June 20th, 2011
12:26 PM ET

Is it time to update the U.S. Constitution?

We all know how Americans revere the Constitution, so I was struck by the news that tiny, little Iceland is actually junking its own Constitution and starting anew using an unusual - some would say innovative - mechanism.

The nation decided it needed a new Constitution and it's soliciting ideas from all of Iceland's 320,000 citizens with the help of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. This social media method has worked. Ideas have been flowing in. Many have asked for guaranteed, good health care. Others want campaign finance systems that make corporate donations illegal. And some just want the country to make shark finning illegal.

There is a Constitutional Council. It incorporates some of these ideas, rejects others, but everything is done in plain sight on the web. As one member of the Constitutional Council said, the document is basically being drafted on the Internet. 

Now, why do they need a new Constitution anyway? Well, after Iceland was crippled in recent years by the economic crisis, they all wanted a fresh start. And, anyway, they felt the document was old and outdated, drafted all the way back in 1944.

You might be tempted to say that Iceland doesn't have any reasons to be proud of its political traditions in the manner that the United States does. Well, think again.

Iceland is home to the world's oldest parliament still in existence, the Althing, set up in 930 A.D. The rocky ledge on which they gathered represents the beginnings of representative government in the world. So Iceland has reasons to cherish its history, and yet it was willing to revise it.

By contrast, any talk of revising or revisiting the U.S. Constitution is, of course, seen as heresy. The United States Constitution was, as you know, drafted in a cramped room in Philadelphia in 1787 with shades drawn over the windows. It was signed by 39 people.

America at the time consisted of 13 states. Congress had 26 senators and 65 representatives. The entire population was about one percent of today's number - four million people.

America was an agricultural society, with no industry - not even cotton gins. The flush toilet had just been invented.

These were the circumstances under which this document was written.

Let me be very clear here, the U.S. Constitution is an extraordinary work - one of the greatest expressions of liberty and law in human history.

One amazing testament to it is the mere fact that it has survived as the law of the land for 222 years.

But our Constitution has been revised 27 times.  Some of these revisions have been enormous and important, such as the abolition of slavery. Then there are areas that have evolved. For example, the power of the judiciary, especially the Supreme Court, is barely mentioned in the document. This grew as a fact over history.

But there are surely some issues that still need to be debated and fixed.

The electoral college, for example, is highly undemocratic, allowing for the possibility that someone could get elected as president even if he or she had a smaller share of the total national vote than his opponent.

The structure of the Senate is even more undemocratic, with Wisconsin's six million inhabitants getting the same representation in the Senate as California's 36 million people. That's not exactly one man, one vote.

And we are surely the only modern nation that could be paralyzed as we were in 2000 over an election dispute because we lack a simple national electoral system.

So we could use the ideas of social media that were actually invented in this country to suggest a set of amendments to modernize the Constitution for the 21st Century.

Such a plan is not unheard of in American history.

After all, the delegates in Philadelphia in 1787 initially meant not to create the Constitution as we now know it, but instead to revise the existing document, the Articles of Confederation. But the delegates saw a disconnect between the document that currently governed them and the needs of the nation, so their solution was to start anew.

I'm just suggesting we talk about a few revisions.

Anyway, what do you think? Should we do this? And if we were to revise the U.S. Constitution, what would be the three amendments you would put in?

Let us know in the comment thread and we'll post the best ones on the Global Public Square.

Post by:
Topics: GPS Show • Law • What in the World?

soundoff (2,350 Responses)
  1. exodus84

    Considering how our politicians grandstand to a growing field of morons who vote, rich special interests and businesses Id be DEATHLY afraid to see what a new constitution would look like.

    June 20, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Reply
    • Rick

      totally agree. the same people who pushed the anti-american "patriot act" want to "update" it. chk out my post.

      June 20, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Reply
  2. Rick

    what is possibly the GREATEST EXPRESSION OF LIBERTY in human history needs to be removed for the one world government agenda pushers. to my HORROR... CNN's poll today asks if the US Constitution should be "updated".

