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23 Ways to Update the Constitution

jonks

Lifer
Feb 7, 2005
13,918
18
81
http://www.amazon.com/More-Per...vitalize/dp/0802716210

Saw him on MSNBC. He only talked about a few of his ideas, guess he wants people to find out the others by buying the book. I haven't yet but here's some of his ideas:

1. ONE six year term for president, with a possible 2 year extention by national referendum.
- help prevent a first termer focus on just getting reelected

2. 15 year terms (not life) for SCOTUS and Federal judges
- if it's not the last job they'll ever have, consequences of their decisions might figure more prominently in their opinions. Lifetime appointments may provide for a more independent judiciary, but at some point it surpasses independence and becomes unaccountability. When do judges ever get impeached??

3. Line item veto power for the president
- I'm completely against this, but I haven't read his arguments in favor. Sending a massive bill the president from which he can just strip out all the provisions he does not agree with equates to executive legislation. IIRC SCOTUS has negged this one already so either a re-hearing on the issue or an Amendment would be required to reinstitute it.

Anyone have any thoughts on the above or other reasonable ideas for "fixing" the Const, and has anyone read the book?

BTW: Sabato is more interested in getting discussion started about updating the Constitution rather than immediately calling for votes or Amendments to be passed. He recognizes many of his ideas seem ridiculous now, because they're new, but after entering the public consciousness for a few years, they might start to look more possible and plausible.
 

FoBoT

No Lifer
Apr 30, 2001
63,089
12
76
fobot.com
i support 2,3
1 isn't really needed, but is ok

i don't see any constitutional amendments happening anytime soon
there is too much divisiveness to get the super majority required

it takes concensus to amend the constitution, we have very little of that these days
 

manowar821

Diamond Member
Mar 1, 2007
6,063
0
0
Here's a thought, I think it's time for a constitutional REBOOT. Just start over from scratch, see if we can manage to not fuck it up again.

The original Constitution is amazing, it's a shame that people seem to enjoy raping it like this.
 

Hayabusa Rider

Admin Emeritus & Elite Member
Jan 26, 2000
50,872
4,214
126
3 is awful. If it was a benign political world, sure. It's not. What it amounts to is being able to blackmail the opposition. I don't approve of it.
 

fskimospy

Elite Member
Mar 10, 2006
73,370
25,126
136
Line item veto is one of the worst ideas this country has ever seen. Thank god the supreme court killed it. If you want a monarchial executive, the line item veto is the way to get one.
 

piasabird

Lifer
Feb 6, 2002
17,168
60
91
How about we vote every two years for president house and senate and we have the option to vote no confidence when we dont want to retain someone (Maybe in Primary), so they can not run again. One main problem is we need to keep people from running if we dont like their performance. This could be a way of getting rid of the encumbant. I think some people get reelected because they already have the job and no one can beat them in the upcoming election because they are the encumbant.

I would go for an automatic 8 years for president if we had the option every 2 years of voting the president out of office every 2 years. If the president knew he only had 2 years if he did something bone-headed, then maybe they would act better while in office.

I would be comfortable with a maximum 8 year term for judges. I think we need to get rid of these 90 year old judges who lose touch with society.
 

SsupernovaE

Golden Member
Dec 12, 2006
1,128
0
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I swore to myself that I would never buy or read another Larry Sabato book after taking political science under him at UVA. For his class, we had to buy and read 9 books, all written by him, and listen to him talk about himself. I spent $500 on books just for that class-an introductory course!

Anyway, this does look interesting.
 

Martin

Lifer
Jan 15, 2000
29,178
1
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One of the first and most logical ways to amend it would be to remove the stipulation that a president must be born in the US. Doesn't it bother Americans that immigrants can never be equal citizens, even after obtaining citizenship?
 

jonks

Lifer
Feb 7, 2005
13,918
18
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Originally posted by: Martin
One of the first and most logical ways to amend it would be to remove the stipulation that a president must be born in the US. Doesn't it bother Americans that immigrants can never be equal citizens, even after obtaining citizenship?
I had this discussion with my uncle yesterday. His argument:
- who is better trained than a spy to dish out the level of lying bullshit and two faced ass kissing required to get elected president?
- you have to draw the line somewhere and a residency requirement would have to be so strict it basically would require having been born here anyway so it's not worth the effort of changing the constitution for it (didn't you see that nice blonde girl on 24 get brainwashed into a psychokiller from just a few years in a nameless ME country?)
- we don't WANT the pool of possible president's to be any larger. It's already hundreds of millions large, we don't need to make it any bigger to find suitable candidates for pres.

