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How would you amend the Constitution?


Mr Skeptic
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We've been amending our Constitution every so often, and I'd say we're about due for amendment #28. If you could amend the Constitution, how would you amend it? Do you think your proposed amendment has a snowball's chance in hell of passing? I'll collect the more popular proposals later for a poll.

 

My suggestion: Every 10 years since a law was enacted, it must go back to the legislature for renewal. Unless voted for by at least 40 votes in the Senate it shall be stricken from the laws. Will it pass? One can only dream...

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Too many of the amendments were to remove former amendments, and parts of the constitution itself.

I think that I'd just scrap the constitution and rewrite it in a forward thinking manner that makes the needs of future amendments unnecessary except in extreme and unexpected cases.

 

Chance of being passed: zero. The original Constitution, though flawed, is considered by the people to be too important to be removed even though it is constantly altered.

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Yeah, term limits would be nice. No more career politicians.

 

I would want to also see an amendment that would required each spending measure to require it's own vote. No more earmarks, ever.

 

 

Also, for fun, require that every Senator and Congressman pass a multiple choice exam on the contents of each bill before they are allowed to cast a vote other than "present". :D

Edited by jryan
Consecutive posts merged.
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I'd remove the requirement that the president be born in the US.
why?
Line-item veto would also be nice.
That would be good.

 

I'd also add a requirement that Senators must be selected by the governor or legislature of that particular state. That way the Senator would represent the interests of the state (as I believe was the intent) rather than the people of the state. That would go a long way, IMO, towards limiting the number of unfunded federal mandates to the states for example.

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Keep in mind, the Constitution is simply a diagram for governing, a process to allow addressing/judging issues as they evolved over time. If you think about, a good many changes in law over these years have been based on these procedures, without a need to change that format. Most Constitutions, States or where used in Governments, have hundreds of amendments, compared to our 27, then 11 done at one time**.

 

What you probably trying to do is clarify the ambiguity of the wording, which is what most people would like to see, simple wording with a purpose for today's world, then probably more directed to the current amendments, not the Constitution.

 

Let you imagination run wild for a few minutes, on the simple duties authorized Congress or those allowed the States. That wording is simple and easy to understand, but if each ten years or 40 years, additions were made, to one, dropping from the other, just what those list would look like today.

 

On actually amending, it was made difficult for a reason; A method for governing should be consistent or unchanged without major majority of that society being involved. What's been surprising to me is the second way, has never been used, noting up to 38 States take issue with the current HC Bill, but if a National Convention is ever called, that would be the time for other proposals. Congress has been quite happy, doing their thing, without outside interference.

 

To Propose Amendments

 

Two-thirds of both houses of Congress vote to propose an amendment, or

Two-thirds of the state legislatures ask Congress to call a national convention to propose amendments. (This method has never been used.)

 

Ratifying conventions in three-fourths of the states approve it. This method has been used only once -- to ratify the 21st Amendment -- repealing Prohibition.

 

To Ratify Amendments

 

Three-fourths of the state legislatures approve it, or

Ratifying conventions in three-fourths of the states approve it. This method has been used only once -- to ratify the 21st Amendment -- repealing Prohibition.

 

**Of the thousands of proposals that have been made to amend the Constitution, only 33 obtained the necessary two-thirds vote in Congress. Of those 33, only 27 amendments (including the Bill of Rights) have been ratified.[/Quote]

 

http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/usconstitution/a/constamend.htm

 

One thing for your poll, might be a Convention, held each -x- number of years, even yearly, where all States and territories get together and make recommendation to the Congress. Two people only, chose by their legislature, totally open to media with no other purpose than those recommendations, no enforcement authority. I realize, the Senate is supposed to be exactly this, but between money, politic parties, longevity and Congressional rules, cannot openly state true opinion. It would or at least could allow minority agenda into media coverage, in the real world of coverage. Agricultural States, Mining States, Industrial States, Tourist States etc...

 

My two cents for now...from how a understand the OP question.

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why?

 

So someone like Madeleine Albright could run for President, for example. Requiring that someone be a "native born" American is silly and cuts out a lot of potential candidates. Imagine both your parents are Americans, you were raised in America your entire life, but you were born while your parents were vacationing abroad. You'd be ineligible to be President because your parents took a vaction! Silly...

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My suggestion: Every 10 years since a law was enacted, it must go back to the legislature for renewal. Unless voted for by at least 40 votes in the Senate it shall be stricken from the laws. Will it pass? One can only dream...

 

I've thought about something like this too. Like an "every law expires" amendment, to fight the natural tendency of government to get ever larger. No matter how it's phrased it will probably be easy to get around, though.

 

I think that I'd just scrap the constitution and rewrite it in a forward thinking manner that makes the needs of future amendments unnecessary except in extreme and unexpected cases.

