June 14, 2006


Flag-desecration amendment needs 1 more vote (Andrea Stone, 6/14/06, USA TODAY)

The Senate is one vote away from passing a constitutional amendment that would ban desecration of the U.S. flag, the closest that amendment supporters have been to passage.

The American Legion, which supports the amendment, and the American Civil Liberties Union, which opposes it, both say there are 66 votes to pass it.

Whether advocates can find the 67th vote to send the flag amendment to the states for ratification remains unclear. A Senate vote is set for the week of June 26.

In politics the next best thing to winning on a popular issue is losing by one vote.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 14, 2006 6:30 PM

Stupid, stupid stupid amendment.

It's not worth having a constitutional convention for this, open it up and there's too much chance for mischief.

Posted by: Sandy P at June 14, 2006 7:50 PM

We could use more mischief, not less.

Posted by: oj at June 14, 2006 8:13 PM

So which Dem, running for reelection this fall, is willing to be labeled as "the vote that stopped the Flag Amendment" from passing? Or is Chaffee considering that label a positive one?

As for the constitutional convention option, what opponents of one never seem to bother to mention is that what ever comes out of a "runaway convention" still has to be ratified by three quarters of the states. I think they don't mention that part because to do so destroys most of the emotion behind their arguments, in which they imply that whatever comes out of such a convention automatically becomes part of the Constitution.

The only purpose of the convention is to circumvent a Congress that (like the ones of the past few decades) refuses to put out for consideration otherwise popular proposals. So tell me again how such amendments, if passed by the states, are "runaway." If anything, a convention that put forth more than two unrelated amendments would confuse and dilute the issues and support so much that none would have a chance of getting close to passing.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at June 14, 2006 8:28 PM

Raoul: I think a constitutional convention would be "runaway" in the sense that the liberal elite would not have control of the agenda.

Posted by: Mike Morley at June 14, 2006 9:18 PM

Guess which flag-saving former baseball player named after a day of the week is apparently supportive of the bill?

Posted by: Matt Murphy at June 15, 2006 1:12 AM

The runaway convention concern is that they would draft a new constitution with its own ratification rules ("This constitution shall come into effect upon ratification by California, Massachusetts and New York").

It might seem like a long shot, but it is what the constitutional convention did to the Articles of Confederation.

Posted by: David Cohen at June 15, 2006 7:24 AM

Never thought I'd be on the same side of an issue as Leahy, Kennedy, Feingold et al.

Posted by: erp at June 15, 2006 7:39 AM

The Articles never had a formal amendment mechanism, so the convention started out illegitimate in that regard. So it wasn't a big step to scrap the whole structure when you start outside that structure.

But if it came to such a hijacking by a few large states, it might be useful to have that fight, teach them the same lession the Confederacy had to be taught. (That if you are going to attempt a succession from the Constitution, which is what that would be, don't assume the rest of the country will acquiesce quietly.) It's a lesson I can see the Left, in their rewriting of history, of having not absorbed, unfortunately.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at June 15, 2006 10:00 AM

Neither Bennett nor McConnell will be the 34th vote against it. So, it may pass.

I don't think the amendment is stupid at all. It merely reverses a stupid supreme court decision.

Posted by: Bob at June 15, 2006 10:27 AM

All amendments are stupid, with the provisional exception of the Thirteenth.

Posted by: David Cohen at June 15, 2006 10:30 AM