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 And, anyway, they felt the document was old and outdated, drafted all the way back in 1944.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

    You will NOT have your NEW WORLD ORDER.

    You will fail and you will face the consequences...

    June 22, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Reply
  2. Mike P

    Let's start with something simple, that does not require redefining states rights or the electoral college...change congressional terms and limit them. Let's get away from career politicians who see their main job as getting re-elected over serving the country. In addition, basic issues have gotten hugely complex. So, the proposal is 12 year max. Two terms as a senator. Or 4 as a rep. YES – four terms means 3 years/term. The current system means new reps spend 6 months learning their jobs, 6 months doing them , and 12 months running for re-election. Make the term 3 years and elect 1/3 every year (same as senate). We need to change the "congressional process" or we will never get past short-term "issues of the day".

    June 22, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Reply
  3. LiveFreeorDie

    I have a better idea. Lets try following the constitution instead of destroying it. Zakaria and his globalist coconspirators are determined to destroy the Constitution and the Bill of Rights because the document stands in the way of establishing a one-world supranational government. Period. Wake up people. The constitution was designed to keep the Government in check. If we followed the constitution we would not have had the financial crisis (Gold and Silver or the only legal tender).

    June 22, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Reply
  4. LiveFreeorDie

    Live Free Or Die; Death Is Not The Worst of Evils. – General Stark

    June 22, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Reply
  5. James

    As we say nowadays, and the Founders would have said had computers been around then, with reference to the Electoral College and the Senate, "Those aren't bugs, those are features." Read the Federalist Papers some time, Mr. Zakaria. Google "countervailing powers". Unfortunately, we've moved away from that design. We now elect Senators directly; the Senate was intended to represent the states, not the people directly–not to mention that the Federal Government blithely ignores the limitations set on it by the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. No, it is not time to update the Constitution, it is time to actually treat it as what it is supposed to be, namely the supreme law of the United States. Comment again when you're no longer ignorant about the topic, please.

    June 22, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Reply
  6. Alvaro

    The constitution is based on principles. Principles do not change with time and technology. Those principles were the ones that allowed the US to become the most powerful country in the world because it stuck to those principles. Now the constitution is being violated by politicians on a daily basis....
    Any new document will be redacted to benefit the wishes of the minority elite.

    June 22, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Reply
  7. Grateful Jedi

    My three Amendments:
    1. Abolish the Federal Reserve Bank and with it the current federal reserve debts) and restore Constitutional Money and a sovereign Treasury.
    2. Eliminate and dismantle the IRS by changing the Tax Code to a 1 page document with a simple 10% tax in income, i.e. capital gains and profits (not wages)
    3. Establish a constitutional definition of persons that excludes Corporations, Robots and Artificialy intelligent computers. A person must be defined as a living being with a heart, blood, brain and nervous system.

    June 22, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Reply
    • PandoraDoggl

      So what, exactly, is a corporation? It's a body of individuals. A group of persons with a right to assemble. Are you suggesting that we ought to punish persons that choose to assemble as a corporation? Should they have less rights than persons who choose to assemble as labor unions, political action committees, or even home owners associations? Corporations are groups of individuals, and if an individual has the right to do as he wishes with his money, then a corporation, as a group of individuals, has the right to do as it wishes with its money according to the decision making processes outlined in its incorporating documents. It's not about whether a corporation is considered a "person" with the same rights as an individual – it's about protecting the rights of the persons making up that corporation. No one is forced to be a member of a corporate entity.

