Calls for a constitutional convention in Pennsylvania are coming from the Governor, legislators, several media, and some civic organizations. Subjects proposed for review and amendment include governance generally, the budget process, election of judges, redistricting, term limits, and others.
The Pennsylvania Constitution may be amended by the legislature or by constitutional convention, in either case with ratification by the public. The most recent amendments were adopted by the convention process in 1967-68. Few lawyers can recall that convention, and in general, there is little familiarity with either procedure for changing the constitution.
Our panelists include Dick Thornburgh, former Governor of Pennsylvania and U.S. Attorney General, who participated in the 1967-68 convention, and Professor of Law Bruce Ledewitz, who is preparing a definitive history of that convention. Both are equipped to cast the light of theory, practicality and political reality on the proposals for another convention.Our panelists examine two primary topics: first, procedures for changing the state constitution, the pertinent judicial precedents, and the organization of a constitutional convention. Second, they discuss whether a constitutional convention would be an invitation to mischief from special interest groups.
Program Sponsors: Jewish Social Policy Action Network, Committee of Seventy, League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts
Hon. James Gardner Colins, Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, Philadelphia
Hon. Dick L. Thornburgh, K&L Gates, Washington, DC
Prof. Bruce S. Ledewitz
, State Constitution Researcher and Commentator
, Duquesne University School of Law