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Constitution Of The United States Essay

History and Purpose of the US Constitution Essay

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When the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution in 1787, the United States just had 13 states. The Founding Fathers believed that more states would want to join the Union in the future. They saw that it would be significant for new states to have the same form of government as the original states had. Since then there are now over 50 states that have similar characteristics which were developed centuries ago; although, resembling the creation of new ideas and inventions, current state government had many problems from being the way it is today, it also has many important features that benefit many people, as well as plays an important role in how American democracy and government works. The 13 original states were individual colonies…show more content…

When the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution in 1787, the United States just had 13 states. The Founding Fathers believed that more states would want to join the Union in the future. They saw that it would be significant for new states to have the same form of government as the original states had. Since then there are now over 50 states that have similar characteristics which were developed centuries ago; although, resembling the creation of new ideas and inventions, current state government had many problems from being the way it is today, it also has many important features that benefit many people, as well as plays an important role in how American democracy and government works. The 13 original states were individual colonies before independence in 1777, they adopted a federalist system and for 13 years they were independent units under the Articles of Confederation. Under Article II of the Articles of Confederation, “each state retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence, and every Power, jurisdiction and right…” (Lowi, 2007, pg. 22). As a direct result the states had retained too much power relative to the national government, a problem which led to the Constitutional Convention in 1787. This convention placed major limitations on state authority. Under Article IV the Constitution, federal laws, and other treaties between U.S. and other countries make up the supreme law of the country. As a result outcome the framers of the Constitution feared that the

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This essay is an original work by Thomas Wright Sulcer.
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Purpose[edit]

Comment: my original intention was to make this a community essay, with contributors making any changes they thought necessary, but a hatnote was added, above, identifying me, Thomas Wright Sulcer, as its sole writer, meaning that if any of the substantive points are changed, it will appear (incorrectly) as if I made them. So if people wish to make substantive changes, please feel free to copy this essay, in its entirety, and create another essay page with the changes which identifies the new author as the author. If contributors wish to argue with the points, please do so as indented signed comments.--Tomwsulcer (talk) 14:20, 8 September 2014 (UTC)

Note: A companion essay is Essay:"Problems with the current US Constitution"

Comment: This proposed replacement aims to keep the best of the current Constitution (e.g. checks and balances, divided government) but with substantial improvements (e.g. foreign policy architecture, citizenship, rotation of offices.) The purpose in proposing an alternative is (1) to demonstrate that an improved Constitution is possible and (2) encourage the many sharp people here at RationalWiki to collaborate to draft an even better version by debating various points and suggesting other structures and wordings and (3) to have the best version ratified by the American people. Feel free to edit this document as you wish. I have tried to keep the constitution nonpartisan and I urge others to try to do likewise. Or, if RationalWiki wants to make this a community essay, then it might consider creating a new page without a hatnote identifying any one person as the sole contributor.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)

Preamble[edit]

