Last week I proposed two changes to the Constitution, one to fix the busted Senate and the other to fix the busted amendment process. Today I want to look at a few more, proposed by Larry J. Sabato in "A More Perfect Constitution." He proposes 23 changes. Here are the ones I like, and a few that I don't.
Mandate non-partisan redistricting for House elections to enhance electoral competition.
This is a good idea. Gerrymandering is a medium-to-huge problem that skews popular representation in favor of partisan power-grabbing.
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.
This is a good idea. Such an expansion would allow the Senate to expand to accommodate its relation to population rather than states, as I previously suggested.
Create a Continuity of Government procedure to provide for replacement Senators and Congresspeople in the event of extensive deaths or incapacitation.
This is a good idea. What happens if the State of the Union were attacked? That's the entire executive, legislative, and judicial branch in one swoop. The secretary of, like, agriculture sits it out every year so there's somebody in the line of succession left. But there should be a better safeguard than that.
Limit some Presidential war-making powers and expand Congress’s oversight of war-making.
This is a good idea. One person should not have as complete authority over military power as our president does.
Allow men and women not born in the U.S. to run for President or Vice President after having been a citizen for 20 years.
This is a good idea. Citizenship is a meaningless construct that is in no way a good measure of someone's capacity to lead the executive branch.
Adopt an automatic registration system for all qualified American citizens to guarantee their right to vote is not abridged by bureaucratic requirements.
This is a good idea. It's hard enough to register to vote that lots of people either can't or else don't even bother. Increasing democratic participation and easing access is a good thing.
Now here are a few I don't like:
Expand the size of the Supreme Court from 9 to 12 to be more representative.
The number of justices in the Supreme Court is not fixed by the Constitution at nine-- in fact, it's not fixed at all. In the 1930s, for example, the Supreme Court overturned so many of President Roosevelt's initiatives that he threatened to expand the Supreme Court with tons of justices who would rule in his favor if they didn't stop. This proposed amendment makes me wonder if he's read Article III at all.
Add a Balanced Budget Amendment to encourage fiscal fairness to future generations.
Paul Krugman would hang him out to dry for this. Even healthy economies need to run deficits and accrue debt on occasion, and requiring a balanced budget would totally hamstring the government's ability to do so. This is a remarkably bad idea.
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