What’s wrong with the Constitution?
After two and one-half centuries of changes and growth as well as expanding from thirteen east coast states into fifty states spanning the middle of the North American continent, it’s understandable that the United States Constitution needs a refresh.
Just like portfolios require rebalancing, our Constitution and government require adjustment to better handle challenges in a timely fashion.
The inability to hold Donald J. Trump responsible for dereliction of duty (inaction) of protecting the Congress of the nation he swore to protect makes clear our Constitution is not flawless.
- Two and one-half years after the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol and no resolution to the issues raised.
- Cultural beliefs are overriding Constitutional rights like banning books of disdained content.
- Religious beliefs are being enforced in public areas such as antagonism to LGBTQ+ lifestyles.
- Fetus rights are given more weight than that of the female carrying them.
- The Supreme Court needs to become more responsive to the citizenry, while retaining its political independence.
- Senate supermajority requirement and courtesy holds on legislation are a major contributor to congressional inaction, into the breach of which the executive branch assumes power.
The head of the executive branch has evolved into nearly an imperial figure, as Theodore Schlesinger opined in 1973. The need for a quick response to rapidly developing challenges is a legitimate part of the change, but the attitude that the executive branch cannot be questioned has gone too far.
- If a government or administration official refuses to honor a legitimate Congressional oversight request to testify under oath, that official is automatically banned from making public statements on that issue.
- Limit two Presidential pardons per term maximum. More than that allows pardons to be a tool to permit executive branch misdemeanors.
- Volunteer appointees who are given tasks usually assigned to nominees requiring Senate confirmation must also be vetted and undergo Senate confirmation.
Yes, the Supreme Court needs to be as independent of political whims, but it mustn’t deify the oldest currents of thought by having ancient members.
If the Constitution were a complete, logical document, we could just mechanically determine the legal answer to any question by assembling the facts and using logic to derive the answer. Two main reasons we can’t are facts are not always agreed to and the meaning of words in the legal question often do not match those in the Constitution.
The Supreme Court members need to decide those two uncertainties, then apply the Constitution and existing laws.
- 15-year term for the justices. Long enough to be beyond immediate pressure, short enough to allow new thoughts to enter the arena.
- Of course, there must be public records of all significant gifts they are given and by whom.
- Automatic recusal when a case in front of them involves friends or benefactors.
It is contrary to Article I, Section 5, “a majority of each House shall constitute a quorum to do business” to require a supermajority to permit legislation to be voted on.
- End Senate supermajority blockade.
- Senatorial holds, like that of Senator Tommy Tuberville, holding 300 military nominations from a vote, is an informal rule that should be abolished.
Let’s go back to Jesus’ words: “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.”
- Civil laws in civic places. Religious laws in religious places.
- When religious organizations operate in the public sphere, then they must abide by civil laws and the Constitution.
- Religious organization must pay taxes at least at the same rate as individuals.
Organizations that protect their owners from unlimited liability in their occupations were not on the American founders’ radar.
- As a requirement of going public, the corporation must agree that the public which accepts its limited liability is a stakeholder that must be considered in its operation. It must abide by stockholder voting decisions.
- Corporation are not citizens. Their owners are. Corporations should have no role in funding political events or campaigning.
- Corporation tax rates must be the same as individual tax rates.
- Stock buybacks must be matched one-to-one with worker bonuses.
- Any increase in CEO compensation must be matched by a proportional increase in average worker salary.
The angst such constraints would face in the boardroom brings to mind FDR’s insight, “… a full pocketbook often groans more loudly than an empty stomach.”
I’m sure you can think of other ways in which our government is not successfully grappling with challenges of today, like the government budget, immigration, and weather disasters.
What changes to the government would you suggest?
Image of flag, paper, people, and activities on-going generated by Bing at my prompt.
States are democracies. The United States is not.
Gerrymander. House representation opposite state votes
Theodore Bernstein, The Imperial Presidency