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 And, anyway, they felt the document was old and outdated, drafted all the way back in 1944.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.

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

soundoff (2,350 Responses)
  1. Bill Coleman

    I find Fareed's complaint about the 2000 election to be highly ironic. in a very close election, the Electoral College system limited the area of contention to one state – Florida. That year many states used punch card voting systems, all of which had the same irregularities as Florida's, but the winner-take-all model meant those irregularities had no relevance. Imagine the horror of a nationwide recount.

    In addressing Fareed's larger point, it's clear that he is voicing discomfort over the disconnection dating from 1937 between the constitutional text and the de facto constitutional arrangements fashioned by the Supreme Court. Although we may represent a minority, many of us vastly prefer the actual text as it is.

    June 21, 2011 at 12:42 am | Reply
    • oldgulph

      With the state-by-state winner-take-all electoral votes laws (i.e., awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in each state) in 48 states, a shift of a few thousand votes in one or two states would have elected the second-place candidate in 4 of the 13 presidential elections since World War II. Near misses are now frequently common. There have been 6 consecutive non-landslide presidential elections (1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008). 537 popular votes won Florida and the White House for Bush in 2000 despite Gore's lead of 537,179 popular votes nationwide. A shift of 60,000 votes in Ohio in 2004 would have defeated President Bush despite his nationwide lead of over 3 million votes.

      Now one vote can determine the plurality of the vote in each state, and up to 55 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency. Under National Popular Vote, votes are equal in all states, and counted among the total pool of 130 million votes in the country.

      Recounts are far more likely in the current system of state-by-state winner-take-all methods.

      The possibility of recounts should not even be a consideration in debating the merits of a national popular vote. No one has ever suggested that the possibility of a recount constitutes a valid reason why state governors or U.S. Senators, for example, should not be elected by a popular vote.

      The question of recounts comes to mind in connection with presidential elections only because the current system so frequently creates artificial crises and unnecessary disputes.

      A nationwide recount would not happen. We do and would vote state by state. Each state manages its own election and recount. The state-by-state winner-take-all system is not a firewall, but instead causes unnecessary fires.

      Given that there is a recount only once in about 160 statewide elections, and given there is a presidential election once every four years, one would expect a recount about once in 640 years under the National Popular Vote approach. The actual probability of a close national election would be even less than that because recounts are less likely with larger pools of votes.

      The average change in the margin of victory as a result of a statewide recount was a mere 296 votes in a 10-year study of 2,884 elections.

      No recount would have been warranted in any of the nation’s 56 previous presidential elections if the outcome had been based on the nationwide count.

      The common nationwide date for meeting of the Electoral College has been set by federal law as the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December. Under both the current system and the National Popular Vote approach, all counting, recounting, and judicial proceedings must be conducted so as to reach a "final determination" prior to the meeting of the Electoral College. In particular, the U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear that the states are expected to make their "final determination" six days before the Electoral College meets.

      June 21, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Reply
  2. Patrick - Kaneohe, HI

    Someone should remind Mr. Zakaria that we are a republic not a democracy. Democracies have always failed as they are based completely on what they majority rules, which always turns into mob rule. The founders understood this well and set up the government we have in order to avoid one group being singled out by another. While it may seem throughout our history that it still happens to an extent, eventually the remedies in our laws will come through via the legislative process.

    June 21, 2011 at 12:46 am | Reply
    • oldgulph

      In a republic, the citizens do not rule directly but, instead, elect officeholders to represent them and conduct the business of government in the periods between elections. Thus, the United States is a republic, not a democracy.
      The United States has a republican form of government regardless of whether popular votes for presidential electors are tallied at the state-level (as has been the case in 48 states) or at district-level (as has been the case in Maine and Nebraska) or at 50-state-level (as under the National Popular Vote bill).

      June 21, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Reply
  3. Ken

    I at one time respected Fareed for a left leaning thinker even though I didn't agree with 1/2 of what he said.

    You lack credibility to speak on this topic given your misleading history lesson on representation and praise of centralized power. The constitution framed a representative republic, not a democracy. We are 2/3 the way there and unfortunately you are helping us along to demolish the republic given many people are influenced by you as an authority on this subject.

