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 And, anyway, they felt the document was old and outdated, drafted all the way back in 1944.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

    Our constituition has aged well. Just because Iceland is revising theirs doesn't mean we need to do the same. Zakaria is once again over his head, discussing a topic he doesn't understand. He would be better off on the gossip pages.

    June 21, 2011 at 7:38 am | Reply
  2. allhaileris

    The Founders intended that the House be seen as more closely representing the will of the people than the Senate.

    To this end, they provided that members of the House – U.S. Representatives – be elected by and represent limited groups of citizens living in small geographically defined districts within each state.

    Senators, on the other hand, are elected by and represent all voters of their state.

    When the House considers a bill, individual members tend to base their votes primarily on how the bill might impact the people of their local district, while Senators tend to consider how the bill would impact their state, and nation as a whole.

    All members of the House are up for election every two years. In effect, they are always running for election. This insures that members will maintain close personal contact with their local constituents, thus remaining constantly aware of their opinions and needs, and better able to act as their advocates in Washington. Elected for six-year terms, Senators remain somewhat more insulated from the people, thus less likely to be tempted to vote according to the short-term passions of public opinion.

    There are well thought out reasons for how our government is laid out...even if the mainstream infotainment media don't grasp or report them...

    June 21, 2011 at 7:42 am | Reply
    • kirk

      correct

      June 21, 2011 at 8:17 am | Reply
  3. Mark

    Our constitution is a minimalist compromise document that divergent parties barely agreed to. Even for it's time, there wasn't enough detail to define how to run a govt. I mean, the 10th Amendment – anything not defined here is reserved for the states of for the people. Which is it? The answer you get still depends on a given person's feelings about what it's being applied to.

    After 222 years, we still can't agree what rights we have, and that's not even accounting for all the societal changes since then.

    All this "founder's intent" and "original constructionism" has always been bunk designed to make one side feel holy.

    June 21, 2011 at 8:06 am | Reply
    • Rob

      Mark – that amendment, the last of the Bill of Rights, in one small sentence, lays out EXPLICITLY that the founders wanted our Gov to be that of a Federalist nature, meaning NOT a huge, centralized Federal Gov (as it is now). But rather, the Fed Gov to have limited powers, while most of the powers go to the individual States, or also to the people (meaning, individual choice).

      June 21, 2011 at 9:12 am | Reply
      • Mark

        Rob – you're right that *some* of the founding fathers were staunch Federalists and wanted more states rights. Some, like Jefferson wanted the Constitution rewriten every few decades.

        What I was getting at was more the irony of the 10th amendment – who decides whether a state or an individual gets control of a right? The Federal courts. There's no clear delineation of which rights go where, how to decide, or even *who* should decide in the Constitution.

        People who favor a right to choose say abortion is an individual right. People who oppose it want a federal law against it first but would settle for it to be a *state's* right to legislate.

        All kinds of people assert the 2nd amendment is an individual right, but there were 150 years of precedent from the Supreme court ruling that it was a state's right to "well regulate" before the Roberts court threw that out – even though the 2nd amendment has the "well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state" clause.

        The constitution isn't long on specifics and "strict constructionists" are a) picking and choosing *which* founding fathers were important to listen to, b) taking things out of context, and c) overlaying their own personal biases on any particular issue they feel strongly about.

        The country has been running essentially off-book since at least 1803 – where in the constitution does it say the *federal* govt can unilaterally purchase territory to expand the country? Where in the constitution does it define the mechanisms for incorporating states?

        For that matter, where in the constitution does it say states can't opt out? Where was Lincoln's justification for the civil war, in "strict constructionist" speak?

        June 21, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  4. kirk

    correct 100 percent sir

    June 21, 2011 at 8:20 am | Reply
    • kirk

      last statement of correct was for allhaileris NOT THE ONE ABOVE IT

      June 21, 2011 at 8:22 am | Reply
  5. Cullen

    I've never seen a comment section so polluted with a lack of knowledge and blatant spokespersons for the abolition of the electoral college.

    1. Mr. Zakaria: The House of Representatives is population representation while the Senate is state representation. In the house, you have the will of the people while in the Senate you have the will of the states.

    2. It may be tempting to just say "let's just start over" and come up with a wish list of all pet peeves you have with the current system to fix. It's also very arrogant. You, like so many on this comment board, think you are smarter than James Madison or Roger Sherman. You're not.

    How easy it would be to just start over and get rid of those pesky things that get in the way of a political agenda...yes? That's called a totalitarian system; where you just scrap the laws and recreate them to your desire...no thanks.

    I predict that Iceland will only endure more troubles, not less for what they are doing. Iceland is still in love with socialism and they will still embrace socialist ideals and they will be back at this point in no time.

    June 21, 2011 at 8:28 am | Reply
  6. Walter S

    On Sunday you solicited suggestions for modifying the constitution, so here is my suggestion.

    I think we should modify congress to become a form of direct democracy. Every citizen should have one vote in congress, and each citizen should be able to select a proxy to exercise their vote. Citizens can change who their proxy is at any time, and they have a week grace period to override their proxy's vote.

    So, for example, you could select the Republican Party to be your proxy in government, and a few days later select your local Tea Party to be your proxy. After hearing on the news they voted differently than you would have, you could override the vote they cast as your proxy. Finally, being such a political firebrand, you could forgo having a proxy entirely and cast your own votes.

    Best wishes,
    Walter S

    June 21, 2011 at 8:30 am | Reply
  7. Dennis

    I think anyone who voted yes on the survey or agrees that the Constitution needs re-written is a complete id10t.
    WHY do you need to re-write something that by its very nature and construction allows you to change it through an amendment process. the Constitution is a FRAMEWORK. I havent seen one comment, suggestion, or any other REASONABLE change that couldnt be addressed by an Amendment. And for those of you who think getting an Amendment through is too difficult, how EXACTLY do you think you could get a new Constitution approved if you cant even get a single issue Amendment passed, which I am sure you and maybe 10 other people in the country agree with completely?

    June 21, 2011 at 8:41 am | Reply
    • Rob

      That is the new "progressive" (ie, socialist / marxist / communist) mantra. They want to change the Constitution to get rid of the Electoral College, for they feel that is what kept Al (great climate scientist) Gore from being President. Just go to some of their websites & listen to some of their radio talk shows & it will become pretty clear pretty quickly. Tom Hartman, Stephanie Miller, Norman Goldman, and the violent hate-rhetoric spewing Mike Malloy – I listen to them as often as I can stomach it, because it literally makes me sick once they start spewing their anti-capitalist, pro-communist / socialist mantras.

      If they had their ways, we'd have majority (mob) rule, allowing the will of the people to be set by those who live in densely populated areas like LA, San Fran, NYC, etc, while sparsely populated areas would not get a say. They also advocate single-payer (ie, socialized health care), as well as "medicare for all." Their only solution as to how to pay for all of this is of course to tax the "evil" corporations as well as anyone earning more than a pre-determined amount to death.

      This is their vision for America – if you think I'm making it up, as I said, please do the research for yourselves.

      June 21, 2011 at 9:26 am | Reply
      • oldgulph

        The population of the top five cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia) is only 6% of the population of the United States and the population of the top 50 cities (going as obscurely far down as Arlington, TX) is only 19% of the population of the United States.

        Suburbs and exurbs often vote Republican.

        June 21, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
  8. Fareed is an idot

    Any moron like Fareed can write about any subject. Fareed has a, 'dude, where's my car?' approach to our Constitution. I mean, really, there weren't even flushing toilets at the founding so we've gotta' change that Constitution, right!? Duh! Fareed is a simpleton and a buffoon.

