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Drafting a new Constitution
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georgia_tech_swagger Offline
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Post: #1
Drafting a new Constitution
Would anybody be interested in such a mental exercise? The thread would probably be quite verbose, so I figured I'd run this up the flagpole first.
09-06-2018 10:38 AM
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Owl 69/70/75 Offline
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RE: Drafting a new Constitution
(09-06-2018 10:38 AM)georgia_tech_swagger Wrote:  Would anybody be interested in such a mental exercise? The thread would probably be quite verbose, so I figured I'd run this up the flagpole first.

I've given it some thought and have some ideas, would be interested in getting reactions.

In the real world, I must admit that I am at lease somewhat troubled by what might come out of a constitutional convention. But I would hope there would be ways to limit scope of such an effort.
09-06-2018 11:39 AM
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georgia_tech_swagger Offline
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RE: Drafting a new Constitution
(09-06-2018 11:39 AM)Owl 69/70/75 Wrote:  
(09-06-2018 10:38 AM)georgia_tech_swagger Wrote:  Would anybody be interested in such a mental exercise? The thread would probably be quite verbose, so I figured I'd run this up the flagpole first.

I've given it some thought and have some ideas, would be interested in getting reactions.

In the real world, I must admit that I am at lease somewhat troubled by what might come out of a constitutional convention. But I would hope there would be ways to limit scope of such an effort.

I would like to start by redoing the Bill of Rights to be the Bill of Rights and Responsibilities ... to make explicit to you, the citizen, what the cost is for enjoying and having those freedoms. But before I blab about that I'll wait for others to weigh in.
09-06-2018 12:20 PM
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Owl 69/70/75 Offline
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RE: Drafting a new Constitution
Some ideas I've kicked around:

Article 1 - I'd start with the Bill of Rights; the rights and responsibilities idea is interesting, but my concern is that a power-mad president or congress could use that to take away rights; I think I'd rather just keep it as things to protect citizens from government

Article 2 - Congress; I've thought of giving the House more of a parliamentary flavor; increase the nominal term to four years, but provide that snap elections can be called at any time by the president, or speaker, or a majority of the House members, limited to one such election every 12 months; elect by proportional representation; push senator terms out to 8 years; also, the one good idea that I thought Jimmy Carter had, choose cabinet members from senators; you'd know in advance who the cabinet was going to be wen voting for president, there would be more accountability than now with cabinet members having to stand for re-election, and we wouldn't waste so much time in confirmation earnings; also, since we seem to have had something of a trend of going from the senate to at least candidacy for the white house, this would give senators a chance to gain some executive experience and us to see them in that role; in this model the senate becomes a part-legislative, part-executive branch; maybe move all bill writing to the house. And do "president's questions" before congress once a month, if not more often.

Article 3 - President; one term, 6 years, cannot succeed himself; drastically cut back the power of unaccountable executive agency bureaucrats; I like the combination of every new reg subject to congressional veto, sunset review of all agencies every 10 years, and moving administrative disputes from trial before an ALJ who reports to the executive director of the agency to separate article III administrative law courts. Perhaps provide for a DC Circuit Court justice to be a 12th member. If you'd tat, to keep from having ties, make the Chief Justice go to the most senior justice and have im vote only in case of ties (which would require a vacancy or recusal of a justice).

Article 4 - Courts; I'd expand the Supreme Court to 11, one per federal judicial circuit, moving to that by appointing two now, one freebie per party, and picking those justices plus future vacancies, from unrepresented districts until every circuit is represented.

Some random thoughts.
(This post was last modified: 09-06-2018 05:12 PM by Owl 69/70/75.)
09-06-2018 04:59 PM
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Native Georgian Offline
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RE: Drafting a new Constitution
If we were truly starting from scratch, one change I would make is to adjust the state-boundaries to more closely conform with the watersheds. There is a limit on how much conformity — I don’t support (for example) one state whose rivers drain to the Gulf/Atlantic and one state whose rivers drain to the Pacific — but if certain changes had been put in place from the get-go, a LOT of constant bickering/squawking could’ve been avoided.
09-06-2018 07:49 PM
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Owl 69/70/75 Offline
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RE: Drafting a new Constitution
(09-06-2018 07:49 PM)Native Georgian Wrote:  If we were truly starting from scratch, one change I would make is to adjust the state-boundaries to more closely conform with the watersheds. There is a limit on how much conformity — I don’t support (for example) one state whose rivers drain to the Gulf/Atlantic and one state whose rivers drain to the Pacific — but if certain changes had been put in place from the get-go, a LOT of constant bickering/squawking could’ve been avoided.

"Whiskey's for drinking; water's for fighting."
09-06-2018 08:04 PM
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Post: #7
RE: Drafting a new Constitution
In the real world.

A new constitution scares the hell out of me because I know how easily people involved can be bought.