    June 21, 2011 at 12:51 am | Reply
  4. youseeit

    1. Direct per capita election of the President and Vice President
    2. Restrict the Commerce Clause power to allow Congress to legislate in areas that only truly affect interstate commerce, instead of allowing that to be used as an attenuated excuse to regulate everything
    3. Insert a provision stating that the interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution is not to be restricted to the original intent (to do away with Scalia's shortsighted and silly "strict constructionist" theory)

    June 21, 2011 at 12:51 am | Reply
    • MadJerry

      "2. Restrict the Commerce Clause power to allow Congress to legislate in areas that only truly affect interstate commerce, instead of allowing that to be used as an attenuated excuse to regulate everything"

      I wholly support this idea. Anyone who thinks otherwise need only go read US v. Lopez and ponder what would be outside the scope of the commerce clause with the reasoning put forth by the US Gov't Attorney...

      June 21, 2011 at 2:35 am | Reply
  5. DJ

    I would be in favor of changing the electoral college in 2 ways. One would be winner-take-all for all 50 states, but each state would only receive one vote, meaning that it would take 26 votes to win the election. Or the other way, (and this would actually force the candidates to campaign more than just a few pockets). What you do, is 270 votes would still be required, but what would happen is each state would get as many electoral votes as house plus the senate with the 2 senatorial votes going to the candidate that wins the most house districts.(example, if a state has 9 house districts, one candidate would get a vote for each of the 9 house districts that they carry, and if they win 6, then they get 2 additional senatorial seats) If there is a tie, one senatorial votes goes for each candidate

    June 21, 2011 at 12:58 am | Reply
  6. Nate Whilk

    Finally the progressives tip their hand. Iceland's economy collapses, they get a new constitution. America's economy collapses, we have to get one, too. And Obama's efforts, such as sweeping regulations by the EPA bureaucrats, are doing plenty to help our economy collapse.

    You'll get our Constitution when you pry it out of our cold, dead hands.

    June 21, 2011 at 1:15 am | Reply
  7. Gary

    My change to the constitution would be to suspend the constitution for the next 10 years and grant Bill Gates complete authority to run the country however he saw fit. Sounds crazy? Think about it. The country is a mess because we can't agree on anything and politicians have no courage to make tough decisions. The country is in a state of decline and will loss its premiere status if we don't act fast. Who better to take over? Bill gates is a genius, non partisan, universally respected and understands the digital age better than anyone. And you don't have to worry about him stealing all the money cause he has it already. After 10 years, the constitution would go back in effect and we could vote in an entire new set of politicians. This country needs to inpatient for a while and Dr. Gates could be our man.

    June 21, 2011 at 1:25 am | Reply
    • Rob

      non-partisan? ummm, Gates is a lefty.

      And as far as "suspending" the Constitution to allow 1 person total auto-cratic dictatorial style governing, your other lefty bretheren have already suggested that for your messiah obama.

      However, neither is gonna happen – there will be another civil war before that happens.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:44 am | Reply
  8. Ted

    Some posters have suggested an amendment or two, some have suggested what would we do with a complete write up from scratch. I don't think we need a rewrite, as Article V leave us all of the flexibility we need. Therefore my modest proposal for an amendment, as Fareed reqeusted, followed by some comments.

    Article I, Clause 1: "The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States ..". For my amendment, I propose that Article 1, Clause 1 be amended to read that the Members be chosen every THIRD year. In my opinion, this will do several things.

    1st ... perhaps 200 years ago ... maybe even 100 or 50 years ago ... 2 years might have been enough time to get things done. I don't believe that is the case any longer. Our world has sped up and become more complex, and I want my representatives to have more time to accomplish the things we elected them to do. In my opinion 2 years is just not enough time in this modern world.

    2nd ... I'm sure some of you would agree that our representatives don't get to do a full 2 years worth of work, anyway. At least 25% of that time or more is spent looking at re-election activities. Not their fault, really. It is the system, which is why I would propose this amendment. More time to actually work.