 

I disagree strongly. Making it flexible is forward thinking. And the way it's constructed now it is basically only for extreme cases, because amending the Constitution is so difficult.

 

Term limits for Congress.

 

Strongly agree.

 

 

I would want to also see an amendment that would required each spending measure to require it's own vote. No more earmarks, ever.

 

Strongly agree.

 

Also, for fun, require that every Senator and Congressman pass a multiple choice exam on the contents of each bill before they are allowed to cast a vote other than "present". :D

 

Funny, but who makes up the exam? Way too easy to manipulate as a serious suggestion.

 

I'd remove the requirement that the president be born in the US.

 

Strongly agree. Pointlessly limiting.

 

Line item veto would also be nice.

 

Agree.

 

 

I'd also add a requirement that Senators must be selected by the governor or legislature of that particular state. That way the Senator would represent the interests of the state (as I believe was the intent) rather than the people of the state. That would go a long way, IMO, towards limiting the number of unfunded federal mandates to the states for example.

 

Maybe. That would essentially just be to repeal the 17th amendment, which did have good reasons to exist.

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I would want to also see an amendment that would required each spending measure to require it's own vote. No more earmarks, ever.

 

It's called earmarks because it apportioning money that's already been approved by the budget. Without earmarks, how do you decide who gets what?

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If you could amend the Constitution, how would you amend it?

Implement an alternative voting style where we rank the candidates in order of most preferred to least preferred. That way, we could do away with the oligarchy we have now, when a vote for the third party candidate could wind up resulting in the guy we like least winning.

 

 

Friedman wrote about this in this mornings column.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/24/opinion/24friedman.htm

Second, get states to adopt “alternative voting.” One reason independent, third-party, centrist candidates can’t get elected is because if, in a three-person race, a Democrat votes for an independent, and the independent loses, the Democrat fears his vote will have actually helped the Republican win, or vice versa. Alternative voting allows you to rank the independent candidate your No. 1 choice, and the Democrat or Republican No. 2. Therefore, if the independent does not win, your vote is immediately transferred to your second choice, say, the Democrat. Therefore, you have no fear that in voting for an independent you might help elect your real nightmare — the Republican. Nothing has held back the growth of independent, centrist candidates more, said Diamond, “than the fear that if you vote for one of them you will be wasting your vote. Alternative voting, which Australia has, can overcome that.”

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Implement an alternative voting style where we rank the candidates in order of most preferred to least preferred.

 

Or we could start with the simple thing: eliminate the electoral college and replace it with a popular vote.

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Or we could start with the simple thing: eliminate the electoral college and replace it with a popular vote.

 

The problem is not the electoral college, it is the single vote. Given a single vote, you are silly if you vote for someone who is not one of the top two most likely to win -- it is a waste of your vote. Therefore, no one votes for anyone other than Democrats and Republicans. The electoral college messes with it a little more beyond that too, but that is a secondary problem, and also an issue of state rights.

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The problem is not the electoral college, it is the single vote. Given a single vote, you are silly if you vote for someone who is not one of the top two most likely to win -- it is a waste of your vote. Therefore, no one votes for anyone other than Democrats and Republicans. The electoral college messes with it a little more beyond that too, but that is a secondary problem, and also an issue of state rights.

 

One of the initial purposes of the electoral college was to ensure that the people would not elect someone who is not fit to be President (putting the elector as a middle man between the public and the election outcome). I am pretty sure the republicans wouldn't like doing this though.

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The (early) constitution always struck me as a predominantly military thing: the 'inalienable rights' are the rights that, once surrendered, are harder to get back because they've been surrendered.

 

e.g., to form an effective resistance against a government, you'd need:

 

communication/co-ordination (1st, freedom of speach/press)

to form a gang/army (1st, assembly, speach (for recruitment))

with guns (2nd)

and, as a bonus, ally with the (at the time) only NGO capable of standing up to the government (1st, religion)

 

along with transportation and logistics; but, at the time of righting, I'm pretty sure that the idea of putting limitations on citizens' rights to own horses or not work was written off.

 

I'd suggest updating the military ones:

 

right to communicate and co-ordinate (free speach, free press, +uncensored/monitored internet)

right to form a gang (assembly, speach)

right to bear arms (guns)

+right to transportation (right to own cars and the means of transportation)

+right to logistics (no barriers to owning the means of production)

right to ally (religion would probably still be your best bet; maybe something about unions?)

 

so, mainly update to accomodate the invention of the internet, and the feasability of putting at least some restrictions on business- or car-ownership.

 

along with getting rid of the first-past-the-post voting system and implementing a proper democracy (y'know, where the leader needs the support of most people).

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I would add an amendment that requires an equally invested citizenry - apportioned taxation. I do not think it right or proper that a person paying 30% of their income in taxes should be limited to the same voting voice as someone paying 10% of their income, or as we see today, paying 0% and then making money back from Earned Income Credit. ( I know, because I made a ton of money off of you people all through the 90's using it. Thanks.)

