This post-2016 Presidential Election post is going to be a kind of ‘Wish-List’ post. I need to toss a couple of random things out there before I really ‘get rolling’, though:
“Legislator” (definitions via Dictionary.Com): (1) a person who gives or makes laws. (2) a member of a legislative body.
“The Words We Live By: Your Annotated Guide to the Constitution” by Linda R. Monk, currently in its second edition (Love this book; have both editions).
National Constitution Center (non-partisan, useful)
Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer, historian, scholar, or pro-writer. Just a blue-collar worker with a hobby blog. Significant gaps in my knowledge/understanding, that I work on diminishing.
Wish-List for an Amendment or Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which would probably have to be done via Constitutional Convention, since the Congress would never do it (30-year and more members of Congress would never endanger their jobs this way).
(1) Reformulate the number of members of the House of Representatives. Would like to see states get not only a ‘minimum of 1’ but a maximum of 5 representatives per state, scaled appropriately compared to other states and the nation as a whole.
From Article I, Section 2 of the USCON [U.S. Constitution]:
The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.
No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.
Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three.
When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.
The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.
I’m against ‘Gerrymandering’; it’s an act that pits partisan agendas and special interests against The People and Public’s Interest for ‘power’.
In an amendment reworking the number of Representatives in the House should also allow states a choice: if you choose to use Congressional Districts, each district must be Compact, Contiguous, and Competitive. (Useful/Enlightening: All About Redistricting)
If the state chooses to not use districts, all Representatives are elected state-wide. Possible way: If a state is determined to have 4 seats in the House after a census, when voters go to polls, each voter can cast two votes out of how ever many candidates there are competing for the four seats. Let the demographics of the state — socioeconomic, whathaveyou — shake out as it will.
(2) If we amended the constitution to limit a person to being POTUS for a maximum of 2-1/2 terms out of fear of an ‘entrenched’ elected official becoming a tyrant that’s hard to unseat, I think we need to re-examine term limits for SCOTUS and Congress.
An individual could serve up to 3 and 1/2 terms as a Senator. (The half-term would have similar restrictions, like we have for POTUS).
An individual could also serve up to 10 and 1/2 terms as a Representative.
Part of why: Mitch McConnell, Senator for over 30 years, and a former clerk for the deceased SCOTUS Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, decided to flout tradition and do everything he could to deny a sitting POTUS’ nominee to fill the empty SCOTUS seat. I believe he was acting unconstitutionally, not doing his job. But, he’d accumulated the power and influence in that institution to get his way. And set a very bad precedent in the process. No senator or representative should sit long enough to gain that kind of power. He should have been gone 10 years ago.
Associate and Chief Justice positions: maximum of two 12-year terms. (Still by appointment.) Or, as someone suggested to me, one 20-year term. Enough for institutional stability, but not “life appointment”.
The Founders gave us a kind of loose ‘corporate structure’, trying to instill power sharing, accountability, problem-solving and compromise, finding common ground no matter how much we differ in various ways (ideology, religion, creed, and as we’ve evolved and improved, ethnicity, gender/orientation, race, etc.) to the task of ‘creating a more-perfect union’. That’s hard work. And with civilization still having the same ‘fundamental’ needs yet becoming more complex in nature, we need to rebalance a need for ‘institutional knowledge’ and ‘institutional stability’ with ‘churn’ for innovation.
SIDEBAR: Heard about this yesterday, sort of a half-reform for the Electoral College: National Popular Vote
…More to follow for this post, somewhen in the future. Tense, right now.