Been pondering this for a while – what would I have, if I could do a re-write of the Constitution, taking into consideration some of the gaps people have used since it was written to wreck it? Below the fold is what I’d propose – it is pretty much the same Constitution you’re familiar with, though the Bill of Rights is included in the body of the document.
But it is also changed a bit – term limits for federal office are built in. Specific definition of “natural born citizen” is provided. If we are to have welfare and Social Security, provision is made for it…and the federal government is effectively prohibited from using such programs to advance federal government power. Contentious social issues are taken out of the purview of the federal government.
I’m not saying this is how it all must be, but it is how I think it should be – or something very much like it, if we want to restore rule of law and liberty in the United States. Read it and tell me what you think.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States.
No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen. No person shall be a Representative for more than 10 years, no Person shall be elected Representative who currently holds a Federal office, nor shall any spouse, sibling or child of a Representative succeed a Representative in office.
Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Number of adult citizens. The actual Enumeration shall be made every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall be 651.
When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.
The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.
Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes. The Seats of the Senators of the first Class shall be vacated at the Expiration of the second Year, of the second Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year, and of the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so that one third may be chosen every second Year; .and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, the State government shall choose a successor to complete the term of office.
No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen. No Person shall be a Senator for more than 18 years, no Person shall be elected Senator who currently holds a Federal office, nor shall any spouse, sibling or child of a Senator succeed a Senator in office.
The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.
The Senate shall choose their other Officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the Absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the United States.
The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of 60 percent of the Members present.
Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.
The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof.
The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, but for no more than 100 days in any Year. The President may call Congress into special session if the public safety requires it, but Congress may consider no other issue than that which they were called into special session for.
Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.
Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.
Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.
Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.
The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. No increase in Compensation shall be made unless two thirds of both Houses concur in a recorded vote, and such increase shall not come into effect for 4 years. They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.
No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.
All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.
Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.
Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow Money on the credit of the United States; but not in excess of 50 percent of national Gross Domestic Product as determined in the calendar year prior to issuing debt;
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations;
To provide funds for public assistance but all such funds to appropriated shall be transferred to the several States as Congress shall determine, to be expended per laws and regulations enacted by the State governments;
To provide funds for a Social Security retirement system, but all funds for this program shall be under the control of a Social Security Administration and no funds of this system may be used for any other purpose. The Social Security Administration shall be controlled by a three person Board of Directors, appointed by the President with the Advice and Consent of the Senate. Board members shall serve for a single, six year term, except that of the initial three Board members, one shall serve for a single, two year term and a second for a single, four year term. The Board of Directors shall have sole discretion in determining eligibility for the retirement system and what level of benefits shall be provided. All decisions of the Board must be unanimous and all three Board members must vote on each decision. In cases where a Board member shall resign or be physically incapable of performing the office, the President shall appoint a successor, with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to fill out the remainder of that Board member’s term;
To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;
To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;
To establish and maintain roads which cross State borders;
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries, but no exclusive right shall be extended for more than 20 years;
To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armed forces;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the Armed Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;—And
To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion, nor shall any agency of government infringe on the free exercise of religion save where public safety requires it; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The regulation of martial status, medical practice, public education, disbursement of public financial assistance and highways is reserved entirely to the States.
The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. The government shall collect no information regarding citizens of the United States, outside of the necessities of the Census, except in regards to a criminal investigation, as necessary for tax collection or as part of the provision of public financial assistance. The tax authorities of the United States shall provide no information regarding Citizens to any other agency of government save in response to a court order demanding the information as part of a criminal investigation. Any public official who violates the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects shall be subject to claims in civil court, as well as criminal prosecution as Congress and the States shall enact. No civil penalty or criminal fine assessed against a public official shall be paid for out of public funds.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense. No criminal proceeding against a citizen may be instigated by an anonymous report to the authorities.
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed one thousand dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
No fact relevant to a case shall be withheld from trial. Failure by the prosecution to provide all relevant information available to the prosecution at the time of trial shall result in nullification of the verdict. The jury, via the judge, may ask questions of the prosecution and defense counsel during the course of a trial. Juries are empowered to render any verdict their good sense deems proper.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor assets seized prior to conviction, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation and unless the property is to be directly used by an agency of government.
The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
All persons born to at least one United States citizen or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State. No citizen who is less than 21 years old at the time of an election shall be entitled to vote.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.
Any person convicted of having cast a fraudulent ballot, or of having participated in any plan to cast fraudulent ballots, shall be stripped of their citizenship for life. Each person, prior to casting a ballot, shall swear or affirm in writing that they are citizens eligible to vote under penalty of perjury. No person may cast a ballot without providing sufficient documentation of their eligibility to vote.
No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.
No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration but in no case shall Congress lay or collect a tax which takes more than 25 percent of any person’s annual income. No corporation shall be taxed at a rate less than any other corporation.
