CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

Opinion

April 2, 2014

EDITORIAL: Out of date, out of time

CULLMAN — The Alabama State Constitution, one of the nation’s oldest at 113 years old, continues to linger despite a wide range of efforts to completely rewrite the document.

Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, said he remains determined to rewrite the constitution, which was established in the state’s most archaic political history in the early 1900s.

Lawmakers have tried to rewrite the constitution article by article. Chief Justice Moore and Justice Tom Parker wrote advisory opinions this month saying the Legislature’s article-by-article revision is not constitutional.

Moore said addressing a few articles each year does not change the reality that the Legislature has undertaken a near total rewrite of the document through an in-house constitutional convention. “By wresting the convention process from the people, the Legislature has unconstitutionally made itself the paramount mechanism of constitutional revisions,” he said.

Perhaps the chief justice is right on one level. The endorsement of the voters in rewriting the constitution is important, but who is trying to get the word out that the document is so antiquated that it is essentially ineffective?

Lawmakers constantly have to throw up amendments to the constitution just to get anything accomplished for the state. It seems at this point the state Supreme Court could review the constitution and toss it back to the Legislature and demand that the issue go to the vote of a people.

With a little education, the voting public would likely agree to a constitutional convention to craft a new document that reflects the equalities that now exist in society, as well as to address the overall needs of the state.

But wouldn’t someone need to put the issue on a statewide ballot? It seems everyone in Montgomery is twitching for the wrong reasons. Just let the public vote on holding a constitutional convention, but after an effort is made to explain the flaws of the current document to the voters.

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