EDITOR: On Sunday’s Forum page, the headline on Timm Herdt’s column asks, “Can states, united, upend Citizens United decision?” His column shows the possibility of a convention to amend the U.S. Constitution and how even the threat of a new convention could lead to Congress proposing an amendment.
I will use this column in summer government class at Cardinal Newman. Yet I hope the students, who have read our Constitution, studied the amendment process, preparing to be tested on their knowledge of the amendments, will notice and identify errors Herdt or his editors did not.
First, it takes three-quarters, not three-fifths, of the states to ratify; that means 38 states, not 30.
Second, there are 27 amendments added to the Constitution since it was ratified, not 23 as stated.
Third, while Citizens United was controversial, Herdt doesn’t mention that a second constitutional convention could lead to a new constitution, a change that should not be considered lightly.
Thomas Jefferson stated in the Declaration of Independence, “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes;” so we today should tread carefully and consider that changes made are best if they balance the present and future. For that, we have the lamp of experience to guide us.
Principal/teacher, Cardinal Newman High School
EDITOR: As I was waiting for the bus at 8:15 on a recent morning, across from Cook Middle School in Santa Rosa, I saw a lady push the crosswalk button. With her were three small children. Thank goodness, she had the sense not to immediately step out into the street. At least six cars zipped through the blinking lights without ever slowing down.
Do we need to station a motorcycle officer there? Is it going to take another child being killed or injured to get people to slow down and pay attention?