      June 22, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Reply
  8. Ian Howard

    This is not the first time Zakaria has talked about ditching the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. He recently told Charlie Rose that America is “parochial” and there are countries around the world that do things better than we do.
    Zakaria is a smart fellow. He knows the Constitution established bedrock principles that led to previously unimagined wealth and prosperity. He also understands the average American knows almost nothing about the Constitution and certainly nothing about republicanism, liberty and inalienable rights. Far too many Americans know virtually nothing about classical liberalism, the ideal of limited government, and the unbridled liberty of individuals including freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and free markets.
    Zakaria points to the current social, political, economic breakdown in America. He attributes it to an outmoded system of government. In fact, the system no longer works because America is no longer a constitutionally limited republic and has allowed a secretive cabal of globalists, bankers, and one-worlders to chip our liberty away.
    America is in decline precisely because we have allowed the government to replace classical liberalism with a corrupt modern liberalism. It is now widely believed that rights are parceled out, guaranteed and taken away by the state. Our problems arise from the fact we are now vassals of the state and are no longer sovereign citizens.
    For Zakaria, the Constitution represents crass parochialism. Small and antiquated minds worship the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. He would have an ignorant and uneducated mob debate and eventually vote our heritage out of existence.
    It should come as no surprise Fareed Zakaria wants to do away with the Constitution. He is a darling of the Council On Foreign Relations and a Bilderberg member. He also sits on the board of the Trilateral Commission. He is a serious globalist and as such an avowed enemy of the Constitution and especially the Bill of Rights.
    The CFR consensus – and that of its international units, specifically the Trilateral Commission, Club of Rome, and Bilderbergers – is to surrender national identity and constitutional authority to a world government.
    “The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries,” said David Rockefeller at a Trilateral meeting in 1991.
    Zakaria’s rants about the Constitution have little to do with updating an old document perceived to now be irrelevant and dysfunctional. Zakaria and his globalist coconspirators are determined to destroy the Constitution and the Bill of Rights because the document stands in the way of establishing a one-world supranational government.
    The trick is to get the mob to go along and sell themselves into slavery.

    June 22, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Reply
    • darel

      Ian has clearly presented the best post found regarding this topic.

      Ian, an outstanding job! Now, if others will inquire and educate themselves and families with your information "Rats" like him would have never crawled out from under the house and shared this type of information.

      Ian, if you could please email me at darel.long@gmail.com

      Ian, did you notice that Charlie Rose was on the list at Bilderberg this year?

      Again, great post.

      June 22, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Reply
  9. PandoraDoggl

    Not sure if anyone has actually suggested the three amendments that the article has asked for... These are the three I would implement:

    The Seventeenth Article of Amendment is hereby repealed.

    Total outlays for any fiscal year shall not exceed total receipts for that fiscal year, unless three-fifths of the whole number of each House of Congress shall provide by law for a specific excess of outlays over receipts by a rollcall vote. Total outlays for any fiscal year shall not exceed one-fifth of economic output of the United States, unless two-thirds of each House of Congress shall provide for a specific increase of outlays above this amount. The limit on the debt of the United States held by the public shall not be increased unless three-fifths of the whole number of each House shall provide by law for such an increase by a roll call vote. Prior to each fiscal year, the President shall transmit to the Congress a proposed budget for the United States Government for that fiscal year in which total outlays do not exceed total receipts. A bill to increase revenue shall not become law unless three-fifths of the whole number of each House shall provide by law for such an increase by a roll call vote. The Congress may waive the provisions of this article for any fiscal year in which a declaration of war is in effect. The provisions of this article may be waived for any fiscal year in which the United States is engaged in military conflict which causes an imminent and serious military threat to national security and is so declared by a joint resolution, adopted by a majority of the whole number of each House, which becomes law. The Congress shall enforce and implement this article by appropriate legislation, which may rely on estimates of outlays and receipts. Total receipts shall include all receipts of the United States Government except those derived from borrowing. Total outlays shall include all outlays of the United States Government except for those for repayment of debt principal. This article shall take effect beginning with the later of the second fiscal year beginning after its ratification or the first fiscal year beginning after December 31, 2016.

    Any provision of law or regulation of the United States may be repealed by the several States, and such repeal shall be effective when the legislatures of two-thirds of the several States approve resolutions for this purpose that particularly describe the same provision or provisions of law or regulation to be repealed.

    June 22, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Reply
  10. JanaeJJ

    In answer to the article's question, it is ABSOLUTELY time to update the Constitution.