    ALL the problems of today have happened just because DC have not upheld the US constitution. specially WAR
    (article 1 section 8)

    June 20, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Reply
    • betterthanjosh

      only to get rid of you and your one government world, storm trooper

      June 20, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Reply
  3. rb

    Not the wild west for sure, however my shotgun was very helpful when 3 guys broke in last month, the saw it and ran for the hills.

    June 20, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Reply
  4. Kenneth Powers

    For the love of all that is holy will you retarded rednecks stop showing your ignorance by refraining from using racial slurs, and telling people to "go back to camel jockey land" ?

    June 20, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Reply
  5. scotty

    Instead of revising our constitution, how about we get back to actually abiding by it? Seems to me that The Corporation long ago took over the affairs of this country. Our Supreme Court recently ruled that the Corporation can now have the same rights as individual citizens. WTF! over?

    The only candidate out there that is actually a constitutionalist is Ron Paul. Neither the "Republicorps" or the "Democorps" want any attention paid to him.
    Sad.....

    But we will have our constitutional government again one day- after the current paradigm collapses. When we will finally get back to basics and what is really important for the future of Humanity.
    Peace~

    June 20, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Reply
    • betterthanjosh

      Ron Paul = big business/corps standing on the backs of the working men = slavery, not freedom

      June 20, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Reply
      • Rick

        no matter how much lies (knowingly or not) you say, the TRUTH will prevail in the end. get a spine or learn about the issues from dr. paul and not the dirty sleazy propaganda against him.

        June 20, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
  6. Ivan Hild

    Constitutional Change:
    The US Constitution is not an exceptional document. It was a compromise and out of date within 25 years. All constitutions must evolve, but the declared purpose of the mechanism of ours is to thwart change. ‘Original intent’ has no basis in logic. Most improvements already exist in leading, more mature, industrialized nations and we should simply copy them.
    Three much needed changes are:
    1. Switch to a parliamentary system in which the President or PM and is chosen on the basis of ability and experience by colleagues in the elected majority party. For Obama to spend $1 billion on reelection is obscene, and to begin campaigning 2 years in advance rather than running the country is ludicrous. Fifty-one percent of Senate members should be appointed based on their business, academic, or social support knowledge.

    2. Severely restrict federalism. Move to national standards and laws and avoid being the dis-United States of America. Merge states into administrative 6-7 regions.

    3. Improve individual human rights. Ensure that the ancient concept of autonomy and freedom of individual choice are central to our federal laws. Adopt regulations already adopted in the 20th century in OECD nations for 21st century America:
    a. Universal health care
    b. Allow abortion funding (gestational age 16-20 weeks)
    c. Discontinue the death penalty
    d. Allow same sex marriage
    e. Enforce strict gun control

    June 20, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Reply
    • kirk

      Ivan Hild
      i would kill to stop something like that and im not kidding i am against EVRYTHING YOU SAID
      as soldiers we too kan oath to uphold and protect the constitution your outright contempt for our beloved constitution is made manifest in your words AND WE DONT WANT OR NEED THE OECD EVER

      June 20, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Reply
    • betterthanjosh

      spoc, kill kirk and put ivan in charge

      June 20, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Reply
      • KIRK

        NO BETTERTHANJOSH BUT I DID SWEAR THIS WHEN I WAS 17 AND IT WILL HOLD UNTILL I DIE UNDERSTAND THAT
        I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States AGAINST ALL ENEMIES FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

        June 20, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
      • KIRK

        bring it josh you threatening me punk?? all i said i would kill to defend constitution you said kill me would you like to meet and discuss this im game

        June 20, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
      • betterthanjosh

        you are the only one seriously talking of killing and you know that.

        as for the spoc thing, just a goof on your name to poke more fun at you.

        looks like your intent to instill fear in others is because of the fear in you

        June 21, 2011 at 12:03 am |
    • Ann Howe

      Never, a$$ wipe!