He wasn't adamantly opposed to changing it by the way, he just didn't think it was worth the time.

Oh, and does it bother me if an immigrant can't become president? Not a whole lot, no. You state that not being able to be president means naturalized citizens can never be equal to born citizens. Since that's true only at the most extreme level, i.e. they can do everything else, are entitled to all of the other rights, protections and privileges of US Citizenry, but they just can't get that one job, I have to say, that doesn't really bother me on any serious level. Just as if any other country had constitutional provision requiring a president be born in that country, I wouldn't mind. There's bigger things to worry about.
 

Craig234

Lifer
May 1, 2006
38,548
345
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All terrible changes.

1. We want to be able to change presidents in a reasonable time frame. Not that we exercise that very well - Nixon, Reagan, GWB all two-term disasters - but we shouldn't be stuck with a president for 6 years, and one man's concern over 'a president for re-election' is another's 'accountability to the public'.

Regardless, IMO it's a nonsense issue, the president is able to do things now - it's the legislators who are buried under fundraising all the time.

2. One man's 'they'll have to face the effects of their decisions' is another man's 'they need to create some income after leaving', and it's just a bizarre claim when they do live in the society already. Their insulation from politics is threatened enough already by the politicization of appointment and approval and the Washington social circuit - we don't need to make it more political.

3. As I've said many times, the line item veto is a disaster because it simply lets one party trump the others; the legislature, representing the nation, has a balanced battle to set spending priorities, and then the president gets rid of the spending for the other side as much as he wants - and can use the treat of that to get their votes on unrelated issues. It's a very harmful system.
 

MadRat

Lifer
Oct 14, 1999
11,665
46
91
I like the 1st idea but with one caveat, vote of confidence every two years with no limit to number of terms. This would cut down the bulls*** we have every four years, which really is a bunch of bulls*** every two years because the congress flipflops parties to balance out the politics and this in turn neutralizes any potential politic momemtum. The vote of confidence would need to be by majority, which means the president better keep the people happy or its TWO AND DONE.

The second idea is not so bad, I just like the prime number of seventeen. I'd only agree to this if there were no more than one up for nomination at a time, regardless of the number of vacancies. (We can have an election every six months to fill vacancies, no reason to tie it into other elections.) SCOTUS judges would be like the locusts, every seventeen years we get a new face. BUT its time we get to vote on the supreme court justices. Let the people decide who gets in and who does not. Every other branch of government is a whore to the people, no reason SCOTUS doesn't share in the rules of the harem.

The third idea is dumb when it comes to writing law. They need a balance to it, like after a line item is vetoed the entire document goes back for reapproval in the congress... wait, that is how veto already works. So, really, this is plain dumb. All or nothing.
 

lupi

Lifer
Apr 8, 2001
32,539
260
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Or we could just not have 2 political parties controlling everything.
 

MadRat

Lifer
Oct 14, 1999
11,665
46
91
Originally posted by: WHAMPOM
No "abolish political parties" in there?
Would be nice to see the presidential race non-partisan with candidates running at large in the primaries but whittled down to half a dozen for election day, AND the vice president returned to being the runner-up in the election.
 

ProfJohn

Lifer
Jul 28, 2006
18,251
5
0
Line item veto is good in funding bills.
As it was set up before the court tossed it out, which was the right choice by the court.

As it was set up before all it took to over ride a line item veto was a simple 50%+1 majority. That keeps the President from going over board, but also keeps congress in check.

Would make it much harder to push meaningless pork since the Prez could veto it out and then force congress to vote these items back in one by one.
 

Craig234

Lifer
May 1, 2006
38,548
345
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Originally posted by: ProfJohn
Line item veto is good in funding bills.
As it was set up before the court tossed it out, which was the right choice by the court.

As it was set up before all it took to over ride a line item veto was a simple 50%+1 majority. That keeps the President from going over board, but also keeps congress in check.

Would make it much harder to push the other party's meaningless pork and to be able to blackmail his own part to vote the way he wants of lose the projects in their own districts as pork since the Prez could veto it out and then force congress to vote these items back in one by one.
Fixed that.

Who'd a thunk PJ would be here ignoring the preceding posts on the issue.

