Welcome login | signup
Language en es fr

Forum Post: National Referendum or Constitutional Convention for a Constitutional Amendment

Posted 12 years ago on Dec. 5, 2011, 1:56 p.m. EST by unimportant (716)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

I have been doing a bit of research and found the Constitutional Amendments can be passed by a National Referendum. This means that, while I would be interested in seeing and participating in a Constitutional Convention, the Constitutional Convention may not be required and it may not be the best idea. I am not usually long winded but I think this deserves the scrutiny and time to make sure we get it right.

If we do a Constitutional Convention we do not have control over it and those that do have control are not trust worthy; these legislators and Courts are the problem in the first place. It is semantics to debate whether or not the problem is because big money offered the legislators money or is the problem the legislators taking the money.

The down side of the referendum is a possible Court challenge but I don't see how a court can challenge the process since this would be a constitutional Amendment.

On the plus side it would require between 500,000 and 1,000,000 signatures of voters to get the the National Referendum on the ballot; 650,000 to 1,000,000 people transferred their money from banks to credit unions. A poll showed 85% of Democrats, 87% of Independents and 67% of Republicans wanted big money out of politics. One amendment, one reform, one National Referendum.

How exactly can big money air commercials against this?

I am thinking a National Referendum is the way to get Constitutional Amendments passed.

I really would like to hear the good, the bad and the worse on this.

Three Constitutional Amendments for three very important changes in our Country:

Constitutional Amendment defining the Status of Created Entities


Constitutional Amendment Creating Public's Right to Know


Constitutional Amendment Creating a National Holiday To Vote




Read the Rules
[-] 2 points by bensdad (8977) 12 years ago

Based on three fundamental facts

The OWS Declaration of the Occupation of New York City states that
"a democratic government derives its just power from the people, not from corporations."

The ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 83% of the entire US population - opposes the Citizens United decision, which declared that corporations are people.

By overturning Citizens United, OWS will be clearly aligning itself with what the vast majority of the American people have already “voted” for - giving us even more credibility – and attracting external support for our other goals.


The General Assembly must support a constitutional amendment to end corporate personhood.

[-] 1 points by HoneyintheHeart (101) 12 years ago

look to Bolivia...dont fight...engage

[-] 1 points by unimportant (716) 12 years ago

bensdad - where are you getting the text from?

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 12 years ago

if you like it - i wrote it

[-] 1 points by unimportant (716) 12 years ago

I see you have been posting this as a response to a lot of threads, why?

[-] 1 points by unimportant (716) 12 years ago

So is the OWS standing behind a Constitutional Amendment? I can't attend any of the GA so I am on the outside looking in.

[-] 1 points by billwalker (4) 12 years ago

I hate to pour cold water on this but I'm afraid this author is all wrong. For one thing, initiatives and referendums didn't even exist when the Constitution was written. They didn't come into being until the 1800's almost 50 years after the Constitution came into being. Had they existed it's likely some form of them would have been put into the Constitution but as they didn't the Founders didn't include them. Thus there is no provision whatsoever in the Constitution for passage of amendments, or anything else for that matter by national referendum.

I therefore ask the author to prove his statement. I know for a fact that the Supreme Court has expressly ruled that there is no addition, interpolation or rules of construction in Article V. So, where does the author get his information? If he has official documents, then please produce them. Otherwise, I'd suggest all move on from this "unimportant" post.

[-] 1 points by unimportant (716) 12 years ago

I found two diametrically opposed pages on using a Referendum to initiate a Constitutional Amendment. On one site it stated you could, on another it said you couldn't.

I am still researching this. It may also be possible to have state referendums to make this change. It may require a legislator to present the amendment.

The cases I looked at stated the Congress and Senate were agents of the Citizens and it required the Congress/Senate to at to propose a Constitutional Amendment. So, legally, by extension the Citizens should be able to present a Constitutional Amendment.

We will see.