      June 21, 2011 at 12:08 am | Reply
    • Don

      MR. Hild, let me make sure I understand some of your key points:

      You would advocate abolishing our present form of democracy in favor of a parliamentary system, wherein the leader (Prime Minister) would be elected by popular vote of the legislative bodies, sort of like the popularity contests we all had in high school.

      One of the legislative bodies (Senate) would be a majority of appointed representatives based upon their perceived knowledge of public causes and their notoriety among their would be colleagues (senators). Sure as hell sounds like the "good ole buddy network" at work to me. In essence a majority of the Senate would be appointed by other senators and House members based primarily on their popularity. This sounds almost identical to the process of picking a prom queen in high school. Were you a prom queen by chance?

      Next we move on to "entitlements" you advocate.

      Universal health care for all. Noble cause. So the foundation of the "Land of the Free" would change to enslave everyone for life to pay for everyone to be taken care of from "womb to tomb". Is that what you're saying? Explain to a child, your child, that you have to take away, or not provide, some things to the child because the funds and resources that the parents worked hard for to be able to provide for the child, have been allocated to someone else's child that is not as healthy as your child. I hope you're the one that explains that to the deprived child. That's what I call the "insurance" mentality. In my opinion ALL forms of "insurance" should be outlawed. People are too damn dumb to understand those multi-billion dollar skyscrapers owned by the insurance companies came out of their pocket! But that's another issue.

      Others describe that mentality as "communism", or a form of "socialism".

      Next, I think we had government funded abortions. Some would call that "murder". Doesn't that conflict with your nect advocated point – abolish the death penalty? In case nobody ever told you, in lie, you can't have it (whatever "it" may be) both ways. Now on top o that, you advocate that somebody else pays for a medical procedure arising from some female getting banged that either doesn't want to have a child, or couldn't take care of a child if she did. Oh, but given that everyone would be taken care of from "womb to tomb" in your "utopia", wouldn't that make any abortion unnecessary? So long as someone else is payin the tab.

      Last, I think we had your premise of equality for gays. Singling out one group over another defeats the very purpose of "equality" and constitutes an oxymoron.

      But, what else would I expect to come from a moron....?

      June 21, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Reply
  7. Jon

    It is a clear and undeniable fact that for the past 4 years forces outside of the U.S. and internally have been trying to convert the American REPUBLIC into a socialist state. IF the American people were so naive as to even contemplate the idea of a complete constitutional rewrite they would be opening up our country to the ever increasing lunacy of Socialism. The Founding Fathers created the Constitution as a living document that was designed to change as the country grew and evolved. Hence that is why there are amendments to the Constitution. Our Founding Fathers patterned America and the Constitution after the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire was able to bend and flex and adapt to the needs of its people as does America today. The Roman Empire lasted 1000 years because it was like America, For the People by the People. A complete constitutional rewrite would allow vitriolic influences to hijack the Constitution and make it For the Government On the Backs of the People. As a born and raised American I take a stark 180º position to allowing Socialist and Communist to rule America, Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. We must be vigilant Watchmen of our Constitution and never allow this document to be destroyed or our country to be overtaken by oppressive forces.

    June 20, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Reply
    • betterthanjosh

      the roman empire died a long and horrible death Jon. you and your empire are dying too, horrible huh?

      June 20, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Reply
  8. randy j

    I know you said three, but....
    1) Campaign Finance: no corporate or private organization or group to be allowed to donate to federal candidates or to their support; regulate amount of personal funds a candidate or their family may expend toward and contribute to political campaign or toward public office.
    2) Federal Bench: federal judges serve maximum of 12 years and chosen on the basis of their moderate views across the substantive and or often debated topics of the day, not leanings.
    3) Citizenship: to limit U.S. citizenship to children born of parents who are citizens at the time of birth or to those who are naturalized through an established and uniform congressional process.
    4) Federal Budget: federal budget to be balanced; specific monetary ramifications to all members of congress & u.s. president/vp if it's not.

