Suggested Constitutional Amendments

Discussion in 'Politics & Law' started by CaptainObvious, Jun 19, 2010.

  1. CaptainObvious

    CaptainObvious Son of Liberty V.I.P.

    I got this from the recent dicussion with Sim in the Obama resignation thread and instead of continuing that off-topic discussion there I thought I'd just create a new thread.

    I'll add some more later and we can also debate the pros and cons of the different suggestions.

    My first proposed Constitutional amendments:

    1. I would like to see a Constitutional amendment granting gay and lesbians the right to marry. As it is now I don't find any Constitutional protections for this right (the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th amendment protects race, not gender) and it is also currently left to each individual state. Instead of having each state either vote on the issue or having each individual state supreme court rule whether a ban on gay marriage is constitutional or not, the federal government should just make any ban on gay or lesbian marriage unconstitutional via amendment.

    2. Term limits for the justices on the Supreme Court: When the Constitution was ratified and justices were given a lifetime appointment on "good behavior" a) they didn't live as long and 2) they served for a shorter period of time. The first ten justices served for an average of about 8 years. The first Chief, John Jay served for about 5 and left to run for governor of New York. John Marshall was the one that set the precedent serving about 34 years but even then, he was more of the exception rather than the rule. As a result younger and younger justices are being nominated now, that way a president can have a longer lasting impact on the bench and thus we're getting lesser experienced justices and judges, and once they've been on for too long they're further and further removed from the "pulse of society" so to speak. Thus I would propose a term limit of maybe 15-20 years.

    What suggestions do you have or what objections do you have to any of those proposed?

  2. Tucker

    Tucker Lion Rampant

    I don't have any real issues with the Constitution, with the possible exception of the one you allude to in your first proposal. Until I'm convinced otherwise, however, I doggedly maintain that it's a matter of interpretation: I don't see how a state should be allowed to deny anyone the pursuit of happiness on the basis of categorization.

    Regarding SCOTUS term limits, I'm not sure I buy your premise if it's that the Founding Fathers would have imposed the same had they known of future longer life spans. I was taught all through school that the justices were appointed for life due to their presumed great wisdom and comprehension of the Constitution. You know that the checks and balances that exist between the three branches are a large part of what makes American-style democracy the best system of government yet conceived. The more frequently those hallowed seats change hands, the more we see politics injected into an area historically considered separate and sacrosanct.
    CaptainObvious likes this.
  3. CaptainObvious

    CaptainObvious Son of Liberty V.I.P.

    I agree with you in that I don't think that's the main reason why they were given lifetime appointments. I do think however some problems with the lifetime appointment have arisen since then.

    You make a good point in respect to the seats changing hands, but I do feel the SCOTUS has become the most powerful branch of government. They've almost become a "super-legislature" that strikes down or upholds acts of Congress or actions by the President without any recourse.
    Tucker likes this.
  4. pro2A

    pro2A Hell, It's about time!

    I'd like to see a loss of two and a gain of two.

    I'd like to see term limits for Senators and Congressmen. 1 term per senator, and 3 terms per rep. I'd also like to see an amendment protecting the right to do whatever we want to our bodies. If I want to eat a 5000 calorie burger, great... if I want to smoke weed, it's my right.

    I'd also like a repeal of the 16th and 17th amendments. The IRS is archaic and the states no longer have a say in Washington.
    Tucker likes this.
  5. CaptainObvious

    CaptainObvious Son of Liberty V.I.P.

    The only problem I have with term limits in Congress is that sometimes people do actually elect very good Senators and Reps and excluding them from continuing to do a very good job in representing their constituents may be taking steps in the wrong direction.

    As far as the 16th amendment, I see no reason to repeal it. The federal government NEEDS to collect income taxes and the IRS is a necessity. I don't have a problem with reforming how it's done however.
  6. pro2A

    pro2A Hell, It's about time!

    I was going to say that the way it's done is not American. They could legally collect taxes and not enslave the American people with the tax code they have now.
  7. CaptainObvious

    CaptainObvious Son of Liberty V.I.P.

    What do you mean by enslaving the American people? Do you mean by instituting marginal tax rates such as 70%? 80%? Even 90% (during the Eisenhower administration)? If so, I would agree with you.
  8. Tucker

    Tucker Lion Rampant

    Guys, I'm all for using hot-button buzzwords in the course of a debate, but let's remember what slavery is. There are no millionaire slaves and you don't hit a 70% tax bracket unless you're doing obscenely well for yourself. Maybe there's some other, less extreme terminology that would be a little bit more apt in this case.
  9. Wade8813

    Wade8813 Registered Member

    I agree with the 2nd one. The amount of power currently given to the Supreme Court justices seems a bit absurd - they have arguably more power than the president now, and they never get removed.

    I don't see our nation being at a point where a pro-LGBT amendment would be a good idea. Maybe in the future, I dunno.
  10. Unity

    Unity #AllTogetherNowSTL Staff Member

    CO, I'm definitely a big fan of both of your choices. I'd like to also add the point (with the SCOTUS limits) that there are such a huge number of qualified individuals in the U.S. these days, in a time in which study of the law is one of the most pursued careers in the country. I like the idea of 20 years. More rotation would also be more fair to people of differing opinions that see the Justices sit on the bench; they'd know that one political environment or another doesn't dominate the Supreme Court for extreme amounts of time.

    I'd also like your first choice to include protection for Transgender individuals, because it needs to be addressed - probably unrealistic for the slow moving U.S. to tackle transgender issues without first letting marriage equality settle; it's probably an issue that more individuals have trouble understanding.

    Also, staying on the positive reviews (haha!), Pro I definitely agree with term limits for Congress; I'd probably up the Senatorial limits to 2 terms, though. It's a tough statement, because I think some Congressmen/women in both parties use their long-term experience to form a really positive career. Ted Kennedy comes to mind for me, personally. The problem, though, is that it seems that a majority of the others are a part of what is making Congress toxic in a lot of cases (not all by any means, I won't blanket such a large group of individuals' reputations with the bad behavior of some)...keeping politics as a career means more unintelligent talking points and less effective action taken. I'd hope that "fresher faces" would more often draw genuine people, solidifying Congress as a time of service instead of a life of campaigning.

    The inverse of that last statement, though, is that it would draw some individuals that feel they need to make a huge impact in a shorter time, rushing to judgment on pieces of legislation or using less restraint when composing it.

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