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 12 years ago

We have a large number of great, well thought out, COMPLICATED ideas that will require a huge amount of "selling" and “explanation" and will garner GREAT OPPOSITION.
Every one of our goals can only be achieved by cutting the incestuous link between washington and money - we MUST start here:

We need to be realistic & pick an issue that is simple – and that is proven popular -
that 83% of Americans already agree on -
That even 56% of TP already agree on -
that will bring together the people in OWS with the people outside of OWS.
Everybody wins! ACTION ----> JOIN US
Our only immediate goal should be to pass a constitutional amendment to counter Supreme Court decision Citizens United (2010) , that enable unlimited amounts of anonymous money to flood into our political system.
“Corporations and organizations are not a persons &
have no personhood rights”

We don’t have to explain or persuade people to accept our position – we only have to persuade them to ACT based on their own position. Pursuing this goal will prove to the world that we, at OWS, are a serious realistic Movement, with serious realistic goals. Achieving this goal will make virtually every other goal – jobs, taxes, infrastructure, Medicare – much easier to achieve –
by disarming our greatest enemy – GREED.

THE SUCCESS STORY OF THE AMENDING PROCESS The Prohibition movement started as a disjointed effort by conservative teetotalers who thought the consumption of alcohol was immoral. They ransacked saloons and garnered press coverage here and there for a few years. Then they began to gain support from the liberals because many considered alcohol partially responsible for spousal and child abuse, among other social ills. This odd alliance, after many years of failing to influence change consistently across jurisdictions, decided to concentrate on one issue nationally—a constitutional amendment. They pressured all politicians on every level to sign a pledge to support the amendment. Any who did not, they defeated easily at the ballot box since they controlled a huge number of liberal, and conservative and independent swing votes in every election. By being a single-issue constituency attacking from all sides of the political spectrum, they very quickly amassed enough votes (2/3) to pass the amendment in Congress. And, within just 17 months, they were successful in getting ¾ of the state legislatures to ratify the constitutional amendment into law. (Others were ratified even faster: Eight —took less than a year. The 26th, granting 18-year-olds the right to vote, took just three months and eight days.)

If they could tie the left and right into a success -
WHY CAN'T WE ??????????


I feel that we should stay with this simple text to overturn CU:
”corporations are not people”
for four simple reasons and one – not so simple:
83% of Americans have already opposed CU in the ABC/Washington post poll and the above
We don’t have to work to convince people on the validity of our position.
Simple is almost always better.
This simple Amendment is REQUIRED to overturn CU.
And all other electoral reform can be passed through the normal legislative process.

OWS and these pages are chock full of ( mostly ) excellent ideas to improve our country.
All of them have strong advocates – and some have strong opposition.
None of them has been “pre-approved” by 83% of Americans !
Pursuing this goal – without additional specifics is exactly what Americans want.
What do we want? Look at that almost endless list of demands – goals - aims.
Tax the rich. End the Fed. Jobs for all, Medicare for all. So easy to state! Can you imagine how hard it would be to formulate a “sales pitch” for any of these to convince your Republican friends to vote for any of them?
83% of Americans have ALREADY “voted” against CU. And 76% of the Rs did too.
All we have to do ask Americans is to pressure their representatives – by letters - emails – petitions.

Wanna take your family on vacation?
Convince the 7 year old and the 10 year old to go to Mt Rushmore.
Then try to convince them to go to Disneyland.
Prioritizing this goal will introduce us to the world – not as a bunch of hippie radical anarchist socialist commie rabblerousers – but as a responsible, mature movement that is fighting for what America wants.

I feel that using the tactics of the NRA, the AARP an the TP – who all represent a minority – who have successfully used their voting power to achieve their minority goals - plus the Prohibition Amendment tactics – bringing all sides together - is a straight path for us to success that cannot fail to enable us to create and complete one MAJORITY task.

Join the Restore Democracy Working Group at
............. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NYCRDWG
Plan details with supporting documentation at: http://bit.ly/vK2pGI
RDWG regular meeting 6-8PM @ 60 Wall St @ Wednesdays



[-] 1 points by aahpat (1407) 12 years ago

I think the "Constitutional Amendment defining the Status of Created Entities" has the following deficits.

  1. It should, in no uncertain terms, state that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling: Citizen's United, is null and void.

