And Now, A Discussion of Constitutional Import
Today’s discussions on state constitutional amendments reminds me that one of the things that frustrates me is that so many state constitutions — i.e., so many foundational documents of state legal systems — are so easily amended. One of the great strengths of the US Constitution to my mind is that it’s so difficult to amend: Amendments have to jump over two sets of very high bars, first on the national and then on the state levels, in order to be encoded into the Constitution. Whereas in California and other states (such as Ohio, where I am), a simple majority of voters can amend the state constitution.
So, for open discussion:
1. State constitutions should have a similar bar to amendment as the US Constitution; e.g., a state constitutional amendment should require a two-thirds approval of the state legislature, plus a two-thirds approval of the voting public.
2. All state constitutions currently extant should be tabled and replaced with constitutions that provide only for the mechanics of governance (i.e., definition of executive, judicial and legislative branches and the election of each), onto which amendments may be added per point one.