Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Constitutional Convention

A previous post talked about how we should have a Amendment to the Constitution that would clarify the Second Amendment. I've been thinking about that since then, and I think we should have a Constitutional Convention. It's a process allowed by the Constitution, and it would (ideally) be the people of the United States hashing out our Constitutional problems in a structured way, with new Constitutional Amendments clarifying our current ambiguities.

Things I'd like to see in such a Convention:
  • Universal ban on torture, including rendition for the purposes of torture.
  • Clarification of the powers of the Congress to regulate the President's power as Commander-en-chief.*
  • Defining when a person gains their "personhood", thereby settling the legal issues associated with abortion.**
  • Eliminating most of the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution, returning the power of electing Senators to the State Legislators.
  • Clarifying the Second Amendment Rights of Americans
  • The Equal Rights Amendment
  • An amendment that mandates an economic study for every new bill that goes through Congress by a newly created Oversight Office (that is politically independent somehow). No bill could be passed until such a review was processed.
  • The previously mentioned Oversight Office would also conduct reviews about the effectiveness of federal programs.***
  • I'm not exactly sure how I'd phrase this one, but something like this: "A bill shall be considered law if it receives the signature or affirmation of a majority of the members of both houses of Congress."****
  • Universal Health-care Amendment, I don't see how Universal Health-care can be constitutional without an Amendment.
  • Eliminating Term Limits, but barring anyone being re-elected to a federal position as an incumbent.*****
  • An amendment to have state districts laid out by an impartial committee, ending Gerrymandering.
  • District of Colombia Voting Rights
  • Ending the absurd notion that Corporations are persons in Constitutional terms.

There's some interesting stuff here. I like the one barring presidential pardons until someone's actually been convicted of a crime. 
The Bricker Amendment is neat too.

*For example, people like Richard Cheney believe that the President has the power to invade, arrest, or assassinate anyone, for any reason, and the Congress's only recourse is to eliminate the budgeting for those projects. Other people would limit the President's military authority to conducting specific invasions in the event of a declaration of war. There's probably a point in between these two positions that isn't insane.

**The Bible doesn't prohibit abortion, FYI.

*** This would sink the reputation of the CAM (Center for Alternative Medicine) and Abstinence Only Education. It would probably undermine other ineffectual programs that I don't know about, since we don't have a board doing this at the moment, certainly not one that is independent in any meaningful sense.

****That is to say, if parliamentary procedure (like the filibuster) was holding a law back, the members of the Senate could just pass the bill around, collect 51 signatures, and register the votes into the Congressional Register, and it would be passed. The House would simply have to sign it in the same way. The affirmation bit is to allow congresspeople to approve laws without actually being physically present at the time. We're in the 21st Century people, have you heard of Telecommuting? This Amendment would also prevent the process where someone can tack an amendment onto an already existing bill to kill it. Any amended bill would have to start over with the signature collecting, but the original bill would still be floating around, ready to be signed.

***** Someone can run for President or Congressperson as many times as they want, they just can't run for the position if they're currently in that position. Obviously, we wouldn't allow people to quit the day before the election, either.


Anonymous said...

Thats a good idea, where do I sign.


Carsonist said...

Just sign a check to my political action committee: CASH.

M1 said...

"**The Bible doesn't prohibit abortion, FYI." I'm researching where, specifically, in the Bible it either condones or states that abortion is not bad. Just curious, actually.

Carsonist said...

The Bible never endorses abortion, but it never forbids it, and it seems to argue that the unborn are not the equivalent of a full person.

I can't cite chapter and verse, but it basically says that if a man attacks a woman, and she miscarries, then he should pay a fee. Compare that to the penalty for just about anything else in the bible, (death), and it's pretty clear that the author of the Bible didn't think that the unborn were full persons in the eyes of the law.

I think it's in Leviticus?

M1 said...

I believe it is Exodus 21:22 and from what I can research, along with Hebrew translations as well, it is clear why this has been a heated debate for so long.