    3rd ... and perhaps the Primary Reason for my proposed amendment. Right now, The House election cycle intersects with the Presidential election cycle every 4 yours. It's too much. All we seem to be able to communicate to our representatives is that we want them to posture for the next presidential election. With my amendment, the House election cycle would only intersect with the Presidential election cycle every third Presidential election, that is every 12 years (on the 4th House cycle), instead of every single Presidential election every 4 years (on the 2nd House cycle). There will be more reason for our representatives to work on the things we want them to, rather than trying to jockey for position with a Presidential election.

    This is my modest proposal for an amendment to the Constitution, which I believe is the question.

    Oh, and by the way. Those who would shove the Constitution in my face and say they are "strict constitutionalists", I have only one thing to say – which is actually the purpose of this exercise.

    Article V

    The founding fathers, in their great wisdom, realized that there would be need for change.

    A few comments:
    Some of the posters have exhibited a huge amount of skepticism bordering on a total disrespect for the process we have in place, and the work that is being done. I believe that we have a pretty good system, but it certainly needs both improvement and a healthy dose of attention. Get out and vote, for Pete's sake. And try to think about the place you want to live. Nothing and no one is perfect. I accept that, even about myself. I also accept that I won't always get my way. That's OK too. Sometimes I will, sometimes I won't. It's called compromise.

    I have the utmost respect and regard for my congressional representatives from Vermont. Senators Leahy and Sanders (the only true (I)), and Representative Welch. I watch what they do, question them, and – for the most part (remember compromise) – support their positions.

    The idea of term limits has been mentioned in several posts. I am totally and absolutely opposed to term limits – with one exception. Presidential power is far reaching, and I support a 2 term limit. Other than that, I will impose my own term limits with my vote. It always amazes me that some people who want the government out of their lives are willing to have the government dictate one of the most important checks we have.

    My $.02

    June 21, 2011 at 1:47 am | Reply
  9. Jackie

    Talk about brain power, chucking a constitution and taking requests via twitter, facebook and other social media sites. Now that's progress.

    June 21, 2011 at 1:55 am | Reply
  10. CDB

    Hey Fareed! How many times do you lefties have to be told? The US is not a democracy...it's a REPUBLIC. The Constitution is, by design, un-democratic. It was never intended to be democratic. The republic was established to protect the rights of the small states so a mob rule would not trample these states who, whether you like it or not, serve a purpose to the rest of us. The EC was devised to make certain we did not fall prey to democracy (i.e. mob rule) ? C'mon, we folks who got a h.s. diploma learned this in 6th grade. I thought you were supposed to be one of them smart fellas.

    June 21, 2011 at 1:55 am | Reply
  11. Lavaux

    The U.S. constitution was an attempt to practically apply principles announced in the Declaration of Independence and debated for several years in the Federalist Papers (all of which were published in newspapers) by our founders. These principles had evolved over the past 4,000 years of Judeo-Christianity and western civilization, yet Mr. Zakaria would have us believe that a bunch of guys got together in a back room and emerged with a constitution that they'd made up from scratch. Do not believe him; he is misleading you. Why? Because he wants you to knock America off of its noble foundations and build something crude in its place.

    Mr. Zakaria would start by scrapping the electoral college and the states' equal representation in the senate. Of course, both measures would inevitably give us a federal government that is even more unaccountable and divorced from the will of the people than the one we have now because because they would remove safeguards designed to limit known systemic risks to democracy. Bad idea. The voters don't always know best, as is evidenced by their election of an unqualified, ignorant and radically ideological community organizer to the highest office in the land. How's that hopey-changey stuff working out for us? Got a job?

    Let's talk common sense. The most critical problems of our time can all be traced back to the fact that our federal government is out of control and must be reduced and severely limited. I would do this with four amendments to the U.S. constitution, namely: (1) A redrafted Article 1 Section 8 that explicitly voids all past jurisprudence interpreting it and that clearly enumerates Congress' legislative power, explicitly denying Congress general welfare, police, and plenary powers, and repealing and prohibiting all past and future Congressional legislation regarding health care, health insurance, education, speech of any kind, air quality, water quality, wildlife, agriculture, and energy (conveying all mineral and ancillary rights of federal lands to the states), and reserving these powers to the states and the people; (2) repeal and replace the 16th amendment with a consumption tax limited to a 10% cumulative rate, and explicitly denying Congress the power to levy taxes on any income, payroll, estate, capital gains, real property transfers or profits, or levy fees or charges to fund entitlements; (3) a balanced budget amendment; (4) a popular initiative process enabling the people to void by popular vote any existing or future supreme court decision that creates positive or negative rights not explicitly and clearly provided for in the first 14 amendments to the constitution, or limits positive or negative rights that explicitly were.

