Monday, April 13, 2009

What is at risk at a Constitutional Convention?

One thing I keep saying in my strong opposition to a Constitutional Convention is that literally everything is on the table. I don't think that gets the point across as much as it should since I realized that most people haven't read the Constitution of the State of Michigan which was enacted in 1963.

You can find it here (hopefully, the link works) or through a couple of clicks from

If a con-con passes, all of our state level safeguards is at risk including:

Article 1 - sec 6 Every person has a right to keep and bear arms for the defense of himself and the state.

The Supreme Court has not yet incorporated the 2nd Amendment to the states through the 14th Amendment's equal protection or due process clauses.

Article 1, sec 20 In every criminal prosecution, the accused shall have the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury, which may consist of less than 12 jurors in prosecutions for misdemeanors punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year; to be informed of the nature of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him or her; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his or her favor; to have the assistance of counsel for his or her defense; to have an appeal as a matter of right, except as provided by law an appeal by an accused who pleads guilty or nolo contendere shall be by leave of the court; and as provided by law, when the trial court so orders, to have such reasonable assistance as may be necessary to perfect and prosecute an appeal.

This is more in depth trial by jury than federal constitution.

Article 1, sec 26 26 Affirmative action programs.
Sec. 26.

(1) The University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Wayne State University, and any other public college or university, community college, or school district shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.

(2) The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.

(3) For the purposes of this section "state" includes, but is not necessarily limited to, the state itself, any city, county, any public college, university, or community college, school district, or other political subdivision or governmental instrumentality of or within the State of Michigan not included in sub-section 1.

(4) This section does not prohibit action that must be taken to establish or maintain eligibility for any federal program, if ineligibility would result in a loss of federal funds to the state.

(5) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as prohibiting bona fide qualifications based on sex that are reasonably necessary to the normal operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.

(6) The remedies available for violations of this section shall be the same, regardless of the injured party's race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin, as are otherwise available for violations of Michigan anti-discrimination law.

(7) This section shall be self-executing. If any part or parts of this section are found to be in conflict with the United States Constitution or federal law, the section shall be implemented to the maximum extent that the United States Constitution and federal law permit. Any provision held invalid shall be severable from the remaining portions of this section.

(8) This section applies only to action taken after the effective date of this section.

(9) This section does not invalidate any court order or consent decree that is in force as of the effective date of this section.

Affirmative Action is no more. The left will want to change that.

Article 1, section § 27 Human embryo and embryonic stem cell research.
Section 27.

(1) Nothing in this section shall alter Michigan’s current prohibition on human cloning.

(2) To ensure that Michigan citizens have access to stem cell therapies and cures, and to ensure that physicians and researchers can conduct the most promising forms of medical research in this state, and that all such research is conducted safely and ethically, any research permitted under federal law on human embryos may be conducted in Michigan, subject to the requirements of federal law and only the following additional limitations and requirements:

(a) No stem cells may be taken from a human embryo more than fourteen days after cell division begins; provided, however, that time during which an embryo is frozen does not count against this fourteen day limit.

(b) The human embryos were created for the purpose of fertility treatment and, with voluntary and informed consent, documented in writing, the person seeking fertility treatment chose to donate the embryos for research; and

(i) the embryos were in excess of the clinical need of the person seeking the fertility treatment and would otherwise be discarded unless they are used for research; or

(ii) the embryos were not suitable for implantation and would otherwise be discarded unless they are used for research.

(c) No person may, for valuable consideration, purchase or sell human embryos for stem cell research or stem cell therapies and cures.

(d) All stem cell research and all stem cell therapies and cures must be conducted and provided in accordance with state and local laws of general applicability, including but not limited to laws concerning scientific and medical practices and patient safety and privacy, to the extent that any such laws do not:

(i) prevent, restrict, obstruct, or discourage any stem cell research or stem cell therapies and cures that are permitted by the provisions of this section; or

(ii) create disincentives for any person to engage in or otherwise associate with such research or therapies or cures.

(3) Any provision of this section held unconstitutional shall be severable from the remaining portions of this section.

History: Add. Init., approved Nov. 4, 2008, Eff. Dec. 19, 2008

This was prop 2. I hate this law, but those who support this are risking it by voting for a con-con.

Article 2, sec 8 - Sec. 8.

Laws shall be enacted to provide for the recall of all elective officers except judges of courts of record upon petition of electors equal in number to 25 percent of the number of persons voting in the last preceding election for the office of governor in the electoral district of the officer sought to be recalled. The sufficiency of any statement of reasons or grounds procedurally required shall be a political rather than a judicial question.

