*This piece originally appeared on The Huffington Post.
by Fred Wertheimer, President, Democracy 21
A battle over efforts to call a constitutional convention is currently taking place throughout the country. Occurring below the national radar screen, the fight has enormous consequences.
Proponents are attempting to pass resolutions in 34 state legislatures that call for a constitutional convention to adopt a federal balanced budget constitutional amendment.
Most experts agree, however, that once a constitutional convention is called, the actions of the convention could not be limited in advance to any particular issue and the delegates would be able to consider any other constitutional amendments they wish to adopt. (Amendments adopted by the convention would then go to the states for ratification.)
As the late Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger explained, “[T]here is no way to effectively limit or muzzle the actions of a constitutional convention. The convention could make its own rules and set its own agenda.”
This means that calling a constitutional convention would open the door to a runaway convention in which all of the constitutional rights provided to the American people would be up for grabs. This includes constitutional protections for civil rights and liberties, freedom of speech and religion and voting and privacy rights, among others.