    June 21, 2011 at 8:56 am | Reply
  9. Allan G. "Lefty" - MN

    These are some of my idea’s that might have some merit – maybe in my list there “might: be three that are worthy:
    1.) Change US Representative terms to 6 years, and House & Senate term limits to two non-consecutive terms in a lifetime. One-third elected every two years. Would eliminate campaigning on “Our Dollar”, reduce possibility of corruption, no seniority over a period of time for committee heads, new blood – new idea’s.
    2.) Eliminate all retirement benefits for Congressional electee’s, these are elected officials, not meant to be a career – only six month stipend to allow to get back into private sector employment.
    3.) Flat individual income tax, pay at point of distribution. Greatly reduce IRS payroll, no returns to file, transfer some IRS employees to fraud squad in disability and other entitlement programs.
    4.) Entitlement program recipients, earn their entitlement, WPA – CCC type, say twenty hours a week, some would be daycare, some would be temps to lower paid jobs that citizens refuse to work at and compete with our out of hand illegal immigrants – no work no entitlement!
    5.) Instill tariffs on those products produced by U.S. companies relocating off shore and sending them back here for assembly – they are reducing our GNP, lining their pockets, rocking our balance of trade, contributing to our unemployment.
    6.) Eliminate private financed campaigns for public office – donations to a pool and all qualified candidates share the pool equally,
    7.) More communication with the voters daily, weekly, monthly on officials “Report Card” and issues dealt with in the most recent past and in the coming future – easily accessible to all citizens – so they can be more aware of what our employee’s are doing.

    June 21, 2011 at 8:57 am | Reply
  10. Mark

    Imagine what a new Constitution would look like if it was written today. It would be as long as an entire copy of the Encyclopedia Britannica. There would have to be compromise to write articles defining the government. Who would compromise? Even the littlest compromise would be viewed as giving the farm away. Compromise would dissolve the convention into chaos. Then the amendments. Would the Bill of Rights stay or go? People believe the Bill of Rights is being assaulted today. What if some of those assaults were constitutionalized? Then every special interest group in the country, plus any supposed influence from outside the country would want an amendment protecting this or that. All these problems if we could even get past establishing a real convention with reasonable rules of order. And in the end, a new Constitution would be unfair to the people, to business, immigration, and this or that minority. And don't forget the Asian Carp working their way to Lake Michigan. The constitution would need to protect them as well.

    June 21, 2011 at 9:07 am | Reply
  11. artillerest

    OH yes here we go again, the liberalisum oh it is not fair, well that is why there is the Senate versus the House
    the house of Represenatives is based on population , and the Senate is based upon 2 represenatives per state.
    OK for you that do not understand the constution , you should try reading it some time with out your lawyer presnet
    because it is in plane ENGLISH not to be reinterperted by view point. SO the senate gives power to the smaller
    states, to balance out the pop. based house. what is so hard about that. the Supream court is suppose to
    interperate law bases upon the constution and not legislate from the bench {mostof are appointed and not voted in
    to that position} The liberal like to legislate from the bench out reaching their true duty on the bench. The Consituion
    is just fine the way it is, Yes things have been changed, Like porhibition , all that spawned was powerful crime
    orgainzations and legal exemptions just like Obama care. once it was repealed the damage was done... too often
    individuals want cahnge for the sake of change and do not and can not understand the massive impact upon
    the population , but they do not care they have their own body guards, their own medical no "obamacare" their
    own retirement not SSN, Being a reprenseative for the people was suppose to be a privalage and not a PROFESSION!!
    maybe the congress should go back to that , illimainate the IRS have a flat tax, give congres individuals stipend
    budget that they have to stay with in or pay their OWN way like the CITIZENS of America do!! Secure the borders
    of our nation like every other country does, ILLEGALS AND CRIMINALS they do not belong here too many are
    criminals and killing the citizens of this country like the 3 in Virginia by illegals driving drunk. We should be
    following the constution and adhering to its principals!!

    June 21, 2011 at 9:12 am | Reply
  12. Lee Anne

    I think that the constitution should change the way we elect our president and both houses of congress.
    1. There should be a "primary" day when all primaries are held that way states like Iowa and New Hampshire won't be overly weighted.
    2. To promote a system with room for more than 2 parties, and no "spoiler" candidates, we make it a 50% + to win an election. If no one has more than 50%, the top 2 candidates have a run off.

    I also think that our judicial system needs overhaul. Although, this would probably be better on a state by state basis to "test" out better systems. I think we should have professional jurors. The jurors then could have a good understanding of the laws and necessary science, be less likely to be threatened or paid off, and be willing participants. This could substantially cut the time needed for trials, as well as short cut an overly lengthy appeals process. And, I do not think a unanimous vote should be necessary. Should it be two-thirds? Three-quarters? 12 of 16 people. I don't know the answer but I do think it's time we look for solutions.

    The 3rd change I'd like to see is change in our immigration laws. We have always had illegal immigration. We have never had a cohesive plan to deal with it. It's a fact of life. Let's stop arguing and find a permanent solution. Undocumented workers cost us billions in lost tax revenue, education, and healthcare. They also do jobs that Americans refuse to do, and add so much culture to our communities. Let's stop doing this injustice to them and to ourselves. Maybe we should make a huge penalty for any business that hires illegals but, make it much easier to get temp work visas and allow immigrants to look for jobs once they are here. A dishwasher or landscaper is not going to get a job before they get to America. The HB1 visas hurt us far more. Besides, the border crossing for young women should be an affront to ALL women. The incidence of rape and other atrocities is extremely high. Also, we should be able to track everyone here in order to better fight terrorism.

    June 21, 2011 at 9:12 am | Reply
  13. Mitch

    Fareed Zakaria is an absolute tool. How much does George Soros pay you Fareed? The Constitution will not be rewritten. The radical left is playing a dangerous game that could quite possibly lead to another civil war. Perhaps it is time for an American spring in which we throw off the shackles of the elites and and their media whores.

    June 21, 2011 at 9:13 am | Reply
  14. wxyz

    Whoa, we're gonna get our heads handed to us again in 2012 so quick, think of something. I know, let's change the constitution, about which I apparently know very little outside a quicky Wikipedia check because it's old like even before bathrooms. I think it's more than 100 years old- at least according to one of my journalistic colleagues.
    The beauty of the constutution is that is was constructed to withstand ill-informed, self-serving onslaughts like yours.

    June 21, 2011 at 9:18 am | Reply
  15. Thomas Pain

    I'm not sure there's much point in changing anything in the Constitution. Our elected leaders haven't been paying any attention to it for years.

    June 21, 2011 at 9:18 am | Reply
  16. Jim Lewis

    No. We can amend the Constitution as needed. To throw out the work of hundreds of years and start over is nonsense. Unless you know where you came from you may repeat some mistakes. the Founding Fathers created a document for the ages, one which created the greatest Republc government in history.
    It may be time for CNN to find someone else for this job.

    June 21, 2011 at 9:27 am | Reply
  17. JR

    No, we don't need a new Constitution. Nope, we don't need a bunch of facebookers to suggest faddish change. No, we don't need mob rule from the biggest states, liike California, telling the rest of the country how they're going to live.

    I'm from CA and they have screwed up their situation mightily already. A better suggestion would be to advise that state to clean up it's own act so that we don't end up bailing them out as a nation.

    Our system WORKS. i'm sure that it's frustrating for the far left that the voices of the right and the middle have to be listened to under our current system. Learn to deal with it as we're not giving up our voice.

