A Proposal to Amendment the Constitution: The Governing Authority Amendment

We live in a period of American history where The Constitution of the United States is an inconvenience. The document is fundamentally ignored as the governing authority for the behavior of the Federal government, State governments and even the legal system. It seems that it is only those who have been violating The Constitution in deeds and spirit who find themselves on the losing side of a discussion that The Constitution all of a sudden becomes relevant again. Even then it is not always properly applied to the issue. The Constitution is not a menu system where we can pick and choose what we want when it is convenient. The Constitution is a spouse. We are married to it. We get all the benefits and all the limitations imposed by that relationship. All the time.

As an example, the legal system has manage to replace the written words of the Constitution of the United States with legal precedence in relation to the 1st Amendment. The Supreme Court has established a doctrine called “The Separation of Church and State”. The implementation of this doctrine violates the very freedom of expression to religious expression that the 1st Amendment guarantees. A church gets classified as a charity meaning it gets tax incentives. They publicly display the nativity or the ten commandments. Someone gets offended and sues to have it taken down because the institution is receiving federal funds. The court system rules that the religious expression violates the legal precedence of the separation of church and state. However, what has really happened is that the civil liberties of every member of that religious community has been violated. Lets review what the 1st Amendment as written says.

            Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or        prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the            press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

How does abridging freedom of speech, religious or otherwise as a result of a legal precedence make any sense? The real question is should religious institutions have access to public largesse? Does granting tax benefits to Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, or Muslim institutions violate the beginning phrase of the 1st Amendment?

Clause 4 is designed to correct another wrong which most people overlook. The Standing rules (locus standi) grant the Federal and State governments to much flexibility in their use of authority. The ideal is to reinforce civil liberties of the Citizens of the United States by limiting the courts ability to reject plaintiffs base on “imminently” of harm

Congress continues, regardless of party to pass laws outside its constitutional authority. The healthcare debate is a perfect example. Where in The Constitution does it grant the federal government the power to manage, provide, and appropriate funds for an individuals healthcare? It is definitely not found under the commerce clause. None of the services ever cross state lines. Where does it grant power to tell a U.S. citizen to buy a product? Many consider healthcare a right. However, this “Right” is not written anywhere. It is not in the Bill of Rights or any current amendment to the Constitution. Additionally, how can it be a right if it requires some else to provide you the service? Some say it is part of the social contract. Where is this mythical document? The fact is, The Constitution is written as the social contract for the United States. Regardless of all this, the current President and crop of Congressmen are talking about exercising an authority they do not have. This use of power is part of an ever continuing violation of the 10th Amendment to The Constitution of the United States which states the following.

            The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited   by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The Constitution offers really only two things. Justice and Liberty. It does not offer services. Justice in that every citizen shall be treated equally under the law and liberty, the right of every citizen to determine their own destiny. Every legislature in the United States should consider with each proposed law whether they are violating the liberty of their citizens and Congress in addition should consider with each proposed law whether they are also violating the 10th Amendment. The Right of the States.

Because of the Founding Fathers distrusted governments as a whole they federalized (distributed) the authority between what are supposed to be independent branches (Legislature, Execute, and Judicial) as well as the sovereign states versus the federal. The idea was to create a constant push an pull on authority to keep power in limited ranges for every institution, thus insuring liberty in the balancing of these interests. However, we find ourselves in period where the political parties dominate the institutional design of the founding fathers. Elected representatives are more beholden to their political party and the funding associated than they are to their institutions or the people they represent.

The proposed amendment is one step to reigning in the overuse of unconstitutional authority being practiced today and attempt to narrow the authority of the federal government to be more inline with the original intent of the founding fathers

The Amendment: 

  1. Congress shall pass no law or appropriate funds without properly identifying and specifying the Constitutional authority of the Federal government to invoke such a law or establish the use of public largesse. Each law shall incorporate a statement of intent for that law which will govern the application of that law and will specify the clause in The Constitution which provides for that authority
  2. Congress is prohibited from passing any law which literally violates The Bill of Rights or any civil liberty which has been amended to The Constitution of the United States.
  3. The judiciary shall have authority when invoked to review, suspend for a period, and vacate any law violating the Constitution of the United States. The judiciary shall only consider the Constitution of the United States, The Bill of Rights or any enumerated civil liberty amended to The Constitution of the Unites States in its deliberations and decisions.
  4. The executive branch of the federal government, the states, and any United States citizen shall have legal standing to challenge any statute extending Federal authority beyond what is specified in The Constitution of the United States and violates The Bill of Rights or any amended civil liberties.

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