    June 20, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Reply
  9. Charles Marsteller

    My two suggested amendments: campaign finance reforms providing for public financing, bans on corporate contributions and a declaration that money does not equal speech.

    Flexible wages for Federal employees–that wages can be adjusted depending on the economy and tax recpt's

    June 20, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Reply
  10. Adam

    I think it would be great if we followed Iceland's method of development and review. However, we all know that the result would be very bad. Due to the level of corruption in corporations, lobbying, prejudice, and misleading or false journalism thanks to no truth in broadcasting law in this country, we could never expect anything better than what we already have.

    June 20, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Reply
  11. ChazRI63

    I don't feel the constitution should be rewritten as the general foundation of the docuement is still sound. As pointed out it is a document of structure and basic rights. I do disagree with the elimination or changing the Senate to a proportional body.

    My thoughts for change
    1 – Term limits, Congress needs to have limits to minimize the impacts of lobbies. We have too many "elder statesmen" that have done nothing but work the system in Congress.
    2 – Electoral Reform, either apportioned by district won or by percentage of votes. Closer representation to the popular vote but not a one to one as this does favor large states too much. Swing districts are better than swing states and would get our candidates to visit more areas of the country.
    3 – Elimination of "advise and consent" of executive appointees except for SCOTUS. Possible qualifications for Judicial appointees enumerated.

    June 20, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Reply
  12. Drew

    You have to wonder how much of the time would be caught up in frivolous debate over abortion, same-sex marriage, etc.

    June 20, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Reply
  13. kirk

    Ivan Hild
    i would kill to stop something like that and im not kidding i am against EVRYTHING YOU SAID
    as soldiers we too kan oath to uphold and protect the constitution your outright contempt for our beloved constitution is made manifest in your words AND WE DONT WANT OR NEED THE OECD EVER

    June 20, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Reply
    • betterthanjosh

      start by killing yourself and your family if you must kill, boy with a mental illness

      June 20, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Reply
      • KIRK

        NO BETTERTHANJOSH BUT I DID SWEAR THIS WHEN I WAS 17 AND IT WILL HOLD UNTILL I DIE UNDERSTAND THAT
        I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States AGAINST ALL ENEMIES FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

        June 20, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
  14. Dan G

    I'd offer a few ideas:

    1) The Senate was intended to represent the States, while the House was intended to represent the people. Direct election of Senators has led to all sorts of contradictions. So, suggestion 1 is that we go back to a system where Senators are elected by the States.

    2) Term limits. This applies especially to House members. 10 years (5 terms) is quite enough, thank you. (I am assuming fractious Legislatures will create term limits on Senators.)

    3) Redistricting must be reformed. The Constitution was written before there were strong parties that maintain their power by districting to continue to get re-elected.

    4) A Federal Judiciary appointment system that works like NJ: you are appointed for 5 years (longer than the term of the sitting Governor/President) on the first go. At the end of 5 years, you may be re-appointed for life or replaced. This has ensured a strong, stable judiciary in NJ.
    4a) Senatorial privilege, that allows a single Senator to block a judicial appointment, must be eliminated. It's not clear if this needs to be in the Constitution, but the practice is reprehensible.

    5) This one is a problem for which I don't have a suggested answer: modern warfare requires a much more modern understanding of how/when the President can use force. The old "launch on warning" of the M.A.D. Cold War days is just one example; the current debate about the legality of the Libya intervention is another. The Constitution should really be revised to create a stronger legal platform here.

    6) Per-State proportional Electoral College, as "AJ" discusses above. States still get as many Electoral votes, but the winner-take-all laws at the State level are over-ridden by a Constitutional mandate.

    Finally) The idea that individual liberty comes with individual responsibility. I'm looking at all the liability lawyers out there who have made injury suits into a kind of lottery ticket. Sometimes, people, it is *your* fault, not some deeper pocket.

