This idea was once again promoted yesterday in an interview that Craig Robinson of The Iowa Republican had with Governor Terry Branstad:

Maybe the most surprising part of the interview was the when Branstad talked about another option that Iowans have to overturn the court’s decision, the constitutional convention which is on the ballot in 2010.

Branstad said that as Governor, he would offer to preside over such a convention. While groups like IFPC are afraid to explore the constitutional convention option because they concede that Mike Gronstal will remain in his leadership role, Branstad thinks the idea is worth exploring. He also added that, no matter what comes out of the constitutional convention, the people of Iowa still must vote on each proposed change to the state’s constitution.

The constitutional convention is by far the quickest route to overturning the Court’s decision on gay marriage. It’s also conceivable that, should Republicans and traditional marriage advocates opt to go down that road, other issues could also be addressed. In addition to marriage, groups like Iowans for Tax Relief could work on amending the constitution so that it includes a 99% spending limitation. Second amendment advocates could strengthen gun rights, and individual property rights could also be addressed. This would also be an opportunity to constitutionally limit the power of the courts so as to prevent the courts from attempting to make law in the future.

The Iowa Constitution provides the electorate every 10 years the chance to vote in favor of holding a Constitutional Convention to offer amendments.  Article X, Section 3 reads:

At the general election to be held in the year one thousand nine hundred and seventy, and in each tenth year thereafter, and also at such times as the general assembly may, by law, provide, the question, "Shall there be a convention to revise the constitution, and propose amendment or amendments to same?" shall be decided by the electors qualified to vote for members of the general assembly; and in case a majority of the electors so qualified, voting at such election, for and against such proposition, shall decide in favor of a convention for such purpose, the general assembly, at its next session, shall provide by law for the election of delegates to such convention, and for submitting the results of said convention to the people, in such manner and at such time as the general assembly shall provide; and if the people shall approve and ratify such amendment or amendments, by a majority of the electors qualified to vote for members of the general assembly, voting thereon, such amendment or amendments shall become a part of the constitution of this state. If two or more amendments shall be submitted at the same time, they shall be submitted in such a manner that electors may vote for or against each such amendment separately.

The iffy part of this plan is who gets to decide the delegates?  The General Assembly does.  Who currently controls the General Assembly?  Well you see where I am going with this this.  Right now Gronstal and company have the ability to appoint the majority of the delegates.  You see it would be a great opportunity for liberals to push for amendments of their own as well.

We don’t know how the 2010 elections will turn out for Iowa Republicans.  Democrats could still hold one or both chambers.  That’s the rub.  Ultimately though, the people still decide as each amendment written during the convention still has to be ratified by the people.  But would a marriage amendment even come out of Democrat majority convention?

I wouldn’t hold my breath.  I’m not sure I’m inclined to want to roll the dice either.  This further emphasizes the importance of legislative elections.  We can’t be solely focused on the gubernatorial race.

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