englishprof asked: Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has a new book out where he proposes six amendments to the Constitution. Three are new; three are amendments to existing portions. What six (or however many you might have) would you like to see?
That’s a tough one. We haven’t amended the Constitution in over twenty years. I was eleven. And that was a tiny thing about Congressional pay that apparently took 202 years to ratify. Before that one, it was another twenty years. We haven’t amended the Constitution in my memory. At least, not explicitly. And it’s not even that we haven’t amended the Constitution recently. We haven’t even come close. So … it’s a bit intimidating to think of what I could do, given a chance. But … let’s try this.
1. Change Redistricting. It turns out that this is the same as Justice Steven’s 2nd proposal. I couldn’t think of an elegant way to phrase it, but it’s such an obvious one that I assumed it had to be one of his proposals.
2. Something to guarantee a quality K-12 education for all Americans. I’m not quite sure how to phrase this one. Basically if we have under-resourced schools, everybody’s taxes keep going up until things approve.
3. All permanent residents are entitled to the same rights as citizens. Lawful permanent resident status converts to citizenship by operation of law after three years.
4. Civil Gideon. You have a right to representation by an attorney in civil proceedings involving child custody, property forfeiture, eviction, and so on.
5. Pay parity between prosecutors and public defenders.
6. Replace the Senate with a body selected by a proportional popular vote. When I first heard this one, I thought it was a terrible idea. But I also lived in Montana.
7. No more homelessness, hunger, or death from medically preventable causes. There’s no reason we can’t Constitutionally guarantee a minimum standard of living for everybody.
Now that I’m reading Stevens’ suggestions, I’d also like to abolish the death penalty. And I think I’d strike the second amendment in its entirety.