The Association of Justices of the Supreme Court of the State of New York announced their opposition to a constitutional convention Wednesday afternoon.
Justice Deborah Dowling of State Supreme Court in Kings County announced that the association voted to oppose Proposal Number One, which asks voters in New York whether the state should hold a constitutional convention in 2019, citing the cost.
“After thoroughly reviewing the issue, the Association of Justices of the Supreme Court of the State of New York has determined that a state constitutional convention is unnecessary, would be overly costly, and could result in the reversion, elimination or diminution of many current constitutional rights and safeguards,” Dowling said in a statement.
On Nov. 7, voters in New York will decide on the referendum, “Shall there be a convention to revise the constitution and amend the same?” The referendum is presented to voters once every 20 years under the state constitution. In 1997, voters rejected the ballot measure. If the referendum is approved, New Yorkers would elect delegates in 2018 to the convention, which would meet in 2019. At the convention, delegates would get to propose amendments to the state constitution for voter ratification. Then, in November 2019, the electorate would get a chance to vote on each proposed amendment.
Unions and environmental groups have been opposed to holding a constitutional convention fearing that it would roll back several provisions in the state constitution. Meanwhile, the State Bar (NYLJ July 17) has come out in favor of holding it, arguing that the 52,000-word state constitution is in need of a revamp and could be an opportunity to modernize the state’s court system.