Monday, December 04, 2006

Push for PA Constitutional Convention loses Rush Diamond, former major advocate!

Letter to editor

This may not be time for convention
Lebanon Daily News

I feel it necessary to respond to Richard Mase’s letter regarding a constitutional convention, as it included some misinformation and a tone of fear that is somewhat unwarranted.
Mase contends that delegates to a convention would be “hand-picked by the Legislature.” On the contrary, three delegates would be freely elected by voters in each of the 50 state Senate districts. The only danger of legislative contamination would be in allowing the political parties to recommend delegate candidates. On the other hand, the voters of Lebanon County proved in May that they are not beholden to the local machine.

The only influence the Legislature would have on a convention is setting parameters regarding which parts of the Constitution are eligible for change. They could authorize a general convention, where the entire document is eligible, or they could call a limited convention — as happened in 1967 — where only certain parts are eligible.

Then again, there is no provision within the Constitution that dictates that the Legislature must be the body that initiates a convention. The people themselves could rise up, organize a convention and force it upon their government. Under Article I, Section 2, that is our right.
Mase admits he is “afraid” that the freedoms of individuals would be diminished by a convention. While that is a concern of mine as well, there is also the possibility that a convention would expand such freedoms by enumerating additional rights within Article I, our state’s equivalent of the U.S. Bill of Rights. Further, there’s the possibility that a convention could make a recommendation of “no changes.”

Regardless of the methodology of changing the Constitution, the people always have the final say on such changes and are free to reject them.

All that being said, the evidence of the last 17 months shows that a constitutional convention is not necessarily in order at this time. What is in order is to send people to Harrisburg who understand and adhere to the plain wording of the Constitution we already have...

More from Russ Diamond (if you can stand any more...)


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