Im at work and bored so I thought I would entertain myself by posting what I would do with the Constitution if I were king for a day. Before I get started I want to point out that this is completely theoretical and I realize that a lot of what Im going to say couldnt be implemented over night...if at all. This is just my own little thought experiment...
I wouldnt completely rewrite the Constitution:
--I would begin with the definition of a U.S. citizen: every person (irrespective of gender, race, religion, etc), whether native born or naturalized, above the age of 18. With this, there is no ambiguity...no need for a 14th Amendment; one group of people wouldnt be able to claim superior status over another and that would be clear right from the get go.
--Next, I would have a Bill of Rights very similar to the one we have now. However, I would better define a few things:
a)Free Speech- Government has no right to regulate any form of expression that does not employ some form of punitive force, violence and/or coercion (i.e. things like child pornography).
b)Freedom of Religion- no state religion, no govt control over religious institutions, and no religious symbols in or on governmnet property unless there is historical significance (i.e. the missions on some califonia city seals) or that property is for recreational purposes (i.e. parks) and the symbol was not paid for with public funds.
c)The Right to Bear Arms- every citizen has the right to keep an bear arms and only the individual states, by popular vote, have the right to regulate which type of firearms are illegal.
d)Private Property- a citizens use of his or her private property cannot be regulated by the state so long as that use does not prevent someone else the use of their private property (i.e. damming a stream that crosses a property line) and it is not being used in any way to deny the rights of someone else (i.e. slave labor).
e)The 10th Amendment- I would simply use all caps, highlight it, and end it with an exclamation point. And just to dispel any confusion I would put, "p.s. this, and the powers given to the federal govt, are to be read and understood exactly as written."
--After the Bill of Rights I would lay out the structure and powers of the federal gov't:
a)the basic structure remains the same: bicameral legislature w/ an independent executive and jusdiciary. However, I would restore the state legislature's responsibility of electing senators.
b)The federal govt would have absolutely no right to tax the people (no income tax) except for the provision of a common defense. A voluntary tax can be placed on an individual state for some sort of collective disaster fund if a majority of its citizens agree. Any state not contributing to the fund will not receive federal help when faced with a natural disaster. This would basically eliminate all federal social programs; leaving it to each state to decide for itself how best to help its citizenry(50 individual political experiments). Furthermore, except in times of war, the federal govt must have a balanced budget.
c)the federal government would still be able to regulate international and interstate commerce, issue a common currency, and legislate environmental policy where state borders are involved (i.e. dumping into a river when it flows across state borders). Oh ya, when I say interstate commerce...I mean INTERSTATE COMMERCE! If a product is being sold across state lines, the federal govt can regulate its sale...it cannot prohibit its production for fear that it might find its way across a border and it cannot regulate its sale within the borders of a state. The federal govt's police powers begin and end at the border.
d)The only time the executive branch can use the military unilaterally is when the United States are under direct attack. All other uses must be approved by Congress.
c)Congress would have no right to legislate morality except in the protection of the Bill of Rights (i.e no murder, rape, ect.)
d) except for the above, everything in the Constitution remains pretty much as is. The states are left free to structure their economy and govt pretty much however they want provided they uphold the Bill of Rights and representational government.
Thats about it...Im sure Im missing a lot though. Any thoughts?