    OK - and we also need to establish the proper legal framework for zombie apocalypse. 😉

    June 20, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Reply
  15. Kenneth

    Our Constitution isfully open to amendment and as such does not need to be rewritten. While it is nice and pretty to revise our Constitution to eliminate those things about which we wish to forget, that will also allow us to deny those things which we never wish to see again. Insightfully, Mr. Fareed understands that full reconstruction is not needed. Our original governing document, the Articles of Confederation, were created by people fresh from battle against a corrupt and self-serving bureaucratic Parliament, and as such was so weak it could not provide any of the security needed for defense or trade. From extremely well educated and practical men with a pragmatic life experience came a document flowing with understanding of human limitiations, political limitations, and economic limitations. Read, and re-read until you understand it, Federalist Paper Number 10 and you will see what I mean. However, I would not trust our general citizens today to attempt so lofty a document, and for these reasons: Today's people are so inundated with the teachings of Ayn Rand and other atheists, that they are not capable of comprehending the reality of Social Contracts true meaning; Our Founding Fathers understood what was ethical in a superior way to the majority of people both then and now. (Which is not to say they always behaved in a morally superior manner – they were afterall able to make mistakes, but that they were better learned in the nature and philosophy of what is ethical and included that in the creation of the Constitution.) Further, in my experience not only are the vast majority of people not ethically capable of reaching the same level as our Constitution, but the vast majority of those with whom I have met – across 49 states – are ill equipped with a sufficient amount of historical, legal, economic, and ecosystemic knowledge to make informed decisions. I have even been told that beef comes from beef manufacturing centers, not cows. In a society where facts are irrelevant, personal pleasure justified on no more than the whim of the moment, narcotics a rampant disease destroying families and nation equally, scores of sexually transmitted diseases rampant and many at epidemic proportions, deficit spending that is beyond unsustainable, and an urban centered population completely depending on mass produced goods, services, and basic food with no capacity for self-sufficiency – we do not have a population pragmatic enough, practical enough, disciplined enough, educated enough, nor in fact tolerant enough of race, world view (cultural, philosophical, and religious), sexual distinctiveness, gender, or social status to even begin to attempt such a grand document. Too many who lead us, both in the public and private sector, have repeatedly shown a marked lack of awareness of the fortunes of those whom they lead. Those who are now led have achieved a well earned bitterness against those who profess to act in their interests, or in the private sector (and thanks to Objectivism) simply openly declare a lack of concern with what happens to those whose lives they would Enron.

    If I had a choice as to what to amend for the good of our society, I would create the following:
    1) Mandatory public service in a uniformed services for four years by all functionally capable citizens and residents; said services to include but not be limited to: the Civilian Conservation Corps (under the Dept. of the Interior), Public Health Service Commisioned Corps, Department of Defense, and National Guard.
    2) Recognition of all ecosystemic and economic interactions as those of special entities who have necessary conditions of special dependence such that it is a public and state responsibility to protect their interest, and for whom both public and governmental entities may act on the behalf of as custodial stewards.
    3) To clearly define separation of Church and State as the lack of authority by any government, or person representing such authority, through support, coercion, intimidation, or other action or inaction to impose any system of creeds or specific world view about the nature, perception, definition, and observance of existence or lack thereof upon any person or group of persons.

    June 20, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Reply
  16. Toljaso

    It's said that the founding fathers didn't want a strictly representative government. Perhaps the had a crystal ball and knew California was coming.

    June 20, 2011 at 9:50 pm | Reply
  17. jessica abalos

    I think adding/revising our constitution would be a great idea but I think we need to decide what to add. I would love to dismantle the electoral college. I think we do need more specific laws about election disputes. I think the senate was made that way because the house of representatives represents each states population and the senate represents equality with each state, so that is necessary and I would not touch it. I think we should require congress and all congress members be required to contribute and take part in social security and their salary should average to about the average US citizens salary. Every US citizen should get 100% healthcare and a better path to legal immigration be created.

