Draft amendments to the U.S. Constitution
This is a collection of draft amendments to the Constitution for the United States. It is subject to frequent additions and revisions, so readers may want to revisit often.
- Clarification of "right"
- In this Constitution all rights are rights against the action of government officials, or immunities, not entitlements to receive some material benefit. Every immunity is a restriction on delegated powers, and every delegated power is a restriction on immunities. Delegated powers and immunities partition the space of public action.
- Common law writs
- No person shall be denied or delayed more than 20 days in receiving a fair hearing and decision on the merits on a writ of quo warranto, habeas corpus, prohibito, mandamus, procedendo, certiorari, scire facias, or other prerogative writ, or on a demurral. The writ shall issue by default if a hearing is not held or a decision not made.
- Stare decisis
- On all constitutional issues precedents shall be regarded as only persuasive and never binding. Constitutional text shall be construed only on historical evidence of the meaning of the terms for, first, their ratifiers, and second, their framers.
- Fully informed jury
- In all criminal jury trials, and all jury trials in which government, whether general, state, or local, shall be a party, parties shall have the right not to have decisions by the bench made before all arguments can be made before the jury, excepting only arguments on defense motions in limine that cannot be made without disclosing evidence properly excluded. Jurors shall receive copies of all applicable constitutions, statutes, court precedents, and legal arguments, including those of intervenors and amici curiae, and access to an adequate law library in which they can do research.
- Clarification of "militia"
- The primary meaning of "militia" shall be "defense activity", and only secondarily those engaged in it, or obligated to engage in it. All citizens and would-be citizens have the legal duty to defend the constitutions of the United States and their state, and the members of society, from any threat to their rights, privileges, or immunities, in response to a call-up by any person aware of a credible threat. Any call-up that does not require everyone to respond shall select those required by sortition. Jury duty shall be regarded as a form of militia duty. Congress and state legislatures shall have the power to enforce this duty by appropriate legislation.
- Readiness of "militia"
- Militia shall be maintained in a state of readiness sufficient to overcome any regular military force it might encounter. Those who may engage in militia shall have any weapons in common use by regular military, subject only to the directives of local elected unit commanders. If Congress or any state or local legislative body shall fail to provide for organizing, training, or equipping militia units, persons shall not be impeded from organizing, training, and equipping themselves independently.
- Clarification of "bill of attainder"
- A bill of attainder shall consist of any legislative disablement of an immunity, either for an individual, group, or the people in general, without proof beyond a reasonable doubt, for each individual case, that he or she has committed a crime or is dangerously incompetent.
- Clarification of "title of nobility"
- A title of nobility shall consist of any legislated privilege or immunity, not enjoyed by all, or to the detriment of others, that is not essential for the performance of legitimate official duties, and a grand jury may authorize civil or criminal prosecution of an official for exceeding his jurisdiction or abusing his discretion.
- Clarification of "commerce"
- "Commerce" shall consist only of transfers of title and possession of tangible commodities from a seller outside a state to a purchaser inside that state. It shall not include primary production, manufacturing, sale within a state, possession, use, or disposal, nor shall it include the activities of those engaged in such transfers. It shall not include energy, information, or financial or contractual instruments.
- Clarification of "regulate"
- The power to regulate shall consist only of the power to restrict the attributes or modalities of the object regulated, and not to prohibit all attributes or modalities.
- Clarification of "necessary and proper"
- A power shall be regarded as "necessary and proper" only if it is essential to making the effort defined by an expressly delegated power, not to do whatever may be desired to accomplish a purpose for which the power might be exercised. The powers to tax, spend, promote, regulate, and prohibit (or punish), shall be construed as distinct, with none implied by any of the others, and none shall be exercised as a way to avoid the lack of a power to do one of the others: Spending or taxing shall not be done to achieve a regulatory, promotional, or punitive purpose for which there is otherwise no delegated authority. Criminal prosecution shall not be done to achieve a taxing, spending, promotional, or regulatory purpose.
-- Jon ------------------------------------------------------------------- Constitution Society 2900 W Anderson Ln C-200-322, Austin, TX 78757 512/299-5001 www.constitution.org jon.roland@... -------------------------------------------------------------------