    June 22, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Reply
  11. Cori Scisorek

    Give me 3 and I'll think of 4!
    MOST IMPORTANT: Abolish States' Rights. "No citizen of the United States may be denied rights under the law, access to information, educational, medical or any other resourses or services which are freely available to other citizens of the United States, based on where they reside in the United States or its territories."

    2) ERA

    3) Abolishment of the Electoral College replaced with one citizen = one vote i.e. Popular Vote.

    4) Legalization and revenue collection of marijuana and all products made from marijuana and hemp.

    June 22, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Reply
    • Sovereignty Soldier

      Cori here is either way misinformed or just doesn't know what the New World Order is. We fought the Civil War Cori, over "states rights". The federal government has no right in any part of our lives that the constitution does not grant them power. Why should people in small towns live under the same ordinances and the same set of rules that city dwellers have? People move away from cities for the freedom of the country. The fact that our federal government is full of globalists and that you would remove the peoples' ability to counter the federal government(i.e. states rights) shows your lack of knowledge about the founders and our constitution.

      June 23, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Reply
  12. american citizen

    obviously the system isn't perfect. but that's an understatement today. i agree with most of what's been said. stop earmarks, stop campaign donations from corporations and special interests groups etc. what really needs to happen, is lobbying be completely destroyed and illegal when it comes to elected officials. the only thing our elected officials are, is officially useless when it comes to performing their jobs well. stop debating on gay marriage and start paying attention to the thousands dying from drunk driving and your wars that you've gotten us into.

    June 22, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Reply
    • PandoraDoggl

      The formation of corporations and "special interest groups" is protected by the First Amendment, and citizens don't suddenly lose their rights to free speech because you don't like the way they've chosen to assemble. People can come together in any way they choose, and those people can spend money that belongs to the group any way that they choose – including on campaign donations to candidates.

      Lobbying is also free speech. If you were to walk yourself into your representative's office and tell him what you think he should do, that's lobbying. Is that what you want to stop? Or do you only want to stop it when it's someone else promoting to a representative something you don't like...?

      June 22, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Reply
      • Sovereignty Soldier

        Lobbying is also free speech. If you were to walk yourself into your representative's office and tell him what you think he should do, that's lobbying. Is that what you want to stop?

        No that is NOT lobbying. That is what lobbying should be, but the way it is done today is a far cry from that.
        Maybe if you were to offer sex or financial favors for your vote, THAT would be lobbying today.

        June 23, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
  13. kc

    You people are well intentioned but you have your facts are all wrong! First of all–any talk of revamping or replacing our great constitution is dangerous . Those who love to say we are not a democracy we are a republic–great one liner–I wonder if you all know what it means!?? The USA is BOTH! It is a republic because a president is the HEAD of STATE! TO be more accurate–we are not France, S Korea, or Taiwan–so we are not just a republic as they are–but actually a union of states–so the USA is a FEDERAL REPUBLIC! That is the FORM OF government. BUt we are also a DEMOCRACY–a loose term for our WAY OF GOVT AND POLITICAL SPIRIT AS THE PEOPLE HAVE actual rights and have a voice! N Korea, Iran are Republics too! But they are not Democracies!

    June 22, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Reply
    • PandoraDoggl

      Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.

      June 22, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Reply
  14. darel

    The bottom line: If we see a push to change and/or update the U.S. Constitution we will see civil war. it's time to demand CNN remove this man from his job.

    June 22, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Reply
  15. Tom

    If we had stayed loyal to the Constitution:
    We would not have an IRS!
    We would not have a Federal Reserve!
    We would not have Fiat Currency!
    We would not have an ever expanding Federal Government!
    We would not have a Welfare State!
    We would not have Wars without End!
    We would not have Trillions of Dollars of Debt!
    So why have we abandoned The Constitution?
    So a few greedy men could get control of the world!
    VOTE RON PAUL 2012

    June 22, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Reply
  16. Constitution FOR the United States of America

    The Constitution for our republic isn't the cause of the troubles that this man promotes. What are the ratings for his program? Given that cable-news broadcasts notoriously enjoy just a few hundred-thousand viewers, I suspect his weekend-graveyard timeslot is ankle deep in the overall CNN ratings. So, for whom does he speak? His handful of loyal viewers would be better suited debated the number of angels on a pinhead. Meanwhile, CNN, get back to your job of reporting the world's news and give up on the hate-America-first globalist crowd.

