Saturday, February 10, 2007

A couple of random thoughts

You know what I'd like to see in politics?

A repeal of the 17th Amendment, for one. The Constitution originally intended the Senate to be the representatives of the several States to the Federal Gov't.

The 17th Amendment changed that, and Senators became elected by the people.

Now, there really isn't anyone to champion the causes of the individual States -- and that is, and has been, a Bad Thing.

The other thing I would really like to see, is a Constitutional Amendment allowing for repeal of laws by The People.

I think that if 51% of the people who fall under the jurisdiction of a law haul off and vote 'No Confidence' to that law -- then the law should be immediately stricken from the books.

For instance, a city ordinance could be repealed by a vote of 51% of the registered voters in that city, a State law would be removed by a vote of 51% of the registered voters in that State; and a Federal law would get axed if 51% of the voters in the nation chose to.

In this modern times when the system of checks-and-balances is taking it in the neck, the ability of the people to say, "Oh, hell no!" to a law is the only true check to government power left to us.

I'm not exactly sure how to write such an Amendment -- there would have to be some kind of petition process to get the vote before the people -- but I'm sure there are plenty of people smarter than I who could probably take a pretty good hack at it.

Sure would help to keep the Gummint in check, though.

Something to think about, anyway.

LawDog

24 comments:

Hammer said...

That's a terrific idea. There are quite a few laws I can think of just off the top of my head that need to be eliminated.

It might be difficult for grass roots efforts to get national attention. The wealthy and influential might also have a big advantage in this area.

Would be interesting to see.

DW said...

I'm ready, the first thought is the dump the IRS, but you've got to pay for things.

If you can get a copy of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, read the professor's ideas about government.

CarlS said...

Good idea, LawDog, but we already have such a "check & balance". It's called Jury Nullification. Research this and you will find that it is enshrined in law, the Constitution, history, et al. However, our current crop of jurists insist on denying the jury this right. In my opinion, any judge who fails to instruct the jury on their right to nullify any law is him or her self, commiting a crime.

LawDog said...

The problem with jury nullification is two-fold:

1) It requires someone to be arrested for breaking the law first. They are plenty of laws that need to be repealed which people aren't going to get arrested for; and

2) A jury nullification doesn't deal with the law -- it simply means the law didn't apply in that one instance. The accused isn't convicted, but the law remains in effect.

Anonymous said...

As much as I love the idea, it'll never happen. For there to be a law which let's the citizens repeal laws, it would have to pass through our system of representitive democracy from the Congress-critters through the president, and such a law removes too much power from their hands. THat is why we'll never see such a law passed via the ballot box.

Ulises from CA said...

California has a way of doing what you suggest, law by petition. It has given us some assinine laws (Proposition 13, laws allowing the State to balance its books on the backs of the counties & municipalities, etc.)

I propose an amendment which would forever prohibit the Bill of Rights to be changed by any means. This would include Invasion, Civil War, Revolution, & Natural Disaster. Any law at any level of government which contradicted the Bill of Rights in letter, spirit, or both, would hereby be outlawed & the proponents of said attempted legislation would be publicly flogged with a "cat'o'nine tails".

"Never happen in a million years"

Matt G said...

Funny-- I'd rather go the other direction, and ammend the Constitution to eliminate the Electoral College.

flintlock tom said...

Good luck getting 51% of registered voters to SHOW UP on election day, let alone getting 51% of registered voters to agree on anything.
Average turn-out, for elections, in Southern California is below 40%.

Anonymous said...

If we want to repeal amendments we can start with the sixteenth of course which is inherently evil.

The one which has been most detrimental to Liberty and and can be directly traced to things such as the growth of the nanny culture, the growth of government, prohibition, the curtailing of freedom on all levels has been the passing of the nineteenth amendment. It has been an utter disaster to American Liberty and the Republic.

Oh John Adams were you ever right.

Will said...

ulises: The Bill of Rights CAN'T be changed. It is part of the Constitution, as it was required to be added before they would accept the Constitution as written. All subsequent Amendments can be tossed out, as they were not there originally.

I would like to see an amendment that Congress must remove 2 laws for each new law that they pass. Eventually, this could be dropped to one for one, after a set number have been removed. And finally, this maybe could be stopped when Congress doesn't pass anything for, say, 5 years or so.

Alternatively, just set a minimum number that has to be struck each session, along with a maximum passed per session, with a "two for one" for each law over the max. [major grin]
I want to make it painful for the idiots to add laws on our backs.

Will said...

"Pass no law, or give no order, that you know won't be obeyed"

Anonymous said...

Any leagle beagle mentioning "jury nullification" in court will be jailed for contempt of court. Apparently, it scares the h*ll out of gov't types!
It was supposed to be a vote of "no confidence" in the law if applied often enough, in addition to mis-application in a case.

Lokide said...

I like the idea, Mr. Lawdog, sir, but I think that 51% is a bit dangerous. I'd require a supermajority to have a public repeal of laws that apply to them. 51% allows for far too much possibility of exploitation in a reactionary way.

rwc said...

Ok - I'll play (devil's advocate) - what do you do when a group of "like minded citizens" decide repealing the 13th Amendment would be pretty nifty? Or to "take the high road" - the 2nd Amendment?