So, how do the republicans like the idea of President Hillary taking the passed budget, and then slashing defense spending, and telling republicans 'vote for this universal health care bill/repeal of the patriot act/repeal of taxt cuts for the wealthy, or that spending in your district is starting to oink'.
 

eits

Lifer
Jun 4, 2005
25,206
2
81
www.integratedssr.com
i predict that sometime in the future we'll all have to embrace our 2nd amendment and do what the framers would have wanted us to do.... storm the white house and take back our country from tyranny.
 

Vic

Elite Member
Jun 12, 2001
48,696
9,895
136
All terrible proposals. These ideas aren't ridiculous because they're new, they're ridiculous because they suck.

1. would make every President an unaccountable lame duck the day he was sworn into office.

2. would get rid of the good judges just as quickly as the bad. Plus, Supreme Court judges are supposed to be accountable to the law, not the public.

3. would completely unbalance the constitutional checks and balances in favor of the exectutive. Could you imagine Bush with unlimited line-item veto power?


And if you want to "fix" the constitution, it contains an amendment clause in it. Go from there.
 

SSSnail

Lifer
Nov 29, 2006
17,461
80
86
"There are no Democrats or Republicans, Sunnis or Shiite, just the Haves and Have-nots. It doesn't matter who sits at the throne, there's only one controlling party for the interests of a few".

Great quote, out of a movie no less.
 

jonks

Lifer
Feb 7, 2005
13,918
18
81
Originally posted by: Vic
All terrible proposals. These ideas aren't ridiculous because they're new, they're ridiculous because they suck.

1. would make every President an unaccountable lame duck the day he was sworn into office.

2. would get rid of the good judges just as quickly as the bad. Plus, Supreme Court judges are supposed to be accountable to the law, not the public.

3. would completely unbalance the constitutional checks and balances in favor of the exectutive. Could you imagine Bush with unlimited line-item veto power?


And if you want to "fix" the constitution, it contains an amendment clause in it. Go from there.
I'll play devil's advocate. Because Satan Rocks!

1. There'd still be impeachment so accountability is not gone, and those last 2 years will probably still look mighty attractive. As to lame duck hood, how so? Is a president a lame duck in the first year of his 2nd term simply because Congress knows they don't have to deal with him after 4 years? He'd only become lame in the last year or 2 of his term, just like they do now.

2. Calls for changes to lifetime appointments at least in some way are not new, and have had support from numerous parties. This is actually the most likely of his ideas to be implemented I would think.

3. Someone above stated the presidential LIV, before it was thrown out by SCOTUS, had a simple majority requirement for Congressional overturning of an exercised LIV.
 

MadRat

Lifer
Oct 14, 1999
11,665
46
91
Some more that sound absolutely ridiculous:

1. Expand the Senate to 136 members to be more representative: Grant the 10 most populous states 2 additional Senators, the 15 next most populous states 1 additional Senator, and the District of Columbia 1 Senator.
2. Appoint all former Presidents and Vice Presidents to the new office of ?National Senator.?
4. Lengthen House terms to 3 years (from 2) and set Senate terms to coincide with all Presidential elections, so the entire House and Senate would be elected at the same time as the President.
5. Expand the size of the House to approximately 1,000 members (from current 435), so House members can be closer to their constituents, and to level the playing field in House elections.
8. Create a Continuity of Government procedure to provide for replacement Senators and Congresspeople in the event of extensive deaths or incapacitation.
15. Expand the size of the Supreme Court from 9 to 12 to be more representative.
19. Mend the Electoral College by granting more populated states additional electors, to preserve the benefits of the College while minimizing the chances a President will win without a majority of the popular vote.
20. Reform campaign financing by preventing wealthy candidates from financing their campaigns, and by mandating partial public financing for House and Senate campaigns.
21. Adopt an automatic registration system for all qualified American citizens to guarantee their right to vote is not abridged by bureaucratic requirements.
22. Create a Constitutional requirement that all able-bodied young Americans devote at least 2 years of their lives in service to the country.