    June 22, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Reply
  17. Ivan Hild

    Ivan & Jan:
    A very worthwhile debate Farid. Additional comments from a ‘world resident’ may help.
    1. We need to switch to a parliamentary system similar to that of all other advanced industrialized nations because our present three headed monster does not work in six major ways:
    a) No one is in charge. A nation needs a CEO not a do nothing Congress.
    b) The three pillars of any society are its national health, education, and welfare systems. We rank around 20th in healthcare, in the 20’s in education, and in the 30’s in welfare. Our infrastructure is falling apart and we rank 27th. We have the highest socio-economic inequality and racial/ethnic disparities.
    c) We are the only industrialized nation without universal health. Our health system costs double the cost/capita of the OECD* average, it delivers less, leaves 40-60 million residents without insurance or with inadequate insurance, allows special interests to profit from the sick, and our outcomes are poorer. In life expectancy we rank 37th and in infant mortality we rank 28th. The Obama and Ryan plans are ridiculous. Coverage must be mandatory and contributions collected by a payroll tax and transferred to a Health Fund.
    d) A failing President such as Obama cannot be dismissed before the end of his term. In a parliamentary system a vote of no confidence mechanism could overthrow him in a month or so. Our election system should be as simple, rapid, and low cost as that of countries like the UK.
    e) Our Constitution amendment process was designed to thwart change.
    f) The electoral college process is not democratic.
    2. Excessive Federalism is inappropriate in what claims to be a single nation with internal mobility and equality as declared goals. Too much power is given to individual states to make their own laws and become the Dis-United States of America. Federal politicians avoid their legislative responsibilities by saying the states should decide.
    3. All other OECD* nations have solved the following individual choice areas and we should simply adopt their regulations: i) Abortion – approved in all leading OECD countries (except Switzerland and Ireland) at gestational ages ranging from 12-20 weeks; ii) The death penalty – abolished everywhere; iii) Same sex marriage or civil union – widely accepted; iv) gun control – principle accepted everywhere for handguns or automatic guns; v) euthanasia - a clear individual choice issue coming rapidly. Only the USA does not really believe in individual choice.

    * Leading OECD countries are: Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and USA. Other members include Israel, Chile, Mexico, and some E. European nations.

    June 22, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Reply
    • Tom

      a) No one is in charge. A nation needs a CEO not a do nothing Congress.

      If you had read the Constitution you would know that under the Constitution The People are in charge!

      b) The three pillars of any society are its national health, education, and welfare systems. We rank around 20th in healthcare, in the 20’s in education, and in the 30’s in welfare. Our infrastructure is falling apart and we rank 27th. We have the highest socio-economic inequality and racial/ethnic disparities.

      This would be fine if we lived in a Socialist or Communist country, but this is America a Constitutional Republic. We do not need nor do we want `national health', a federally controlled educational system or a welfare system. We want Self Determination, a Free Market economy and The Constitution and that is all we need in the form of Government!

      We are the only industrialized nation without universal health.

      Yes that is true! It is also the reason that wealthy Canadians come here to America for medical aid. It is because Socialized Medicine does not work! In England cancer patients are put on waiting lists and many die without getting treatment!

      Our Constitution amendment process was designed to thwart change.

      Yes and this is a good thing! The Constitution is the most sacred document ever written, because for the first time in human history a government was founded on the principle that the Rights and Power of the Individual precede and exceed the Rights and Powers of government itself. Never before and most likely never again will such a government exist. It is therefore our duty and responsibility to preserve and protect the Constitution from all who would seek to do it harm.

      The electoral college process is not democratic.

      I think you need to go back to school! The Unite States is a Constitutional Republic, it is NOT a democracy! In fact the word democracy does not appear anywhere in the Constitution. Democracy is mob rule. It is where 51% of the population can take away the rights of the 49%! Ben Franklin said a democracy was two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner!!!

