Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Enumerated Powers Amendment

We haven't really discussed this topic here before, although it has been touched upon a few times, mostly in comments, I think. And even then, mostly I think it has been Mr. Morris who has put in the time to read and understand the proposal.

I got to thinking of it, and would like to open up a discussion on the subject. I take very seriously any suggestion at amendment. Our Constitution - and even those of the States - should be held in highest regard, and I think amendments to the same should be the subject of very sober deliberation. I'll link to the proposed amendment at the Patriot Post, and I'll post the body of the amendment as follows:

The Enumerated Powers Amendment

To President George Bush, Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist:

We, the people of these United States, rightfully petition our President, House of Representatives and Senate in affirmation of the Constitution of the United States, and against those -- in any branch of government -- who would undermine its historical integrity as definitive law.

Judicial activists, those who endeavor to alter the meaning of the U.S. Constitution, willfully violate their oaths to uphold it by divining the "spirit of the Constitution" and amending it by judicial diktat in full disregard for the constitutional prescription for amendment in Article 5. Thus, We, the people of these United States, do call on our representatives to sponsor "The Enumerated Powers Amendment."

Whereas Article V states in its entirety;
"The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate."

Whereas Article VI Section 1 stipulates;
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Then the clause in Article 5 stating;
"Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate."

Shall be Amended as follows:
"provided that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate; and that no rights or obligations, requirements or restrictions, not expressly stated in this Constitution shall be implied or inferred, it being the intent of this article that any change or alteration to the express provisions of this Constitution shall be by amendment alone, and in accordance with the express provisions in this article alone. Any judicial Officers of the United States, bound by Oath or Affirmation to support this Constitution, who imply or infer rights or obligations, requirements or restrictions, not expressly stated in this Constitution, shall be remanded to the House of Representatives for removal from office by a majority vote."


Here's my way of thinking on this. I'm not sure I have given sufficient thought to the "that which is not seen" aspects of such an amendment. Every action has consequences, and many are largely unintended. This is going to take some time for me to think through, but perhaps there are glaring unintended consequences that jump out at you?

It appears that the pertinent parts are designed to strictly interpret the Constitution by the express powers delegated therein to the respective spheres of Government; and further, to formalize and simplify the process whereby the People would be able to remove activist judges.

I have long considered that expressed powers concurrently create implied powers, and that the task of considering every implied power is impossible. My preferred means of effecting change remains bottom-up, by creating a sense in the People of the value of Balanced Government, and the People, self-governing as they become, choosing for their governors people who will carry out this charge. A wise electorate, properly educated in the principles of Constitutionally-consistent government, would have no need for such an amendment; and, while a more difficult goal to attain, would seem to avoid opening up a potential Pandora's Box - creating a sense that Constitutional Amendments could be a commonplace solution.

P.S. You can see that this petition is a bit dated, by the leadership it is addressed to.

5 comments:

Call Me Mom said...

I agree that an educated populace would be the most effective deterrent to judicial activism, but I don't think we have that right now.

The one thing that smacks of unintended consequences to me in the proposed amendment is the phrase
"without its consent" referring to the states being deprived of their rights in the senate.

Any comments on that Mr. Morris?

Terry Morris said...

jMom, no, not at this point. I need to know what specifically you are objecting to, or that you fear may be the unintended consequences regarding the carrying over of this phrase.

MT, the final sentence bothers me, and always has...

-TM

Call Me Mom said...

My apologies for leaving the thread hanging here. I need to re-check my reading of the amendment with the Constitution and I just don't have the time right now. I will do my best to re-visit this when I can.

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sharon said...

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