The risk of this type of "legal nullification" (for want of a better phrase) is that popular passion is easily inflamed and in the end - there lies tyrany. Germany in the 1930s is a pointed example of the risks.

And to take the other side of the coin for a ride - I think you'd have to have a US Constitutional amendment that declared that the criteria for passage of any law (vote %, etc.) should be available to the people for purposes of a popular vote. Some states like WA have an initiative and referrendum process that is close to, but not quite, what you want LawDog.

Cheers.

rwc

LawDog said...

what do you do when a group of "like minded citizens" decide repealing the 13th Amendment would be pretty nifty? Or to "take the high road" - the 2nd Amendment?

Apples and oranges.

Repealing the 13th or 2nd Amendment requires another Amendment to the Constitution. There is a specific method to amend the Constitution found in that document.

My proposal will not replace the amendment process, and has nothing to do with amending that document -- my proposal is a way to deal with the sheer multitude of bushwa laws passed by governing bodies every day.

divemedic said...

Mattg-
The electoral college is the only thing keeping NY, CA, NJ and IL from making sure that a liberal is in the White House forever- it was intended to keep more populous states with large cities from denying rights to less populated rural ones. Equal representation of the states and all that.

bllew said...

Here in CO we already have that process. You circulate your petitions, and when you've got the requisite number of registered voters on it, you submit it to the appropriate authorities, town clerk to Sec'y of State, and if it passes muster, it goes on the ballot.
The politicians hate it because things they lack the political courage to talk about get voted on, and sometimes their pet causes get dumped.
It works, but it's not easy, on purpose.

Trifith said...

My thoughts have lately been institute a 2 term limit for all elected offices, and expire all laws after 12 years. In this way when a law expires, nobody who voted for it is around to re-introduce it. you would also need to make it impossible for one bill to renew several laws on the books to make sure it keeps congress too busy with the important stuff to have time for the stupidity

Cypher said...

Thats exactly what I was thinking, trifith. (Except for 20 year limits on laws)

Anonymous said...

About 10 years ago, a number of folks on a Usenet political dicsussion group agreed that what we'd like to see is a 4th branch of government created! What this branch would do is to go and repeal outdated or outrageous laws.

We also agreed that ALL new laws should have a sunset provision, so ALL laws would expire after, say, seven years. To re-enact a law, lawmakers would have to re-pass the law. Now, a good law wouldn't have any trouble getting passed again (like laws against murder), but bad laws like the "War on Drugs" laws would painlessly fade away. The trouble with many bad laws is that lawmakers don't want to vote against them lest their opponents call them "soft on crime."

-- Garry K

threadbndr said...

*blink* Nineteenth? You object to women voting????

Dear anonymous. Your mother, wife, daughter, sister certainly deserve the same rights and responsibilities as yourself.

(Can't believe THAT one is still under attack. Considering the way that our current enemy state treats THEIR women, this comment worries me.)

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see every proposed law specifically state where in the Constitution that it derives its authority from, and then undergo a review of the courts, for review of its Constitutionality before it goes to the Executive Branch for signature or veto.

I'd also like to see an end to the practice of amending other items onto a law that have absolutely nothing to do with it. This is how Alaska ended up with a bridge to nowhere, amongst other things.

Anonymous said...

Just because you can vote does not mean you are free nor have Liberty. In fact universal suffrage is the first plank of the Fascist Manifesto.

As John Adams warned, we do now have what he warned of which is the "tyranny of the petticoat". The movers and shakers of the suffrage movement were also big believers in prohibitions. You can also trace the rise in the size and intrusiveness of government to the passage of the nineteenth amendment. You see it in every election as the politicians seek to attract women voters by offering social safety net programs and some nebulous notion of safety. The nanny culture is raging out of control as the feminized culture uses the power of the state to protect people from themselves. Again, all of this traces back to the nineteenth amendment.

A who's who of tyrants have been champions of women's suffrage. Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin. They knew it was yet another tool for tyrants to gain power.

It's been proven so far that when given the “choice” through voting that women will vote against the Liberty our forefathers founded our Republic to secure. Instead they have indicated they prefer to vote for a socialist system of intrusive government at all levels of society. In the end it comes down to the question of if you want suffrage or if you want Liberty. As things are we can't have both.

threadbndr said...

dear Anon.

Not to get into a flame war with you, especially not on someone else's blog.

And I fully support your right to have an opinion and to air it in whatever public forum you choose.

I can even agree that our current culture goes too far in protecting people from themselves and in granting legal recourse to people who have made poor choices (whether those choices are to declare bankruptcy when they have over extended their credit or to sue for millions over the result of driving with a cup of coffee in their laps).

However, the answer is not to shove over half the population back into second class citizen status. As I said above, that state of mind is one that is shared with a pre-feudal culture. And I am also very glad that your opinion is in the minority.

I cannot speak to 'women' in general and their voting habits, as I have not made a study of those statistics. But I do know that I have personally never voted for 'safe' over 'right' and 'just'.

If you think that only men are ready, willing and able to make the sacrifice that liberty requires, then you should meet some of the young Marines I know. You should have met me thirty years ago.

LawDog - sorry to hijack the thread and if Anon responds again, I won't continue the battle here. 'My momma raised me right'.