    June 21, 2011 at 9:27 am | Reply
  18. Flyover

    Iceland is doing something else that's well worth considering.....prosecuting bankers involved in their financial crisis which crippled their country.
    BTW The public was also successful forcing resignation of its PM who was in power during the wheeling dealing period.
    Many lessons our country and citizens can learn.

    June 21, 2011 at 9:31 am | Reply
  19. Sfe

    1. We have an amendment system built into the constitution, so we don't need to junk the whole thing. 2. We have the senate specifically because we wanted the states with small populations to have equal representation as those with large ones. We have the house in order to give all states representation based on population. I'm pretty sure California has 53 representatives in the house, Wyoming has 1. Without the senate, the 500,000 people in wyoming would literally have no effect on the political system. 3. It would make sense to ditch the electoral college. It's only disagreed with the nation 4 times in history, so dismantling it would only help. 4. Iceland has a population of 300,000 people, less than wyoming, and one of the best internet infrastructures in the world. Imagine the chaos of 300,000,000 Americans giving out all of their ideas at once, and the outrage of those who either had their ideas ignored or never were able to get their ideas out due to poor internet infrastructure.

    June 21, 2011 at 9:35 am | Reply
    • Jason

      I have to disagree on the Electoral College. It is there for the exact reason as the Senate. It gives a handicap to the smaller states. You think it would be bad for a state to be underrepresented in the Congress...what about the presidency. For those who want to have the college split its vote as a proportion of it's votes...Start with New York and California. Let's negate 45% of the Liberal vote there first.

      June 21, 2011 at 9:46 am | Reply
      • oldgulph

        The concept of a national popular vote for President is far from being politically "radioactive" in small states, because the small states recognize they are the most disadvantaged group of states under the current system.

        In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). The recent Washington Post, Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University poll shows 72% support for direct nationwide election of the President. Support is strong among Republican voters, Democratic voters, and independent voters, as well as every demographic group surveyed in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls. Support in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): Alaska - 70%, DC - 76%, Delaware –75%, Idaho – 77%, Maine - 77%, Montana – 72%, Nebraska - 74%, New Hampshire –69%, Nevada - 72%, New Mexico - 76%, Oklahoma – 81%, Rhode Island - 74%, South Dakota – 71%, Utah – 70%, Vermont - 75%, and West Virginia – 81%, and Wyoming – 69%;

        In the 13 lowest population states, the National Popular Vote bill already has been approved by nine state legislative chambers, including one house in, Delaware, the District of Columbia, and Maine and both houses in Hawaii, Rhode Island, and Vermont. It has been enacted by the District of Columbia, Hawaii, and Vermont.

        June 21, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
      • oldgulph

        Any state that enacts the proportional approach on its own would reduce its own influence. This was the most telling argument that caused Colorado voters to agree with Republican Governor Owens and to reject this proposal in November 2004 by a two-to-one margin.

        If the proportional approach were implemented by a state, on its own,, it would have to allocate its electoral votes in whole numbers. If a current battleground state were to change its winner-take-all statute to a proportional method for awarding electoral votes, presidential candidates would pay less attention to that state because only one electoral vote would probably be at stake in the state.

        If the whole-number proportional approach had been in use throughout the country in the nation’s closest recent presidential election (2000), it would not have awarded the most electoral votes to the candidate receiving the most popular votes nationwide. Instead, the result would have been a tie of 269–269 in the electoral vote, even though Al Gore led by 537,179 popular votes across the nation. The presidential election would have been thrown into Congress to decide and resulted in the election of the second-place candidate in terms of the national popular vote.

        A system in which electoral votes are divided proportionally by state would not accurately reflect the nationwide popular vote and would not make every vote equal.

        It would penalize states, such as Montana, that have only one U.S. Representative even though it has almost three times more population than other small states with one congressman. It would penalize fast-growing states that do not receive any increase in their number of electoral votes until after the next federal census. It would penalize states with high voter turnout (e.g., Utah, Oregon).

        Moreover, the fractional proportional allocation approach does not assure election of the winner of the nationwide popular vote. In 2000, for example, it would have resulted in the election of the second-place candidate.

        June 21, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
  20. Mary

    Our financial crisis wasn't caused by the US Constitution, but by the same corrupt policies, imposed by Bill Clinton during his term in the white house, the same corrupt policies embraced by Barack Obama, and in fact, the same corrupt policies Fareed that you demand be imposed. What Fareed demands is the ability to eliminate all our rights and freedoms, so the US can be reduced to a failed state, so the same people who pay him, can run roughshod over all our rights and freedoms. Fareed wants the US reduced to a plantation slavery state.

    June 21, 2011 at 9:36 am | Reply
  21. Jason

    Heaven help us all. A constitution built on mob mentality, rather than by some of the greatest minds in history who had done more historical research on the prosperity and fall of empires than any combined body in history. New Bill of Rights.
    1. Everyone is entitled to a $100,000 salary while working a 20 hour work week.
    2. Kids don't have to eat greenbeans if their mom says they do.
    3. Free Play station for all.
    4. Bad guys are not allowed to have guns or to be mean.
    5. I have the right to shut someone up if they're saying something I don't like.
    6. Everyone has to follow my religion...whatever it is, atheism, Christian, Muslim. Enter biggest religion here.

    Sounds like it was written by a bunch of kindergarteners. But some of these popular sentiments are some of the biggest complaints about the Constitution.

    June 21, 2011 at 9:38 am | Reply
  22. ChrisB

    A) The Electoral College protects the small states. Otherwise they would be completely ignored as nat'l candidiates pursued the population centers. B) As a republic, each state has equal representation in one house of Congress, the Senate. You want representation based on population, look to the House. C) The fact that the Constitution has been amended more than two dozen times says that it is living and current with evolving nat'l standards. The beauty of the document is in its simplicity, outlining broad duties. It is THAT framework which we cherish. D) The 2000 presidential election in FL was so razor thin that virtually ANY system in s state with 18 million people would be hard pressed to say with absolute certainty on the first count who won. And again, we are a republic. There were many more local races on the Florida ballot in 2000 that the one presidential contest. Each state, within standards, meets those standards as best as their circumstances permit. Live with the concept. E) Many states make a new constitution every ten years, including FL and TX. Both have been in the union since the mid 1800's. So? I don't find that a compelling argument to do similar with the nat'l document.

    June 21, 2011 at 9:40 am | Reply
    • oldgulph

      Under the current system, 12 of the 13 lowest population states (3-4 electoral votes) are almost invariably non-competitive, and ignored, in presidential elections. Six regularly vote Republican (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota), and six regularly vote Democratic (Rhode Island, Delaware, Hawaii, Vermont, Maine, and DC) in presidential elections Despite the fact that these 12 lowest population states together possess 40 electoral votes, because they are not closely divided battleground states, none of these 12 states get visits, advertising or polling or policy considerations by presidential candidates.

      These 12 states together contain 11 million people. Because of the two electoral-vote bonus that each state receives, the 12 non-competitive small states have 40 electoral votes. However, the two-vote bonus is an entirely illusory advantage to the small states. Ohio has 11 million people and has "only" 20 electoral votes. As we all know, the 11 million people in Ohio are the center of attention in presidential campaigns, while the 11 million people in the 12 non-competitive small states are utterly irrelevant. Nationwide election of the President would make each of the voters in the 12 lowest population states as important as an Ohio voter.

