Saturday, January 08, 2005

A Proposed Amendment

Karl Spence wrote the following to me in an email:
How about an amendment that reads like this:

The Judiciary of the United States shall not presume to exercise nonjudicial power.

The sense in which this Constitution was accepted and ratified by the nation shall be the guide in expounding it. Its provisions are neither to be restricted into insignificance nor extended beyond the natural and obvious meaning contemplated by the plain understanding of the people at the time of its adoption. Any faults it may contain are to be corrected by amendment as prescribed in Article V, not by usurpation.

Disregard of these principles is cause for impeachment.

If any of those phrases sound familiar, it's because they're lifted from the writings of John Marshall, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and George Washington.

The amendment would need additional sections to ratify those changes the courts made for us that we should have made for ourselves (e.g., the overthrow of Jim Crow), and --- if it is to have a chance of success --- to give proper constitutional authority to a great deal of the functions the federal government is now performing (Social Security, Medicare, the Federal Reserve, national parks, disaster relief, etc., etc., etc.). Devising it and getting past the furious opposition of today's legal establishment would be a lot of trouble. But at the end of the day, we'd have the advantage of practicing actual self-government, instead of bowing to the dictates of a judicial elite whose interpretations of the Constitution bear less and less relation to its original, true, ratified meaning.
I like it. What do you think? You can also email Karl yourself.