    June 20, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Reply
  18. Tate

    How did you get your job? Your lack of knowledge re: American history and politics is unbelievable.

    June 20, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Reply
  19. LynchMob

    I've read quite a few of the responses and this is absolutely why I love our country. Only in America do we all share a strong enough sense of personal security that we can sound off in a national dialogue regarding issues that we deem critical to our nation's future well being. What document guarantees such security? The U.S. Constitution! As such, why would we want to throw it away and start over? The Constitution is a living document, intended to limit the powers of the government on behalf of the people. Our founders recognized that unforeseen issues would arise and require a change. They therefore created a process in which to amend the Constitution. Is it perfect? Absolutely not. However, I challenge anybody to find a document anywhere that better protects its citizens FROM the government.

    What truly scares me is the lack of education of our government system. Ask the average person how big the Constitution is and they'll likely tell you its hundreds of pages long. The look of disbelief on their face when they see its actually the size of a pamphlet is priceless! By the way, this is not a generational issue. Old and young alike are guilty of their "ignorance." What would be truly interesting is instituting a voter education requirement. I'm talking about a simple test that evaluates the voter's comprehension of our form of government, not necessarily the issues at hand. Why not? In every other facet of our country a license is required when an activity is so dangerous it could cause harm to others (i.e. driving, medical doctors, engineers, electricians, etc.) Couldn't allowing an uninformed voter create harm to others by them not understanding the purpose of the Senate or the House, for example? I think so.

    Bottom line, Mr. Zakaria, we don't need to throw the constitution out and start over. Instead, we need our government to return to the powers outlined within it. If a new governmental issue arises, then lets propose an amendment and get it ratified. Until then, let's the leave the document alone that provides all of the ability to speak freely about dismantling our form of government.

    June 20, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Reply
  20. Toljaso

    What's the difference between a lawyer and a bucket of $h(t? The bucket.
    All joking aside, it seems pretty obvious to me that it takes some crackin good lawyers to write up a decent constitution. Forget about this fantasy of millions of on-line dysfunctional internet addicts tweeting up a new foundation. Ever wonder why post-grads don't reference wikipedia? Sheeesh.

    June 20, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Reply
    • aups1115

      I always assumed it was because Wikipedia isn't on the required reading list, and professors, publishers and editors don't get any money out of it. Seriously, the average correction time for a bad post on Wikipedia is 15 minutes. It's general knowledge, and as far as encyclopedias go it's not bad. You don't cite Wikipedia for the same reason you don't cite any other encyclopedias; the point of citation is to prove that someone else agrees with you on a complex point, not to establish general knowledge.

      For that matter, the more complex the issue, the more people disagree on it, as any post-grad knows. Go ahead and try to find ten books on the same subject written by Ph.Ds that agree on all points. Personally, I think crowd-sourcing is a great idea. They can throw out the crazy ideas and keep the ones that a lot of people agree on. That way, at least they know that their constitution is the will of the people, not the will of the few elites who are supposed to be writing it.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Reply
  21. Michelle in Tallahassee

    Leave the document alone. Any changes made in the way we do things would be to get back to what the constitution really says and quit ignoring it.

    June 20, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Reply
  22. S. Durham

    We will change our Constitution over my and millions of other Patriotic Americans dead bodies. The muslim CNN host and White House insider Fareed Zakaria, his muslim buddy Barack Obama, and all the socialists/communists in this country had better leave our sacred documents alone. I can't wait until the election of 2012 when we take down these liberal/socialist degenerate subversives.

    June 20, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Reply
    • aups1115

      The "sacred document" has been amended 27 times. It was meant to move with the times and incorporate improvements as future generations developed the more perfect union. One could make the argument that amendments are part of the point and purpose of the Constitution. By "Patriotic Americans" I can only assume you mean fellow ignorant racists. Also, the Cold War is over.

