End game could mean changes like civil rights, women’s rights, voting rights
Whether Wisconsin becomes the next state to join the movement for a national Constitutional convention keys on a vote by the state Senate today.
It was a surprise measure that was added in the 11th hour to the Senate.
Approval means the state becomes the 28th out of 34 needed to hold a convention, which could lead to just about any kind of changes in the nation’s most important founding document, says Jay Heck from Wisconsin Common Cause.
“They say that all they want to do is pass a balanced-budget amendment,” Heck said, “but there’s no curb on other things that they could do.”
The Assembly has already approved the measure. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is not required to act on the legislation.
There hasn’t been a Constitutional convention since 1787. The Constitution has been amended, however, 27 times, through two-thirds approval by both the House and Senate.
Either way, any amendment must also be ratified by three-fourths of the states (38) to become part of the Constitution.
Heck and others warn a convention could have significant national implications, like civil rights, women’s rights, voting rights.
“There’s no guarantee that another Constitutional convention were convened, that the folks that gather, couldn’t change the complexion to the United States and do anything they wanted to the Constitution,” Heck said.
And that could be a potential disaster, Heck added.
“They could, for instance, decide that only men should vote or that African-Americans shouldn’t be citizens,” he said. “There are all kinds of things that could be done at a Constitutional convention of this type.”
Those pushing the convention say it is only meant as a way to adopt a Constitutional amendment mandating a federal balanced budget.