Sunday, March 6, 2011

Responding to a Challenge

Distributorcap over at The Reaction has challenged all of the readers of his post How about a real government of the people to suggest changes in how our national government is chosen.  I love a good intellectual challenge and the following is my response to his challenge.  As he mentioned, there are no right or wrong ideas, just points of discussion.  Feel free to let Distributorcap and I know your views.

Amendments: Distributorcap makes a good point that only 17 Amendments have been made to the Constitution since the original 10 were adopted.  I actually believe it is a good thing that it so difficult to get an Amendment added to the Constitution otherwise the anti-gay marriage Amendment would have been the supreme law of the land.  With that said, I would recommend the following amendments.
  • No state or lesser government entity may pass a law that is in contradiction to the U.S. Constitution or U.S. Law.
  • Marriage is the purview of the Federal government and as such cannot be prohibited or the rights and privileges associated denied on the basis of sexual orientation or religion.  The minimum age for marriage shall be 17.
  • As businesses are not "persons" they are not afforded the same political speech rights as Citizens of the United States and are prohibited from making contributions to individual political campaigns, political committees or parties.
  • As affordable medical care promotes the general welfare of all, the Federal government will manage and maintain a universal single payer health care system.
Elections for National Office:  I like the concept of the Electoral College, but I think there should be two fundamental changes to it.
  1. No state may have "winner takes all" for their Electors.  Each state will divide their electors based on the percentage of the vote each Presidential candidate achieved.
  2. Electors are required to place their votes for the candidate they represent and may not change their votes.
I agree that elections are way too long.  I think that no one should be allowed to campaign before February 1st of any election year.  I also believe that there should be serious campaign finance reform, even possibly going to complete public financing.  I don't believe in term limits.  The best form of term limits is an educated electorate.

I do think that Washington, D.C. needs to be allowed to vote on statehood (which would require an Amendment) and should they become a "city state", be given their two Senators and however many representatives they are allowed under apportionment.  I also think that Puerto Rico and the other territories and protectorates either need to vote for statehood or independence.  This would help diversify the Senate and the House of Representatives without resorting to giving larger states more Senators and smaller states fewer Senators.

I do believe that no state should be allowed more than 2 Senators and 13 Representatives (15 Electors).  Once a state is eligible for a 14th Representative after the census, it has until the next census in which to become two or more states.  This would break up New York, California, Texas and Florida and several other states into smaller states.

Supreme Court: The only thing I would change is making clear ethics rules that Supreme Court justices must follow.  An Amendment would be needed to make sure those ethics are spelled out.

Well, those are my responses to the challenge.  What are yours?

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