  2. Contributions to candidates should be limited in amount and limited to constituents within a legislative district. Presidential candidate contributions should be limited in amount.

  3. An anti corruption clause. It should include that a clearing house be established within the FEC to make all campaign contributions anonymous to the candidates. An individual would send a check to the FEC wth a candidate designation and the FEC would then send an aggregated check to the candidate. No candidate would know which constituents gave or how much.

[-] 2 points by unimportant (716) 12 years ago

What is written creates the rule that the Courts have to compare all new and old laws to. With this Citizens United would be overturned. I think there should another amendment to address all laws found to be in conflict with the Constitution.

Some here might be aware of the fact that challenging a law in Court and winning is not the end of it. To remove the law there is another step you have to take.

Another thought I had was to tie the campaign limits to the National Federal Wage as a multiplier. This way the legislators would have an incentive to increase the wage.

[-] 1 points by BarbaraNH (35) 12 years ago

Laws are never absolute and neither are constitutional amendments. Both are subject to the interpretation and judgment of whatever court they end up in when challenged. An amendment to "address all laws found to be in conflict with the constitution" would be superfluous. According to whose judgment would a law be found to be "in conflict"? According to a court's judgment, which is the system that's in place now. When a law is thought to be in conflict with the constitution, somebody brings it to court, where that challenge is tested and decided. You don't need a constitutional amendment because the system is designed to handle that problem.

Also, courts' interpretations and judgments change with cultural norms, so a law passed at one time and found to be constitutional when challenged may well be found to be unconstitutional when challenged at another time in history. This is as it should be. Why would it be any different with these three amendments?

If we try to amend the constitution every time we don't like a Supreme Court opinion, we'll end up with a Code of Law instead of system based on Common Law, which would not be a good thing.

Each of these very important issues would be better addressed through the legislative system. Then they might have a chance of getting enacted. Trying to pass one constitutional amendment is an extremely hard thing to do politically, and rightly so, never mind THREE. It's a set up for failure.

That said, I'm in sympathy with the sentiments expressed.

[-] 1 points by unimportant (716) 12 years ago

A constitutional amendment is not something a court can challenge.

Currently, the process to challenge a law with, regards to the Constitution, is a two step process to actually get a law removed. All laws on the books can be enforced.

The Founding Father, most of which were slave owners, used vague language to bypass being in direct opposition of the Constitution when they wrote it.

What I am proposing clarifies the meaning of the Constitution based on the writings of the Founding Fathers themselves about Banks and Corporations.

[-] 1 points by aahpat (1407) 12 years ago

The comparison is a good rule generally. All too often new laws get shoved at us without regard to existing laws and why those laws already exist.

I think that before writing a law that voids an existing law the congress should be required to debate the existing law again. Beside reinventing the wheel all the time these people, at the same time, throw babies out with bathwater.

The multiplier is a good idea. congressional wages could be done the same way.

[-] 1 points by unimportant (716) 12 years ago

I think all legislators, judges, etc... should be required to learn American History and specifically the founding of this country. Each and every legislator and especially Supreme Court Justices should be required to become an expert on the Constitution and Constitutional Law.

This would fix the problem of ignorant Justices.

Hmmmm, perhaps another Amendment.

[-] 1 points by aahpat (1407) 12 years ago

They all do learn American history, in third grade.

I don't believe that Justices like Scali who promote the 'original intent' doctrine to be constitutional scholars at all. They are in fact and reality authoritarians seeking to overturn the Constitution.

[-] 1 points by unimportant (716) 12 years ago

I think that, in most instances, everybody would agree that a Court/Judge should be versed in the law they are purporting to rule on. Requiring a Judge to be knowledgeable about the Constitution simply should be a requirement instead of reliance on the honesty of another lawyer when they are fighting for their client.

A Court is supposed to be impartial and maybe this requirement should be a Constitutional Requirement.

[-] 1 points by aahpat (1407) 12 years ago

That is how it should be. And it is how it has been known to be.The right-wing have effectively trashed the system with their partisan jurists and legislators rather than objective jurists and statesmen legislators.