We the citizens of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Comment: the word people was changed to citizens. This proposed constitution is essentially a document between not merely people but citizens and the state.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Comment: This draft elevates the State department from being one of many executive agencies to being a separate branch of government with authority to make long-range consistent foreign policy. The legislature chooses the president in a parliamentary arrangement, and both president and Congress choose the State department. Further, it specifies citizenship as an active contractual relation between a person and the state with specific duties and privileges. A multi-party system will replace the two-party system; party-proportional voting will replace the winner-takes-all arrangement. A system of checks and balances among different branches of government is retained. State governments will have greater authority in a restored federal arrangement.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Formating note: Proposed wording of the constitution should be on the left margin. Comments -- please indent. Please sign comments.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Comment: This section is about the topic of the overall structure of checks and balances:--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Comment (continued:) I have substantial respect for the original constitution with its brilliant design of checks and balances, devised by James Madison and encouraged by prominent Framers such as John Adams. The original three-part structure: legislature, executive, judiciary -- with each branch operating in a different sphere of influence but able to check the power over the others -- was a brilliant way to prevent a possible future tyrant or dangerous faction from dominating politics. It worked marvelously over two hundred years, and it was particularly well suited for when the United States was a young nation, geographically isolated essentially from acquisitive rival powers by large oceans which took months to cross. Foreign policy was important, but not that important; the arrangement meant that foreign policy could be one of many tasks of the competing branches. Unified intelligent long-range foreign policy was not needed then. Different branches exerted foreign policy control, primarily the executive branch, but with substantial input from Congress (House ==> power to declare war; Senate ==> power to approve treaties) and the Supreme Court (could rule on the constitutionality of treaties.) Foreign policy was one of many tasks of the presidency.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Comment (continued): But the situation in the 21st century has changed considerably. The oceans have essentially shrunk as barriers, given rapid advances in telecommunications, travel, military warfare. A transcontinental missile can be fired from a foreign country and decimate a city in less than an hour. Terrorism has become a more dangerous, nagging, and unsolved threat. There are rival powers who could pose serious military challenges to the nation to the extent that it is becoming much more important to have intelligent foreign policy.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Comment (continued): The current constitution thwarts foreign policy for numerous reasons but the biggest flaw is this: there is not one single branch of government with exclusive control over foreign policy making. Rather, it is a divided responsibility. The chief actor -- the president -- has foreign policy not as a sole responsibility but as one of many competing tasks, making it difficult for him or her to focus on international matters, and he or she is subject to competing distractions. A riveting domestic scandal (such as what happened to Nixon during Watergate, Clinton during the controversy involving a sexual tryst, or Reagan during Iran Contra) means the chief executive is less able to focus fully on diplomatic matters. Further, the president may be out of office every four years, and will be out after every eight; this constant influx of new presidents makes it hard for the nation to stick to plans which take longer than four or eight years to carry out. Last, the people selecting the president -- the electorate -- are not in a good position to judge whether a given candidate would be the best architect of foreign policy; rather, the public votes for persons based on many criteria, including domestic concerns, pocketbook issues, and so forth as well as supposed foreign policy experience, and as a result the public may elect a president who appeals to their sensibilities on other issues but who is extremely lacking in military experience, diplomatic savvy, understanding of the world situation, and so forth. Here are a few names of presidents within the past five or so decades which have been criticized rather extensively by foreign policy analysts as being less than competent at foreign policy: Kennedy (Bay of Pigs episode), Johnson (Vietnam War), Carter (Middle East & Iran problems), and particularly Bush II (alienating allies, Iraq War II, etc.) The public elected these men.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Comment (continued:) The result of these many variables is that the United States has had a mediocre record in foreign policy -- some successes, some failures -- with the apparent overriding variable being how well a given president performs at foreign policy. The record is mixed. Some recent presidents handled it quite well (Nixon, Reagan, Clinton) but others were embarrassingly incompetent (Bush II, Carter). There have been wonderful successes, particularly the Cold War ending without nuclear bombs being exploded, and some disastrous failures, particularly the decade-long Vietnam War with 55,000 Americans killed and huge treasure wasted for no apparent purpose whatsoever. But foreign policy experts have long noted abnormalities with the process itself: Congress was supposed to have the power of declaring war, but then why had the nation become involved in numerous undeclared wars such as Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, etc? I argue that in the nuclear age, with pressing problems, that foreign policy can no longer have an average success rate, or be hit-or-miss, or depend on whether the public is sharp enough to select a president skilled in world affairs; rather, the structure of government, based on the constitution itself, is the problem, and needs fixing.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Comment (continued:) If one examines history, one will see that there have been few states which have consistently been adept at foreign policy. There have been savvy monarchs (Louis XIV of France, Charlemagne, Peter the Great of Russia, Napoleon, Caesar) but monarchy has (as is well known) the perennial problem of succession, so a less astute heir will undo the gains made by the monarch. The few instances when a political entity got foreign policy right -- consistently -- over time -- was marked by a structure in which an aristocratic body, which had substantial collective experience and usually led by virtuous leaders -- guided policy over decades, even centuries. The two (arguably) most prominent examples from history are the early Roman Republic, and later Britain in the 19th century. Tocqueville, writing in Democracy in America, noted that an aristocratic body was the ideal structure for foreign policy because it was like a "wise man who never dies." Younger members learned from older ones, and became experienced and wise by devoting many years studying the world, seeing what happens. Older members die, but the group as a whole preserves an institutional memory, and has the capability to make and stick to long-range plans. It has the ability to keep promises and commitments, to shield friends, to punish enemies. The Roman Republic rarely fought two wars at once, enabling them to plan intelligently how to play adversaries against each other. In contrast, look at the United States on the eve of World War II -- having to fight not one enemy (Germany) but a second one (Japan). While Rome was respected throughout the Mediterranean War, the United States is often criticized, particularly in the Arab World, with misguided policies often alternating from supporting tyrants (since they're easier to deal with) and alienating vast swaths of the Middle East and elsewhere.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Comment (continued:) The proposed architecture of government consolidates foreign policy authority in one branch, with a hundred advisers acquiring experience and savvy from long periods of service (hopefully), and being in an excellent position to choose the best leader -- the head of State -- to execute foreign policy. In addition, I've tied citizenship to military participation such that persons who choose to become citizens have chosen, essentially, to serve in the military if they are summoned. This means that government does not have to guess whether people will choose to support a war or not; rather, government knows that it can count on people if they are needed. And this means, somewhat counter-intuitively, that the nation will be much less likely to be involved in wars since the nation will both be, and appear to be, a tougher international opponent. This branch, so structured, in my view, solves the problem of foreign policy for the reasons I've outlined. But creating it, of course, brings in additional problems, specifically, how shall we keep this more powerful and unified branch, itself, under control? How can tyranny be prevented? Basically, many of the checks and balances in the proposed constitution have been built to keep government in balance, to prevent tyranny.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Comment (continued:) The overall split in government, in the new arrangement, is in two parts: domestic government and national government. Domestic government (legislature, executive, judiciary) is somewhat like before, except that I have made it stronger and more unified for the purpose of keeping the national government (foreign policy advisers, head of State, military court) under control. The overall logic is that the domestic government controls the national government by appointments, budgets, hiring and firing ability, reporting requirements. At the same time, to protect the national government from a clean sweep of its members by a possibly overzealous domestic government, I have put controls and brakes to prevent too many officers from being purged out at any one time which might have the adverse side-effect of undermining long term planning and wiping out the institution's collective experience. Further, I have divided the military, so that the president (head of domestic government) controls domestic forces or militia, while the head of State (head of national government) controls forces which may have to fight overseas; the purpose of this division is to prevent military coups and to keep the military under civilian control.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Comment (continued:) To balance out the power of national government, I have strengthened domestic government by having the president chosen from among the Senate by the House of Representatives. This brings cohesion within the legislature and executive authority. It is essentially a parliamentary arrangement, replacing a two-party system with a multi-party system (although there will undoubtedly be two major parties), similar in some respects to Britain's, and there have been numerous examples throughout the world of having it work quite effectively. It allows domestic government to be more decisive; in the current arrangement, a president from one party may thwart the aims of a legislature dominated by the rival party, and gridlock has resulted.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Comment (continued:) At the same time, there are numerous forces keeping domestic government, itself, under control, namely (1) the impact of other well-developed prosperous nations (2) world governing bodies such as the UN and WTO (3) pared down economic responsibility -- much of the burden of economic regulation has been shifted away from the federal government to individual states as part of a restored federalism arrangement (4) citizens at the local level becoming more engaged with their congresspersons through regular reporting, meetings, required voting, and so forth. I have kept or restored several original checks within domestic government: (1) bicameral legislature with House and Senate balancing & checking each other (House ==> reflecting popular mood, turnover every two years, fresh faces, control over initiating budget; Senate ==> longer terms, more experience but fewer numbers.) (2) Supreme Court retaining the power of judicial review, that is, being able to overturn acts of the legislature which it sees as unconstitutional (3) State governments will again have control over appointing their US Senators, restoring the original constitutional arrangement. Overall, I feel the proposed arrangement is vastly improved, although sometimes I wonder if there have been enough checks put on the US Senate (I continue thinking about this).--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Comment (continued:) Overall, this government architecture, in my view, will be substantially superior in remedying numerous defects of the current constitution while preserving its best elements.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)