      Excessive Federalism is inappropriate in what claims to be a single nation.

      The United States is not a single nation! We are a union of 50 Sovereign Nation States! The States were founded as Sovereign Nations and at no time did the States give up their Sovereignty!

      We have the greatest Nation on earth and it became the greatest Nation because of three basic principles: Self determination, a Free Market Economy and The Constitution. We do not need to follow anyone's example; they need to follow the example set by our Founding Fathers!

      June 22, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Reply
      • Ivan Hild

        There is a huge amount of misinformation reflected in your reply. I’d sincerely like to try to help you to get a better understanding. Our population is known to be one of the most subtly but persistently brainwashed in the world. Allow me please to take your points in your order:
        1. I say we need a parliamentary system because our three headed Executive, Legislative, and Court monster does not work. You say: “The People are in Charge.” When was the last time you, as part of the people, participated in a legislative vote? The members, for whom you voted, vote in Congress, hopefully as you would have wished. You do not vote. But Congress is an organization that does not work well and often achieves nothing because no one is in charge and bills are gridlocked. In a parliamentary system, the party voted into power appoints the Prime Minister and they can quickly pass legislation that they propose. If there is opposition within the PMs party that is strong enough to pass a vote of no confidence in the PM then parliament is dissolved and another election is held. That is accountablility. Even Clinton avoided impeachment because he had Dem votes despite lieing and “the Blue Dress”.
        2. US failure and poor international ranking in health, education, & welfare. You have been brainwashed into thinking “Socialism” is a bad word. Our poor rankings are precisely because we do not have a national core of basic policy that applies across the country. “All people are created equal” – do you remember that. There should not be different health, education, or welfare coverage or access in the South and North of our “One Nation under . . .”
        3. You have been brainwashed into totally incorrect beliefs about the “Canadian System” and the “British System”. The stories of Canadian border crossing and UK deaths whilst waiting are circulated to gullible folk like you who then pass them on. All systems cost less than our system, deliver more, do not leave 60-70 millions uninsured, and have better outcomes. Why would you not want that? Do not just take my word: Take 4 mins to watch the following video and read the following report – both published by a reputable (if slightly left leaning) research unit called the Commonwealth Foundation.
        Short video:
        http://www.commonwealthfund.org/Content/Publications/Fund-Reports/2008/Jul/Why-Not-the-Best–Results-from-the-National-Scorecard-on-U-S–Health-System-Performance–2008.aspx Dozens for other references are available. In 2008, we spent $2. trillion on healthcare. If we could halve this to the levels paid by the rest of the leading OECD nations we would save $1 trillion – and get better results.
        4. Somewhere it says that the United States of America is one nation under God. The extent of states’ rights and use of them for Congresspersons to pass the buck (and the dollars) on contentious issues points to a major need for Constitutional revision. The US is both a Republic and a Democracy.
        5. The US is not the greatest nation on earth. There are plenty of data to prove that. The US is “big” and that is all.

        June 23, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
    • Sovereignty Soldier

      The ONLY thing wrong in this nation is that we allow globalist scum to reside. If you have a problem with the system we have then leave! We only need remove the crooked globalist politicians who CREATE the problems that give other globalists like you a reason to bash our system. THIS NATION WILL NEVER be what globalists envision! The people will remove globalists before that happens. DEATH TO THE NEW WORLD ORDER!!

      June 23, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Reply
    • Tom

      From your reply it seems clear that you are a communist! This is America, A Constitutional Republic, if you don't like it here please leave!
      I have relatives in both Canada and England so the information I have is first hand information! Any Canadian or Brit will tell you that socialized medicine does not work!!!
      Every problem we are facing today is the direct result of NOT following the Constitution!
      If we had stayed loyal to the Constitution:
      We would not have an IRS!
      We would not have a Federal Reserve!
      We would not have Fiat Currency!
      We would not have an ever expanding Federal Government!
      We would not have a Welfare State!
      We would not have Wars without End!
      We would not have Trillions of Dollars of Debt!
      So why have we abandoned The Constitution?
      So a few greedy men could get control of the world!
      VOTE RON PAUL 2012

      June 24, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Reply
  18. Shawn

    Here is an innovative idea: Rather than revamping our current Constitution, why don't we try following it and obeying it? In our modern age, I think this would be a great leap forward.