    These are good place to start.

    Th

    June 21, 2011 at 2:03 am | Reply
  12. USA forever

    Want to update the US Constitution? Fareed, I got two words for you: FUCK YOU.

    June 21, 2011 at 2:08 am | Reply
  13. humantwo

    I am simply amazed! I guess it's true if you whisper something to a person next to you, and have that process repeated ten times, the last person wouldn't be able to come close to what was originally said! And by the way, I am a Veteran & fully willing to defend Our Constitution, the right to discuss it, and the right to even argue about it, but I wouldn't be so arrogant to use my oath as a threat of aggression to my fellow man or woman as justification of personal hatred. The discussion started with a simple story about a country changing it's constitution, and promoting a discussion about Our Constitution and what changes, if any, might be applicable. Our Forefathers sought a more perfect union, not perfection, and gave us great wisdom in it's original precepts, but America has allowed abuses of Our Constitution & promoted misconceptions of it's intent for years through two main motivations, power & greed, and if anything were to be changed in Our Constitution, it would have to be curtailing those motivations by those who serve us, or our hopes of a more perfect union will suffer & possibly dissolve, and we will instead be on a road to dictatorship by proxy-a public figurehead supporting a group of power-hungry, nameless, controllers. We have had problems, we have problems, and we will always have problems, it's called life, and Our Constitution gave us a good beginning to a road map whereby Our union stands despite problems, but the threats we face today, domestic & foreign, are much different than those 200 years ago, and Our Constitution should reflect that, but we are sometimes like spoiled children, demanding perfection, when reality demands we grow, change, compromise, and adapt, yet do it with honesty, humility, and wisdom. Some of what I read after my earlier post is disturbing, degrading, and sadly quite opposite of what Our Constitution gave us to begin our journey with. As one poster contributed, maybe we do need a class on what the Constitution really says, and what it's original intent was & why?

    June 21, 2011 at 2:13 am | Reply
    • kirk

      discuss yes but change without going through constitutional process of ratification my super majprity no a peron calling for the disoulution of states into 7 areas hell no that would rob states of their rights

      There are essentially two ways spelled out in the Constitution for how to propose an amendment. One has never been used.

      The first method is for a bill to pass both houses of the legislature, by a two-thirds majority in each. Once the bill has passed both houses, it goes on to the states. This is the route taken by all current amendments. Because of some long outstanding amendments, such as the 27th, Congress will normally put a time limit (typically seven years) for the bill to be approved as an amendment (for example, see the 21st and 22nd).

      The second method prescribed is for a Constitutional Convention to be called by two-thirds of the legislatures of the States, and for that Convention to propose one or more amendments. These amendments are then sent to the states to be approved by three-fourths of the legislatures or conventions. This route has never been taken, and there is discussion in political science circles about just how such a convention would be convened, and what kind of changes it would bring about.

      Regardless of which of the two proposal routes is taken, the amendment must be ratified, or approved, by three-fourths of states. There are two ways to do this, too. The text of the amendment may specify whether the bill must be passed by the state legislatures or by a state convention. See the Ratification Convention Page for a discussion of the make up of a convention. Amendments are sent to the legislatures of the states by default. Only one amendment, the 21st, specified a convention. In any case, passage by the legislature or convention is by simple majority.