Article I -- Congress[edit]

Section 1. The legislative power[edit]

Organization. All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Frequency of assembly. The Congress shall assemble at least once every month. Neither house, during the session of Congress, shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which the two houses shall be sitting.

Comment: Monthly meetings seem to be a reasonable choice for a minimum given the fact of modern transportation and communication. And since Congress has a key role in checking other branches of government, particularly the State department, it is necessary for it to have regular meetings to act as an effective check. If it is out of session for several months at a stretch, then it increases chances for abuse by other branches.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 17:10, 22 November 2011 (UTC)

Voting. Each house shall be the judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members, and a majority of each shall constitute a quorum to do business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner, and under such penalties as each house may provide.

Rules. Each house may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two thirds, expel a member.

Record keeping. Each House shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such parts as may in their judgment require secrecy; and the yeas and nays of the members of either house on any question shall, at the desire of one fifth of those present, be entered on the journal.

Compensation. The senators and representatives shall receive a compensation for their services, to be ascertained by law, and paid out of the treasury of the United States.

Comment: original wording. While issues such as seemingly extravagant congressional pay have been raised, this is not an issue for the Constitution but should be handled by normal political processes.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)

Privilege. They shall in all cases, except treason, felony and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either house, they shall not be questioned in any other place.

No double offices. No senator or representative shall, during the time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil office under the authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time; and no person holding any office under the United States, shall be a member of either house during his continuance in office.

Lawmaking. Both Senate and House must agree on a bill before it becomes law.

Transparency. The legislature must make public its decisions, allocations of funds, summaries of discussions, voting records on bills, and other matters with the exception of matters relating to national security, defense, or other foreign policy issues.

Comment: the general benefit of transparency is to reduce the risk of corruption, of bribes, of improper decisions, such that a newspaper reporter could argue for the release of key information based on this provision. Matters concerning foreign policy, such as expenditures on weapons systems, strategic overviews, threat assessments and such should not have to be divulged to the public on the grounds that this information, if learned by rival or possibly enemy powers, could hurt the nation.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)

Powers of Congress[edit]

Taxation. To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises;

Defense. To pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

Borrowing. To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

Minting money. To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;

Punish counterfeiters. To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States;

Post offices. To establish post offices and post roads;

Patents and copyrights. To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;

Should we limit intellectual property terms to 70 years post-mortem or 100 years after publication, whichever is longer? Bootmii(Nomic) 05:20, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
That's way too long. What's piece of software worth in 20 years - much less 100. The current copyright system is a bad joke. --Ender
My sense is that it is much better to simply keep the current constitution's wording about patents and copyrights, without specifying exactly the length of the limited times, which makes it possible for Congress to keep defining what this means. Patents and copyrights are a complex matter of law, with numerous precedents and decisions, and I see no pressing need to alter it with any constitutional changes.--Tomwsulcer (talk) 15:28, 12 November 2014 (UTC)

Lesser courts. To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;

Money for military. To provide funds to support all national military forces, including armies, navies, air forces, marines, space forces, command forces, and supporting personnel;

Military rules. To make rules for the regulation of the militia and national guard forces;

Summoning militia. To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections, prevent tyranny, and repel invasions in the event that foreign armies are within the borders of the United States;

Comment: by militia, it is meant organized military groups made up of citizens with greater fighting power than police forces in terms of weapons and equipment, and which are controlled by the state and federal government (sometimes called national guard forces, and possibly includes the coast guard). The purpose of these domestic forces is to protect the nation within its borders, to ensure the safety of the domestic government, to keep order, and if needed, to assist the national military in efforts to repel invaders. But the militia & domestic military forces should not be organized or tasked with fighting on foreign shores; rather, this is the task of the national military forces. Domestic military forces should act as a counterweight to the national military forces -- each should have separate spheres of influence (domestic -- within the nation; national -- outside the nation).--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)

Organizing militia. To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

Control of DC. To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever over the District of Columbia, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be;

Necessary and proper clause. To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