    June 22, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Reply
  19. Trip Richert

    There have been several problems recently with conflicts over who has what powers.

    The constitution's vagueness caused a dispute over what powers the president has over the military when no war has been declared. This should be explicitly described in the constitution.

    The supreme court has attempted to rule on cases that the Bush administration claimed were outside of their jurisdiction in the case of non citizens held in out of country military bases. This issue of the extent of the supreme court's jurisdiction should be clarified.

    In fact, most of the Supreme Court's powers are not described in the constitution. In isn't really necessary to affirm Marbury v. Madison considering the implications of that ruling are accepted, but describing the full extent of the powers of the three branches of government to avoid future conflicts in overreach of power seems like a good idea.

    June 22, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Reply
  20. Michael Hillsberry

    Three things that need to be in any new Constitution, 1- If your parents are here illegally then just because your born here does not make you a citizen. 2- Every man and woman after highschool or if you drop out then at age 18 WILL be spending four years in the military. 3- No political donations from ANY COMPANY PERIOD. I know these will more than likely bring me a bunch of flack but I stand by them. I'm like alot of people that are tired of illegals sneaking to have kids here then crying they shouldn't be deported because their kids are citizens. If we changed it, it would put a stop to it. As for the military it will make a person grow up and mature unlike hanging on the street corner selling drugs and gangbanging. And if we make donations only from private people with a cap of say $2000.00 on them then it would help stop alot of the corruption we have now in our government.

    June 22, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Reply
  21. Schlitz

    Maybe we could put an amendment in there that keeps the government from disarming Americans. It should say something like, "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

    June 22, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Reply
  22. Josh Lam

    Over the past decade, many Americans have consistently reported feeling that our country is headed in the wrong direction. What I am going to do here is list some problems I have observed and then 10 constitutional changes which would have radical effects in terms of re-empowering the citizens of this nation and re-instituting a nation that is truly by and for the people. Any of you are welcome to openly disagree completely with my viewpoint, and you are very welcome to say so if you explain why.

    To amend the constitution in the following ways...

    1) Abolish and explicitly prohibit corporate person-hood, wherein a person for legal purposes can only be defined as a biological human individual

    Why? Corporate person-hood gives an actual non-person, the corporation, that sacred entity of person-hood which allows them to buy and sell assets in all sectors of the market, as well as the "freedom of expression" to influence our political and legal systems against the interests of actual human beings and in the sole interest of its own monetary profit. Because unlike a human being, a corporation never dies, cannot be put in jail, does not have a conscience, nor does it care about the things that a real person does: such as people's lives and the community. It exists for one reason alone: short-term profit gains for its stakeholders. Thus, corporate activities and operations are allowed to grow and expand beyond the scope, power, or authority of any one individual, and faster than government oversight can regulate. The environmental, social, and many economic costs of corporate industrial activities are subsequently externalized to the public at large, without a full cost accounting. One cannot reason with a corporation like one does a real person, and so the only recourse to challenge a harmful corporate "person" is in a legal and legislative system which it dominates with million dollar legal teams and massive lobbying funds. And yet, corporations then use this power to influence our lives and our government to further serve their profit aims, even if this comes at the expense of real-individual rights, environmental well-being, and the well-being of society. How can the average citizen compete against the virtually limitless power of an immortal profit machine? How can our democracy survive in a system dominated by such unaccountable "beings?" It used to be that a corporation could only exist within very specifically defined parameters, and at that it could only exist so long as it proved that it served a demonstrable public benefit. Otherwise, its license to exist was revoked, just as a faulty machine that no longer serves human purposes is decommissioned. Why not end corporate person-hood and return control of our society to actual human beings? Otherwise, words like freedom and liberty become meaningless.

    2) Prohibit corporate campaign finance contributions–thus removing corporations from dominating public policymaking processes.

