Let's Amend the Constitution!
I have posted on political message boards for about a dozen years, which is apparently too long: The same topics keep coming up again and again and again and ag---well, you get the idea. One of these topics is amending the Constitution of the United States. Bottom line: I don't think it realistic, unless we want to make the COTUS more conservative. Then, New Democrats just may cooperate with the right. For the heck of it, though, let's assume we seek one or more amendments that will make that document more liberal.
Within the Constitution of the United States is a provision for amending the Constitution of the United States, namely Article V. How handy! Except it isn't, because Article V requires super majorities every step of the way. Even faux "originalist" Scalia thought the COTUS too hard to amend. http://nymag.com/news/features/antonin-scalia-2013-10/index1.html
Amending the COTUS was always cumbersome. However, in these days of bitter division, it's almost impossible--and that's just the bitter divisions among various sectors of the alleged left. Looking at the entire left versus the entire right, the divide is a chasm. Should that chasm close, I fear a "No Labels" closing, where liberals are (falsely) deemed the left's equivalent of the Tea Party. But, I am skipping ahead.
Begin at the beginning," the King said, very gravely, "and go on till you come to the end: then stop.
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland Okay, Your Majesty, the beginning:
Article V of the Constitution of the United States
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.
Let's look first at an amendment initiated by a 2/3 vote of both houses of Congress, which I make today to be 67 Senators and 290 members of the House. FYI: What used to be called the House Progressive Caucus, now the Congressional Progressive Caucus, has dwindled from a high of 100 members circa 2006 to about 60 today. https://cpc-grijalva.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=71§iontree=2,71
I don't consider all members of that caucus liberal, either: Senator Sanders founded the House Progressive Caucus when he arrived in Congress and chaired it for its first eight years, yet precious few of its members endorsed Sanders in the primary over New Democrat Clinton. CPC member Gutiérrez even pretended not to know former Chair Sanders' name, so he (Gutiérrez) could refer to Sanders as "What's his name--the Ssssocialissst." Then, there's the Senate. The Congressional Progressive Caucus includes one, count 'em, one Senator, Senator Sanders. Even Warren does not self-identify with that Caucus.
When was the last time a liberal piece of legislation got the support of 60 Senators, let alone 67? Even the Affordable Care Act, which was based on a plan developed by Republicans, could not get a single Republican vote in the Senate when our economic system was on its knees, in part, for lack of a health care bill. So, good luck getting any liberal amendment to the Constitution out of Congress.
For fun, though, let's assume we manage to get at least one measly liberal Constitutional amendment out of Congress. Next comes the daunting process of ratification by 3/4 of the states. The process is currently a creature mostly of statute and practice, since the COTUS does not spell out the specifics beyond specifying the requisite portion of states. https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/constitution/ I make 3/4 of the states currently to be 38 states--all states but 12. See, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_states_and_blue_states
No even mildly controversial amendment to the Constitution has been ratified since the Eisenhower Administration--including the Equal Rights Amendment. An amendment giving women rights equal to men should have been ratified in a cake walk. To understate it greatly, the ERA did not get ratified. http://www.eagleforum.org/psr/1986/sept86/psrsep86.html
As far as a Constitutional Convention, we have not had one of those since they came up with the Constitution. Let's see why: First, we'd need at least 2/3 of state legislatures (again, currently, the legislatures of 34 states) to sign on to a Constitutional Convention for purposes of making the COTUS more liberal. Again, please see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_states_and_blue_states However, let's say we do manage to get a Constitutional Convention: Katy, bar the door!
In a Constitutional Convention, the entire Constitution (and Supreme Court cases decided under it) will be up for grabs--free speech, free press (remember, Obama and Difi wanted the power to decide who is a "publisher" for purposes of First Amendment Freedom of the Press); Griswold v. Connecticut; Roe v. Wade; equal marriage; right to counsel; the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment (sometimes known as "torture"); how much the Second Amendment does or does not allow government to regulate "arms"--the whole ball of wax, plus new stuff that is not already in the document. Heck, I'd love me some changes to the COTUS, but even I would vote against opening up all that, if I were a state legislator. Which is probably why we speak of "THE Constitutional Convention," and not "Constitutional Conventions." See also, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Constitutional_Convention_of_the_Un...
And then, we'd still need we'd still need the legislatures or conventions of 3/4 of the states to ratify what could be an entire new Constitution. Again, good luck with that.
And, Your Majesty, I hope that is, for me, the end of my posting explanations about amending the COTUS. Henceforth, I will just link to this blog entry.