Why:

1. Destroys representation of little states.
2. No way I want Dick Cheney acting as a senator. I could see the merit in all the ex-elected President's having the ability to execute a veto and over-ride vetoes on unanimous votes. But retired vice president's should never have any power at all.
4. I'd rather have the elections offset somewhat so we can have continuance from one presidential election to the next, likewise from one senate/house election to the next.
5. It's bad enough how it is now. I'd rather see fewer reps than more. Does this guy want the Politburo in the USA?
8. States have the right to fix this already.
15. Needs to be an add number at all times, perhaps 11 or 13 is doable. Twelve is a formula for gridlock.
19. Same problem as #5.
20. Let them spend their cash as they see fit.
21. I don't see why we need to garauntee what is already working. Truth is people don't vote because they could care less.
 
May 16, 2000
13,526
0
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Originally posted by: MadRat
Some more that sound absolutely ridiculous:

1. Expand the Senate to 136 members to be more representative: Grant the 10 most populous states 2 additional Senators, the 15 next most populous states 1 additional Senator, and the District of Columbia 1 Senator.
2. Appoint all former Presidents and Vice Presidents to the new office of ?National Senator.?
4. Lengthen House terms to 3 years (from 2) and set Senate terms to coincide with all Presidential elections, so the entire House and Senate would be elected at the same time as the President.
5. Expand the size of the House to approximately 1,000 members (from current 435), so House members can be closer to their constituents, and to level the playing field in House elections.
8. Create a Continuity of Government procedure to provide for replacement Senators and Congresspeople in the event of extensive deaths or incapacitation.
15. Expand the size of the Supreme Court from 9 to 12 to be more representative.
19. Mend the Electoral College by granting more populated states additional electors, to preserve the benefits of the College while minimizing the chances a President will win without a majority of the popular vote.
20. Reform campaign financing by preventing wealthy candidates from financing their campaigns, and by mandating partial public financing for House and Senate campaigns.
21. Adopt an automatic registration system for all qualified American citizens to guarantee their right to vote is not abridged by bureaucratic requirements.
22. Create a Constitutional requirement that all able-bodied young Americans devote at least 2 years of their lives in service to the country.


Why:

1. Destroys representation of little states.
2. No way I want Dick Cheney acting as a senator. I could see the merit in all the ex-elected President's having the ability to execute a veto and over-ride vetoes on unanimous votes. But retired vice president's should never have any power at all.
4. I'd rather have the elections offset somewhat so we can have continuance from one presidential election to the next, likewise from one senate/house election to the next.
5. It's bad enough how it is now. I'd rather see fewer reps than more. Does this guy want the Politburo in the USA?
8. States have the right to fix this already.
15. Needs to be an add number at all times, perhaps 11 or 13 is doable. Twelve is a formula for gridlock.
19. Same problem as #5.
20. Let them spend their cash as they see fit.
21. I don't see why we need to garauntee what is already working. Truth is people don't vote because they could care less.
Not that I agree with everything he says, but allow me to play a little devil's advocate:

1. Smaller ratios in representation increase democratic participation, as well as feelings of contentment. However this is really not that important with Senators as they're supposed to represent the state itself as a member of the union, and not the people (which is the role of congressional representatives). There is a very good argument for DC gaining a Senator however, or being fully absorbed into an existing state.

4. Probably the single best idea he has. Democracy is damaged by increasing frequency of elections or other polling events. The ideal participation rate is one election every 6 years...anything more and election exhaustion sets in. It's also economically sound. It should also help offset the party politics that play out during the odd election cycles we have now.

5. See my above statements about better representation. The artificial cap on the size of the house is arguably unconstitutional anyway. Furthermore that increase in size would greatly help with the introduction of third party representatives, or true independents.

8. I agree that Senators should have a single, national rule regarding continuity, however Congressional representatives should follow state guidelines.

20. Finance in campaigns is one of the single biggest problems in American politics. It has created a 'rich only' government which is wholly out of touch with the people it is supposed to represent. Money should have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with anything, especially your chances of being elected. I would take his idea much further in order to make money absolutely meaningless in elections.

 

Nitemare

Lifer
Feb 8, 2001
35,466
1
76
I'd like doing away with primaries as well. I want to vote for a person not someone who is just towing a party-line
 

Al Neri

Diamond Member
Jan 12, 2002
5,679
0
76
Originally posted by: manowar821
Here's a thought, I think it's time for a constitutional REBOOT. Just start over from scratch, see if we can manage to not fuck it up again.

The original Constitution is amazing, it's a shame that people seem to enjoy raping it like this.
he he he you used such a MODERN and INTELLIGENT NETWORD, REBOOT. Kudos to your genius!

he he he so INTELLECTUAL you are!
 

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