11 December 2005
XXVIII through XXX
The New World Man suggests three Constitutional amendments:
1. I would repeal the 22nd Amendment's term limits for the President. I would provide for more candidates each year by requiring the Senate to nominate one of its members, and governors to nominate one of their number, for President, then letting the political parties nominate others, including the incumbent if they want. I would get minor parties in the door by providing for six debates by law, with participation open to any candidate who gets a certain number of signatures on a nationwide petition. I would require any participant in these debates to be on the ballot for President in every state.
I would provide that candidates for President could only take donations from persons, and must publicize the names and amounts as soon as the check is cashed. There would be no limit to the amount of a donation, but everyone (including the candidate's opponents, who would make sure the public knew) would know exactly where it came from. Finally, I would expand the number of electors to three times the number of Congressmen and Senators a state is entitled to and award electors proportionately to the popular vote in the state no more winner take all.
While my state has unusually difficult ballot access, I don't think I want the Federal government in charge of regulating something that has always been considered a proper state function. And I'm guessing that the tripling of electors is an attempt to avoid fractions when the proportional electoral votes are doled out, an idea about which I have my doubts.
As to the question of repealing the 22nd itself, I'd rather not have spite (in this case, originally directed at FDR) enshrined in the law of the land. If we're going to have term limits on a national level, let them be on the Congress, where a small percentage of lame ducks every second year will scarcely be noticed.
2. I would keep direct election of Senators, on the theory that I don't want to contract the franchise in the Constitution. But I would provide that a Senator could be recalled by vote of the state legislature and replaced by the sitting governor of the state. Hopefully, this would accomplish a couple things. It would make Senators more interested in doing what their constituents elected them to do; but the recall power would not be abused if the sitting governor had to take his/her place and a special election for governor had to ensue.
I looked askance at this, but he explains further:
I want to be able to recall Senators because they're awfully difficult to unseat themselves. I don't like the 17th Amendment, but as I say, I like the idea of amending the constitution to give people less power to vote even less. The idea isn't to get rid of underperforming Senators, though that's a feature, it's to keep their feet to the fire and incentivize them to represent their states. Does Sen. Ted Stevens act so intractable in the face of significant opposition in his own state to his "bridge to nowhere" if Alaska's legislature can recall him, for example?
This would work in Oklahoma only if someone were able to clone Brad Henry.
Inasmuch as state voters do vote for their governor and legislators, I don't think that repealing the 17th would actually give people "less power to vote."
3. I would provide that Congress' power to enforce the 14th Amendment includes the exclusive right to determine whether a state law violates it, and that no federal court may strike down, nullify or substantially revise a state law as violative of that amendment.
Of these three, this is the one I like best, and were I to make a wish list of my own, this one would be on it. (Besides, it's consonant with the text of the 14th: "Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.") Congress, unlike the federal courts, is answerable to the electorate. And you'd scarcely hear another whimper about "activist judges" and such.Posted at 11:21 AM to Political Science Fiction