Latest Supreme Court rulings tell me it's time for a new constitutional convention

·2 min read
Students see the U.S. Constitution on display at the National Archives Building as part of the 57th annual United States Senate Youth Program held in Washington, D.C., on March 2-9, 2019.
Students see the U.S. Constitution on display at the National Archives Building as part of the 57th annual United States Senate Youth Program held in Washington, D.C., on March 2-9, 2019.

The latest Supreme Court rulings make it clear: Our current constitution is ill-equipped to provide the necessary legal structures and framework of ideas necessary for democracy to flourish as an institution in the 21st century. This may be the real point of the latest rulings of our highest court. Rather than hold the position that the court ruled inappropriately, consider the argument that the court ruled correctly based upon the document they had at hand, namely, the United States Constitution.

During the 1970s and ’80s, conservative groups dreamed of holding a constitutional convention. Why? To write into our governing document ideas and governing beliefs that those on the right believed were missing. I suggest that rather than whine or complain about the court’s current rulings based on its constructivist view of law, why not instead use the energy of our modern times to construct a document that is reflective of a new constructivist view of the world that includes all of humanity, not just selected groups?

The constitution, as written, lays out the framework for a governance structure that encourages the creation of a ruling class. It is evident that our society and its laws benefit the rich and the powerful and endow corporations with many of the same rights originally intended for landowners. At the same time, it fails to recognize that our definitions of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness have grown and evolved. Given our modern times, our constitution is clearly inadequate to address a landscape of technology, enlightenment and commerce that defies the understanding of those who lived 200 years ago — let alone address the needs of individuals whose very identities were inconceivable at the founding of our nation.

The right to privacy, equality with equity, substantive due process are all ideas that are lacking in the current document. A constitutional convention is not only necessary to codify these ideas into law but is in fact long overdue.

Would it be hard work? Would there be resistance? Of course. However, not calling for a constitutional convention is tantamount to and no less equivalent to ignoring the sins our forefathers so conveniently ignored at the start of our nation. Sins that still have yet to be addressed.

It is said that our constitution is a living document. However, life that does not grow, change, adapt or evolve is already dead. I believe that describes the current state of our constitution today. The process of a constitutional convention would do one thing for sure. It would mean that the people of our nation would have to talk to each other for the first time in a long time.

Douglas Sexton
Douglas Sexton

Douglas Sexton is a retired school teacher and assistant professor who lives in Palm Desert. Email him at drsexton92@gmail.com.

This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: Supreme Court rulings: it's time for a constitutional convention