Flare Sci-fi Forums
Flare Sci-Fi Forums Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile | directory login | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Flare Sci-Fi Forums » Community » The Flameboard » Constitutional amendments I'd propose

   
Author Topic: Constitutional amendments I'd propose
Omega
Some other beginning's end
Member # 91

 - posted      Profile for Omega     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Ooh, the flameboard. Old home!

I've been blogging for a little bit now about US constitutional amendments I'd propose. I started with just a few ideas, and it just kept growing. Most of these are intended to address structural issues that neither "side" talks about; I'm specifically trying to not lock in specific political viewpoints. I'm mainly interested in making the system work better, and starting a conversation. I'd love some feedback, here or in the comments of the blog. What do you think of what I've suggested so far? Content, wording, pragmatic effect? Do you have any additional suggestions?

http://saladeggs.blogspot.com/

The list so far, including twenty I have queued up for future posts:

1) Should 3/4 of states ratify identical amendments to the Constitution, and at least 1/2 of the total number of states containing at least 1/2 the total population of the US ratify that amendment by popular vote, that amendment shall be adopted, regardless of whether or not that amendment has been proposed by Congress or an Article V convention.

2) Persons arrested or charged with crimes have the right to privacy until convicted. No person accused of a crime shall have their name publicly released until and unless they are convicted. Purposeful violation of the privacy of the accused without their written consent, filed with the court, shall be punishable by law.

3) No person convicted of a crime shall be punished until all judicial appeals are exhausted. Appeals shall be conducted without undue delay.

4) Every jurisdiction shall have sufficient judges and public defenders to ensure swift justice for all in that jurisdiction, including appeals. These positions shall be funded as necessary by the relevant jurisdiction, with a dedicated funding source.

5) No fees shall be charged for access to the courts.

6) In all lawsuits, money contributed to legal representation shall be divided evenly among all parties. Money submitted for legal representation that goes unused by any party shall be used to fund attorneys for the public defense.

7) All persons in the US shall have full access to the US justice system at all times, including class-action suits, regardless of prior contractual obligations. Any clause of a contract which denies either party access to a court of law for redress of grievance, is hereby invalid.

8) Each bill, except general appropriation bills and bills for the codification and general revision of the laws, shall contain only one subject, clearly expressed in its title. If any subject is embraced in any act and is not expressed in the title, only so much of the act not so expressed is void.

9) If Congress passes a law authorizing spending, that law shall also be construed to authorize any borrowing necessary to execute such spending.

10) In the event of a failure of the Congress to pass a bill funding ongoing government operations, all congresspersons shall be immediately subject to election, to be held within three weeks of the end of the previous spending law. If the Congress passes a bill funding government operations, and the President fails to sign said bill, the President shall also be subject to election. If the Congress overrides a Presidential veto of such a bill, only the President shall be subject to election.

In any interim between laws authorizing spending, the funding levels from the previous spending law shall continue to apply.

11) Any other rules of order notwithstanding, in the event that a majority the members of either chamber of Congress officially declares their approval of a bill, by sponsorship or other means, that bill shall be deemed to have been passed by that chamber.

12) Neither chamber of Congress shall conduct business without a majority of its members participating.

13) Property shall only be taken from its owner without consent if that owner is convicted of a crime, or if just compensation is given. No other takings are permitted.

14) In cases where private property is taken for public use, what qualifies as just compensation for that property shall be determined by a judge.

15) Weapons which convey the ability to kill large numbers of people rapidly are subject to regulation or ban by federal or state governments.

16) Weapons which are useful for purposes including (but not limited to) sport and self-defense, but are not useful for killing large numbers of people quickly, are subject to regulation by state and federal governments. However, their ownership shall not be barred to any adult person except for conviction of a felony or declaration of mental incompetence by a court of law. Regulation may include limits on the manner and locations allowable for carrying and storing such weapons, so long as such regulations do not interfere with the right of ownership and legitimate use.

17) When executing warrants, arrests, or otherwise issuing legally binding instructions, law enforcement officers shall in all cases clearly identify themselves, their intent, and their duties, before execution of same.

18) All votes cast in elections for offices federal, state, or local, shall be recorded in a written, durable form readable by a healthy human without mechanical assistance. This record shall be presented to the voter for verification before the vote is cast, whereupon that voter shall have the option to recast their vote. The federal government shall define standards for this process, and fund the acquisition of necessary equipment.

19) Ballots shall not indicate the party affiliation of any candidate.

20) In the event that voters are presented with a ballot listing the names of candidates, the order of those names shall be randomized on each ballot.

