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vcczar

Hypothetical 2017 Constitutional Convention

The 2017 Constitutional Convention  

24 members have voted

  1. 1. If sent as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, would your primary goal be to...

    • Preserve the Constitution as it is.
    • Amend the Constitution where it is unclear.
    • Amend the Constitution to make improvements, suitable for the 21st century and beyond.
    • Rewrite the Constitution, since it is archaic
    • Abolish the Constitution, because it's a hindrance
      0
  2. 2. Which of the following articles or amendments of the Constitution would you propose amending?

    • Article One, describing the Congress/legislative branch
    • Article Two, describing the President/executive branch
    • Article Three, describing the Supreme Court/Judicial Branch
    • Article Four, describing the relations between the states and the federal government
    • Article Five, describing the process for amending the Constitution
    • Article Six, establishing the Constitution, and all Federal laws made in accordance with it as the supreme law of the land
    • Article Seven, describing the process for establishing the government
    • 1st Amendment -- Freedom of speech, of religion, of the press, of assembly and the right to petition
    • 2nd Amendment -- the right of individuals to bear arms
    • 3rd Amendment -- prohibits the government from forcing citizens to house soldiers during peacetime without consent
    • 4th Amendment -- protects against unreasonable searches and seizures of self or property
    • 5th Amendment -- establishes judicial protections and requirements for both accused and guilty; also has clause regarding eminent domain
    • 6th Amendment -- protections and rights of those accused of a crime
    • 7th Amendment - extends the right to a trial by jury to civil cases and prohibits a judge from overturning the decision of the jury
    • 8th Amendment -- protects against excessively high bails and from cruel or unusual punishments
    • 9th Amendment -- declares that individuals have other fundamental rights, in addition to those stated in the Constitution.
    • 10th Amendment -- that 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.
    • 11th Amendment -- specifically prohibits federal courts from hearing cases in which a state is sued by an individual from another state or another country
    • 12th Amendment -- modifies the way the Electoral College chooses the President and Vice President.
    • None of the above
  3. 3. part 2 of the above

    • 13th Amendment -- abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime.
    • 14th Amendment -- granted United States citizenship to former slaves and to all persons "subject to U.S. jurisdiction".
    • 15th Amendment -- prohibits the federal and state governments from denying a citizen the right to vote based on that citizen's "race, color, or previous condition of servitude".
    • 16th Amendment -- allows the Congress to levy an income tax without apportioning it among the states or basing it on the United States Census.
    • 17th Amendment -- established the popular election of United States Senators by the people of the states.
    • 19th Amendment -- prohibits the states and the federal government from denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States on the basis of sex.
    • 22nd Amendment -- sets a term limit for election and overall time of service to the office of President of the United States.
    • 24th Amendment -- prohibits both Congress and the states from conditioning the right to vote in federal elections on payment of a poll tax or other types of tax.
    • 25th Amendment -- deals with succession to the Presidency and establishes procedures both for filling a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, as well as responding to Presidential disabilities.
    • 26th Amendment -- prohibits the states and the federal government from using age as a reason for denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States who are at least eighteen years old.
    • I would also like to amend one of the "minor" Amendments not mentioned
    • I would like to add an amendment not purely amending an already existing amendment.
    • None of the above


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54 minutes ago, jvikings1 said:

Congress declared war the next day after Pearl Harbor.

Yes, I know. But, by my (honest mistake) misreading of the above proposal, even then, the US wouldn't have been able to act for a month thereafter. That's how I had misread it. Also, funny enough, a rabid anti-FDR historical revisionist who posted on the Fox News website around 15 years ago claimed WW2 did not have a constitutional declaration of war and FDR conducted the war by executive fiat and that the war was "illegal," ignoring both the Congressional declaration of war you just stated AND the fact that Japan just attacked the US outright over no better provocation than an oil embargo and bank freeze (at the BEST justification - although, in truth, it was part of a rapid series of lightning attacks in several days that expanded the War in the Pacific suddenly from just China and Indochina and included attacks in that same short period on the Philippines, the Dutch Indies (Indonesia), Burma, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaya, and New Guinea, when Japan was also not previous to that at war with the British Empire or the Dutch Government-in-Exile either, but they, too, were brought into the Pacific Theatre suddenly at that time). I wish I could find that old article or remember the guy's name to give a link, but it was pretty ridiculous.

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If we don't have any more Article 2 proposals, then tomorrow we will discuss the standing proposals. 