No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.
No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.
No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.
No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it’s inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.
No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.
The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of six Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows
Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.
The Congress may determine the Time of choosing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.
No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States. No person shall be elected President who is a current office holder of the federal government, no person shall be elected President more than once, nor shall any spouse, sibling or child or a President be elected President.
In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Vice President. In succession to the Vice President shall be the Speaker of the House, the President Pro-Tempore of the Senate and then the Cabinet secretaries in order of the creation of their Departments.
The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.
Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:—”I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Armed forces of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.
He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments. Any Officer of the Executive branch may be removed from Office upon the vote of 359 members of the House of Representatives.
The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.
He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices for 20 years and may not be re-appointed, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.
The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;—to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;—to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;—to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;—to Controversies between two or more States;— between a State and Citizens of another State,—between Citizens of different States,—between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.
In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.
The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.
Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.
The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.
A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.
New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State except that the territory of the proposed new State be at least 1,500 square miles and the population be at least 200,000 Persons. If a section of an existing State desires secession, then upon petition by no less than 10 percent of the citizens in the area desiring secession, the State government shall organize a vote and if a majority of the voters in the territory desiring secession agree, a new State shall be created. The new State shall be responsible for a per-capita share of any debt the existing State holds. Exact borders between the old and new States shall be negotiated between the two States, but if no agreement is made after one year, the President shall appoint a Boundary Commission to determine the State borders.
The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State. The United States government shall not own more than 10 percent of the total land in any State, excluding National Monuments no more than 10 square miles in extent, National Parks and Recreation areas. Any property owned by the United States in excess of this amount shall be turned over to the relevant State government within one year of adoption of this Constitution.
The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence.
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.
All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution.
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land unless provisions in said Treaties are determined by the Supreme Court to be in violation of this Constitution; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby.
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
The Ratification of thirty eight States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States.
In Article 1, Section 3. I would have language making the Oath of Office binding and establishing serious penalties for violation
In Article 1, Section 4 I would add that the election for the presidency and vice presidency shall be held according to rules set forth by Congress and shall be the same for each state.
Article 1 Section 8 is problematic. I would eliminate “To provide funds for public assistance but all such funds to appropriated shall be transferred to the several States as Congress shall determine, to be expended per laws and regulations enacted by the State governments;” as I object to expanding the scope of the federal government to include public assistance, even when those funds are then sent to the states for administration. It not only involves the federal government in charity, it adds another level of agency and bureaucracy.
I admit, grudgingly, that we as a nation have become so dependent on being taken care of that we no longer seem capable of making plans for our own futures. However, I am not sure that a federally established agency focused on confiscation of private funds “for the benefit” of the people who have earned that money, is the best or wisest way to deal with this reality. If it is considered unavoidable, then there should be provisions made for allowing people to choose how their money will be invested, either by the government or in selected categories of the private sector, with the intent to phase out the government confiscation aspect of it over a period of time.
I would not lump Naturalization and Bankruptcies in the same section.
Article 1, Section 9
“Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion, nor shall any agency of government infringe on the free exercise of religion save where public safety requires it; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Given the situation we are facing today, I think we should find a way to allow Congress to define “religion” to separate belief systems that link overthrow of governments, genocide and other acts of domination and violence with teachings that also include salvation and redemption from the protections provided to religions. I would also, if possible, include a proviso that “freedom of speech” is not absolute, as it does not protect speech or acts intended to offend societal sensibilities. I know this is a delicate area, but given the degenerate nature of so much of our society I think “freedom of speech” does have to be restrained to some extent—children should not have to see massive penises painted on the sides of buildings, for example, or graphic sexual content, in the name of “free speech”.
I would not have the federal government responsible for “…establish(ing) and maintain(ing) roads which cross State borders;..” That would put a huge burden on the government, given the large number of roads which cross state borders.
In the wording about due process, I would use term “due process” in addition to the excellent definition provided, and add that “No ruling can be issued regarding any accusation of any crime without the application and execution of due process”.
“All persons born to at least one United States citizen or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. “ would be changed to read “”All persons born to at least one United States citizen who is subject to the jurisdiction thereof, and who has resided in the United States for a minimum of ten years within the fifteen years prior to the birth, will be considered a Natural Born citizen of the United States. Citizenship attained through naturalization will not convey the status of Natural Born Citizen.”
“Any person convicted of having cast a fraudulent ballot, or of having participated in any plan to cast fraudulent ballots, shall be stripped of
theirhis or her citizenship for life. Each person, prior to casting a ballot, shall swear or affirm in writing that they are citizenshe or she is a citizen eligible to vote under penalty of perjury. No person may cast a ballot without providing sufficient documentation of theirhis or her eligibility to vote. (Alternate version: “No person may cast a ballot without providing sufficient documentation of theireligibility to vote.” There is no reason to have appalling grammar a permanent part of our national Constitution.) “No person may cast more than one ballot in any election.”