21) In no case shall the signatures of more than 100 registered voters be required for a candidate to be listed on the ballot for any election, nor shall fees be charged for such listing.
22a) The President shall be elected by popular vote. The electoral college is nullified.

22b) The electoral votes of each state shall be distributed proportionally to each candidate according to the popular vote within that state.

23a) No person shall hold the office of Senator more than twice, or of Representative more than six times.

23b) States shall have the right to set term limits for their Representatives or Senators.

23c) No person shall hold the office of Senator, Representative, or President twice in succession, but may otherwise serve as many times as elected.

24) All electoral districts shall be drawn by a politically-neutral group of at least five people, none of whom are elected officials. This body shall be politically neutral. The states shall have the power to define the selection process for this group.

25) States shall have the right to determine whether to use single-member or multi-member House districts, so long as each voter's weight is approximately equal.

26) States shall have the right to hold recall elections for their Representatives or Senators, and to determine processes to fill vacancies between elections.

27a) Congress shall have the power to regulate donations and spending on federal election campaigns. The states shall have such power over election campaigns for all other offices.

27b) All elections shall be publicly funded; spending private money on an election, unless that money is equally shared among all candidates for that office, shall be forbidden by law.

28) All public elections at any level of government shall be held using approval voting.

29) The courts may rule on the constitutionality of bills before Congress prior to their adoption as law, or on any new bill passed into law.

30) A US citizen has the right to challenge the constitutionality of any law in court. Fees may be charged to file a constitutional challenge, but these fees shall not exceed the median weekly wage of the United States.

31) The right of individuals to be secure in their person, things, and effects, as well as the right of individuals to be secure against unwarranted search and seizure, shall extend to items and information held for that individual by a third party. These rights shall also extend to communication by that individual with whatever party, and information that such communication took place.

32) The right of a person to not be compelled to give self-incriminating testimony shall include the right to refuse to assist the state in accessing private possessions or information.

33) Any modification of a person's private possessions without warrant shall be interpreted as a violation of that person's right to security in said possessions, and shall be a criminal act, punishable by law.

34) All public actions taken by any law enforcement officer are subject to recording by the public. Such recordings shall be treated as the private property of the owner. Willful destruction of such records by anyone not their rightful owner shall be treated the same as destruction of any other private property.

35) No person shall be tortured, either as punishment or to elicit testimony, or for any other reason. Torture or conspiracy to commit torture by any person in the United States, or in the service thereof, shall be a criminal act, punishable by law.

36) No person shall, in any case, be imprisoned for failure to pay a debt.

37) Copyrights exist for a fixed term, defined at issuance of that copyright. In no case shall a copyright term be retroactively lengthened.

38) Statutory penalties for copyright infringement, where the party convicted of infringing did not profit, shall in no case exceed ten times the market value of the item infringed.

39) In the event a copyright-holder can not be identified or located, a court shall set appropriate license fees, applicable for a fixed time. Should the rights-holder become known before that time, they shall receive all fees paid, and have all standard rights to re-negotiate the license at the end of the fixed term. If the rights-holder does not become known before the end of the license period, the work shall enter public domain.

40) Simple possession of controlled substances shall in no case be punished by incarceration, nor considered in determining the length of incarceration for other related crimes, unless such incarceration is primarily for the purpose of treatment. This applies retroactively to all persons presently so imprisoned.

41) Courts shall have full discretion over the sentencing of convicted criminals. All mandatory sentencing laws are void. Presently incarcerated convicts shall have the right to have the length of their sentences appealed if those sentences were set by mandatory minimum laws.

42) The state shall not offer persons accused of a crime any inducement to plead guilty, including the option of pleading to a lesser charge.

43) The operation of prisons shall not be outsourced to any non-governmental agency.

44) In cases where unwarranted searches are reasonable and otherwise lawful, the means of such searches must be established as both necessary and effective in a court of law prior to such searches being performed. Cases may be brought before the court for the express purpose of establishing same for any proposed means of search.

45) No person shall be held indefinitely without charge or trial, either within the United States or by any agency thereof. All persons held by the United States, regardless of geographic location, shall have swift access to the courts.

46) No agency of the United States shall release a prisoner of any sort into the custody of another country or non-state agency if there is reasonable expectation that the prisoner's human rights will be violated in the recipient's custody.

47) Any planned or ongoing gathering of information relating to a criminal investigation, where such gathering would otherwise violate civil rights, shall be considered to be a search, and as such must be authorized by the courts before it can take place. The agency seeking such a warrant must clearly demonstrate to the court why such a warrant is necessary. The target of the information-gathering must be limited, and clearly specified in the warrant. The person who is the subject of the warrant must be promptly informed of the search.

