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Author Topic: If you were to make a new Bill of Rights for the United States  (Read 566 times)

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Online VekseidTopic starter

If you were to make a new Bill of Rights for the United States
« on: October 13, 2012, 09:50:04 AM »
What would go in it?

I ended up starting to write one out again in another thread, but I've already posted about this before.



Some ground rules:

1) Work under the assumption that it will be followed. Even ignoring the sort of political power it would take to get such a set of amendments passed - I'd prefer to leave the government's circumvention of the Constitution to other threads. Negative thoughts belong elsewhere - this is working under the assumption that something positive can be done.

2) Similarly, 'every system will eventually get corrupted' -> one would hope to think that if a new set of amendments gets passed, then that means that, as various entities do attempt to corrupt the system, some of that can actually purged on observation and rethinking. We know we're not going to get 'perfect'. We want better than what we currently have.

3) Closing loopholes that the US Government is using to circumvent the Constitution is a perfectly valid suggestion, however, and very much in the spirit of the above. By all means, make certain Rights apply to non-US citizens, and still applicable in wartime. Habeas Corpus, for example. Similarly, every piece of the US Constitution is up for revision here, not just the first ten amendments.

4) Rights granted should not place a public burden. A real-world, social society should be able to make use of the new Bill of Rights no matter its current financial state, infrastructure, etc., so long as it has factfinders with critical thinking and logical skills amongst its skilled persons. This means that, as a rule, it is largely about what Government is not allowed to do, and sometimes what individuals or other legal entities are not allowed to do (e.g. slavery is actually unconstitutional). If Government is required to provide something, it must also be conditional on the Government performing some action. A good example of this is the requirement that Government provide public defenders - it's conditional on the Government actually bringing charges against people for crimes.

5) The rights need to be something that a judge, reviewing a law, civil or criminal proceeding, can be expected to consistently and reasonably enforce. "People should have a right to privacy." And "Corporations are not people" - the former might get malinterpreted due to being excessively broad and vague, while the latter is not going to have much in the way of meaningful effect outside of expressing sentiment. Make rules that can be respected and will be followed.

6) Giving concepts like 'corporations should not be considered people' proper treatment might require a fairly detailed concept of what should be done for something to be considered a proper legal entity, balancing the rights of humans and immortal legal constructs appropriately. This is fine even though it's not directly under the purview of 'rights' directly.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: If you were to make a new Bill of Rights for the United States
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2012, 11:29:43 AM »
I would definitely limit corporate personhood A LOT. Some of the concept is needed to justify the normal practices of business BUT it and special interests need to be curtail in their ability to pay out to politicians. Personally I would like a set limit on what a person can donate and only real breathing people being able to contribute.

That being said more transparency in campaign finance would be another point. Possible tying the media/broadcast organizations to 'fair time' where they can only give so much ad time to candidates of the air and at a set or free level. No more, no less. The radio and tv folks get a pretty good deal from the government for broadcast media with no real price tag to it. A little air time wouldn't kill them. After all nobody in the US has ever had to pay a TV license to own a TV

Offline heathenwolf

Re: If you were to make a new Bill of Rights for the United States
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2012, 12:42:15 PM »
The first thing i would do is to change the name of it to the Bill of responsibilities!!! so many americans have forgotten the responsibilities of their citizenship ,that i feel we need a refresher course. Those who have served in the armed forces like me should recieve a automatic 5 acres of land. Parents should automatically be enrolled in a parenting class during the womans pregnancy. paid for by the government. And Anyone with a firearm should be required to annually register it, with the local NRA. Also a one time learners course should be administered to the weapon owner. These are a few ideas i have, im sure they will be controversial.

Offline Skynet

Re: If you were to make a new Bill of Rights for the United States
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2012, 01:23:15 PM »
The American government needs a warrant when undertaking actions against subversive elements (no more warrantless wiretapping!).

And people under arrest or detainment for terrorist activities undergo a trial.

In short, I'd severely limit the government's power to take away civil liberties in the name of national security.

Offline OldSchoolGamer

Re: If you were to make a new Bill of Rights for the United States
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2012, 01:58:47 PM »
I think the one we have now works reasonably well as a starting point.

We need to add provisions to include restrictions on the rights of corporations.  Many of the strictures that apply to the State, need to apply to corporations, and for the same reasons.

We also need to close some of the loopholes that bureaucrats have found to violate our rights.  One element I would include is that, anytime the governments makes you pay money and punishes you for not paying it, it's legally a tax.  I would ban differential taxation on the basis of race, marital status, parental status, or religion.  This means no more surtax on divorced fathers ("child support"), and no more tax exemptions for churches.  And no more asset forfeiture laws--BEFORE you can seize anyone's property, they must be CONVICTED by trial by jury, not just accused.

