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A list of suggested amendments to the Constitution

Constitution of the United States
U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

The following are a list of possible amendments to the Constitution.

Amendment text: The President shall be required to first attain a Congressional declaration of war before using American military forces in any foreign country.

The reason: The United States hasn’t officially declared war since World War Two. Korea, Vietnam, Somalia, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya were all undeclared wars. Many, if not all of these wars, were avoidable, unnecessary, and not carried out of self-defense. The cost has been tens, hundreds of thousands, of American lives, not to mention the lives of the local civilians. If these wars were truly necessary or out of self-defense, then the President should’ve been able to attain a formal Congressional declaration of war. The only reason he would be unable to get the votes to declare war would be because Congressmen are worried about their political future should they cast a vote for war. Because of this, Congress has passed watered down approvals to use forces, from the Tonkin Gulf Resolution which gave the thumbs up for further intervention in Vietnam, to President George W. Bush’s attaining Congressional approval to use forces in Afghanistan and Iraq – not formal declarations of war. By not exercising their constitutional power to declare war, we have allowed Presidents to lead us into unpopular and unnecessary wars. If Congress were required to declare war, it would cut down the frequency of unnecessary wars. Further, it would prohibit the use of covert military operations, such as the Bin Laden assassination, as well as ban the use of drone strikes in countries we are not at war with. We have long been watering down the meaning of war, giving it cute names and pretending it is somehow something less than what it really is – war. Anytime you conduct military operations inside a country without that nation’s approval, that is an act of war. If there is not enough support in the Congress to declare war, then we should not go to war. This amendment would prevent many of these unnecessary wars, and would save lives.

Amendment text: Marriage, the union between consenting adults, shall be legal throughout the United States, and no government body, whether state or federal, shall show preference or special treatment to any union over another, but be obligated and bound to treat all unions exactly alike.

Implication: Providing three-fourths of the states accept it, this amendment would legalize marriage for consenting adults throughout the United States – this would include traditional marriage (one man and one woman), interracial marriage, gay marriage, incest, bigamy and polygamy.

The reason: Rights are supposed to be universal. If they are not, if they apply to one group but not to another, then they are not really rights – they are simply special privileges that are enjoyed by some, and denied to others. Thus, it is appropriate that rights be as broad as possible. Namely, this means people should be free to do what they want so long as their decisions do not harm, or take away the rights, of any other individual or any other group. This leads us to “consenting adults”. It is the broadest way to define marriage without infringing on anyone else’s rights. It is hypocritical to say that marriage is a right, but it is only a right for two people. Why not three or four? Why not an adult brother and sister? So long as they are consenting adults, government shouldn’t pick which unions are ‘good’ and which are ‘bad’. Furthermore, this amendment states that marriage rights shall not be infringed upon by any government body. This would ensure that no individual, group, or business, is penalized for their views or policies concerning marriage. It is only government that is banned from discriminating. The people are free to think however they wish.

Amendment text: The first amendment shall be re-written to say: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, association, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Implication: By inserting the word ‘association’ into the first amendment, freedom of association would be guaranteed under the Constitution. This would repeal all anti-discrimination laws throughout the United States.

The reason: A capitalistic free market is built around voluntary association, the right of free people to freely choose who they do business with, without compulsion or coercion. No one has a ‘right’ to receive business services from anyone else, that business owner should be able to deny services to anyone, for any reason. That is not a civil rights violation, as you have no right to force someone to do business with you against their will. There is a free market solution should any business adopt discriminatory practices. If a business is known to discriminate, to not provide services for certain individuals or certain groups, word will spread, and customers may shop elsewhere. That business will eventually have to change their policies, or go out of business. Competition would also alleviate this problem. If cake decorators were to refuse to bake cakes for gay couples, someone would get the idea to start a cake decorating company that caters specifically to gay couples, and make a fortune. This is not a problem that needs government intervention; the free market can handle it fine. Further, individuals should be able to discriminate as much as they want, providing they do not use physical force or violence; it is only government that should be prohibited from discriminating.

Amendment text: The following sentence shall be repealed from the fourteenth amendment. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. Instead, the following sentence shall be added: No State, nor any government body throughout the United States, shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States contrary to those rights clearly enumerated and protected in the Constitution.

Implication: This would more clearly state the purpose and bounds of the fourteenth amendment, as applying the rights enumerated in the Constitution onto the states.

The reason: Judges have long seized on the vagueness of the 14th amendment to write their own views into the Constitution. Re-writing the fourteenth amendment would make it clear that the amendments to the Constitution, specifically the first eight amendments, apply to the states. This would also overturn any state or city laws banning firearms. Gun ownership is a right protected under the Constitution, so it should be illegal for a state or city to ban guns, contrary to the second amendment. In much the same way, states cannot ban a religion, or set up a state church, because of the first amendment. Just as they are bound by the first amendment, they would also be bound by the second amendment.

Amendment text: The ninth amendment is hereby repealed.

The reason: The ninth amendment reads: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. This amendment has been used to justify arbitrarily enforcing non-enumerated rights, such as abortion, as constitutionally protected under the ninth amendment. Repealing this amendment would help prevent that from happening, so judges couldn’t claim something is constitutionally protected because of the ninth amendment. It grants far too much power in the hands of the judiciary to add rights to the constitution that are not there.

Amendment text: The seventeenth amendment is hereby repealed.

The implication: This amendment would repeal the direct election of Senators, and return to the state legislature’s the duty of appointing Senators.

The reason: Our founders decided that Senators should be chosen from the legislature. This ensured that Senators would be more representative to the state as a whole. In essence, by switching to a statewide popular vote, Senators can win election solely by appealing to one or two major cities in that state, and in so doing, actually represent less of the state. By having state legislatures appoint Senators, it restores the power and responsibility our founders intended them to have. Further, in the composition of Congress, the Senators are supposed to be more detached, further from the fickleness of the people. They should be more cautious, more reserved, slower to act, more conscious of the broader picture. The House of Representatives, meanwhile, is to be more connected to the people, the people’s agent, quickly moving, quickly changing, moving in step with the people. The House is the people’s chamber. The Senate should belong to the states, specifically, the state legislatures. This way they would have broader appeal throughout the state, and be less susceptible to the fickle cries of the people.

Amendment text: The term of the United States House of Representatives shall be a period of four years, concurrent with the election of the President.

The implication: This would change the term of the House of Representatives from two to four years.

The reason: President Eisenhower suggested this change. Here’s the quote, from his autobiography “Mandate for Change”:

"By the end of four years I had arrived at one strong conclusion regarding the legislative process. I had become convinced that the term of members of the House of Representatives is too short. In the early days of our government it was expected that a congressman would go to the capital of the country, serve there for the months necessary for accomplishing the annual business of the Congress, and then go back to live in his own district the major part of each year. With communications slow and tortuous, it was difficult for him to keep well acquainted with the people of his own region. Undoubtedly the constitutional provision fixing the term in the House of Representatives at two years was adopted with the thought that in this way the representatives would, because of the necessity of campaigning at such short intervals, be kept closer to the people of their localities.

Today all this is changed. Mass media, the telephone, telegraph, and fast postal service have made it possible for information to flow from congressional districts to Washington and visa versa with the greatest of ease. Also, through the years, government has grown in size and has proliferated into many activities that were undreamed of when the nation was young. Sessions of Congress grow longer. If a congressman is to do his job well these days, he simply cannot be forever running for re-election. Yet this is what the two-year terms compel him to do.”

What do you think about these proposed amendments to the Constitution? Which ones do you like and dislike? Are there any other amendments you would like to see added to the Constitution?

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