In Article 2, Section 1, I would omit “No person shall be elected President who is a current office holder of the federal government, no person shall be elected President more than once, nor shall any spouse, sibling or child or a President be elected President.” I think two terms is reasonable and even desirable, I don’t think a Senator or Representative should be required to resign before running, and I think it unreasonable and unfair to state that any spouse, sibling or child of a president cannot become president.
“No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President;” would change to “No Person except a natural born Citizen as defined in this Constitution at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution shall be eligible to the Office of President;”
Article 2, Section 1, regarding the Presidential Oath of Office, would repeat that this is a binding oath with consequences for violation, and establish a process for trial and sentencing. Right now there is no formal penalty for violation of the oath of office, and a law without a penalty is like no law at all. Perhaps this could be covered in Article 2, Section 4, revised to read “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Violation of Oath of Office, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
Article 3, Section 1: “The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court,” Given the abuses and excesses of the Supreme Court over the past few decades, I think this needs to be carefully reworked to make the true nature and authority of the Court much more clear and restrained.
All in all, though, good work. However, I hate the thought of replacing the Constitution and perhaps these changes could be incorporated into a series of amendments. Have you read Mark Levin’s book about his proposed amendments? It’s been a while, but I remember liking most of his ideas
That is a good point about making the oath binding – I tried to get some “skin in the game” in there by making public officials personally liable for malfeasance in office…no more taxpayers picking up multi-million dollar settlements because an official messed up, deliberately or otherwise. I also thought a bit about reviving the old Roman office of “censor” – which is not what most Americans today would think it would be. The Roman idea was to periodically elect someone to essentially audit the government. I just couldn’t think of something that (a) a majority would understand or (b) couldn’t be abused for partisan purposes. But it is vital that those who stand for office understand that they are essentially taking their lives, fortunes and sacred honor in their hands and failure to live up to the requirements of office won’t result in resignation to a fat pension and a book deal.
I’d also much prefer to not have welfare and SS in there but I think we both recognize that in the modern reality, there’s going to be something. My basic idea is to at least provide some protections against vote-buying via taxpayer dollars. By setting up an independent board to run SS, I’ve taken how much people get (and who gets it) out of the hands of elected officials and placed it in hands which are not so subject to political pressure (and, as time goes on, won’t be all appointed by one President…and as decisions must be unanimous, making changes would be difficult). Making SS money entirely outside of government budgeting (Congress and President would only get to decide how much money is collected via the SS tax), it inserts at least some honesty in government accounting. Moving how welfare is spent to the States has two elements – it takes it a step away from those who would most like to buy votes with it and it also allows States to tailor their welfare spending to State needs, which vary widely from State to State. No more dictates on high for how the money gets spent – and no more threat of cut-off for not obeying the whim of the current White House occupant on how the money gets spent. I’m open to idea of how best to manage it – but I am convinced that if we are to have it (and it appears we must, at least for some great period of time), then we should regularize how it’s done via the Constitution, rather than laws all too easily changed by a transient Congressional majority.
And sorry for the bad grammar! I tried to keep as much to the style of the original document.
About the grammar thing…I think most of us have something about which we are picky. I remember a former blogger here who absolutely flipped out when someone, speaking about guns, called a magazine a “clip”.
I have become something of a pill about speech. I see the rules of speech disintegrating, and the speed of disintegration seems related, somehow, at least in my mind, to the overall disintegration of other rules of society. Grammar is just the traffic signal of speech.
One of the first things I learned about sentence structure is that the number needs to match. That wasn’t a problem, in the “old days”. The masculine pronouns were accepted as the default pronouns if no female gender was indicated, and no one got the vapors over it. So if a sentence said “If someone commits a crime he should suffer the consequences” no one freaked out, no one bleated that this was SEXIST, no one claimed it was discrimination. “Someone” is singular, so the pronoun “he” had to be singular. They had to match. It was just the simplest way to structure a sentence. Then the so-called “feminist” movement came in, and suddenly people were skittish about gender-specific words. They bent themselves in all sorts of positions, trying to come up with other words for words that had always worked quite well, thank you—-words like “mankind” and “chairman”.
And suddenly this squeamishness meant that a pronoun had to be gender-neutral, leading to the bizarre construction of sentences which started off with a singular (“person”) and then lurched into a plural (“their”) to avoid the trauma, the absolute HORROR, of having a masculine pronoun in a sentence that might, just might, refer to a woman as well. It has become so commonplace now that few even think about it, leading to sentences such as “No person may cast a ballot without providing sufficient documentation of their eligibility to vote.” It’s not just you—everybody seems to do it now. But if you look at it, you see the sentence twitch in the middle, veering from the singular (“person”) to the plural (“their”) to avoid what has become a PC sin.