      Sorry all... I know I'm not supposed to feed the trolls, but it's for a good cause.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Reply
    • betterthanjosh

      just remeber, it was you who asked for it to be over your dead body.. someone will be glad to grant that request for you i'm sure

      June 20, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Reply
  23. jsfaofhvk

    Do I have to tell everyone?
    It is Arab not Arabic(Arabic is a language).
    People should not be racist either.
    This is not a bad idea, but maybe we shouldn't change the whole constitution.
    Overall, I think this could make a better America.

    June 20, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Reply
  24. McGuffin

    I would agree that it's worth thinking about. Many things in the Constitution and the Amendments are based on an outdated world with poor communication and no army. The federal system in which states have much of the power is one example (with poor communication, local authority is more important). The government could be much more efficient if the largest programs are run centrally without being filtered in so many ways by the states. The electoral college goes along with this. The Second Amendment is another example of part of the Constitution that is no longer needed, organized militias no longer being necessary for the security of our state. And that's not to mention the regulation of slavery.

    That being said, the Constitution is amazingly adaptable, and I think it's a safer, better idea for people to simply get behind a few new amendments if we really need them. One quelling the power of the judiciary and another explicitly denying the President authority to use the military in police actions overseas without Congressional approval spring instantly to mind.

    But to the author, I say, the Senate is not undemocratic. It is precisely the compromise that is needed: the House gives populous states more representation, and the Senate ensures that no states get left behind or overruled by the majority. It has to be that way or there would be a tyranny by the most populous states.

    June 20, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Reply
  25. Zoe Bandow

    3 changes that should be made to the constitution:

    1. Balanced budget required under all circumstances.
    2. All corporate and union contributions to political campaigns prohibited.
    3. Equal rights amendment.

    June 20, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Reply
  26. T Jesse

    My three consitutional amendments are
    All elected officials have one six year term then can't run again for six years.
    This takes the corruption motives out, lowers the cost to run and allows the best and brightest a reasonable contribution to offer.
    The next two amendments would then quickly be written by a wonderful team of women and men motivated to write the laws that they will soon have to live under as private citizens.

    June 20, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Reply
  27. sergio zanotti

    This country is still THE UNITED STATES then the different approach in the representatives/senators election process makes sense. The presidential election is outdated instead. The electoral college has to be eliminated and replaced with a french style two turns process. If no candidate gets 50% +1 of valid votes, the two more voted candidates go to a face to face second run. This process will also free the system from the traditional democrat/republican slavery allowing moderate candidates to run too. Additionally private contributions to any level of election has to be banned only pubblic financing has to be allowed. Both politics and the country will benefit from a more transparent process.

    June 20, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Reply
  28. 66Biker

    Personally, I think a federal system of ballot measures similar to how elections are done on a state level would be nice. For example, the House and Senate seem pretty reluctant to enact term limits for Congress. Who could blame them? Would you vote yourself out of the best paying job you've ever had? No, of course you wouldn't. But in order to keep America moving forward I believe we need fresh ideas and actions, not the same old crap from the same old over paid politicians. So a group of people goes out and gets X number of signatures to get something put on the federal ballot, and people vote on it. If it fails, they have the option to try again on another election. But if it passes, Congress has to live with what we voted in, not the other way around. How many laws have we had rammed down our throats that we did not want? Such as the Electoral College perhaps? I think that concept has long since out-lived it's intended purpose, and I know I am not alone. So put it on a federal ballot and lets vote it out, and then vote on a better plan of some kind. Then we might actually have what we were promised all those years ago. A government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

    June 20, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Reply
  29. BarkTwain

    The founding fathers would be horrified that some people today regard them as demi-gods whose words can't be altered. Their system of government didn't float down from Mount Olympus – it was hammered out through argument, compromise, and good old trial and error. They of all people would want us to keep working toward that more perfect union.

    June 20, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Reply
    • cntrlfrk

      Possibly "toward a more perfect union", but that does not include trashing the original founders plans, and trotting America off toward the oppression and pseudo-slavery that people like Fareed suggest.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Reply
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