Monday, May 4, 2009

Proposing a Constitutional Amendment

Randy Barnett over at Volokh Conspiracy is proposing an amendment that comes in at about the size of the original Bill of Rights. It5 contains some much needed items, including congressional term limits, and limits to the commerce clause.
Article [of Amendment 1] — [Limits of Federal Power]
Congress shall make no law nor delegate any authority, pursuant to its powers in the eighth section of article I, respecting any activity confined within a single state, regardless of its effects outside the state or whether it employs instrumentalities therefrom; but Congress has power to reasonably regulate pollution between one state and another, and to define and provide for punishment of offenses constituting acts of war or violent insurrection against the United States.
He proposes replacing the income tax with a federal sales tax which would hit everybody. I lean more toward the flat tax, but no matter what, this will also become known as the "full employment for lawyers" clause.

Another interesting item:
Article [of Amendment 4] — [Recision Power of States]
Upon application of the legislatures of two thirds of the states, any law, regulation or order of the United States shall be rescinded.
essentially gives the states a final veto over whatever the Feds do. In practice this was the reason that Senators were originally appointed by the legislatures of the states and not directly elected. A popularly elected Senator is functionally no different from a representative, except that since he controls a larger chunk of the federal pie, his price is higher.

An interesting proposition, give it a read.


Robert R. said...

Eugene Volokh, Monday, May 06 2002. 06:59 AMCONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT: Here's a completely unrealistic but possibly amusing thought experiment -- imagine that you had the superpower to add one amendment to the U.S. Constitution. (Let's call you Amendmentman or Non-Article-V-Woman.) What would it be? . . .

2:43 PM (May 06, 2002)9:27 AM (May 07, 2002)4:54 PM (May 07, 2002)6:40 PM (May 07, 2002)6:43 PM (May 07, 2002)6:50 PM (May 07, 2002)7:21 PM (May 07, 2002)6:01 PM (May 08, 2002)Eugene Volokh, Thursday, May 08, 2002. 7:04 PMSUNSETS: Just getting back to going through the submissions (116 so far -- this is proving to be a popular item!).

One surprise for me: The most common suggestion, mentioned by seven people (John Allison, Robert Racansky, Paul Sand, Rand Simberg, Michael Williams, Ross Nordeen, and Neel Krishnaswami), wasn't gun rights or repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment or term limits (though all had their partisans), but rather a "sunsetting" requirement for legislation.

Sunsetting provisions, of course, mandate that legislation expire a certain number of years after it's enacted; then, if Congress wants to renew the law, it would affirmatively have to reenact it, and get it signed by the President or override the President's veto. And since reenacting a law requires a broader consensus than just retaining an existing law would, this might well have end up both generally reducing the volume of legislation that's in effect, and especially reducing possibly obsolete legislation. An intriguing and sophisticated idea; I'm not sure whether it would work out, but it might well be promising.

Robert R. said...

Dammit. The preview showed the line breaks, but they were removed when I clicked "publish your comment."

Can you please fix the above post?