[-] 1 points by unimportant (716) 12 years ago

I agree and disagree. Your comment is divisive when you use the term "right-wing". The so called "right-wing" also want the same rights to representation the "left-wing" does. Without this right, nobody has any protection from the 1%.

It might be noted that I believe the "far right", "right-wing", "far left", "left-wing", centrist and so on are the 99%. 99.99999% of these people are not the 1% because they do not make enough money or hold enough power to be the 1%.

[-] 1 points by aahpat (1407) 12 years ago

I disagree that the right-wing wants the same rights to representation. there are too many examples of the right-wing working with great intent to undermine the representation rights of everyone but themselves. Both in modern America and throughout history.

Go to Alternet and see the stories of how the right-wing are undermining the electoral systems in Wisconsin and across the nation.

it is impossible to bring the right-wing together with any other political constituencies without the right-wing trying to subvert the rights of everyone they disagree with. Conservatives can be reasoned with. Liberals too. And the left. But the right-wingers are fascists who believe in Hitler's admonition to infiltrate democracy and use its institutions to destroy it.

[-] 2 points by unimportant (716) 12 years ago

I have to disagree, most conservatives know that this course is detrimental to themselves, the Country and everybody else. It is and always has been fanatics that think they should control everything that has been the problem. The Far right are usually Christian, foe or fake Christians from my personal experience.

Even these folks are waking up to see what they have is being taken from them in the name of control.

The way these amendments are drafted is non-partisan. There is no right/left wing agenda in the amendments. The only thing these amendments do is empower the individual, all individuals.

[-] 1 points by aahpat (1407) 12 years ago

I agree.

And I did make a distinction between conservatives and the right.

[-] 2 points by unimportant (716) 12 years ago

I like to use the term "fanatic" :-) when describing those that see their view as the only view that is right.

But I do agree with almost everything you say :-)

[-] 1 points by aahpat (1407) 12 years ago


[-] 1 points by aahpat (1407) 12 years ago

Technically, it would not be a Constitutional convention for an Amendment.

An Amendment would simply be a petition drive to get the Congress to pass legislation sending an Amendment to the state legislatures.

Simplest way is to get wording for an Amendment together NOW.

Then confront all incumbent Democrats and Republicans and those running for Congress to support the Amendment and promising to sponsor it.

[-] 1 points by unimportant (716) 12 years ago

The links are to draft amendments. Create an account and discuss them if you wish or discuss them here. Their language is simple and to the point.

[-] 1 points by aahpat (1407) 12 years ago

For what its worth I added the proposals to my blog entry today on campaign finance reform.

Liberate American democracy blog http://liberate-american-democracy.blogspot.com/

[-] 2 points by unimportant (716) 12 years ago

I think if this goes viral it will force the legislators to pass them. I see public demand as the only method for change. That is a sad commentary on our legislators.

I have the words of our founding fathers: http://www.dojgov.net/Liberty_Watch.htm

Thomas Jefferson - "I hope that we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country."

Thomas Jefferson - "If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them (around the banks), will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."

Thomas Jefferson - "I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies."

John Adams - "Banks have done more injury to the religion, morality, tranquility, prosperity, and even wealth of the nation than they can have done or will ever do good."

John Adams - "Liberty can not be preserved without a general knowledge among the people. Let us dare to read, think, speak and write."

James Madison - "History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and it’s issuance."

[-] 1 points by tympan55 (124) 12 years ago

Jefferson’s comments must be considered in the context of the partisan politics of his day. His comments are directed against the Federalists and the, “American System,” of Alexander Hamilton. They were not on behalf of the less privileged. The Jeffersonian vision of democracy was a palliative for the restive fervor of the lower classes. Every man, through hard work and determination, could carve out a little plot of liberty for themselves. The reality was a class society in which it was nearly impossible to escape the position into which one was born, and it was assumed that real power and wealth would remain in the hands of an oligarchy of the upper class. Let’s not forget that the same men who wrote about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, were reconciled to owning slaves, and that, “liberty,” was equated with property. The only exception was Adams who was committed to the idea of equal treatment before the law.