      Senator Robert E. Dole of Kansas, the Republican nominee for President in 1996 and Republican nominee for Vice President in 1976, stated in a 1979 floor speech:
      “Many persons have the impression that the electoral college benefits those persons living in small states. I feel that this is somewhat of a misconception. Through my experience with the Republican National Committee and as a Vice Presidential candidate in 1976, it became very clear that the populous states with their large blocks of electoral votes were the crucial states. It was in these states that we focused our efforts.
      “Were we to switch to a system of direct election, I think we would see a resulting change in the nature of campaigning. While urban areas will still be important campaigning centers, there will be a new emphasis given to smaller states. Candidates will soon realize that all votes are important, and votes from small states carry the same import as votes from large states. That to me is one of the major attractions of direct election. Each vote carries equal importance.
      “Direct election would give candidates incentive to campaign in States that are perceived to be single party states.

      The concept of a national popular vote for President is far from being politically "radioactive" in small states, because the small states recognize they are the most disadvantaged group of states under the current system.

      In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). The recent Washington Post, Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University poll shows 72% support for direct nationwide election of the President. Support is strong among Republican voters, Democratic voters, and independent voters, as well as every demographic group surveyed in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls. Support in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): Alaska - 70%, DC - 76%, Delaware –75%, Idaho – 77%, Maine - 77%, Montana – 72%, Nebraska - 74%, New Hampshire –69%, Nevada - 72%, New Mexico - 76%, Oklahoma – 81%, Rhode Island - 74%, South Dakota – 71%, Utah – 70%, Vermont - 75%, and West Virginia – 81%, and Wyoming – 69%;

      In the 13 lowest population states, the National Popular Vote bill already has been approved by nine state legislative chambers, including one house in, Delaware, the District of Columbia, and Maine and both houses in Hawaii, Rhode Island, and Vermont. It has been enacted by the District of Columbia, Hawaii, and Vermont.

      June 21, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Reply
      • KIRK

        THATS A LIE

        June 21, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
  23. integrity2

    I do try to listen to several news sites, however, I will no longer listen to Zakaria. Can he be any more "in your face" about his leanings? I'm sure he wants to change the US Constitution- he wants to help Obama continued obliteration of our rights. Listen to Mark Levin's responsehttp://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2011/06/20/mark-levin-gives-fareed-zakaria-much-needed-lesson-us-constitution to this miscreant:

    June 21, 2011 at 9:44 am | Reply
  24. David

    "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."

    I gather this is supposed to be a criticism... I'm not sure I understand why, however. The judiciary is a great deal more 'undemocratic" than the electoral college, isn't it? Should we fix that, too? When you get right down to it, why have a legislature at all? We could use the internet to vote on everything, and really have a democracy. Except that this is a recipe for disaster, and that's what our Constitution (which makes us a democratic republic, not a democracy) was designed to avoid. Yes, states all have the same number of senators, but this reflects a balance between states and the federal government. if we do away with the electoral college, then all legislation and all presidential campaigns, and all presidents will reflect only the preferences of California, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, and a few others, with the rest of the country being relegated to "fly-over" status. Will that really help democracy?

    June 21, 2011 at 9:54 am | Reply
    • Rob

      ummmm, you're not getting it – that's EXACTLY what the "progressives" want. They want to do away with any push back by those "evil" conservatives. They believe that if states with high populations of libbies (CA, NY, etc) can bully the rest of the country into THEIR way of doing things, then that would make everything so much better (ie, socialist).

      June 21, 2011 at 10:05 am | Reply
    • oldgulph

      Now 2/3rds of the states and people have been merely spectators to the presidential elections.

      The current system of electing the president ensures that the candidates, after the primaries, do not reach out to all of the states and their voters. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. The reason for this is the state-by-state winner-take-all method (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but since enacted by 48 states), under which all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who gets the most votes in each separate state.

      Presidential candidates concentrate their attention on only a handful of closely divided "battleground" states and their voters. In the 2012 election, pundits and campaign operatives agree already, that, at most, only 14 states and their voters will matter. Almost 75% of the country will be ignored –including 19 of the 22 lowest population and medium-small states, and 17 medium and big states like CA, GA, NY, and TX. This will be more obscene than the 2008 campaign,, when candidates concentrated over 2/3rds of their campaign events and ad money in just 6 states, and 98% in just 15 states (CO, FL, IN, IA, MI, MN, MO, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, PA, VA, and WI). Over half (57%) of the events were in just 4 states (OH, FL, PA, and VA). In 2004, candidates concentrated over 2/3rds of their money and campaign visits in 5 states; over 80% in 9 states; and over 99% of their money in 16 states.

      Policies important to the citizens of ‘flyover’ states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.

      June 21, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Reply
      • KIRK

        i dont care how many times you repost it it still a lie i can do same thing

        June 21, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • oldgulph

      The 11 most populous states contain 56% of the population of the United States, but under the current system, a candidate could win the Presidency by winning a mere 51% of the vote in just these 11 biggest states - that is, a mere 26% of the nation's votes.

      But the political reality is that the 11 largest states rarely agree on any political question. In terms of recent presidential elections, the 11 largest states include five "red states (Texas, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and Georgia) and six "blue" states (California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and New Jersey). The fact is that the big states are just about as closely divided as the rest of the country. For example, among the four largest states, the two largest Republican states (Texas and Florida) generated a total margin of 2.1 million votes for Bush, while the two largest Democratic states generated a total margin of 2.1 million votes for Kerry.

      Moreover, the notion that any candidate could win 100% of the vote in one group of states and 0% in another group of states is far-fetched. Indeed, among the 11 most populous states in 2004, the highest levels of popular support , hardly overwhelming, were found in the following seven non-battleground states:
      * Texas (62% Republican),
      * New York (59% Democratic),
      * Georgia (58% Republican),
      * North Carolina (56% Republican),
      * Illinois (55% Democratic),
      * California (55% Democratic), and
      * New Jersey (53% Democratic).

      In addition, the margins generated by the nation's largest states are hardly overwhelming in relation to the 122,000,000 votes cast nationally. Among the 11 most populous states, the highest margins were the following seven non-battleground states:
      * Texas - 1,691,267 Republican
      * New York - 1,192,436 Democratic
      * Georgia - 544,634 Republican
      * North Carolina - 426,778 Republican
      * Illinois - 513,342 Democratic
      * California - 1,023,560 Democratic
      * New Jersey - 211,826 Democratic

      To put these numbers in perspective, Oklahoma (7 electoral votes) alone generated a margin of 455,000 "wasted" votes for Bush in 2004 - larger than the margin generated by the 9th and 10th largest states, namely New Jersey and North Carolina (each with 15 electoral votes). Utah (5 electoral votes) alone generated a margin of 385,000 "wasted" votes for Bush in 2004. 8 small western states, with less than a third of California’s population, provided Bush with a bigger margin (1,283,076) than California provided Kerry (1,235,659).

      In 2008, campaign events were held in only 12 of the 25 largest states.

      June 21, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Reply
      • KIRK

        i dont care how many times you repost it it still a lie

        June 21, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  25. Don Bacon

    THE RE-CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

    Preamble

    We the Citizens of the United States of America, in order to perfect our representative democracy—a government intended to be of, by, and for the citizens of this republic—do hereby replace our Constitution and its amendments with this Re-Constitution, expanding the civil liberties and rights of all persons and improving the federalism by which the Union is preserved and protected.

    Article I Citizenship

    A natural-born citizen of the United States shall be anyone who, at the time of his or her birth, has a biological parent who is a citizen. A naturalized citizen shall be anyone who fulfills the legal requirements of naturalization as established by Congress. Citizens eighteen years of age or older may vote in elections, and shall be eligible to serve in public office and on juries. Citizenship and its benefits shall be privileges, revocable for just cause by due process in a federal court of law.