Comment: this necessary and proper clause, in my view, has been misused over two centuries to justify a huge increase in the size of the federal government at the expense of state governments. So, why is it still here in this proposed constitution? I believe other parts of this proposed constitution will render the necessary and proper clause much less subject to abuse and much less dangerous since the proposed constitution explicitly specifies state regulatory powers. At the same time, there may be instances in which this clause is needed for other matters.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Maybe you should tack on at the end and nothing else which may infringe upon the self-determination of the statesEnder (talk)
Tacking on the phrase and nothing else which may infringe upon the self-determination of the states to the necessary and proper clause, in my view, would lead to further ambiguity. The general idea of the clause is acknowledging, beforehand, that there may be situations arising in the future requiring government to act, but it is not clear from our current vantage point in time what these possible actions might be, and therefore this clause authorizes such action. That is, the clause is necessary for government to do its rightful job of governing. At the same time, powers of state governments are hopefully much better specified in this revised constitution, so that if there is a conflict between the federal government and state governments, regarding a specific form of regulation, then in most instances the more-specific power of the states will prevail. The idea is that each form of government should have its rightful zone of authority -- the federal government for nationwide matters such as foreign policy, defense, handling natural disasters, and state governments for regulation of business.--Tomwsulcer (talk) 15:28, 12 November 2014 (UTC)
And why is state government inherently better? After all, the abuse of the people of Ferguson was by local government. And local government doesn't get the media scrutiny that the national government does, so state and local governments are able to get away with corrupt acts that would be caught by the media if done at the federal level. 50.149.90.31 (talk) 16:07, 6 November 2014 (UTC)
The reason for granting more regulatory authority within a state, to state governments, is not based on any sense that state governments are intrinsically better than the federal government. Rather, state governments are closer to the people they govern, more in touch, better able to discern what the people and businesses within their state truly need, much better than a federal government's one-size-fits-all approach. For example, states such as Montana or North Dakota, which have few highways, vast distances, and much less congestion on those highways, might decide that the state speed limit should be 65mph or 75mph, depending on conditions, while states such as New Jersey, where I live, would be better served with lower limits, given the tremendous congestion and relatively older roads. The same reasoning applies to business regulation, health policies, zoning laws. A second reason is that having more power in state governments means that citizens -- if displeased with the particular policies of one state -- can more easily leave that state for a state which regulates more effectively. They do not have to change citizenship when switching states. What this means is that states which regulate badly will find their citizens and businesses leaving, while ones that regulate wisely will benefit. And this competition between the states to attract residents and businesses will keep regulators on their toes, hopefully. States can learn from each other, swap ideas about how to regulate health insurance, for example. The present arrangement has some regulatory authority in the hands of state governments, and some in the hands of the federal government; for example, Obama's health insurance initiative is a nationwide policy. With the proposed constitution, however, such a nationwide policy would not be possible, but health insurance would be decided by each state, meaning that if a citizen of Minnesota, for example, did not like Minnesota's methods, he or she could move to another state with a better approach, if they wished, without having to change their national citizenship status. Or, in this specific case, if a person was upset with how the state of Missouri regulated the police in one of its cities, Ferguson, then the person could move to a state which supervised its police forces more effectively. If the federal government controls all regulation, and if it regulated badly, then we're stuck. We would have to endure bad regulations or make a much more drastic choice of immigrating to another country. Anyway, that is some of the thinking behind the federal arrangement which the proposed constitution hopes to establish.--Tomwsulcer (talk) 15:28, 12 November 2014 (UTC)

Restrictions on Congress[edit]

Writ of habeas corpus. The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.

Deficit spending. During peacetime, if national debt exceeds gross domestic product by 3%, then each senator must explain the excess to their own state legislature, and receive a vote of confidence from the same, and, lacking this, then the senator must vacate his or her senate seat.

Comment: This is a new provision designed to check runaway spending. The number 3% could possibly be changed. I am not sure whether this provision is necessary.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
What is the purpose of this? To try to shame senators? It will just be a bit of busy-work, where each senator effortlessly shifts blame to the opposition. No point to it.--talk 04:56, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes, maybe we should nuke this one. I yanked it from (I think) a suggestion by Warren Buffett about how to control deficit spending; Buffett's idea was (if I remember correctly) to have Congress dismissed if there was a peacetime budget deficit, but I had thought that too radical. But I kind of agree -- maybe this should be chucked, since it just might lead to lots of finger pointing as you say.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 15:41, 22 November 2011 (UTC)

No convicting groups without a trial, no laws after-the-fact. No bill of attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed.

Taxation provision. No capitation, or other direct, tax shall be laid, unless in proportion to the census or enumeration herein before directed to be taken, or on basis of income, whether earned or unearned. Bootmii(Nomic) 05:22, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

Export taxes. No tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any state.

No preferences for one state. No preference shall be given by any regulation of commerce or revenue to the ports of one state over those of another; nor shall vessels bound to, or from, one state, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay duties in another.

Appropriations and accountability. No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law; and a regular statement and account of the receipts and expenditures of all public money shall be published from time to time.

No titles. No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.

