Proposed Constitutional Amendments (A Series, Part 2)

Amendment XXIX

Section 1: The President of the United States shall be elected by the People.

Section 2: A candidate for President of the United States shall be listed on the ballot in each State or other political subdivision of the United States wherein they have filed with the appropriate authority the verified signatures of eligible voters in an amount equal to at least one percent of the total ballots cast for President in that State in the last presidential election. The petitions for nomination must be submitted to the appropriate authority in each of the several States no later than ninety days before the date fixed for the election.

Section 3: No person shall be eligible to election as President unless they have qualified to appear on the ballot in each of the several States.

Section 4: On the ballot for President, each candidate shall be listed together with their chosen candidate for Vice President. The voters may rank the candidates for President according to their preference. If no candidate receives a majority of the total votes cast,  the candidate with the fewest number of first-preference rankings shall then be eliminated and these votes redistributed, the process being repeated until one candidate achieves a majority. The candidate who receives a majority shall then become President.

Published in: on October 23, 2018 at 2:43 pm  Comments (1)  

Changing the Constitution

If I had the power to magically rewrite the Constitution, and I wanted to keep it simple, I’d only offer a few amendments:

  1. Overturn Citizens United and Buckley v. Valeo and implement a system of public financing for all Federal elections;
  2. Mandate non-partisan redistricting for the US House of Representatives;
  3. An explicit Constitutional Right to Vote. This should already exist via the Fifteenth Amendment, but apparently it’s vague enough to allow SCOTUS to sign off on all manner of restrictions;
  4. Term limits for Federal judges, probably 12 years with the possibility of re-appointment;
  5. Explicitly overturn Corporate personhood;
  6. Explicitly recognize tribal sovereignty.

If I had the chance to go radical, I would change us to a Federal Semi-Presidential System, based on Germany and France.

  1. The President would be responsible for national security and foreign policy, would still serve as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and would have the power to appoint the head of government (with the consent of a majority of the House) and dismiss the House of Representatives to call new elections. His only significant role in domestic policy would be the veto.
  2. Domestic policy would be the responsibility of the head of government (the Chief Executive Officer) who would hold power as long as s/he commanded the confidence of the House.
  3. The House of Representatives would be expanded so that each Member of Congress would represent 500,000 people (making 638 members), elected via single transferable vote proportional representation. Their terms would last no longer than four years.
  4. The Senate would still be elected from each state, but with each Senator representing 2,000,000 people (which would make for 160 Senators at the present), to allow some rough proportionality between the states. Every state would have at least one senator. States would have the power to directly elect Senators or have them chosen by their legislature. The Senate would have the same power to ratify treaties and advise and consent on appointments (except for the Cabinet, which would be chosen by the House) but the filibuster would only enable the Senate to delay passage of legislation for a full debate, not kill it. Former presidents and CEOs would automatically serve as non-voting Senators for life.
  5. The judiciary would remain the same, but with 12 year terms. I would expand the Supreme Court to 15 members, to allow for more diversity.
  6. Rather than “reserve powers,” the states would have explicit powers over areas like policing and education. Federal powers would be explicitly listed and include areas like the environment.

What do you think?

Published in: on March 1, 2015 at 5:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Welcome to the Oligarchy

 

Shorter Supreme Court: don’t give us none of that good goody good bullshit.

Religion, Incorporated

First impressions of oral arguments in the Hobby Lobby case, which could potentially result in extending constitutional freedom of religion rights to corporations. Corporations, mind you. This is a case brought by a corporation (albeit a privately held one) NOT an individual. This Supreme Court has already ruled, in Citizens United, that corporations have free speech rights; where does it stop? Could corporations adopt children (The Truman Show)? Could a corporation marry? Vote? Run for office? And how do we decide what religion a corporation is? Will it be like kingdoms during the Reformation and the peasants adopt whatever religion the King has? Is it the same religion as the CEO or the largest shareholder? Could a corporation vote by majority vote of the shareholders? May a shareholder sue the corporation for not fulfilling its religion duties (staying open on the Sabbath, for example; or selling non-kosher products)? And which religious beliefs are valid? Can I decide my corporation has a religious objection to environmental laws? The minimum wage? Workplace safety laws?

It’s utterly asinine to extend Constitutional rights to paper entities like corporations. There is no valid theory to uphold it, certainly not Original Intent, as corporations as we know them did not even exist at the time the Constitution was written. The only reason for the Supreme Court to even consider this ridiculous claim is the majority’s utterly loathing of President Obama and pro-corporate bent.

 

UPDATE: Justice Kennedy apparently thinks this is a case about abortion. That is potentially very bad news for people who don’t want their employer deciding what kind of birth control they can use.

Published in: on March 25, 2014 at 12:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
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One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

Why is it that NONE of the big tough-guy he-man Conservatives currently clutching their pearls and taking to the fainting couch over the very idea that Tsarnaev might be afforded his rights as a US citizen ever once suggested military tribunals or water-boarding for Timothy McVeigh or Scott Roeder? Hmmm, what could possibly be the difference?

Republican Healthcare Plan Upheld By Supreme Court

In a stunning victory for Mitt Romney, a narrowly and bitterly divided US Supreme Court today upheld his controversial signature legislation, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Here’s another question for you: given that Attorney General Greg Abbott is such a staunch proponent of tort reform and so opposed to frivolous lawsuits, will he now reimburse the tax payers of Texas for all the money he wasted opposing the Affordable Care Act?  And suing the EPA?  And supporting the Arizona immigration law?  I’ll get right to holding my breath waiting for that to happen.

Another Shocker

Turns out voter fraud is not, in fact, a rampant epidemic.  So, why is the Republic Party so frantic to push Voter ID, purge 91-year old decorated WW2 veterans, etc.?  This has been going on for years now, and is especially insidious in light of the fact that there is actually no Constitutional right to vote.  Hmmm, why are they so panicked?  I wonder…

Published in: on June 14, 2012 at 11:40 am  Leave a Comment  
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Constitution Accidentally Upheld

Judge Katherine B. Forrest has blocked implementation of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which allows American citizens to be arrested on American soil and locked up forever without charge.  Rather despicably, the Obama Justice Department continues to support this un-American police-state legislation.  Mark Greenwald offered a more in-depth discussion following her initial, preliminary injunction last month.  It was bad enough that Obama broke his promise to veto this godawful bill, his pinky-promise not to abuse it notwithstanding; continuing to push for the kind of power that normally only roils in the fevered dreams of Dick Cheney is really beyond the pale.  Why, exactly, did we vote for this guy again?

Published in: on June 8, 2012 at 5:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Your Liberal Media At Work

Rulings on the Affordable Care Act are only news when they rule against it.  Color me shocked.

Published in: on August 13, 2011 at 1:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Conservative Activist Judges

George Will speaks truth: conservatives really do want “activist” judges, provided they are “activist” in the right direction.  He might also have mentioned Bush v. Gore, surely the most activist (not to mention anti-States’ Rights) decision of the Court so far this century.