    Article II Branches and Levels of Government

    The government of the United States shall be separated into three branches–-legislative, executive, and judicial––in order that the branches check and balance one another’s powers. Our government shall also be separated into three levels––federal, state, and local. Federal authority and law shall extend to all matters between or shared by the States, all matters external to the United States, and the District of Columbia. A State’s authority and law shall extend to all matters internal to that State, which shall divide itself into political subdivisions, in order that local authority and law extend to all matters specific to the different locales. This Re-Constitution and its amendments shall be the supreme law of the land, to which all branches and levels of government shall conform their laws and actions. The proceedings of government shall be conducted in public wherever possible, with thorough and accurate records freely available.

    Article III Enumeration of Civil Liberties and Rights

    Persons apprehended making war against the United States, or assisting in the furtherance thereof, shall be subject to military law and justice. For all other persons, the protection of the following civil liberties and rights shall be guaranteed by all branches and levels of government within the States, the District of Columbia, and all territories and possessions of the United States:

    1. Freedom from slavery and involuntary servitude.

    2. Freedom from discrimination, for reason of race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, degree of wealth, opinion, residency, or manner of living. All persons shall receive equal protection of the laws.

    3. Freedom of expression in all subjects, communicated or created in any medium or manner, public and private. Persons shall be liable for their expression, if in violation of another’s civil liberties, rights, or other protections provided in law.

    4. Freedom of association and organization for any peaceful purpose, including the right to assemble, protest and petition the government for a redress of grievances, and to travel freely within the States, the District of Columbia, and all territories and possessions of the United States.

    5. Right of self-protection, to defend one’s own and others’ safety from bodily harm, to keep arms for personal protection in one’s domicile, and to bear arms in defense of the United States against tyranny, insurrection or invasion.

    6. Right of emergency medical treatment, for all persons from any medical facility, regardless of ability to pay, in the event of a life-threatening emergency or catastrophe, manmade or natural.

    7. Freedom from government taking of private property, unless after due process of law the property shall be owned by the public for its use, and unless the owner is compensated at fair market value for the property taken. The original owner or his designated heir(s) shall have first right of refusal to purchase the property if it is offered for private ownership in the future.

    8. Right to shelter, and freedom from vagrancy. To preserve public order, government shall provide shelter and assistance for the indigent as necessary, and prohibit vagrancy.

    9. Right of privacy, to be secure upon private property from searches and seizures unless with written warrant, issued by the court of jurisdiction to law enforcement authorities after presentation under oath of substantial evidence of probable wrongdoing, and which defines the limits of the search and persons or things to be seized. In public, persons and personal property are subject to non-warranted search and seizure only upon evidence of probable wrongdoing, or as a security precaution before entering a public space. Absent a compelling interest, government shall not constrain persons' conduct of their private lives.

    10. Rights upon criminal arrest and trial:

    A. To be informed of one’s legal rights at the time of arrest, including the right to due process of law, to remain silent before law enforcement authorities, and to a competent attorney, court-appointed if requested.

    B. To a writ of habeas corpus, namely, to promptly appear before the court of jurisdiction and hear legitimate causes for one’s arrest, and the exact accusation, or be freed. The accused shall not be presented in court, nor otherwise displayed in public, wearing prison garb or physical restraints. The accused shall be subject to trial only upon presentation of sufficient prima facie proof, that if unrebutted, would demonstrate guilt. No person shall be held captive or detained in order to prevent the potential commission of a crime.

    C. To humane treatment in government custody, and to reasonable bail.

    D. To a timely and public trial, on specific and self-consistent charges, heard by an impartial jury of one’s peers, on the principle that the accused is to be found innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by unanimous verdict of the jurors.

    E. To full prior discovery and examination of all evidence for the prosecution, to hear and cross-examine witnesses for the prosecution, and to subpoena witnesses in one’s defense.

    F. To decline to testify, either for or against oneself, without implication of guilt. No person shall be required by government to incriminate or bring infamy upon oneself.

    G. In the event of acquital, to be free from future criminal retrial or civil trial, for the same alleged offense.

    H. In the event of conviction, freedom from penalties that include unreasonable fines or cruel punishments; and the right to appeal one’s conviction on procedural, factual, and legal grounds.

    11. Right to an impartial jury of one’s peers in civil trials, whether plaintiff or defendant. To achieve legal standing, plaintiffs must make an arguable prima facie demonstration that they are or have been damaged by the defendant.

    12. Freedom from ex post facto laws, and government intrusion in private contracts. The lawfulness of an action, contract, or state of affairs shall be preserved in accordance with the laws in place at the time the action was committed, the contract executed, or the state of affairs first obtained. Government shall not abrogate, nullify, or modify a legal, written contract between consenting parties, nor require persons to enter into contracts.

    Article IV Federal Legislature

    The bicameral Congress of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives, shall be the federal legislative authority. It shall have sole powers to originate and vote upon all proposals, including all bills proposed to become law, for all matters between or shared by the States, external to the United States, and the District of Columbia.

    Section 1 Any candidate for Senator or Representative must be at least twenty-five years of age on the day of election, and have been a citizen of the United States for seven years, and a resident of the State or congressional district for one year. Senators and Representatives shall be elected for a term of four years, and shall be limited to no more than two consecutive terms. After one term out of their previous office, Senators or Representatives shall become eligible to return to their respective chamber. In the first election after ratification of this Re-Constitution, all positions for Senator and Representative shall be balloted and filled. One newly elected Senator from each State, and the closest approximation to one half of the newly elected Representatives from each State and the District of Columbia, except those from States or the District of Columbia with only one Representative, shall be randomly selected after the results of the election are final to serve for a two-year term. Those Senators and Representatives serving the initial two-year term may afterward seek re-election for two consecutive four-year terms in their respective chamber.

    Section 2 The Senate shall consist of one hundred Senators, two from each State. Every two years, each State shall hold a state-wide election for one of its two senatorial positions. The House of Representatives shall consist of four hundred and one Representatives, apportioned to the States and the District of Columbia according to their number of resident citizens, as determined by a national census conducted every new decade. The decennial national census shall also determine each State's and the District of Columbia's total population, according to which Congress shall distribute federal costs and benefits.

    Section 3 Congressional apportionment shall ensure that each Representative represents a congressional district of approximately the same number of Citizens, except that every State and the District of Columbia shall be apportioned at least one Representative. Each State and the District of Columbia shall create congressional districts equal in number to its apportioned number of Representatives. Every two years, each State and the District of Columbia shall hold elections for the House of Representatives in the closest approximation to one half of its congressional districts.

    Section 4 Congress shall assemble in joint session on the first Monday of even-numbered months. Between joint sessions, the two chambers shall collaborate through a ten-member Congressional Conference, consisting of five Senators and five Representatives chosen by their respective chamber, who may replace their Conferees at will. Either chamber may meet separately at other times of its choosing, and may originate and vote upon any proposal, including a bill proposed to become law. Whether meeting in joint session or separately, if at least one half of the total number of Senators or Representatives are in attendance, and if at least one half of those in attendance agree, any matter may be scheduled for a discussion and vote.

    Section 5 A congressional proposal shall pertain to only one subject, and state the proposal's purpose as a preamble. Each federal appropriation shall be proposed separately. If any proposal is approved by one chamber, it shall be sent to the other chamber for consideration. If the proposal passes both chambers, whether in joint or separate sessions, it shall be presented to the President for executive approval. If the President approves, he shall sign the proposal and return it to Congress. If the President disapproves, within fourteen days he shall return the unsigned proposal to Congress with objections. Congress, as it sees fit, may then reconsider the proposal in the light of the President’s objections, either in joint or separate sessions, or both, and revote the proposal. If it is passed by Congress in joint session, or by both chambers in separate sessions, upon agreement of two-thirds of the total number of Senators and Representatives, the proposal shall become law, or have the full force and effect of law. If the President does not return the proposal, signed or unsigned with objections, within fourteen days, the proposal shall become law, or have the full force and effect of law.