Comment: enables taxpayers to challenge any specific provisions, or all provisions in their entirety, on the basis of unnecessary complexity. In November 2011, the federal tax code comprises roughly 80,000 pages of rulings, making it impossible for even the most astute tax accountants to read and study them all. Tax complexity causes numerous secondary ills: inability of taxpayers to tell whether other taxpayers are carrying their fair share of the tax burden; giant waste of time for taxpayers and officials alike fussing with complex forms and schedules; the complexity enables a punitive government official or department with greater understanding of the rules to unfairly single out certain taxpayers and make life difficult for them. Further, complexity makes it harder for businesses to make investment decisions based on financial soundness (rather, the so-called tax implications becomes a complicating factor in planning an equipment purchase or acquisition of a firm or patent, slowing things down, confusing things).--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Comment: at the same time, the wording is vague enough to let officials find ways to collect the adequate revenues needed.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Also ridiculous. A hugely subjective assessment like this would ensure that judges would be responsible for assessing the tax code's merits, focusing on simplicity as a virtue. There would be two practical effects: a huge crush of new court cases piled on judges who receive no training in the tax code or financial matters (the latter of which directly impact the necessity of any complexities) and a deconstruction of any of the most progressive elements of the tax code, in favor of the simpler but monstrous flat tax.--talk 04:56, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Still won't you agree that the nation's 80,000 page tax code is monstrous, in and of itself? The elaborate forms, the dual systems (alternative minimum tax & the regular one), the complex system of deductions, weird terms such as "passive income", on and on -- yikes -- requires high power computer programs for substantial numbers of taxpayers and accountants to get through it all. Wondering if there's an alternate wording to somehow get this under control which doesn't lead to something partisan like a flat tax or FairTax, but which prods officials to make taxes more understandable. Taxes are, I think, a huge part of the bargain between the citizen and the state -- paying taxes means, in effect, that a person has a particular relation to the state. And when tax rules are obscure and complex, it makes it hard for a citizen to be a citizen, or to tell whether other citizens are acting like citizens (ie are others paying their fair share of taxes too?). And I do not think a requirement to make taxes simpler would necessarily lead to a deconstruction of the progressive parts of the code.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 15:51, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
You're posing a false dilemma. The tax code needs some reforms, but the solution is not a constitutional change. It's tax reform. Setting up a new requirement for judges to assess the subjective simplicity of the tax code is absurd.
Also, if you enshrine simplicity as the sole necessary virtue, then of course it will become simpler, even at the expense of the complexity necessary to make it progressive. Why not do a universal sales tax or a flat tax, after all, when they're both much simpler than a graduated income tax?--talk 19:16, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
So you're saying that the tax simplification idea strikes you as too partisan -- like it's a code for FairTax or Flat Tax. Right? If so, it was not my intention, but it is still important if people see the idea of tax simplification as partisan. I see taxpaying as part of citizenship, and that obscurity regarding taxpaying as undermining citizenship. It might very well happen that if we can reform government, that a reformed government will fix tax complexity while keeping progressive parts, so maybe a provision about tax simplification is not needed? So maybe the tax simplification part should be axed?--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:12, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm saying the effect will be partisan. Certainly a simpler tax code is desirable prima facie, but for practical purposes the actual result will just be regressive.
Yes, axe this.--talk 03:30, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
ok.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 08:11, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

Financial disclosures of public officials. Congressional officials must make full and regular disclosures of their finances to the public, including property owned, income, bank accounts, and other relevant data.

Section 2. The House of Representatives[edit]

Body. The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states. Their number from each state will be based on an actual enumeration made every ten years, in such manner as they shall by law direct. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several states within this Union and the District of Columbia, according to their respective numbers. The total number of representatives will be 435. The District of Columbia shall have at least one representative. If new states are added or subtracted, then representation shall change accordingly such that all citizens shall have representation in the House of Representatives.

Qualifications for candidates. Each candidate for election to the House of Representatives must have served in a state legislature for at least one year, be a citizen of the United States, and shall declare either membership in a specific political party or no membership.

Comment: This is substantive change. Minimum age limits were scrapped; instead, there is a requirement to have been a member of a state legislature for the purpose of promoting the rotation of offices -- a practice in successful past governments (Republican Rome, New England town meetings) which (1) gave lawmakers valuable experience as well as (2) prevented corruption, since any particular lawmaker did not stay in one office long enough to be tempted by connections to special interest groups.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
It will also eliminate any chance of citizen-politicians. This would essentially make being a career politician a requirement to be elected to the House. It would also eliminate a huge number of great current Representatives, which suggests that this is not necessary to being good at it.--talk 05:02, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
I think the distinction between citizen-politicians and career politicians is somewhat off, since there is a distinction in time (ie they're a citizen before becoming elected, and after being elected, they're a politician) and length of stay (ie if a so-called citizen politician stays long enough in the House, don't they become a career politician?) But I kind of see what you're getting at: a benefit of having citizens who feel moved to participate in government being able to instantly run for Congress, meaning that the Congress reflect the mood of the people. A downside to this is inexperience -- that these fresh faces won't know much about governing, writing legislation, how the law works, etc. I'm kind of leaning to the experience part being more important than the mood-shift part. And a year or so experience in the state legislature isn't that long of a period of waiting, so if someone wanted to run for Congress, there may be a year or two delay (while they're in the state legislature). Another plus with the rotating system: it might improve the quality of state legislatures since more ambitious people (ie Congressperson wannabees) will be there. Let me point out that the US Congress is pretty much all career politicians with reelection rates over 90% for those seeking reelection. They're lifers.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 16:09, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Reps are elected in an alternating system to avoid the problems caused by inexperienced members of wave elections - at least half of the House has been there for a year at any given time. You're imagining a problem that does not even exist, and would just be helping to aggravate one that's already present.--talk 19:20, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Could you explain further? What is the problem that I am imagining exists? --Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:12, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
Inexperienced congresspeople. There's no need to require them to have experience, since half of the chamber will always have a year's worth of experience.--talk 03:53, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
Comment: Candidates must identify membership with a political party. The government will be largely party-based. While the original constitution was written largely under the supposition that political parties would not play a significant role in governance, from the 21st century perspective, it is clear that parties can function adequately and bring many benefits -- helping to organize political opinion -- and have worked well around the world in a variety of contexts, generally.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
What is the point? Either politicians will identify with a party or they won't. Since that is already the case, why the change?--talk 05:02, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
The intent was to get voters to focus on issues, not on candidates; to focus on platforms, not on whether candidate X had some illicit affair. It was an attempt to reduce some of the attack ads & such. So, a person voting will essentially be voting on a particular platform, not on whether they think candidate X will be good at representing them, and voters will have to think about what specifically they would like govt to do (a party platform) rather than what candidate X says. And the purpose here was to try to get candidates to stick with a particular platform, and not get elected by saying they'll favor platform X, and then switch after being elected.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:17, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
How does this in any way accomplish this purpose or change the current situation? Again: candidates will either identify with a party and platform, or they won't. This provision doesn't appear to have any effect at all. You might as well say, "Members of the House shall either wear blue hats, or not."--talk 03:53, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

Election. Each citizen shall cast one vote for a particular party. States shall not place unreasonable restrictions on persons or parties on the ballots. Each state will tally the election results for each party and assign seats based on the proportion of votes; for example, if a party wins X% of the vote, then it wins X% of the legislative seats from that state. All of the elected representatives from a state will represent all of the people of that state. When vacancies happen in the Representation from any state, the President thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such vacancies. The times, places and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by law make or alter such regulations, except as to the places of choosing Senators. Each representative shall have one vote.

