Constitutional Convention

Board of Trustees
May 1979
New York

WHEREAS Article V of the United States Constitution provides for two methods of proposing constitutional amendments-a two-thirds vote of Congress or the call for a constitutional convention by two-thirds of the states; and

WHEREAS in the nearly 200 years since the ratification of the United States Constitution, the method of a two-thirds vote of Congress for proposing amendments has worked well and responsibly and has been the only method used; and

WHEREAS tampering with the Constitution is a doubtful exercise at best for Americans concerned with freedom and democratic process, it is, therefore, no accident that the mandatory process of constitutional convention has never been used in our history; and

WHEREAS the Constitution itself does not have provisions governing the methods by which any constitutional convention would be convened or organized or how delegates shall be selected; nor does there exist a mechanism to limit a constitutional convention to a single proposed amendment; nor is there any definition of the relationship among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the government to such a convention, in terms of constitutionally essential functions of checks and balances; and

WHEREAS this radical, uncharted, and immensely risky amendatory process should be used only with the greatest restraints; and

WHEREAS its proposed use for budget balancing would be a gross distortion of its historic purpose and limited function and of the intention of the Founding Fathers;

BE IT, THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT the Board of Trustees of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations strongly opposes the call for a constitutional convention to mandate a federally balanced budget as unwise, unnecessary, and dangerous.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT we urge our colleagues and congregants to undertake efforts to persuade their state legislatures to defeat attempts to endorse this call for a constitutional convention.