The Constitution is a cleverly crafted instrument of control created to insure that power remained in the hands of a certain segment of society. What appears on the surface as safeguards for our liberty are manacles shackling our freedom more securely than any totalitarian regime. There has never been a document so binding in its minutia and its grand design.

Andrew Jackson, who had his own particular faults, was the first President to view policy not from a political perspective, but whether it strengthened or weakened the nation. He was particularly aggrieved by unscrupulous speculators. The spirit of Jacksonian Democracy animates Occupy Wall Street, while Hamilton’s system survives with the 1%.

[-] 1 points by unimportant (716) 12 years ago

I agree and disagree.

I agree the comments were made the a context of a mechanism of control and the intentions of the Founding Fathers was to remain in control of the country to the exclusion of others. To verify this all you have to do is examine the requirements to be able to vote.

That said, I disagree that we have to continue with the status quo and we have the opportunity to change the Constitution for the betterment of the Country and for the betterment of this Country by clarifying the terms in the Constitution the same way the Amendments did when the Women were allowed to vote and when people of Color were allowed to vote.

It should have been self-apparent with the term "Natural Person" but the Courts, the legislators and the public were not bright enough to apply "Natural Persons" to everybody. Now Corporations are given rights that were reserved for "Natural Persons".

Clarification seems to be the order of the day.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 12 years ago

definitively for the voting holiday

Public's Right to Know what?

Constitutional Amendment defining the Status of Created Entities

what's a created entity ?

[-] 1 points by unimportant (716) 12 years ago

Public's right to count the votes. There has been speculation that the votes can be "mis-counted" so that the ones counting control the vote if unchecked. It was not my agenda but I work for others instead of myself.

This way, when those that have less than me gain, I gain. It is simple math and simple logic.

[-] 1 points by statusquobuster (8) 12 years ago

I am a long time passionate supporter of using the Article V convention option the Founders gave us but that Congress has refused to give us; I co-founded Friends of the Article V Convention at foavc.org. I challenge people to find the constitutional basis for believing that a National Referendum can be used as a alternative for a convention. If you have missed it, read my article Occupy Movement: Next Step Convergence at: http://www.nolanchart.com/article9128-occupy-movement-next-step-convergence.html

[-] 1 points by AFarewellToKings (1486) 12 years ago

I don't see how this idea would exclude other good ideas so yea go for it. Article V, National Referendum etc.

Coordinating all these through a National General Assembly composed of elected delegates from each congressional district should get the support of most 99rs. In not endorsing the 99% Declaration, the NYCGA appears to be leading OWS99% out to pasture. Wouldn't RepubliCrats love that?

[-] 1 points by BarbaraNH (35) 12 years ago

Amending the constitution isn't like passing a law. It's a big deal. Here you're introducing THREE constitutional amendments! Why shouldn't these three matters be addressed through legislation, which is the most natural venue for shaping society?

[-] 1 points by unimportant (716) 12 years ago

Citizens United and about 200 other legal case where laws are overturned based on, drum roll please....., the Constitution or the misinterpretation by the Courts.

Since this changes the Constitution all laws will have to comply with these amendments. Those that don't well they will be then found unconstitutional. This brings up another issue of getting the laws found to be unconstitutional stricken.

It should be done when the Court finds the law in violate of the Constitution and since it is not currently that way, perhaps an Amendment changing this.

[-] 0 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 12 years ago

The completely USELESS and MEANINGLESS 2012 elections should imo be canceled and replaced by a NATION-WIDE REFERENDUM to overhaul our present, hopelessly corrupt political system.

Such a referendum would be VERY useful and meaningful, and the reason for demanding such a referendum would be that THE NATION IS IN A STATE OF CRISIS that threatens its very survival.

To me, that is THE DEMAND that OWS should focus on, and I think that the American people are so SICK of the two main parties - only 9% of the public still have faith in the Congress - that they would actually WELCOME the possibility of overhauling the whole corrupt-to-the-core system in order to begin anew.

I have a feeling that a strong majority of Americans would vote "YES" in a "REFERENDUM FOR A NEW AMERICA".

[-] 1 points by unimportant (716) 12 years ago

I outlined another possible amendment to remove laws that are found to be unconstitutional.