Comment: We're moving away from a two-party system to a multiparty system with this choice. At present, the two US parties have effectively prevented third parties from even getting on the ballots; in my view, this domination by two main parties stifles discussion, prevents new voices and programs from being heard or discussed, and narrows political debate.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Comment: Voters, when voting, will essentially be expressing a preference for a party platform or set of issues. The intent is to shift public choices away from individuals (and get away from mud-slinging campaigns, personal attacks, character issues, negative advertising and such) and towards party platforms, with the hope that voters will signal their preferences for specific choices for governing and focus less on the individuals doing the choosing. Voters will vote for issues such as "Health program X" rather than whether, say, Candidate Y had an affair three years ago.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Comment: this arrangement eliminates gerrymandering. Simply, there are no geographic districts tied to a specific congressperson. Therefore, no gerrymandering. So, for example in my state of New Jersey, I may have 20 congresspersons to represent my interest, and I can choose any or all of them to appeal to. The flaw of gerrymandering has been known for a long time, but nothing much has been done to fix it; the proposed constitution makes elections for congresspersons fairer.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
It also eliminate the direct representation that the House is supposed to provide. Individual districts elect individual representatives for short terms so that local constituencies can have a direct voice in the government. You would be eradicating this voice. Consider Texas: the urban constituencies have huge numbers of votes, and the rural areas have much fewer. No politician would ever need to worry about the policy preferences of a rural voter, ever again.--talk 05:02, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
It's possible to look at it the other way -- the representative -- to get elected -- will try to reach out to whatever constituences he or she can find whether rural or urban. And suppose if too many representatives failed to court rural voters, then it affords an opportunity for a challenger to do just that -- appeal to them -- and win on that basis.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 17:28, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
What? No, that doesn't make any sense. Still using Texas as an example, it was 25 million residents and 75% of them live in one urban area, with the total urban concentration approaching 95%. Why would any politician waste their time traveling over the vast rural areas or waste their policies trying to appeal to rural voters? There aren't enough votes to make it sensible, so the opportunity cost would be too great. In any question of policy, the politicians of the state would accordingly side with the city. Choosing to side with the 5% is just a certain loss at the polls.--talk 19:27, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Let me see if I grasp what you're saying. Suppose in Texas there's an issue where there is a clear choice between favoring the urban majority (95%) versus the rural minority (5%). It's either-or. One wins. The other loses. Then, in either the current arrangement (1787 constitution) or the proposed constitution, wouldn't the majority (urban voters) win? And isn't this how it works? I'm not quite clear what you're getting at.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:12, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
...what? Do you not understand that representatives have individual districts under the current system? Rep. Joe (or whoever) is for Houston's lower sixth, representing urban interests, while Rep. Bob is for the colonias along the border, representing poor rural voters. But if all the reps are for the whole state in common, then the party is only going to work for Rep. Joe's urban area and similar ones, because that's where all the votes are.--talk 03:53, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
I understand how individual districts are supposed to work. My point is: suppose some districts are entirely rural. Suppose there's no gerrymandering. And suppose 95% of the state's population was urban. Then most of the districts would be urban ones. If there was an issue in which urban interests competed against rural ones, wouldn't the urban side win anyway? It's got more votes. Majority rules. Whether there are districts or no districts, the minority will usually lose to the majority; in either case, rural voters will have a way to try to appeal to congresspersons in their state. I agree rural voters will be at a disadvantage compared to the urban ones. The solution for rural voters? Move to the city. :) --Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 16:41, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
The rural representatives have a voice in their delegation, though. Plus, they band together with other rural reps to form things like the Farmer's Working Group to form a bloc. They are indeed outnumbered and urban voters often outweigh rural ones, but the point is that they need and have representation under the current system. Your change would disenfranchise them.--talk 20:36, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
The proposed constitution would not disenfranchise people, but it is possible that it might disenfranchise some minority special interests, particularly if they were unorganized minority special interests. Still I think a system in which geography is de-linked from representation will be flexible in a way, so that if rural farmers, for example, choose to band together and vote as a bloc, they may find willing ears from congressional candidates hungry for their vote. If they come up against an urban bloc, then they probably won't win, but that's how it is. And different combinations will be possible, and overlapping constituencies.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 21:45, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
And did you stop to think about how individual district representation serves as an important check against the statewide representation of the Senate? I guess not, that's just "how it is," eh?--talk 22:50, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
One-rep-to-a-district serves to check the state's two US senators, while districtless representation doesn't check them? I'm interested. Please explain.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 23:00, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
The Senate is a long-term institution elected statewide. The House is a short-term institution more directly elected, first by a few thousand citizens and now by rather more (thanks to two centuries of massive growth). They act as a partial check on each other because of their different natures. Basic civics.--talk 20:27, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
... I'm nopt even explaining whats wrong with what you just said sir :P I'm afraid here in nebraska "just moving to the 5 cities in our state" isnt an option for most people.--il'Dictator Mikalosa (talk) 17:10, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
People in Nebraska surely can squeeze into the five "cities" (everybody, breathe in) -- Nebraskans have cars and moving trucks, so I'm told.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 21:45, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
Have fun when we run out of farming products then. --il'Dictator Mikalosa (talk) 00:19, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
Btw there are other solutions to gerrymandering. I think Stephen Macedo has one.[1] Two fairly plausible solutions: (1) nonpartisan redistricting panels after each census (2) mathematical modeling based on geolocations and using a minimization model (ie if 20 seats for a state, then to mathematically locate 20 points on the state map such that the overall distances -- between each constituent and each point -- is minimized.) But both solutions have drawbacks too; generally I think the whole district-thing is rather meaningless, since it doesn't represent a coherent area, keeps shifting, nobody knows where the boundaries are (unless they go online to check a map). For example, I have no idea what district I'm in, and I used to know the name of my supposed representative, but I've forgotten.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 17:28, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Comment: the wording of this choice needs re-examination.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Comment: in the US presently, there are huge barriers for so-called third-party candidates to even get on the ballot in most states. The idea is to make this easier yet at the same time, provide a mechanism to keep the list of reasonable choices to a manageable level so that voters are not beset with dozens or even hundreds of possible choices. What perhaps is needed to flesh this out is closer examination of how this is handled successfully in parliamentary multi-party systems in terms of wordings.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)