    Section 6 Either the Senate or the House of Representatives may impeach the President or Vice-President if two-thirds of the total number of either Senators or Representatives agree. Impeachment shall then be tried in a special joint session of Congress, presided over by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The agreement of three-quarters of the total number of both Senators and Representatives shall result in conviction, upon which the President or Vice-President shall be immediately removed from office. Congress may not conduct criminal prosecution or assess penalties against any person, including the President or Vice-President, who once removed from office are however subject to criminal law, while enjoying the same civil rights in the event of criminal arrest and prosecution as all other persons.

    Section 7 The President and Vice-President may not be concurrently impeached. If the President is impeached and convicted, the Vice-President shall immediately succeed to the Presidency and appoint a new Vice-President without the need for congressional approval. The office of the President shall at no time remain vacant. If the Vice-President is impeached and convicted, the President shall appoint a new Vice-President without the need for congressional approval. In either case, the Vice-Presidency shall be filled by the President within fourteen days. If not, Congress shall appoint a Vice-President without delay.

    Section 8 Senators and Representatives may not be removed from office by their respective chamber, nor may they be punished therein, except by censure. Senators and Representatives shall be removed from office either upon criminal felony conviction, or if they are recalled and replaced in a special election, as the different States may provide, if they see fit. Any vacancy in Congress by whatever cause shall be filled by the State from which the vacancy occurred, in the manner prescribed by that State's laws. As salary, Senators and Representatives shall receive three times the national average of gross ordinary income.

    Section 9 The above provisions notwithstanding, the Senate and House of Representatives shall together make the rules by which they cooperate, and shall separately make the rules by which each chamber operates. The two chambers shall organize themselves into committees as they see fit and appoint their own officers, with the exception of the Vice-President, who shall preside over the Senate, and Congress in joint session, casting the deciding vote in the event of a tie.

    Article V Federal Executive

    The President shall be the chief executive of the United States, and direct the federal executive authority, which shall be empowered and required to enact, administer, and enforce this Re-Constitution, its amendments, and the laws and actions approved by Congress.

    Section 1 Any candidate for President must be at least thirty-five years of age on the day of election, and have been a citizen of the United States for the previous fourteen years. The Presidency shall be determined by the voters of all the States and the District of Columbia, the winner to become the President, the runner-up to become the Vice-President. In the event of a tie vote between candidates, the members of Congress in office at the time of the election shall choose between the tied candidates in special joint session, each Senator and Representative to have one vote. In the event of a tie vote in Congress, the Vice-President at the time of the general election shall cast the deciding vote, but may not vote for himself.

    Section 2 Both the President and Vice-President shall serve for the same term of four years. While the Vice-President shall not be limited in the number of terms he or she may serve, the President may serve for no more than two terms. In the event that the President dies in office, or is determined by three-quarters of the total members of Congress to be no longer able to serve due to mental or physical incapacity, the Vice-President shall assume the Presidency for the remainder of the term of office, and within fourteen days shall appoint a new Vice-President without the need for congressional approval. If not, Congress shall appoint a Vice-President without delay. Any Vice-President assuming the Presidency during a term of office may be elected President to no more than one subsequent term. If the President and the Vice-President both die in office, or suffer some other calamity such that their two offices are vacant at the same time, Congress shall speedily meet in joint session and appoint a new President for the remainder of the term of office. In that event, the new President within fourteen days shall appoint a new Vice-President without the need for congressional approval. If not, Congress shall appoint a Vice-President without delay. As salary, the President and Vice-President shall receive four times the national average of gross ordinary income.

    Section 3 The President shall be the commander-in-chief of all military forces of the United States. Congress shall have sole authority to declare a state of war or military conflict, upon agreement of two-thirds of its total number of members. Congress shall also have sole authority to declare a cessation of a state of war or military conflict, upon agreement of a majority of its total number of members. Declarations of Congress, either to commence or cease states of war or military conflict, do not require approval by the President. The President shall have authority to immediately respond to protect national security in the event of a foreign military attack upon the United States. Under all circumstances, the military forces of the United States are subject to the authority of the President, who in turn is subject to the authority of Congress. The President and federal executive authority shall receive foreign ambassadors and officials, and shall negotiate treaties and agreements with foreign powers, subject to ratification by two-thirds of the total number of members of Congress.

    Section 4 The President shall appoint Ambassadors, Justices of the Supreme Court and the High Court of Review, and federal executive branch department heads, if confirmed by a majority of the total number of members of Congress. The President, Vice-President and federal executive branch department heads shall fill lesser positions in their respective offices and departments at their discretion without the need for congressional approval. All executive branch appointees serve at the pleasure of the President. When Congress is in recess, the President may temporarily fill ambassadorial and department head vacancies within the executive branch as necessary until Congress considers and votes upon the appointments. Congress shall at all times provide funding and approve appointments sufficient for the smooth functioning of the federal executive.

    Section 5 The President shall appear before each bi-monthly joint session of Congress, report on the state of the Union, and answer questions from members of Congress. The President has no power to convene or adjourn the Senate or House of Representatives, or Congress in joint session, nor to grant reprieves or pardons for criminal convictions, nor to immunize any person against criminal indictment or prosecution. Congress may remove from office through impeachment, as described above, the President, Vice-President, Justices of the Supreme Court and the High Court of Review, Judges of the lower federal courts, or federal executive branch department heads, at its sole discretion. No more than one federal trial of impeachment may occur at any given time. The Vice-President shall preside over all impeachment proceedings with the exception of trials against himself or the President.

    Article VI Federal Judiciary

    The Supreme Court, and the High Court of Review, shall together direct the federal judicial authority, which shall be empowered and required to hear and decide all legal matters concerning the United States that are not internal to an individual State. The federal judiciary shall have sole authority to interpret this Re-Constitution and its amendments, and to ensure that the laws and actions of the government of the United States, and the individual States, do not violate this Re-Constitution or its amendments.

    Section 1 The Supreme Court, and lower federal case courts under its direction that it creates as necessary, shall hear and decide all federal criminal and civil trials and appeals. The decisions of the Supreme Court and lower federal case courts shall be binding on all parties to the particular case, and constitutional interpretations expressed therein shall provide precedent for subsequent federal court cases. The decisions of the Supreme Court and lower federal case courts shall not become federal law, which shall be limited to this Re-Constitution, its amendments, and laws passed by Congress.

    Section 2 The High Court of Review, and lower federal review courts under its direction that it creates as necessary, shall have authority to review and determine the constitutionality of all laws and actions of federal, state, and local government, except the judiciary, where deciding criminal and civil trials and appeals. The determination by the High Court or a lower federal review court that a law or action of government is unconstitutional, shall render that law or action null and void, and bars the government from enacting or enforcing the law, or committing the action. All legal complaints between different States, or between a State and the federal government, shall be heard and decided by the federal review courts.

    Section 3 The Supreme Court and the High Court of Review shall each be comprised of nine Justices, appointed by the President and confirmed by Congress. Judges of the lower federal case courts and review courts shall be appointed by their respective Justices, and confirmed by Congress. All federal Justices and Judges shall serve without term until the age of eighty years on good behavior, subject to impeachment by Congress. As salary, Justices shall receive four times, and Judges three times, the national average of gross ordinary income. Congress shall at all times provide funding and approve appointments sufficient for the smooth functioning of the federal judiciary.