Recalls are a check and balance against the government. They are at risk with a con-con. Article 2, sec 9 provides for ballot iniatitives and referendums. Article 2, sec 10 is term limits. I don't like them, but many do, and that's at risk with a con-con. I'd support changing them by amendment. (which is also at risk with a con-con)

Article 4, sec 24 - No law shall embrace more than one object, which shall be expressed in its title. No bill shall be altered or amended on its passage through either house so as to change its original purpose as determined by its total content and not alone by its title.
Sec. 25. No law shall be revised, altered or amended by reference to its title only. The section or sections of the act altered or amended shall be re-enacted and published at length.

A guard against Surprises. That's at risk.

Article 4, Section 46 - No law shall be enacted providing for the penalty of death.

If you oppose the death penalty, that's at risk with a con-con.

Article 5, section 21 - The governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state and attorney general shall be elected for four-year terms at the general election in each alternate even-numbered year.

The lieutenant governor, secretary of state and attorney general shall be nominated by party conventions in a manner prescribed by law. In the general election one vote shall be cast jointly for the candidates for governor and lieutenant governor nominated by the same party.

Vacancies in the office of the secretary of state and attorney general shall be filled by appointment by the governor.

Do you want to be able to elect the Attorney General and Secretart of State offices? That's at risk. Some want to have the governor appoint everything.

Article VI, sec 2 - The supreme court shall consist of seven justices elected at non-partisan elections as provided by law. The term of office shall be eight years and not more than two terms of office shall expire at the same time. Nominations for justices of the supreme court shall be in the manner prescribed by law. Any incumbent justice whose term is to expire may become a candidate for re-election by filing an affidavit of candidacy, in the form and manner prescribed by law, not less than 180 days prior to the expiration of his term.

Do you want to still be able to elect judges? I do, despite the last election results.

I can go on and on. Article VII sec 11 limits county debt. Article VII sec 21 limits taxes of cities/villages for "municipal purposes". Section 26 prohibits cities from loaning credit for any private interest. Section 32 requires local governments to have public hearings before a budget is enacted. Article IX, sec 8 exempts food from sales tax. Sec 9 limites gas tax to transportation. Section 23 allows for the books to be open for inspection. Section 24 protects pensions (which is why the MEA is probably against a con-con)

Section 25 deserves special mention.
Property taxes and other local taxes and state taxation and spending may not be increased above the limitations specified herein without direct voter approval. The state is prohibited from requiring any new or expanded activities by local governments without full state financing, from reducing the proportion of state spending in the form of aid to local governments, or from shifting the tax burden to local government. A provision for emergency conditions is established and the repayment of voter approved bonded indebtedness is guaranteed. Implementation of this section is specified in Sections 26 through 34, inclusive, of this Article.

All of those are at risk.

Section 35 is the trust fund for natural resources. That is at risk. So is the Veterans trust fund. Section 37. Section 40 - natural resources.

Article X, section 2 limits eminent domation.
Private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation therefore being first made or secured in a manner prescribed by law. If private property consisting of an individual’s principal residence is taken for public use, the amount of compensation made and determined for that taking shall be not less than 125% of that property’s fair market value, in addition to any other reimbursement allowed by law. Compensation shall be determined in proceedings in a court of record.

“Public use” does not include the taking of private property for transfer to a private entity for the purpose of economic development or enhancement of tax revenues. Private property otherwise may be taken for reasons of public use as that term is understood on the effective date of the amendment to this constitution that added this paragraph.

In a condemnation action, the burden of proof is on the condemning authority to demonstrate, by the preponderance of the evidence, that the taking of a private property is for a public use, unless the condemnation action involves a taking for the eradication of blight, in which case the burden of proof is on the condemning authority to demonstrate, by clear and convincing evidence, that the taking of that property is for a public use. (146)

Any existing right, grant, or benefit afforded to property owners as of November 1, 2005, whether provided by this section, by statute, or otherwise, shall be preserved and shall not be abrogated or impaired by the constitutional amendment that added this paragraph.

That is only A STATE PROTECTION. Poletown was overruled a few years back by the conservative Supreme Court. It was later codified in this constitutional amendment. The codified part is at risk with a con-con.

Article XI, section 5 allows for collective bargaining for the MSP troopers and sgts.

Article XII, section 1 provides for Amendments.

There's plenty more there, and that doesn't even get into judicial interpretation of these laws. Everything is literally at risk with a con-con. Liberals and conservatives alike have a lot to lose.

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