Length of service. Members may serve two years, after which they must not serve in the House for the following two years. Every two year term must be followed by a two year absence.

Comment: Term limits are built in with this arrangement. The current constitution has been corrupted to the extent that once a congressperson becomes elected, they can keep getting re-elected practically indefinitely (re-election rates for congresspersons seeking re-election has been consistently been over 90% over the past few decades.) Elections every two years are not fair in such instances, because incumbents have substantial advantages over challengers (access to cash contributions, free mailings or so-called franking privileges.) As a result, the incoming batch of congresspersons do not reflect the will of the people but rather reflect seniority; the Framers never envisioned for congress to be dominated by a class of professional politicians in office for life with constant temptations of corruption and abuse of authority. The proposed constitution means that every two years, people running for office are not congresspersons. Each election is fair: both persons competing to be congresspersons compete on a level playing field. And there is a healthy turnover of officials every two years.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Note: it is possible for a person to be a congressperson for two years, have a two-year absence from Congress, then win re-election a second time, or even more often; but the idea of every two-year break is to give challengers a chance.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Comment: the downside of this arrangement is that every two years, incoming officials will have less experience in government, and may make poor choices or inept laws because of their inexperience. This will hopefully be mitigated by two things: (1) the requirement that congresspersons have experience in state governments (2) the impact of the Senate (which will have longer periods in office, much greater experience, and who will be better positioned to see the longer view of things.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Comment: the two-year requirement means that congresspersons are free to not worry about re-election, about fundraising. They can focus on governing. This is how it should be. At present, under the current constitution, many congresspersons complain that much of their time and energy is spent raising money, focusing on their upcoming election campaigns, and that they have little time to study bills or govern.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)

Leadership. The House of Representatives shall choose their speaker and other officers.

House powers. The House of Representatives shall have the sole power of impeachment applicable to any officer in the federal government including the president, head of State, foreign policy advisers, Supreme Court justices, department heads, or other officials in government. All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives. At the end of their two-year term, in December, the House shall choose one senator to be president for the next two years, and if the Senate approves, then he or she shall be president, to take office in January.

Comment: The House can challenge any official with impeachment; but the Senate will make the decisions. This is in keeping with the House's being more alert and sensitive to the public's mood and preferences, but which will be tempered by the Senate's perhaps accumulated wisdom.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)

Duties. Representatives must, to the best of their ability, answer reasonable questions posed by citizens at meetings, whether in person, by proxy, or by writing or other communication.