    3) Mandate all state and national election campaigns be funded by a shared public fund. This prevents power by simple wealth and promotes power by voter choice. More importantly, it frees policymakers from the shackle of having to cater to special interests and allows them to focus on what really matters: the interests of everyday constituents such as you and I.

    4) Give the Executive line-item veto powers and a constitutional mandate to balance the national budget–except in times of dire national emergency–so as to prevent out of control budgetary deficits and sovereign debt, as well as Congressional pork barelling.

    5) Re-implement the fairness doctrine, so that news media organizations are required to fairly represent all viewpoints, not just the distorted one they politically favor. This is because news outlets are trusted and relied upon by voters to make informed democratic decisions, and yet the mass media presently serves as little more than a partisan and corporate means to manipulate public opinion to serve those agendas. However, given these media outlets provide a service vital to our national interests, it is incumbent upon them and a special public responsibility for them to remain as objective and non-biased as possible. If they will not do so willingly, then we, as citizens and consumers, must demand they do so.

    6) Re-institute anti-trust laws which prevent large corporate monopolies from dominating whole sectors of the market, thus making it non-competitive and bad for consumers

    7) Electoral reform: implement instant run off elections rather than "first past the post," so as to prevent the current situation where 50% of the population gets nothing after a major election and you are forced to either vote Republican or Democrat, with no in between; this will also promote increased bi-partisanship within governments at all levels.

    8) Abolish electoral constraints which favor dominance by either only the DNC or GOP, instead promoting the growth of a multi-party system by allowing any formally registered party to enter an election by declaration alone. Let the voters decide who they vote for, not the ruling parties. End two party fascism.

    9) All public media and forums of communication such as the internet, television, radio, shall remain uncensored or otherwise unconstrained/restricted by governments, corporations or other parties, free of monopoly, and accessible to all members of the public who subscribe or own such devices and services, without restriction or special exception. Net neutrality, people.

    10) Fundamental democratic reform of Judicial, Executive, and Legislative Branches: Judicial– 1) US Supreme Court required to be composed of individuals who demographically represent the population which they preside over and make life changing rulings for, 2) term limits on Justices' duration of service; Executive–1) The Executive's powers are reigned in, clearly defined within the constitution, and 2) the Executive becomes susceptible to immediate Congressional recall and vote of no-confidence; Legislative–1) Congressional representatives in both the lower and upper houses have term limits imposed on them to prevent D.C. cronyism; 2) Congress must at all times, except during a national emergency such as invasion or economic crisis, only spend within the limits of actual tax revenues.

    June 22, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Reply
  23. DAVID

    CNN needs an update.

    June 22, 2011 at 7:34 pm | Reply
  24. Shane Hoffman

    I don't think a single thing needs to be changed in the constitution. We just as a government need to start following it. We have been stepping on the Constitution for years. The balance of powers have been overstepped by both the Executive and Judicial branches. The whole point of having a judicial branch was to protect the constitution from abuses. Not to write laws and change laws from the bench. The constitution states that the president has 180 days to provide military actions on foreign soil with out a Declaration of War from Congress. After those 180 days are up. They have to stop and go to Congress and ask them for a Declaration of War and Congress has to vote on it and approve it. President Bush and Obama have both overstepped there powers as a President. They both need to be reigned in and if need be punished for there abuses in power. There should be penalties for overstepping your power.

    June 22, 2011 at 7:43 pm | Reply
  25. Roy Brown

    As soon as I read the news about Iceland's constitution I -knew- the communists in this country would pick it up as an excuse to discuss 'revising' our Constitution for 'modern times'. How unfortunate it is that I was so right. If you want to return to serfdom and slavery, get on a boat to Europe. Leave our constitution alone, you've done enough damage to it as it is.

    June 22, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Reply

    Hello everybody, re suggestion to any new amendment for us constitution, I think 2-3 % cap on federal budget deficit and requirement of a balanced budget every 10 years( if government borrow for few years it has to save following years to pay debt on previous years to make very 10 years a balanced budget) is the best way to force congress and any administration start to learn how live in their means

    June 22, 2011 at 8:20 pm | Reply
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