      The Constitution, then, spells out four paths for an amendment:

      •Proposal by convention of states, ratification by state conventions (never used)
      •Proposal by convention of states, ratification by state legislatures (never used)
      •Proposal by Congress, ratification by state conventions (used once)
      •Proposal by Congress, ratification by state legislatures (used all other times)
      It is interesting to note that at no point does the President have a role in the formal amendment process (though he would be free to make his opinion known). He cannot veto an amendment proposal, nor a ratification. This point is clear in Article 5, and was reaffirmed by the Supreme Court in Hollingsworth v Virginia (3 US 378 [1798
      NO OTHER WAY PERIOD

      June 21, 2011 at 3:26 am | Reply
      • kirk

        if you realy was a soldier you also would fight to the death against any other path other than above
        if you dont then you would be a traitor to your oath its not about you or i its all about that document and what it stands for PERIOD END OF STORY

        June 21, 2011 at 3:39 am |
  14. Bruce Wing

    Mr. Zakaria has no appreciation for the Constitution much less understanding it. We are a Republic not a Democracy for very good reason. Our Founders had plenty of examples of how a mob can totally hijack a country. The Democratic Mob is right now trying to empower illegal aliens to vote to hijack our country for their majority. This is no secret and needs to be said. The Left has done its best to promote end runs around the Constitution, Congress and principally uses the courts and in Obama's case, executive fiat.
    No Sir – we do not need a revision of the electoral college nor a lecture from a foreign national who does not appreciate our form of Government and who has no understanding of the thinking behind it.
    And if we had some representatives with some spine we would hear a resounding NO from he halls of Congress.
    The Constitution protects us from exactly this type of tyranny if it is upheld. You should take a few courses at HIllsdale College and learn the real motivation behind the Constitution and what he founders were thinking.
    We do not need your form of Government here. Appreciate this one or leave.

    June 21, 2011 at 2:29 am | Reply
  15. Zakir

    The constitution should recognise other human of the earth as well as a human being.
    The constitution should have the provision to trial American corporates according to American law for their unlawful actions in other countries.

    June 21, 2011 at 2:42 am | Reply
  16. Jeff

    'Update the constitution" is code for "Destroy the constitution"

    June 21, 2011 at 3:02 am | Reply
  17. Darren

    The Constitution is indeed an awe-inspiring document guarding the natural freedoms each person is born with. It was designed to ensure the citizens of the United States enjoy natural freedoms of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". Its function is to guarantee that the federal government will not infringe on certain explicit rights and allows the people through elected representation to create laws to govern themselves and society at large. The US Constitution takes on a federalist nature in that it gives specific powers to the federal government and by default all other powers lay with the individual states. Any attempt to nationalize state power will inherently jeopardize federalism and thus the Constitution itself. Movement to eliminate the electoral college is a perfect example of such a jeopardy coming to fruition. The best way to guarantee individual liberty is to limit the power of one central government and divide that power among other governments. That's precisely what federalism does. The true voice of the people is found in state sovereignty, not in the federalization of elections. In fact, big central government and individual freedom cannot coexist and the human experience has taught us that. By their very nature, individual freedom and strong central governments will naturally shove the other out of its way.

    Another nature of the US Constitution is that it creates a Republic; not a Democracy. While our republic is democratic in nature the US Constitution avoids forms of direct democracy. Direct democracy is naturally mob rule where the most powerful will always rule over the less powerful. Talk about the inefficiencies of the US Constitution because it is not democratic is actually a compliment to the profound wisdom our Founding Fathers had within them. Democracies plunge nations into chaos and even rebellion. Throughout this nation's 200+ history, there really was only one rebellion which threatened to tear the fabric of unity and national order which a federal government is necessary to maintain. That's really not bad considering the wars and rebellions around the world. In a Republic, elected representatives are chosen to carry out the will of the people. The closer to an individual that representative is, the more representative that individual becomes in government. That, again, attests to the wisdom of state sovereignty. It also attests for the need to be involved in local elections from city council to the local school board.

    No need to change nature of the Constitution. Doing so could very well kill such an inspiring document.

    June 21, 2011 at 3:08 am | Reply
  18. Jeremy G.

    Making a constitution overly-malleable defeats the purpose of having a constitution.

    June 21, 2011 at 3:10 am | Reply
  19. Jeff

    The reason Zakaria wants to destroy the US constitution ix because the USA was founded for "ourselves and our posterity" not mexicans and mexican posterity, not pakistanis and pakistani posterity, not asian and asians posterity. Zakaria wants to steal the USA from the posterity of the founders.