Comment: A new provision. The intent is to increase two-way flows of information between representatives and constituents. The phrases "to the best of their ability" and "reasonable questions" gives some leeway, so that representatives do not need to answer absurd or time-consuming or irrelevant requests, and to not feel pressured to the extent of spending too much time answering questions or communicating, so that a congressperson can spend time studying legislation and hopefully making smart decisions.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Again, ridiculous. There is no actual leeway given here: the letter of the law would require that a representative answer every question posed by every citizen. If you actually meant that only in physical meetings would this answer be necessary, you're giving an incentive to avoid meetings like the plague - decreasing the amount of communication. No one's going to want to schedule any meetings where they have to answer every crazy question or be taken to court over the failure.--talk 05:09, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
I disagree. The letter of the law says "to the best of their ability". It would be obvious that no human could answer every possible question put forth; priorities would have to be set, and questions selected. Representatives would not have to answer every question. But this clause facilitates information flows both ways -- between citizens and representatives. If a representative was inundated with thousands of questions, he or she could essentially argue for local meetings to choose the most important ones, and answer those. Or, it may be possible to have a "Frequently asked questions" bulletin online. And, representatives could ask citizens what they thought about a specific proposal. Citizens could see how their representative voted.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 23:36, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
So in other words, the end goal of this provision is to yield an identical system to the current one, where legislators answer the most important and repeated questions at town halls, have their staff put up a FAQ and answer online queries, and have an extensive and easily-accessed system to see exact votes and motions in Congress (i.e. THOMAS)? So then what is the point?--talk 23:50, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
The point is to reconnect citizens with lawmakers. It is totally different from the current arrangement in which Americans don't even know who their representatives are. And representatives can query citizens about what their choices are; at present, they can not do this. Complex issues can be discussed; at present, the only way to reach Americans is with a 15-second soundbite. And citizens can see if their representative is doing what they want them to do, not just collecting checks from lobbyists.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 00:08, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
First of all, it's trivial to find out your representative. Here. Also, you should know from the last time you voted!
Further, representatives almost universally query citizens about their preferences. Town halls, meetings, polls, and other such things are not just normal, they're almost universal. Representatives that do not keep in touch with their constituents soon lose their jobs. An easy way to make sure you keep up to date is to get on your rep's mailing list.
Do you live in America?--talk 00:26, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
Try this: ask people if they know the name of their representative? Of course people can find out. Problem is: most Americans are apolitical. If they know their representative, ask if they follow what their rep does; chances are, they won't know. Your statement -- "Representatives that do not keep in touch with their constituents soon lose their jobs." Simply untrue. Congresspersons seeking re-election win 90% of the time. Public approval ratings of Congress is rarely higher than 25%. Does this make sense to you? If public dissatisfaction were so great, why do incumbents keep getting reelected? Answer: the whole system has been rigged to favor incumbents. And town meetings being universal -- perhaps, but do any "citizens" show up for them? I used to be a reporter for a neighboring town, and nobody came to the local meetings except a few cranks; try going to your town's meeting. And yes, I live in America, although the tone of your question sounds insulting. And I vote, but not for Democrats or Republicans, so I do not know who my representative is and I do not care to learn.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 17:35, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
Incumbents have an advantage, generally, and it should make sense that most voting Americans tend to think, "I hate the Congress, but our guy's fine." This is mostly because they know their representative better than the rest of the country's - I can name my Rep (well, I work for him, so I ought to) and my Senators, but I'd be hard-pressed to think of the names of the rest of my state's Congressional delegation. The incumbency advantage does not refute the idea that Reps need to stay in touch with their constituents, though I suppose that's less true for Reps with safe seats. Uke Blue 17:57, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes, there is that sentiment that people hate Congress in general, but want "their" representative to stay (since he or she can steer more $$ to their district as they get increased power & seniority). In a way, I kind of look at this as a kind of corruption, not just by the representatives but by voters who keep reelecting them. The logic is to make sure a representative stays a long time in Congress so he or she can muscle into the trough and steer more funds to their district, based on the seniority system. Again, I do not think this is what the Framers had in mind; rather, they wanted competitive elections, with Reps working hard to figure out what the people wanted and to represent their interests at the federal level. The Framers did not envision this weird patronage arrangement. And my proposed fix, here, would reduce much of this appropriations bonanza since Washington's role in regulating the economy would be less (meaning fewer chances for Reps to steer money) and state governments would take over such tasks.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 20:43, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
Blue already tackled the point that general approval is low but specific approval is usually high. I'd add that the other problem of which you're complaining - citizens as apolitical and inactive - is not something you can force into being with this provision. There is no reason why citizens will come to your new mandatory meetings than the meetings their representatives currently hold. Once again, the solution starts with you: I'm sure that you must have gone to your representatives most recent townhall meeting, right?--talk 21:00, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

Section 3. The Senate[edit]

Qualifications for office. Senators must have served for at least two years in the House of Representatives, a state legislature or as a state governor. They must have received training in the law. They must be an inhabitant of the state which they represent.

Comment: This encourages the rotation of offices. The requirement of previous governing experience is key since, hopefully, the persons who reach the ranks of the Senate will have substantial knowledge about how governing works. Further, there are numerous benefits which spring from training in the law -- the ability to argue logically; familiarization with rules and procedures; a sense of fairness and respect for tradition. Senators will play a key role in lawmaking, so it seems reasonable that they have professional training in the law.
I see no reason to bar any and all non-legal professionals from being Senators. For instance, businesspeople and economists would provide invaluable supplementary experience to the lawyers' - if I may, "it's the economy, stupid." Seme Blue 18:01, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
Non-legal professionals and businesspersons could serve as consultants, possibly, or if seriously interested in governing, could attend law school. My intent was not to exclude anybody but rather is based on a recognition that there are careers in politics which do require a specialist knowledge, and a good background for such purposes is legal training. Congresspersons are makers of law, so I feel it is reasonable to insist that they have studied it, know how it works, and possibly served as lawyers and argued cases, or served as adjudicators or judges. Most congresspersons and senators today are, in fact, lawyers. And legal training (in my view) helps people to form the dispassionate nonpartisan way of looking at rules and procedures that will help lawmakers govern more effectively. I am not a lawyer; but I've seen it with people I know who are lawyers, a kind of detachment and analytical rigor (even though one friend of mine he never learned anything in law school.) And the law-school requirement is built into the overall plan of a rotation of offices. The purpose here is to accept that there will be career politicians, but to keep them circulating through different offices, regularly, to build experience and judgment, and to prevent corruption if they held any one office for too long of a period. At the same time, I am not that sure, overall, about this requirement, so it is possible I could change my mind.--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 20:44, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
There shouldn't be a requirement for formal legal training. Of course they should learn how to the law works but they also need to know how the economy works and you can't force them to also be economists (although economists tend to have that same dispassionate quality). There are just too many things you need to know to make people go to a school for each of them. If you formed a separate body for economics staffed by elected economists then this rule might make sense. As it stands- no. Ender (talk)

Appointment. The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two senators from each state, chosen by the state legislature thereof for six years; and each senator shall have one vote. If vacancies happen by resignation, or otherwise, during the recess of the legislature of any state, the governor of the respective state may make temporary appointments until the next meeting of the legislature, which shall then fill such vacancies.

Comment: This provision restores the power of state governments to appoint senators. In my view, the current constitution was perverted when an amendment was passed in the early twentieth century which required that senators be chosen by direct election from voters. This was problematic, in my view, since there was little distinction between House congresspersons and Senators. It undermined state authority, and essentially meant that there was little distinction between the House and Senate (since both groups were elected by popular vote by persons in their state).--Thomas Wright Sulcer (talk) 03:42, 22 November 2011 (UTC)

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