There are legitimate reasons to be afraid of a constitutional convention — I spoke at a conference on this topic a few years ago at Harvard Law School and compared it to pressing the “hyperspace” button on the old Asteroids video game, which sometimes saved you, but sometimes destroyed you — but there’s nothing illegitimate about it. Any changes, after all, would have to be approved by three-fourths of the state legislatures, and it seems less likely that bad ideas would make it that far than that bad ideas might persuade five out of nine Supreme Court justices.
Another nice feature of Abbott’s proposal — which is, as the Houston Chroniclenotes, “well within … the mainstream of Republican governors” — is that it doesn’t depend on controlling the White House. The Constitution provides numerous checks and balances, and the Republicans are wise not to depend solely on the presidency.
I’m not yet ready to say that a convention to discuss constitutional amendments is a good idea. But to the extent it panics our current political class, which I believe to be probably the worst political class in our nation’s history, it’s looking like a better one.