As mental exercise? Fun
09-06-2018 08:24 PM
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Owl 69/70/75 Offline
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RE: Drafting a new Constitution
(09-06-2018 08:24 PM)arkstfan Wrote:  In the real world.
A new constitution scares the hell out of me because I know how easily people involved can be bought.
As mental exercise? Fun

Exactly.
09-06-2018 08:29 PM
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Post: #9
RE: Drafting a new Constitution
A few thoughts I've had.

Extend the term of office of members of the House to four years. Reasoning. The constant election cycle. By the time a House member is sworn in they can be in a primary for re-election within 14-16 months. It creates a benefit to the parties to keep a constant pundit cycle going because there is ALWAYS an important election coming up. Four year terms cools that off. All House elections happen in presidential election years. No more mid-terms. We elect a president for four years then historically cut their power after 18 months as the House gears up for mid-terms and usually see an erosion of the president's party in mid-terms.
Extend the term of office of Senators to eight years with half up each presidential election. Same reason. Give Americans more time off between elections. All these countries without mandated voting with higher turnouts typically only vote every 4 to 5 years.

Remove the franking privilege.

Include the failed DC Voting Rights Amendment in the new constitution. DC gets two senators and is apportioned Representatives as if it is a state and counts as if it were a state in ratifying amendments or calling for a constitutional convention but the District continues to have limited home rule under the Congress.

Expand the House by adding an additional 80 seats and mandate that no congressional district can contain more than 725,000 people. If that takes place, seats must be added.

The Secretaries of Defense, State, Treasury, Interior, Commerce, Transportation, Energy, and Homeland Security are mandated to be members of Congress and shall retain their seats and voting privileges. The president shall select an attorney general from a pool of people who serve or have served as Solicitor General, Federal Judge, US Attorney, or the Attorney General of a state and not been removed for misconduct.
09-06-2018 08:53 PM
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georgia_tech_swagger Offline
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RE: Drafting a new Constitution
I'll take it one amendment at a time. Because these are considered to be incorporated by various SCOTUS cases, I'm going to change the language to make it both explicit for all levels of government and to also make explicit the according responsibility.

Current 1st Amendment:
Quote:Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; 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.


Bill of Rights and Responsibilities 1st Amendment:
No level of government shall make any law abridging the freedom of speech. This includes but is not limited to freedom of the press, freedom of the people to peaceably assemble, freedom of the people to petition any level of government for a redress of grievances, freedom of communication in all forms, and freedom from laws abridging the private practice of religion and/or spirituality as individuals see fit so long as they do not do material or physical harm to others. With this freedom comes the responsibility to respect the speech of others, even when you disagree with it.



I was tempted to add privacy and cryptography to this, but I'll save that for the 4th amendment.
(This post was last modified: 09-06-2018 10:08 PM by georgia_tech_swagger.)
09-06-2018 10:06 PM
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RE: Drafting a new Constitution
Like most conservatives, I want my politics to stay in my mind, my news, and at the polling station; I don’t want it to eat my entire life. I’m also a genuine civil libertarian and Constitutional constructionist/literalist who supports all ten amendments in the Bill of Rights.

So the Constitution is generally simple, short, sweet and to the point. But there are two Bill of Rights that I might modify for brevity's sake:

Amendment II: The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Amendment IV: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.
09-07-2018 12:00 PM
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RE: Drafting a new Constitution
I agree with Cabinet coming from the Senate.

I would throw in a few other things:

1) I would have the Senate require a 2/3rds vote on appointments(not far from what cloture rules used to be anyway). For the cabinet, it shouldnt be too difficult since the appointees would be their colleagues. Really, this is necessary for the judiciary and more bureaucratic/supposedly non-partisan positions IMO.

2) Term limits. No more than 3 terms for the House and 2 terms for the Senate. Senators who are in the cabinet can stay as cabinet officers if their Senate term expires.

3) Federal Judges are term limited to 12 years at each level of the federal judiciary.

4) I agree with 1 six year term for President.

5) House districts are no longer drawn by the states themselves but rather approved at the federal level by a 2/3rds majority of the Senate.
09-07-2018 03:27 PM
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tanqtonic Offline
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Post: #13
RE: Drafting a new Constitution
On board with Owl #s Supreme Court. Would expand it to 22. I would further modify it where there is a 7 year term, and one cannot serve twice. Thus 3 of the 33 are appointed every year. The retirees are guaranteed a spot on the Circuit Court of Appeals from there 'origin'.

I would definitely move the strengthen what replaces the 10th Amendment. Perhaps even put the reservation of State power in the main body itself.
09-07-2018 09:20 PM
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tanqtonic Offline
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RE: Drafting a new Constitution
(09-06-2018 07:49 PM)Native Georgian Wrote:  If we were truly starting from scratch, one change I would make is to adjust the state-boundaries to more closely conform with the watersheds. There is a limit on how much conformity — I don’t support (for example) one state whose rivers drain to the Gulf/Atlantic and one state whose rivers drain to the Pacific — but if certain changes had been put in place from the get-go, a LOT of constant bickering/squawking could’ve been avoided.

