Dennis Lennox has an article on RightMichigan advocating a constitutional convention in Michigan. This is a terrible idea.
What would such a convention accomplish? Lennox lists two things. One is his pet project, the constitutional clean-up. A previous post in this space demonstrated that nothing in the clean-up is necessary, and some of the items would constitute surrenders to judicial activists, who have ruled some parts of Michigan's constitution (federally) unconstitutional.
The other cause he advocates is lengthening or repealing term limits. But a constitutional convention is unnecessary to do this. The legislature could vote on a term limits amendment any time it wants to. Or there could be a petition drive for a ballot initiative. There are plenty of moneyed special interests and self-serving politicians who would like to repeal term limits. The reason that they haven't done so is that, rightly or wrongly, term limits are still popular with Michigan voters.
But if we have a constitutional convention, wise people can get together and act for the common good to improve Michigan's constitution, right? This is the fool's view of democracy. Democracy is really special interests and coalitions of voters fighting for power. Clout matters more than truth in determining results.
Could Michigan's constitution be improved? Sure. It this the likely result of a constitutional convention? No.
In reality, the same liberal special interests that have been trying to hijack Michigan's constitution for years would seize the chance to turn a constitutional convention to their own advantage. Elections to the convention would be unregulated, and delegates would be accountable to no one, creating a situation ripe for special interest meddling.
In 2002, a coalition of medical groups tried to write funding for themselves into the state constitution. They failed. In 2006, the MEA tried to write funding for itself into the constitution. It also failed. Now, through the RMGN proposal, the democrats are trying to rewrite the constitution to seize the courts and rig the rules to their own advantage.
Then there was the Citizens for Michigan, a bipartisan group of liberal democrats and liberal Republicans, mostly washed up former politicians who advocated a 2010 convention to implement a grab-bag of anti-reforms, including "to raise taxes, make it easier to raise taxes, eliminate ballot initiatives, eliminate election of Supreme Court Justices, eliminate election of education boards, lengthen term limits, increase politicians salaries automatically, and make it harder to recall politicians". Their website has since been deleted.
These folks will be sure to show up to any constitutional convention. Such a convention could threaten provisions of the constitution that the liberal establishment hates, from the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, to the marriage amendment, to the Headlee amendment, to the right to keep and bear arms provision.
Constitutional conventions are very dangerous, at both the federal level and the state level. Just say no to con-cons.