Right now they’re covering Beau Biden’s funeral. Why wouldn’t they cover the San Diego Summit? Just the first business session, from 9:00 a.m. PDT to 11:30. This is the session devoted to discussion, adoption, and signing of the One State, One Vote, One Amendment Resolution. They’ll cover it, and that will encourage attendance.
Let’s say you’re Mike Thibodeau, President of the Maine Senate. You don’t feel like flying to San Diego for a meeting. But would you be willing to participate telephonically, or by Skype, in a two and a half hour Saturday meeting of your peers from around the country? A meeting dealing with the procedures to be followed at the 2016 Amendment Convention, which you do plan to attend?
I would argue forcefully that any presiding officer who does not participate, in one way or another, in this meeting is derelict in their duty. Article V gives Thibodeau, and the Senators who elected him their leader, a critical function in our constitutional system. By refusing to participate Thibodeau is turning his back on the legislative leaders who are trying to do their duty.
What if you’re the Speaker of the California Assembly, a hard core, partisan, very liberal Democrat? You voted for, and the California legislature adopted, an Article V Resolution to overturn Citizens United. You’re not afraid of Article V. Ryan Clayton of Wolf-pac has educated you. You understand that the BBA has 27, and might get to 34, and you’re adamantly opposed to it. You don’t want to do anything which will promote it. But if there is to be a BBA Convention, you want it to be limited to one subject. And you feel you have an obligation to speak out against One State, One Vote. You represent 10% of the people in this country. Why should Wyoming, which has 1/6 of 1% of the population, have a vote equal to yours? You want to make that case, even if you know you’ll be voted down. So you book an early flight from Sacramento to San Diego, or you participate remotely. You have an obligation to do so.
Precedents will be set in San Diego. One of them should be that physical presence is not required for full participation. Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois wanted to vote on a leadership election in the Democratic Caucus, but she was about to give birth, and could not attend the session. Her colleagues voted to deny her that right. That’s bullshit. There’s no reason in the world she shouldn’t have been allowed to vote. Everybody who wants to will vote in San Diego, whether they’re present or not. This, in my opinion, is a very significant precedent. It can apply to future meetings of the Convention Majority Caucus, and perhaps to the proceedings of the Convention itself. Let’s say you’re the President of the Michigan Senate. You’re the leader of Michigan’s delegation to the Convention. The Michigan legislature is in session virtually year round, and you commute between Ann Arbor ad Richmond. For some reason you have to be in Michigan when a vote is taking place at the Convention. You should be able to vote remotely.
Actually, come to think of it, this should be among the first orders of business in San Diego. A rule should be adopted allowing full remote participation. This is the 21st Century. There has been a communications revolution.
As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.