    Article VII The States

    Section 1 The States shall not through their laws or actions violate this Re-Constitution or its amendments, nor deny to any citizens of the United States their privileges, nor deny to any persons their civil liberties and rights as enumerated by this Re-Constitution and its amendments. Full faith and credit shall be given in each State to the laws and actions of every other State. Any person warranted for arrest in one State, found in another, shall be arrested in that State and delivered up to the warranting State. The States shall settle any disputes between themselves peaceably and in accordance with any federal adjudication thereof. Federal government shall not give preference to one State over another, nor mandate State actions for federal purposes without providing funding sufficient to accomplish the mandate. States shall provide a public education to their legal residents eighteen years of age or younger.

    Section 2 No new States shall be added to the United States, nor shall any State secede from the United States. States shall not confederate between themselves or other corporate bodies, including foreign governments, nor lay charges for or otherwise restrict interstate commerce or transit. The boundaries between contiguous States are inviolable, and shall not be altered except by mutual agreement. The federal government shall secure the borders of the United States from illegal foreign entry or invasion. Individual States shall have the authority to supplement federal measures to secure themselves from illegal foreign entry or invasion, as they deem necessary.

    Article VIII Conduct of Elections

    Section 1 Elections for public office within the United States, at all levels and branches of government, shall be conducted uniformly, with standards and practices to be established by Congress, so that voters and candidates enjoy the equal protection of uniform election laws and methodology throughout the United States. Electoral districts shall be drawn by non-partisan ad hoc commissions convened to create compact, competitive districts that avoid dividing locales and communities. All disputes concerning the conduct or results of elections shall be resolved at the level of government the disputed circumstances arose. No elective body shall be the judge of the results of any election for one of its positions. Incumbent public officials shall not use their office, or its resources, to campaign for or against candidates for public office.

    Section 2 In all States and the District of Columbia general elections shall occur on the first Tuesday of November, primary elections on the first Tuesday of July, and special elections on the first Tuesday of March. Congressional terms of office shall begin and end on the second Monday of January. Presidential and Vice-Presidential terms of office shall begin and end on the third Monday of January. All citizens elected or appointed to public office shall swear or affirm loyalty to the United States before assuming office, and hold only one salaried position at any given time, during and after which they shall not enjoy immunity from liability for misdeeds committed while in office. It shall be a criminal offense for citizens to accept or knowingly receive any gift, offering or compensation, or otherwise profit beyond their lawfully determined salary and benefits, as a consequence of their public office. No changes in salary or benefits for any public office shall be retroactive, nor apply to the persons legislating or authorizing the changes, during their tenure in office.

    Section 3 Elections for public office within the United States, at all levels and branches of government, shall be conducted fairly, so that citizens have an equal opportunity to compete for public office on the basis of their talents and fitness to serve. Citizens seeking public office shall gather endorsement signatures from eligible voters as a prerequisite for candidacy. Eligible voters may endorse only one prospective candidate per office. For each public office, the ten citizens who gather the greatest numbers of valid endorsement signatures shall then together take an objectively-graded written entrance exam, devised by the legislative authority to test the knowledge and judgment of the prospective candidates relevant to the office sought. The five highest test scorers shall qualify as candidates for the primary election, and shall be required to regularly debate one another, and be tested and interrogated by the public, in a variety of subjects, formats, and venues. All candidates for public office shall fulfill their mandatory electoral activities at public expense. For every election, all news media operating within the electoral jurisdiction shall be required at their expense to regularly broadcast and disseminate records of the tests, debates, interrogations of and statements from the candidates. All news media operating within the electoral jurisdiction shall also be required at their expense to fairly broadcast and disseminate persons’ diverse expressions of support for or opposition to candidates for public office. The two highest vote-getters in the July primary election shall qualify for the November general election, and again shall be required to participate in a variety of debates, tests and interrogatories as the public and governing legislative authority deem appropriate. In order to protect the electoral process from manipulation, no polling data on candidates’ popularity or electability shall be published by any source for ninety days before any election.

    Section 4 Citizens seeking the Presidency shall gather signatures of eligible voters from the State of their residence, as a prerequisite for candidacy. Citizens residing in the District of Columbia shall do likewise. Each State and the District of Columbia shall test the ten resident citizens who gather the greatest numbers of valid endorsement signatures, the five highest test scorers to compete in that State's or the District of Columbia's presidential primary. The States and the District of Columbia shall separately conduct presidential primary elections on the first Tuesday in July for the presidential candidates residing in their respective State or the District of Columbia. Winners of the primaries from each State and the District of Columbia shall then participate in presidential secondary elections on the first Tuesday in September, organized into the following five regions:

    West Middle West Central Southeast Northeast

    Alaska Colorado Arkansas Alabama Connecticut
    Arizona Kansas Illinois District of Columbia Delaware
    California Montana Indiana Florida Maine
    Idaho Minnesota Iowa Georgia Massachusetts
    Hawaii Nebraska Kentucky Louisiana New Hampshire
    Nevada North Dakota Michigan Maryland New Jersey
    New Mexico Oklahoma Missouri Mississippi New York
    Oregon South Dakota Ohio North Carolina Pennsylvania
    Utah Texas Tennessee South Carolina Rhode Island
    Washington Wyoming Wisconsin Virginia Vermont
    West Virginia

    The five winners from the regional secondary elections shall compete for the Presidency in a national general election on the first Tuesday in November. The winner shall become the President, and the runner-up shall become the Vice-President.

    Section 5 In each of the primary, secondary and general presidential elections, voters may vote for up to three different candidates in rank-order preference. No ballot shall allow voters to vote more than once for the same candidate. A first-place preference vote shall be valued as three points; a second-place preference vote shall be valued as two points; and a third-place preference vote shall be valued as one point. In any presidential election, the winner shall be the candidate who receives the highest point total. In the general presidential election, the runner-up shall be the candidate who receives the second-highest point total.

    Section 6 As uniform and fair elections are the central mechanism of representative democracy, Congress and State legislatures shall maintain stringent criminal penalties for violations of the conduct of elections as provisioned in this Re-Constitution and its amendments, and as elaborated by Congress and State legislatures.

    Article IX Citizens’ Power of Referendum

    In order to directly check and balance federal legislative and executive authority, the citizens of the United States shall have the power of Referendum, to reverse and render null and void federal laws or actions, with the exception of judicial decisions, this Re-Constitution and its amendments. Referenda shall be initiated upon the authorization of a majority of State legislatures or State ballot initiatives. In that event a national plebiscite shall be scheduled by Congress for the first Tuesday in March, July, or November, whichever comes first. Once a referendum has been initiated, the federal law or action to be referended shall be held in abeyance, without effect, while it is challenged by referendum. The agreement of a majority of citizens voting in the referendum election shall reverse and render null and void the federal law or action in question.

    Article X Citizens’ Power of Ratification

    If authorized by two-thirds of the States, Congress shall schedule a special national plebiscite for the citizens of the United States to vote upon Ratification of this Re-Constitution. Ratification shall be approved upon the agreement of a majority of citizens voting in the special election.

    Article XI Citizens’ Power of Amendment

    If authorized by two-thirds of the States, Congress shall schedule a special national plebiscite for the citizens of the United States to vote upon any proposed Amendments to this Re-Constitution. States must authorize exactly the same language for any proposed amendment. Amendments shall be approved upon the agreement of a majority of citizens voting in the special election.

