is who ends up attending?

As for the balanced budget amendment itself, I’m not a fan.  Not because of the substance of the amendment, but because it strikes me as somewhat outside the wheelhouse of the Constitution.  The Constitution should generally focus on big-picture rights, principles, and procedures for governing, with the governing itself occurring within that framework.  (Think, 18th Amendment (prohibition) and 21st Amendment (repealing prohibition) – was that really a proper subject for a Constitution?)  A balanced budget requirement seems to straddle the line between a statutory and constitutional issue.

A better vehicle might be a “precept.”  More on this later.