On the Importance of U.S. State Constitutions & Constitutional Conventions
Why State Constitutions Matter, National Constitution Center, September 17, 2018. Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, author of 51 Imperfect Solutions: States and the Making of American Constitutional Law, explores the importance of state constitutions and constitutional conventions (the latter only during the last five minutes) for preserving liberty and democratic innovation. Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of the National Constitution Center, moderates.
On Specific U.S. State Constitutions
For This and Future Generations…, Montana PBS documentary of Montana’s 1972 constitutional convention–30 years after the convention. The documentary focuses on the debate over the right to a clean and healthy environment, but it also provides a good feel for the process.
Michigan Can Lead the Way: Michigan Constitutional Convention, a documentary on Michigan’s 1961-2 constitutional convention. It was produced shortly after the convention and feels like a PR document praising American democracy in comparison to authoritarian regimes that don’t have such an institution empowering the sovereign people. The documentary highlights the legislative reapportionment issue and focuses on the proceedings of the convention itself.
The 49th State: Creating Alaska. The 49th Star was created to recognize the 50th anniversary of Alaska’s constitutional convention. The hour-long film chronicles the road to statehood and the constitutional convention and includes interviews with convention participants, historical photographs and commentary by contemporary historians. The documentary was part of the statewide Creating Alaska project, which has worked to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the creation and signing of Alaska’s constitution.
Blueberry Soup, a documentary on Iceland’s 2010 constitutional convention by Wilma’s Wish Productions. Much of the documentary explains how Iceland’s 2008 financial crisis led to the call for a constitutional convention. There is a fee to watch this film.
What is a constitution? (An animation produced by IDEA)
University of Virginia Professor Peter Onuf on Jefferson’s view of a living constitution, “The Earth Belongs to the Living. “
Frey, Raymond, Creating a Constitution, The Constitution Project, September 24, 2012 (Article V briefly mentioned at 20:00; after 24:30 the issue of the 1787 constitutional convention gets dropped).
Allen, Anthony, The Making of the Constitution, Episode #6, Are We to Be a Nation? in the Liberty series, March 29, 2014. The great majority of this film is devoted to the periods before and after the constitution rather than the constitutional convention itself. the fairly brief discussion of the convention itself begins at 24:00.
John Birch Society, A Crash Course on a Constitutional Convention, February 2016, An attack on the very concept of convening a Federal constitutional convention and, by implication, a state constitutional convention. For example, “We don’t have the statesmen of the past; we have the politicians of the present.���