    Everybody says there is this RACE problem. Everybody says this RACE problem will be solved when the third world pours into EVERY white country and ONLY into white countries.

    The Netherlands and Belgium are just as crowded as Japan or Taiwan, but nobody says Japan or Taiwan will solve this RACE problem by bringing in millions of third worlders and quote assimilating unquote with them.

    Everybody says the final solution to this RACE problem is for EVERY white country and ONLY white countries to “assimilate,” i.e., intermarry, with all those non-whites.

    What if I said there was this RACE problem and this RACE problem would be solved only if hundreds of millions of non-blacks were brought into EVERY black country and ONLY into black countries?

    How long would it take anyone to realize I’m not talking about a RACE problem. I am talking about the final solution to the BLACK problem?

    And how long would it take any sane black man to notice this and what kind of psycho black man wouldn’t object to this?

    But if I tell that obvious truth about the ongoing program of genocide against my race, the white race, Liberals and respectable conservatives agree that I am a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews.

    They say they are anti-racist. What they are is anti-white.

    Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.

    June 21, 2011 at 3:18 am | Reply
    • kirk

      thought we got rid of the nazi's in ww2 looks like we missed a few ...whats nexts im irish kill the irish look a man is defined by his actions not the color of his skin i served with all races in the army they all bleed red and they are all american

      June 21, 2011 at 3:50 am | Reply
    • kirk

      E pluribus unum Latin for "Out of many, one remember that one FROM ALL RACES IN AMERICA WE ARE THE MELTING POT

      Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
      With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
      Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
      The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
      Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
      I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

      THIS IS WHAT I DEFEND PEOPLE WHO LIVE UNDER THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES ALL EQUAL UNDER THE LAW EACH STATE EQUAL IN THE SENATE AND EACH PERSON IN THE CONGRESS

      June 21, 2011 at 3:56 am | Reply
      • Jeff

        When most people today talk about "what America is all about," they NEVER quote the Founding Fathers.

        The Founding Fathers, in the Constitution we actually adopted, dedicated America to "ourselves and OUR posterity."

        But when most people talk about the Purpose of America today they never quote Washington or Hamilton. They simply quote an inscription on a piece of artwork sent to America by Frenchmen, the Statue of Liberty.

        The inscription on that piece of French artwork, the Statue of Liberty, was written by what is now considered America’s Founding Mother, Emma Lazarus, and every word of it is totally opposed to the Constitution we adopted a century before Emma Lazarus got here. Emma Lazarus said that America was brought into existence for foreigners. Any foreigner, of course, had just as much right to it as its founders or their posterity did, as we and our posterity do.

        It is fact that America’s Founding Mother, Emma Lazarus, was a Zionist who had two very interesting ideas about America:

        1) America belonged to every non-Jew on earth, and to every Jew on earth until Jews could get their own country from which they could exclude all gentiles;

        2) White gentiles who founded America were evil, vicious people who took the homeland away from the innocent, idealistic Indians.

        Now how can it make any sense that a land taken from its rightful owners has now become the property of every other person on earth (the new rightful owners)?

        No one EVER asks how Founding Mother Lazarus came to that conclusion.

        It all comes together in Sobsister history. The basis for Sobsister History is that gentiles are not human.

        They are pure evil who do only evil things. They have no right to ANY land. They have no right to exist.

        That is the foundational outlook you must have firmly in mind if you are a respectable conservative.

        June 21, 2011 at 4:32 am |
    • kirk

      your views are the most idiotic i have ever had to read this country was NOT meant for just whites moron
      your nothing but a hitler loving nazi who i thought my father had already wiped out in ww2 like i said it seems we missed a few burn any crosses as of late have ya?

      June 21, 2011 at 6:39 am | Reply
  20. kirk

    There are essentially two ways spelled out in the Constitution for how to propose an amendment. One has never been used.

    The first method is for a bill to pass both houses of the legislature, by a two-thirds majority in each. Once the bill has passed both houses, it goes on to the states. This is the route taken by all current amendments. Because of some long outstanding amendments, such as the 27th, Congress will normally put a time limit (typically seven years) for the bill to be approved as an amendment (for example, see the 21st and 22nd).

