Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Right Way to Amend the Constitution, part 11

This is part eleven of an ongoing series of articles containing proposals for amendments to the Constitution. For someone who claims so fervently to be a “Constitutionalist”, how is it that I can be so eager to change the Constitution? Well, there are several reasons. For one thing, I believe that after the Bill of Rights, much damage was done by some of the amendments that were added and the legitimacy of some of their ratifications are questionable. Secondly, the Constitution has been violated so much that the necessity of further amendments is needed to resolve the resulting problems. But this should be done extremely cautiously. These amendments are extremely unlikely to ever be introduced, much less ratified, but hey, I can dream, can’t I?

Here is another proposed amendment (subject to revision):

After the first enumeration, required by the first article of the constitution, there shall be one representative for every thirty thousand, until the number shall amount to one hundred. After which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall be not less than one hundred representatives, nor less than one representative for every forty thousand per-sons, until the number of Representatives shall amount to two hundred, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall not be less than two hundred representatives, nor less than one representative for every fifty thousand persons.

There were originally 12 amendments in the proposed Bill of Rights. This amendment was one of the two that didn’t get enough votes to be ratified with the others. The other one, having to do with limits on congressional pay raises, was finally ratified in 1992 and became the 27th amendment.

I think that this amendment is a good idea because it, along with repealing the 17th amendment, would bring the Congress “closer to the people”. It’s harder to hold them accountable if they represent such a large population.

A disadvantage of this amendment would be that the states would no longer have as much “say” in the Presidential elections. (The Presidential elections would be much closer to a “popular vote”.) But if we followed the Constitution, we would still much further away from a democracy than the true constitutional republic that we are supposed to be.

Click here to read more about this issue. Click here to read the next article in this series.

1 comment:

Matt said...

I was remiss in my understanding of this. The last phrase said "nor MORE than one representative for every fifty thousand persons." But the word "more" was a last minute change and was the reason why it was never ratified. I have since corrected my post to read "nor LESS than one..." which was the original intention of the author of this amendment. See the link at the end this post for more details.