 

All citizens should be equally taxed as a percentage - apportioned. That includes a sales tax, even though people buy various quantities of goods it is still equal in terms of no qualifying exception for any person.

 

Voting the tax burden to the rich minority, and tax relief to one's self, is the trend of tyrannical hypocrites that make up the majority of our current citizenry right now, from what I can tell. It's so easy to take advantage of the inherent envy of those who are not as successful and shrewd in the practice of trading good and services. The rich epitomize what most of us cannot, or in most cases simply will not, accomplish. It's a snap to convince most of society that they do it by nefarious means - even though we all behave the exact same way, with the exact same approach in our private lives.

 

Yeah, it would never pass. Conservatives wouldn't even like it.

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I would add an amendment that requires an equally invested citizenry - apportioned taxation. I do not think it right or proper that a person paying 30% of their income in taxes should be limited to the same voting voice as someone paying 10% of their income, or as we see today, paying 0% and then making money back from Earned Income Credit. ( I know, because I made a ton of money off of you people all through the 90's using it. Thanks.)

 

Instead, could I give up my vote for a 0% marginal tax rate?

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Implement an alternative voting style where we rank the candidates in order of most preferred to least preferred. That way, we could do away with the oligarchy we have now, when a vote for the third party candidate could wind up resulting in the guy we like least winning.

 

 

Friedman wrote about this in this mornings column.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/24/opinion/24friedman.htm

 

In addition to the above, I think we should amend the constitution to change the way party primaries are conducted. Currently, turnout in primaries is extremely low... usually between 5 and 20%, however, it's these small groups of people who choose the candidates for the election for the entire populace. This results in the vitriolic partisan bile with which we are currently left since the only people voting in primaries are the most partisan.

 

The proposal is to have everyone, regardless of party, be part of one primary voting process... avoid having them be party specific... and then choose the top two candidates who received the most votes... regardless of party. Then, the two people preferred most by the populace in the state will be ones who ultimately run in the final election, and we choose from those remaining two most preferred runners which will ultimately lead.

 

The idea was described by Phil Keisling last week, and is articulated at the link below:

 

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/22/opinion/22keisling.html

WANT to get serious about reducing the toxic levels of hyper-partisanship and legislative dysfunction now gripping American politics? Here’s a direct, simple fix: abolish party primary elections.

 

From now to September, virtually every state will hold primaries to select Democratic and Republican candidates for the November general election. At stake are 36 Senate and 435 Congressional seats, along with 37 governorships and more than 6,000 state legislative seats.

 

What can we likely expect? Abysmal voter turnout; incessant waves of shrill, partisan invective; and legions of pandering politicians making blatant appeals to party extremists. Once you understand the role that party primary elections really play, and who votes and doesn’t, the real question isn’t why our politics are so dysfunctional — it’s how could they not be?

 

<...>

 

So what can be done? States should scrap this anachronistic system and replace it with a “fully open/top two” primary. All candidates would run in a first round, “qualifying” election, with the top two finalists earning the chance to compete head-to-head in November. Republicans, Democrats, Greens, Libertarians, Tea-Partiers, even “None of the Above’s” could all run in the first round. Voters would certainly know candidates’ party affiliations, but no political party would automatically be entitled to a spot on the November ballot.

 

This would create far more races that were truly competitive, especially across the vast majority of lopsided districts where winning the party primary essentially guarantees election. In those districts, both finalists might be from the same party, but there could be genuine differences between the two that would give voters a meaningful choice.

 

<...>

 

The primary system gives disproportionate power to the shrillest and most mean-spirited of our partisans, while preventing civil dialogue and progress on a host of important issues. But a “fully open/top two” system would empower every American to be able to vote for the best candidate in every election.

 

 

Hat tip to Bob Scheiffer on this mornings episode of Face the Nation.

 

KK7BWDcIDMk

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The proposal is to have everyone' date=' regardless of party, be part of one primary voting process... avoid having them be party specific... and then choose the top two candidates who received the most votes... regardless of party.

 

This way, the two people preferred most by the populace in the state will be in the election, and we choose from the remaining two which will ultimately lead.

 

The idea was described by Phil Keisling last week, and is articulated at the link below:[/quote']

 

Very cool. Though, I'd rather see 'fully open/top 3' or even 4. And then use your rank system for them. But interesting anyways.

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  • 3 years later...

I am necro'ing this thread, as a recent exchange reminded me of it.

I think we should have a Constitution 2.0, it is long overdue, but it ain't happening anytime soon. I think it has been obviously established that we don't read the constitution like Bubba reads the bible(if he could read). If you did that, the document would be obsolete the day after it was written. So there is always wiggle room...


How would you amend the constitution?

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