Results from LWVUS Study on Amending the Constitution

LWVA members gathered in two lively and well-attended meetings during November to discuss the national study on the process for amending the Constitution. I am very grateful for our conscientious and experienced moderator, Adrienne Terrizzi, at the second session, as well as Sudha Setty, who provided a very complete record of the discussion, and Martha Hanner, who posted the main points as we went along. I also want to thank co-presenters Elizabeth Davis and Becky Shannon.

Despite several hours of discussion, we came up with no consensus on many of the multiple-choice questions. We will use some of our 500 word comment to point out that we found the wording questions careless or confounding, and the supplementary material leading or confusing. But perhaps the largest hurdle was our being asked to consider these questions in the abstract, when most of those present felt that the study had been designed to distract from very concrete proposals to amend the Constitution to deal with money in politics.

The one pair of questions on which consensus was easily reached was the last:

  • Question 4: Should the League consider supporting a constitutional amendment that will advance a League position even if (a) there are significant problems with the actual amendment as proposed [and/or] (b) it is being put forward by a procedural process the League would otherwise oppose?

We agreed that any proposed amendment should be considered on its own merits, regardless of the process by which it was generated and regardless of any League guidelines on those processes or abstract considerations that might be derived from this study.

We will note that lack of consensus on many of the questions in this study does not mean that we do not want the League to take action on the issue of money in politics. We continue to urge the League to join with others attempting to shape an appropriate and well-crafted amendment to reverse the forty years of Supreme Court decisions since Buckley v Valeo that have allowed money to take over the political process.

Kathy Campbell