“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.


Welcome to Modern Democracy

This blog is about the U.S. political system and the law, politics, and ideas surrounding its reform.  Modern Democracy will follow and discuss developments regarding the usual suspects (such as gerrymandering, campaign finance, and lobbying reform), but it will also search out, propose, and analyze more novel and fundamental changes for our democracy.

Americans of all political stripes seem to agree on one thing: the system is broken.  The political process seems incapable of meeting the demands of the 21st century and handling the most basic of governmental functions.  We are not faced with a need for new leaders or new policies; rather, we are faced with the more foundational need to rebuild a fair, free, and effective system of representation.  This blog will follow the litigation, legislation, and changes to the Constitution necessary to make that vision a reality.