48) All laws and court rulings, both federal and state, must be publicly accessible without cost or restriction.

49) The federal government shall have no authority to regulate private property that does not in any case change owners, cross state lines, or otherwise have effect outside the boundaries of a particular state.

50) No person shall be deprived of the right to vote for conviction of a crime, except for crimes of violence, treason, or electoral fraud. Removal of suffrage can only take place after all judicial appeals are exhausted. Suffrage must be immediately reinstated in the event the conviction is overturned.

--------------------
"This is why you people think I'm so unknowable. You don't listen!"
- God, "God, the Devil and Bob"

Registered: Mar 1999  |  IP: Logged
Guardian 2000
Senior Member
Member # 743

 - posted      Profile for Guardian 2000     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Some are interesting, some not, and some are simply unworkable, but for discussion purposes, it might be better to split them into separate threads based on topics, e.g. law enforcement, property rights, Congressional ops, et cetera (and yes, there is overlap, but still).

--------------------
G2k's ST v. SW Tech Assessment

Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Omega
Some other beginning's end
Member # 91

 - posted      Profile for Omega     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I just didn't want to flood the forum. Because, you know, there's so much other traffic. [Smile]

--------------------
"This is why you people think I'm so unknowable. You don't listen!"
- God, "God, the Devil and Bob"

Registered: Mar 1999  |  IP: Logged
Malnurtured Snay
Blogger
Member # 411

 - posted      Profile for Malnurtured Snay     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
2) Persons arrested or charged with crimes have the right to privacy until convicted. No person accused of a crime shall have their name publicly released until and unless they are convicted. Purposeful violation of the privacy of the accused without their written consent, filed with the court, shall be punishable by law.
I don't see how this is possible without resulting in a judicial system operating in even more secrecy than it already does.
Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged
Jason Abbadon
Rolls with the punches.
Member # 882

 - posted      Profile for Jason Abbadon     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
34) All public actions taken by any law enforcement officer are subject to recording by the public.
This was actually argued and upheld by the Supreme Court: Police officers are public servants and can be video and audio recorded performing their duties.

That's not to say the police are told this or at least, they claim ignorance. There's a million stories of people getting their phones confiscated and even arrested for "obstruction of justice"- the modern catch-all to justify false inprisonment.

quote:
36) No person shall, in any case, be imprisoned for failure to pay a debt.

This is already a law, but is circumvented by companies bringing civil suits against debtors- if the debtor does not show or cant be located, the court proceeding goes on anyway- with the judge usually ordering a warrant of arrest for contempt of court for the debtor and once arrested, they find they had a Summary judgment against them passed and must pay the ENTIRE debt before being released from prison.

Seriously, this country is becoming a horrible Orwellian/Dickensian clusterfuck.

--------------------
Justice inclines her scales so that wisdom comes at the price of suffering.
-Aeschylus, Agamemnon

Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
MinutiaeMan
Living the Geeky Dream
Member # 444

 - posted      Profile for MinutiaeMan     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Malnurtured Snay:
quote:
2) Persons arrested or charged with crimes have the right to privacy until convicted. No person accused of a crime shall have their name publicly released until and unless they are convicted. Purposeful violation of the privacy of the accused without their written consent, filed with the court, shall be punishable by law.
I don't see how this is possible without resulting in a judicial system operating in even more secrecy than it already does.
I'm not sure how they do it, but this already happens in the UK: witness the case with the killing of a captured insurgent recently concluded, where the convicted soldier is still called "Marine A".

--------------------
“Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.” — Isaac Asimov
Star Trek Minutiae | Memory Alpha

Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged
Omega
Some other beginning's end
Member # 91

 - posted      Profile for Omega     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Yeah, a number of these are already law, in one form or another. But laws are a lot easier to change or ignore than a constitutional amendment. [Smile]
Registered: Mar 1999  |  IP: Logged
Jason Abbadon
Rolls with the punches.
Member # 882

 - posted      Profile for Jason Abbadon     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The problem with constitutional amendments is getting them ratified- states leaning one way or another will balk- and it's not as though we have direct elections- cant have the ignorant masses deciding such things for themselves now, can we?

--------------------
Justice inclines her scales so that wisdom comes at the price of suffering.
-Aeschylus, Agamemnon

Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.

Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


© 1999-2008 Solareclipse Network.

Powered by UBB.classic™ 6.7.3