I would repeal the Patriot Act.  I would eliminate capital controls and reporting.  If someone wants to bring money in or take money out of the country, it's none of the government's damn business.

I would ban the use of eminent domain on behalf of a private entity.  No taking people's property to build a shopping mall.


Online VekseidTopic starter

Re: If you were to make a new Bill of Rights for the United States
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2012, 01:42:07 AM »
Repealing a law doesn't really fit within the purview - it needs to be written in such a way that e.g. Europe could just as well grab each and every provision if they so wanted. How would you construct the amendment such that the Patriot act is sufficiently neutered to your liking?

Offline OldSchoolGamer

Re: If you were to make a new Bill of Rights for the United States
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2012, 11:20:29 AM »
Repealing a law doesn't really fit within the purview - it needs to be written in such a way that e.g. Europe could just as well grab each and every provision if they so wanted. How would you construct the amendment such that the Patriot act is sufficiently neutered to your liking?

To make a long story short, I'd bring back the once-cherished American words "none of your business," and enshrine them in the Constitution so as to apply to the government.  (Foreign users could find an analogous phrase in their respective tongues).

If I want to send money to or receive money from a friend, it's none of your business.

How I spend my money is none of your business.

If I buy cold medicine, it's none of your business.

What I send in an email or say in a telephone conversation is none of your business.

Where I travel to or from is none of your business.

What plants I grow on my own land, and what I personally use them for, is none of your business.

Who I associate with, and for what lawful purpose, is none of your business.

Records regarding legitimate, private transactions with companies I do business with, are likewise none of your business.  (No using subpoenas to make my private affairs public.)

Private property, means just that.  PRIVATE property.  Since I would include these same strictures against corporations, this also would put an end to nosy/invasive homeowners' associations.

My Constitutional rights are not abrogated just because I owe a debt.  And if I commit a crime, after I have served my sentence, my Constitutional rights are fully restored.

Offline elone

Re: If you were to make a new Bill of Rights for the United States
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2012, 11:43:02 PM »
This is a difficult exercise, just reread the bill of rights, much more convoluted than I remember, particularly the election process.

Take the first amendment which states that; 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.

Just out of curiosity, does that mean that States can make laws on these rights? Just a thought. No wonder there is confusion everywhere in the constitution.

A new amendment:

No person elected to the House of Representatives shall serve more than three two year terms.

No person elected to the United States Senate shall serve more than two four year terms. (note change in duration of term.)

These limits are enforced whether consecutive or not. Those currently serving shall continue their terms as if starting new from their next election cycle after the passage of this amendment.

Online VekseidTopic starter

Re: If you were to make a new Bill of Rights for the United States
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2012, 07:18:59 AM »
Originally, they could, however the 14th Amendment applies Constitutional rights in general to the states.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: If you were to make a new Bill of Rights for the United States
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2012, 06:15:36 PM »
Actually the intent behind the six year term (and staggered rotation) in the senate was to ensure that there would be some experienced representatives were there at all times.

Personally I think that there should be a 1 or 2 term 'time out' period, as there are reps I'd like to continue representing me.. sadly more and more of them are dying off and being replaced by tea bags.. but I don't think there should be a HARD limit on any office.. but that after 2 terms.. they need to sit out one.

Offline heathenwolf

Re: If you were to make a new Bill of Rights for the United States
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2012, 07:18:11 PM »
Actually If possible , i wonder about the feasibility of A council instead of a congress and senate that are overgrown with people who are only in there for the money.
I think a council of 50 should be a fair representation. with a co council of 5 in case of a tie in the vote.

Offline Zakharra

Re: If you were to make a new Bill of Rights for the United States
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2012, 08:30:39 PM »
Actually If possible , i wonder about the feasibility of A council instead of a congress and senate that are overgrown with people who are only in there for the money.
I think a council of 50 should be a fair representation. with a co council of 5 in case of a tie in the vote.

  It's the House and Senate that make up Congress. The House of Representatives that is based off of population and the Senate that gives every state 2 senators. No more or less.  The idea was so the more heavily populated states couldn't run roughshod over the rest of the states because they would have had more votes because of having a larger population.  Neither house can pass anything if it isn't also passed by the other house.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: If you were to make a new Bill of Rights for the United States
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2012, 08:43:54 PM »
  It's the House and Senate that make up Congress. The House of Representatives that is based off of population and the Senate that gives every state 2 senators. No more or less.  The idea was so the more heavily populated states couldn't run roughshod over the rest of the states because they would have had more votes because of having a larger population.  Neither house can pass anything if it isn't also passed by the other house.

Exactly it's a tricky system working to preserve the rights of the minority while protecting the majority from a well organized minority. It doesnt' always work (Prohibition is an example of that failure) but like the man said, 'Its the worse system out there except for every other one."