We could, and I think should, go back to using the masculine pronoun as the default pronoun, in cases like this. If a woman is so sensitive about her femininity she has bigger problems than the pronouns “he” and “his”. Often the whole thing can be avoided by a simple restructuring, eliminating the second pronoun: “No person may cast a ballot without providing sufficient documentation of eligibility to vote.” Sometimes it can be smoothed out by making the first part of the sentence plural as well: Instead of “Everyone must park their car properly” it can be “People must park their cars properly”. It’s just a matter of continuity.
I know I am picky about it, but to me the mixing of number is fingernails on a blackboard, amplified. Just as a gun person can’t stand to hear a magazine called a clip, a horseman (see? I, a woman, am OK with using that term) hates to see a small horse called a pony or a sailor hates hearing a ship called a boat (or vice versa) I have my pet peeves. I think my aversion to this particular grammar sin is amplified by its source of Political Correctness, and its proof that PC has burrowed under the skin of our society so deeply that we are often not even aware of it.
To me this is also another example of Semantic Infiltration, another of the things that bother me. I think we, as a society, are better off if we are more precise, if we respect rules, and if we are on guard a little bit more about letting the constant repetition of something (whether it be the mixing of number in a sentence or the claim that winning a lot of primaries means someone has been nominated) evolve into acceptance.
I do know, by the way, that the mixing of number within a sentence has also taken place in the past, and also that I am not a grammar expert. This is just one of the things that jumps out at me whenever I see it.
“Moving how welfare is spent to the States has two elements – it takes it a step away from those who would most like to buy votes with it and it also allows States to tailor their welfare spending to State needs, which vary widely from State to State. “
I understand, and I agree, but at the same time having the feds determine the level of money collected and doing the collecting, via federal income taxes, still adds one or more layers of federal bureaucracy. Also, distributing the funds to the states would, I assume, be established by the population of each state, meaning that a state with low unemployment, higher educational levels, and a healthier population can get more money that it really needs to meet the needs of its citizens, if it has a lot of people, and a smaller state with bigger problems gets less.
I’m in favor of having strict restrictions on federal size, scope and power, and then limiting federal taxation to cover only those delegated duties, which would mean the states could tax more according to their needs. This also extends the freedom of choice to the people, who can leave a state they think is taxing too much so it can give away too much. I think it should all be in the hands of the states.
Social Security, if we have to have it, should be personal property—that is, those funds should be in a personal account, which would become part of an estate upon his death and therefore handed down to heirs, if the account has not been fully expended.
As regards wording, it seems best to avoid – as was done in the Constitution – minimize mention of the person at all.
Thus, “No person may cast a ballot without providing sufficient documentation of their eligibility to vote” Should be worded “No person [yes, yes, the word ‘person’] shall cast a ballot without proof of eligibility.”
I agree, Bob. A lot of clumsy sentences could be corrected that way, or by making the original noun a plural—instead of “A person should be aware of their surroundings” it is easy to say “People should be aware of their surroundings”.
My offhand suggestion for one of the sentences in the proposed constitution was ““No person may cast a ballot without providing sufficient documentation of
theireligibility to vote” eliminating the pronoun, as you did.
It’s just a matter of awareness.
Oh, and the idea of one term has just always appealed to me – no need for our chief executive to tailor his actions to how that will look at the next election. And the concept behind not allowing current federal office holders to run for a different federal office is to discourage career politicians – bottom line, almost all our Presidents under this revised Constitution would wind up being governors or national heroes of some sort. The provision in there about family members is to stop political dynasties right in their tracks.
I understand the rationale, but at the same time I think it puts an unreasonable restriction where it is not necessary. There is no reason why a son should not be allowed to be president just because his father had been. At some point, we have to loosen the reins and trust the voters.
I do agree about the problem of presidential decisions being made in light of how they will affect the next election, but that holds true of party as well. That is, President Jones is also likely to tailor his actions to avoid a backlash against his party and whoever is running to replace him.
While I don’t like career politicians, either, I also see the advantage of experience, and can see how a senator can learn enough to be a good president, and vice versa. Again, at some point central control can be too much.
Senators should be elected by their State legislators thereby cleaning up a great of of funding, deals and their responsibility to their States while restoring the Constitution to the BWW (Before Woodrow Wilson” times.
I thought about putting that in there – but I suspect that 90% of Americans of today would not know what that was about and it would seem “unfair” to a large majority. We’re dealing with a much different population in 2016 than 1787 and so we have to take a few bows to what has gone on.
DB, I know this is how it used to be, and I understand the reasoning behind it and agree with a lot of it. However, I like it that a state that has a Dem statehouse, such as Colorado, can also have a Republican senator, and in the next election might even elect a second Republican senator. State politics are funny critters, and I imagine there are other states where the political party of the state does not line up exactly with the parties of its senators.