Delaware Assembly Rescinds Call for Constitutional Convention
- Scott Swenson, Dale Eisman
Statement by Claire Snyder-Hall, Program Director, Common Cause Delaware
“The General Assembly has made the right choice in rescinding Delaware’s call for an Article V constitutional convention. A convention could easily produce constitutional chaos, putting every American’s basic rights and civil liberties at risk. We appreciate the leadership of House Speaker Peter Schwartzkopf, Senate President Pro Tempore Patricia Blevins, and Rep. Ed Osienski, the sponsors of the rescission bill, and we’re gratified by the bipartisan support rescission received in both houses. This rescission is a big setback for special interest groups, such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), advocating for a constitutional convention to propose a balanced budget amendment.”
BACKGROUND: Under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, petitions submitted by two-thirds of the states (34) can force Congress to call a constitutional convention. Because Delaware’s legislature passed such a petition in support of a balanced budget amendment in the 1970s, Delaware had been counted among the 28 states with “live” calls for a convention.
The effort on behalf of a constitutional convention for a balanced budget amendment is led by conservative special interest groups including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a corporate lobby that masquerades as a charity to provide its corporate backers with a tax break. Despite claims by ALEC and other convention proponents, most legal scholars agree that a convention cannot be limited to one issue. With no rules governing a convention, a runaway convention would likely result. A Common Cause report documenting the push for a constitutional convention, along with fact sheets outlining the dangers of both a constitutional convention and a federal balanced budget amendment is available at www.dangerouspath.org.