    The second method prescribed is for a Constitutional Convention to be called by two-thirds of the legislatures of the States, and for that Convention to propose one or more amendments. These amendments are then sent to the states to be approved by three-fourths of the legislatures or conventions. This route has never been taken, and there is discussion in political science circles about just how such a convention would be convened, and what kind of changes it would bring about.

    Regardless of which of the two proposal routes is taken, the amendment must be ratified, or approved, by three-fourths of states. There are two ways to do this, too. The text of the amendment may specify whether the bill must be passed by the state legislatures or by a state convention. See the Ratification Convention Page for a discussion of the make up of a convention. Amendments are sent to the legislatures of the states by default. Only one amendment, the 21st, specified a convention. In any case, passage by the legislature or convention is by simple majority.

    The Constitution, then, spells out four paths for an amendment:

    •Proposal by convention of states, ratification by state conventions (never used)
    •Proposal by convention of states, ratification by state legislatures (never used)
    •Proposal by Congress, ratification by state conventions (used once)
    •Proposal by Congress, ratification by state legislatures (used all other times)
    It is interesting to note that at no point does the President have a role in the formal amendment process (though he would be free to make his opinion known). He cannot veto an amendment proposal, nor a ratification. This point is clear in Article 5, and was reaffirmed by the Supreme Court in Hollingsworth v Virginia (3 US 378 [1798
    NO OTHER WAY PERIOD
    YOU WANT TO CHANGE CONSTITUTION YOU MUST USE THIS AND NO OTHER WAY

    June 21, 2011 at 3:31 am | Reply
  21. D-man5005

    Well I was somewhat shocked by this article, but then I saw the author. I swear that every post I read by this guy seems in some way anti-American

    June 21, 2011 at 3:40 am | Reply
  22. Commen Sense

    ........how about changing the constitution so that the Federal government can not take more than 10% of your income and that those funds can only be used to protect the border and defend US citizens from external or internal improper force?

    June 21, 2011 at 4:31 am | Reply
  23. BGko

    We don't need to REVISE the Constitution, we just need to FOLLOW it.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:08 am | Reply
    • kirk

      cheers loudly right on BGko

      June 21, 2011 at 5:22 am | Reply
  24. Susan Harms

    It will be interesting what Z chooses to post since the response is overwhelmingly a smack down of his maroonic idea. Too bad he didnt study history and our founding documents before he shot his mouth off. Shows the shallowness of CNN.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:05 am | Reply
  25. photoboy74

    this has to be one of the most idiotic "thought-provoking" exercises i have ever read. i won't trash what has already been trashed, but i don't think i read anything about the sentences "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."
    pure stupidity.
    representative government started well over 2,000 years ago in ancient greece and later rome. not on a cliff in iceland. and the idea of representative government is to slow down the passions of the "mob" or masses. were the "mob" to craft its own constitution, it would be a disaster. were the political class of today to craft a new constitution, it too, would be a disaster.
    just imagine a government that says to its people the best way to find out what is in a 2,000+ page bill is to just make it law would also write a new constitution and say the best way to find out how you will be governed is to make it the law of the land.
    fuhgettaboutit!!!! pure stupidity.
    that the "great experiment" of the us constitution has survived for so long is testament to the founding principles inscribed within.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:18 am | Reply
  26. Esther

    I think we should add an amendment that requires socialists to give up their American citizenship and move to ChinA< North korea, cuba, or russia where they can live in their Utopia.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:47 am | Reply
  27. rob

    One word, Fareed: "Amendments". There is already a perfectly valid mechanism to update and reform the US Constitution without scrapping it. The structure of the document is wonderful as it is in its ability to protect the rights of the minority against the tyranny of the majority. A huge FAIL of an idea, Fareed.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:50 am | Reply
  28. John Anderson

    Ummm, you do know the Senate was set up that way on purpose right? I mean we have representative government on the House side based on population. The Senate was set up as a check on a runaway majority. Maybe you need to go back and learn more about the Constitution before you call for changes to it. Ugh.

    June 21, 2011 at 7:19 am | Reply
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