The problem with that is a 'source' problem. The source of all power in the Constitution flows from the signatory sovereigns -- the states.

Giving the power of altering a state boundary to the Federal government makes the states themselves inferior sovereigns -- it blows the ideal of Federalism as we know it out of the water.
09-07-2018 09:24 PM
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RE: Drafting a new Constitution
I think as a whole the constitution is perhaps the greatest governing document ever written, but if I were going to make changes.....

1) Correct the wording to lay out what the SPECIFIC duties/responsibilities of the federal government are. Everything else would fall to the states to decide.

2) Correct the language to absolutely guarantee people's right to bear arms.

3) Require all bills that would raise taxes or increase debt to be passed with a 2/3 majority.

4) Eliminate the wording that allows "anchor babies". Being born on US soil shouldn't mean automatic citizenship, ESPECIALLY if people are here illegally.

Just a few to start.
09-08-2018 02:57 AM
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Post: #16
RE: Drafting a new Constitution
I'd like to see a new constitution, but let's be real, it's challenging enough to get a budget passed, there's no way in hell we're going to agree on a new constitution. But generally, I think the constitution has failed to reign in executive power and basically paved the way for the feds to take any power they want from the states.
09-10-2018 01:45 PM
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Owl 69/70/75 Offline
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RE: Drafting a new Constitution
I'd like to see a lot of changes, but I'm not inclined to trust the politicians who have screwed things up with he opportunity to rewrite it. I'd rather accomplish change through the amendment process. And the first one I would support is one that said, "Congress shall pass no law, exempting any member of the senate or house of representatives, or any of his/her staff, or any officer of the executive branch, including the president and vice-president, from any requirement placed on ordinary citizens, nor any law granting any right or privilege to those individuals that are not granted to ordinary citizens, and any and all such laws providing such exemptions or privileges are herby null and void."
09-10-2018 01:52 PM
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Post: #18
RE: Drafting a new Constitution
(09-07-2018 03:27 PM)aTxTIGER Wrote:  I agree with Cabinet coming from the Senate.

I would throw in a few other things:

1) I would have the Senate require a 2/3rds vote on appointments(not far from what cloture rules used to be anyway). For the cabinet, it shouldnt be too difficult since the appointees would be their colleagues. Really, this is necessary for the judiciary and more bureaucratic/supposedly non-partisan positions IMO.

2) Term limits. No more than 3 terms for the House and 2 terms for the Senate. Senators who are in the cabinet can stay as cabinet officers if their Senate term expires.

3) Federal Judges are term limited to 12 years at each level of the federal judiciary.

4) I agree with 1 six year term for President.

5) House districts are no longer drawn by the states themselves but rather approved at the federal level by a 2/3rds majority of the Senate.

Some interesting ideas. Some thoughts.
Rather than 2/3rds how about 3/5ths? That gets you in line with cloture and if the cabinet comes from Congress is confirmation really needed?

A 12 year judicial term concerns me. A judge that leaves the bench still young is a judge that may be biased in his decisions because he is seeking work when his term is up. If Judge Smith is appointed by a Democrat and a Republican will be in office when he term expires he may assume he won't be reappointed and be open to being bent.
09-10-2018 02:01 PM
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miko33 Offline
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Post: #19
RE: Drafting a new Constitution
Sounds like a fun exercise - but most assuredly will get quite complex. One dichotomy that I think will be fascinating to unpack will be "positive rights vs negative rights". Someone with a stronger history/legal background can correct me if I'm wrong, but I recall reading/studying that a number of the founding fathers did not want to include a bill of rights because these are positive rights.

Also, I'd think a redo in today's world would result in a stronger federal gov't than what the founders envisioned. Discussions on if federalism would be viable in today's world will be interesting.
09-11-2018 07:31 AM
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Post: #20
RE: Drafting a new Constitution
(09-11-2018 07:31 AM)miko33 Wrote:  Sounds like a fun exercise - but most assuredly will get quite complex. One dichotomy that I think will be fascinating to unpack will be "positive rights vs negative rights". Someone with a stronger history/legal background can correct me if I'm wrong, but I recall reading/studying that a number of the founding fathers did not want to include a bill of rights because these are positive rights.

Also, I'd think a redo in today's world would result in a stronger federal gov't than what the founders envisioned. Discussions on if federalism would be viable in today's world will be interesting.

That was part of the debate that led to the adoption of the 9th. A specific statement that there were more rights than just those enumerated in the Constitution.

One point where I diverged from Justice Scalia. He believed there was no such thing as a 9th Amendment right unless Congress said the right existed. If a right is dependent upon the consent of Congress it is not a right, though I understand his point that the other alternative is a majority of the Court determines whether a right exists.

Thus any system that does not specifically enumerate rights is always going to be a system of great tension.
09-11-2018 09:47 AM
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