|This is part three of a three part series on controlling the power of our representatives. The first in the series was on term limits. The second was on seniority in congress.
After having read my first post in this series, I am sure many believed that I am opposed to amending the constitution. I wish to state now very clearly I am not against amending the constitution. I feel that amending the constitution is a very constitutional act. Conner Boyack addresses this very well, and I will let you read his comments instead of spending too much time on that issue.
However, as Boyack mentions, there should be at least some measure by which a constitutional amendment must be measured. Among there 27 amendments, there are several that I feel should never have passed. Boyack expresses at least two of them, but his reasoning for opposing them are different from mine.
To understand that difference, we need to take a closer look at the first 10 amendenments, better known as the bill of rights. Here’s a quick rundown just to help refresh your memory:
Let’s take a look at these amendment as a whole. What do each of these amendments have in common. It might be easier if you look at just the first nine. Each of the first nine are focused around individual rights and liberties. While the tenth is often though of as the state’s rights clause we must not forget that it grants the same rights “to the people.”
While history tells us that these amendments were added because of the demand by the people for an enumeration of the rights of the people, I think that it sets a very interesting precedent. When amending the constitution, we must look at it’s effects on the rights of the people.
Of the remaining 17 amendments, the most problematic one are those that limit people’s rights. One example of this is the 18th amendment. By prohibiting alcohol, we limit individual freedom. Fortunately, the 18th amendment was repealed by the 21st amendment and individual freedoms were restored.
The amendments that have be beneficial to us are those that are about clarifying individual rights. The best examples of this are the 13th and the 19th amendments which granted freedom to slaves and allowed for women’s suffrage, respectively. These are generally celebrated amendments and that is because the have at their hearts the same thing that was at the heart of the first 10 amendments: individual rights and freedom.
I don’t oppose amending the constitution. I support it, when it is about guaranteeing rights, freedoms and protections.
One such amendment would be repealing the 16th amendment that made it legal to impose an income tax on the citizens. Not so much because I don’t like income taxes. Rather, because I feel that an income tax is an attack on my freedom as a person.
I would also support repealing the 17th amendment. You might question my reasoning on this. Doesn’t the 17th amendment give individuals the right to vote for their Senator. However, I would argue that the right to vote for your Senator was clearly not granted in the original constitution, and for good reason. That reason being that the founders didn’t want a democracy. And that the original intent was for the Senator to represent the state’s and not to represent the people. But that is a lengthy constitutional discussion that is beyond the scope of this post.
Another reason I support repealing the 17th amendment, such an amendment would effectively remove the desire for Senators to try and “bribe” the people with earmarks and entitlements. The Senators would now become servants of the states and not servants of the masses. It would be easier to replace an incumbent Senator under the original program, and would thus remove the need for term limits. It would also take care of the issue of seniority to a great extent.
I support amending the constitution. But only when those amendments are clearly in the interest of establishing the rights of the people, and the rights of the states as we see by the precedent established by the Bill of Rights.
Possibly Related Posts:
- Balance the Budget but Don’t Amend
- Lonsberry is Back
- Why Bridgewater Lost
- I Was Wrong
- How I Would Vote, If I Could