The Congress of Vienna, Jean Godefroy

The Limits of Veneration

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Paul J. Gardner

2 (2016)

Pages 1-22


At the conclusion of Our Undemocratic Constitution, Sanford Levinson asks the American people to call a new constitutional convention. Levinson’s critics dismissed this call as fanciful, not least because of the assumption that the populace unthinkingly venerates the Constitution too much to countenance the idea of a convention. We challenge the conventional wisdom on conventions by analyzing a 2011 Time magazine poll indicating one in three Americans would support such a call. While constitutional support remains high, we contend the cultural power of law allows citizens to have meaningful and sometimes critical constitutional attitudes. Logistic regression analysis indicates various personal attributes shape these attitudes, including ideology, race, age, income, and constitutional knowledge. Approval of Congress and preferred method of constitutional interpretation also structure convention support.