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Re: Prepare For a New Beginning?

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  • Jon Roland
    A near-term opportunity to work out constitutional compliance or reform measures is provided by the Continental Congress 2009
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 28, 2009
      A near-term opportunity to work out constitutional compliance or reform measures is provided by the "Continental Congress 2009" convention, which I will be attending, complete with an array of proposals.

      The basic framework of the Constitution as originally understood would be sufficient if we returned to it, perhaps with measures that essentially say, "And this time we really mean it!" However, there is a place for some clarifying amendments to specify the details of what was understood. Here are a few measures that might be done with amendments, in no particular order:

      1. Require backing of currency by other than gold or silver. Hard currency is critical, but it would work  better to back it with something like joules of energy, the supply of which tends to grow with the economy.
      2. Forbid deficit financing except in times of declared war against a real foreign enemy (not just nameless "terrorists" or fasadists).
      3. Make clear that there are only the federal crimes listed in the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, except for a few authorized by subsequent amendments, and that the Commerce and Necessary and Proper Clauses do not imply penal powers. Clarify what "piracy" and "offenses against the law of nations" mean.
      4. Delegate to Congress the power to break up organizations or connections that create systems "too big to fail", to be enforced not by armies of regulators but by grand juries of randomly selected citizens empowered to look for unanticipated problems.
      5. Appoint judges, especially federal judges, not to specific positions, but to a large pool of judges who would be assigned by sortition to specific courts and cases, so that, like jurors, no one could predict who would decide any case.
      6. Have every case heard by multi-judge panels. (This is often done today for selected hot cases.)
      7. Expand the U.S. Supreme Court to 28, with cases initially heard by random panels of three, appealable to random panels of nine, and appealable from there to a randomly selected en banc panel of 27, with one spare. (The way the Ninth Circuit functions today.)
      8. Revive the prerogative writs, especially the writ of quo warranto, to block ultra vires actions by public officials. Restore the presumption of nonauthority.
      9. Remove impediments to citizen access to grand juries, selected at random, with the power to strip official immunity or appoint private prosecutors, and restore private prosecutions of public rights by allowing standing to do so.
      10. Repeal state bar acts. Use grand juries for legal and other kinds of malpractice.
      11. Recast public education as militia training, with a strong emphasis on law, government, militia, and jury duty.
      12. Resurrect the militia system envisioned by the Founders, downsize professional law enforcement organizations, and use militia instead.
      13. Require that all federal criminal trials be by jury. No waivers, no exceptions, and no plea bargains.
      14. Require all issues of law to be argued in the presence of the jury, except on motions in limine which cannot be argued without disclosing evidence properly excluded.
      15. Eliminate all federal entitlement programs, such as Social Security, Medicare, or government pensions or welfare, and forbid the resurrection of them under any guise.
      16. Eliminate and forbid all federal public works programs intended to create jobs without a nexus to some essential power like defense or the courts.
      17. Eliminate and forbid income tax on wages, perhaps replaced by an excise tax on purchases.
      18. Eliminate and forbid the Federal Reserve and the existing system of regulating banks. Replace banks with banklike functions that work in everyone's computers without the need for institutions. Borrowers would make private deals with lenders who would connect using public connection sites like Craigslist. No one could create money out of thin air.
      19. Have members of the U.S. of Representatives elected at large in each state, with the top vote getters being selected as members, and have each  cast the number o votes he received in the election (proxy system).
      20. Use multi-stage sortition and elimination to select nominees for elected positions, with the voters making the final choice, so that money could not influence the nomination process. Since every elected official would have to go through the same process for every election, it would become highly unlikely anyone would get elected twice.

      -- Jon
      Constitution Society 2900 W Anderson Ln C-200-322, Austin, TX 78757
      512/299-5001    www.constitution.org    jon.roland@...
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