    June 21, 2011 at 9:59 am | Reply
    • KIRK

      LIKE THAT IDIOTIC IDEA WILL PASS CONSTITUTION MUSTER....LOL..NOT JUST NO HELL NO

      June 21, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Reply
  26. First Continental Regiment

    Fareed you ignorant jackass:

    1. We are a republic; a collection of states.
    2. The Senate is designed to give each state an equal voice in that chamber while the House's composition is based on population. This offers a check between states with large populations and those with smaller ones. The House was intended to be a vulgar (read: common) body with high turnover.
    3. The terms of service (2 years in the House and 6 in the Senate) are designed so that members of the Senate can focus more on long term issues.
    4. The Constitution possesses a built in procedure for changing itself should Americans wish to do so and we have. All, not just some, but all of these changes have been monumental! Why, because the amendment procedure is designed to reflect the views of a supra-supramajority of citizens. We have even changed it, did not like the change, and changed it back! Also, have you noticed that under our Constitution people vote their Representatives, Senators and President on regular basis, not just when some prime minister calls an election.
    5. I'll take the Founding Fathers over a bunch of Icelanders any day. The Althing has been around since 930 AD and they cannot a constitution right!

    June 21, 2011 at 10:01 am | Reply
  27. Don Bacon

    p.s. The five regions for the secondary presidential primaries got mangled in Re-Con's transmission above. Each region has 10 states, except for the Southeast, which includes D.C. and thus has 11.

    June 21, 2011 at 10:06 am | Reply
  28. NY-Native

    The preamble of the constitution says it was written 'FOR US AND OUR POSTERITY." What's funny about diary entry such as the one presented here, is how much scrambling other populations have done to obscure and deny those five words. In part, other religious communities have had a very very hard time processing how "americans" (largely protestant) could have EVER HAD A BLESSED nation. To both Catholics and Jews (the Fox lineup and CNN, not to mention the Supreme Court, and many other places that the protestants have been run out of)- the protestants are seen as either "goys" or "heretics."

    It is amazing how much time and energy is taken up in classes for other religious deals (catechism or shul) with what exactly is the trouble with these protestant people. The great "heresies" are gone over and over, complete with a framework for understanding why they should have been done in in the past, (whether Albigensians or Waldenses or just plain German Lutherans). AND YET this is never seen as the envy it is, or connected to why so many of the population have simply vanished in the past 50 years from the public sphere.

    Much less is this seen as the crisis of faith that it posed to both Jews and Catholics. Why would GOD bless a heretic goy nation?? Even now, talk is open on t.v. about how these groups -you know- are just cleaning up the mess left by the blood relatives of the founding fathers, or by extension their ethnic kinship group.

    It leaves one to wonder whether that is the only group that can tolerate (or perhaps is creative enough) to actually WANT freedom of thought, conscience and so on. The other populations have left the distinct impression ON THE WORLD and on history (given what they have done with "america" which is right there for all the world to see)- that they cannot tolerate freedom.

    Every move is made to shut it down, including simply misbehaving to such a degree that people, even freedom loving ones, want something done. They are sick of watching the Lady Gaga and Madonna pole dancing acts, the Scorceses and Tarantinos, and from the jewish end, the Jerry Springers-all as an "art form."

    Certainly, the way the protestants are clearly blessed, (about whom such ills are taught quite openly in jewish and catholic shuls and catechisms)- posed quite a crisis in faith for these populations. God would not bless goys or heretics-- and so, therefore, they must be removed from the public sphere of their country, a country that only their ethnicity can produce, while the others -and for what should be very obviously reasons- tend toward atmospheres of control, power, despotism, police statism, welfare statism and so on.

    The fundamental teachings that one's god is the only god, and that the only god has a covenant with you and you are the natural pic to "run" things-- or teachings that, should anyone have an IDEA that is not exactly like yours, they should be condemned as a heretic, or at least secretly viewed as as someone "less than," can certainly indoctrinate a deep amount of hubris, arrogance, the sin of pride.

    Living from such an attitude, one simply cannot be "presidential." Such people obviously could not produce (and rarely do) true statesman. The essence of the statesman is a sort of liberalism BUT A LIBERALISM, not like today's communism under another name, but rather "liberalism" in the old-school sense of being able to understand, and take in various realities while still having one's faith, and without lording one's "true god" over all others (b/c that would be arrogance, b/c in turn, one never knows God's design).

    God blessed a "heretic goy nation"-- and catholics and jews cannot cope with this without losing faith. Therefore, it's got to be dismantled, so they can hold onto their own realities. This is what "identity" politics is all about.

    Frankly, if "us and our posterity" had a new land space, they would probably desert the country (and the others know this, which is why they are silenced, etc.) If "us and our posterity" had a new land space, it quite possibly would become every bit as "great" as the old America. Once more, others would want to come to it.

    But no one will ever admit this. IN fact, money is spent on the sound bytes that it was never really that great anyway, etc., despite the falling down cities. Despite the fact that "us and our posterity" doesn't even hit the 5% demographic mark in "power cities" like NYC. In reality, "us and our posterity" is usually seeking a way to get away from the attacks of the others, attacks of which the others are largely unconscious, but is really more a back-door airing of their unconsciously held (but visible to others) prejudices, hatreds, historical baggage, etc., the sort of thing evidenced in the endless Mandingo-Deliverance t.v. production. How many catholics know they had 90% of the slave trade, lol. How many jews know of their part?

    They vilify what is best in people, they vilify voice, talent, creativity that is not ugly-- and that really is the worst sin. Very anti-life, if you think about it.

    People will not say things s/a this, b/c they are afraid they will be targeted and harmed. That is a reality of the country. And so, the freedoms inherent in the constitution (that are not needed or wanted by those who thrive on despotism) are more necessary than ever for those who care for freedom, productivity, positivity, liberty-in other words, the LIFE drive.

    But as anyone can see-- this mainstream blog wishes to change the constitution (in some way that will suit it for the power it wants).

    The repeater at the bottom of the page says it all : one MUST EMBRACE global structures (whatever those may be). It MUST be done.

    An atmosphere where people are told WHAT MUST BE DONE is obviously very different than one in which people consider things clearly, are given information, asked to think about things, then make a choice based in freedom of conscience.

    In reality, the constitution was already re-written. People are told what they MUST do. So, they are not living internally, in the way the constitution would have allowed them to live.

    Which makes it a moot point.

    June 21, 2011 at 10:09 am | Reply
  29. Tom S.

    Fareed, you're such a f–k off it's unbelievable. We already HAVE a process to update the consitution. It's called the amendment process. This country doesn't need any leftist ideas like yours and Iceland's. Get bent.

    June 21, 2011 at 10:30 am | Reply
    • Mawenzie

      Tom S, your stupidity is only rivaled by your hypocrisy. Amendment process...really? That only works when the government is actually functioning. Or did you forget, it takes 2/3 majority to get it passed...oh right, you dropped out of high school you ignoramus. THIS COUNTRY IS BROKEN. We can't even pass a budget. We can't even decide to raise the debt ceiling for spending THAT WAS ALREADY APPROVED. When will the right wing nuts in this country wake up and figure out, we are doomed. If we start now, we could have this country fixed by the time we die...

      June 21, 2011 at 11:11 am | Reply
  30. Mawenzie

    Dumb Tea Baggers and Independents. "Ooooohhhh, I loooovveee the Constitution". It feels so good to cling to the past. You probably want the Internet to be destroyed. America needs to WAKE UP. THE USA IS DEAD!!!!! What will it take for you to figure it out. The system DOES NOT WORK, unless you are a right wing nut and are getting everything that you want right now: wars that we don't need, trillions in debt, corporations that wield all the power, lower wages. Get a clue. The USA IS DEAD!!!

    June 21, 2011 at 10:58 am | Reply
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