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32 minutes ago, vcczar said:

If we don't have any more Article 2 proposals, then tomorrow we will discuss the standing proposals. 

I'm formally proposing abolishing the Electoral College for a nationwide popular vote for President with a runoff round, similar to France or Mexico's current system.

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On 4/2/2017 at 7:24 PM, vcczar said:

Since @pilight has said much of what I would propose, 

I'll propose the following. Most of these, I'm proposing just to see if they can be forged into something workable:

1) Hold presidential elections every two years, for a total of eight years. 

2) President must request a declaration of war within a month of ordering a military action

3) The president can only veto law that is unconstitutional, rather than veto law because of ideological differences. The president vetoes the law, Congress can override the law as it is allowed to do so. I'd like to add that the SC can be counseled on the constitutionality of that law by Congress or the President. 

4) The Vice President is purely of the executive branch, and will not serve in the Senate. Additionally, the VP's duties are only those also of the president, and only those delegated by the president to him or her. 

5) Return to the original selection of the VP by which the VP is the second place finisher in an election, even if they are of separate parties. I don't believe in winner takes all systems, especially when a majority can lose an election. 

6) Allow citizens not born in the US to become president if they have been US citizens for 35 years. 

7) A president can be declared unfit and removed by a unanimous cabinet or by 2/3 of the Senate. 

8) The leader of the opposing major party must be offered a position in the victor's presidential cabinet or cabinet-level position. If the opposition leader declines, he or she may appoint a substitute that is approved by the recently elected president. Again, I don't believe in winner takes all elections. 

9) The president cannot pardon people that have committed major crimes or anyone attached to his or her own administration at anytime of his or her presidency. 

10) The president must fill all open vacancies in all areas in which he or she can make an appointment. The president has a month to make a nomination, and the Congress has a month to hear and confirm/deny the nomination. If the Congress does not hear or confirm/deny within the month, then the person nominated is automatically confirmed. 

Anyway, here's a list of proposals to be debated at your leisure. I'll gladly part with any that are soundly unpopular, and I'm interested in any amendments to these that might make them workable for the majority of the delegates. 

 

 

3. This one can be problematic. Remember the JASTA bill which allowed families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia? That didn't violate the constitution but was still vetoed and overriden, it is a disastrous law that will result in foreign relations crumbling.

5. The VP should generally agree with the President, as the VP often serves as a representative on behalf of the President in events that the President cannot attend. They also often attend international meetings and sometimes perform foreign relations duties in which they should be working with the President.

7. Saying that a president is just "unfit" instead of only allowing impeachment when violations of law occur will lead to the Senate just removing any President they disagree with.

8. I disagree with this because this is a direct acknowledgement of a two-party system.

10. A month is far too short of a timeframe, especially with the hundreds of lower-court judgeships all appointed by the president. Congress ought to hold a hearing for sure, but putting a deadline in which they would otherwise be automatically confirmed is dangerous. What if there is an ongoing investigation into them? It could cause a lot of problems.

 

The other ones I agree with or have no rebuttal to.

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3 hours ago, SirLagsalott said:

3. This one can be problematic. Remember the JASTA bill which allowed families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia? That didn't violate the constitution but was still vetoed and overriden, it is a disastrous law that will result in foreign relations crumbling.

5. The VP should generally agree with the President, as the VP often serves as a representative on behalf of the President in events that the President cannot attend. They also often attend international meetings and sometimes perform foreign relations duties in which they should be working with the President.

7. Saying that a president is just "unfit" instead of only allowing impeachment when violations of law occur will lead to the Senate just removing any President they disagree with.

8. I disagree with this because this is a direct acknowledgement of a two-party system.

10. A month is far too short of a timeframe, especially with the hundreds of lower-court judgeships all appointed by the president. Congress ought to hold a hearing for sure, but putting a deadline in which they would otherwise be automatically confirmed is dangerous. What if there is an ongoing investigation into them? It could cause a lot of problems.

 

The other ones I agree with or have no rebuttal to.

In light of your feedback. I will remove my proposal #8. For proposal #7, I will amend that a majority of the cabinet must declare the president unfit before the senate confirms that the president is unfit or not unfit. This way, his own party (the cabinet) would have the first say in removing the president. For proposal #10, while I think a month is enough time, I will expand it to 90 days just to be sure. 

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I agree a month is too short.  I proposed a year.  An appointment is different from legislation.  Bills can be amended and often have implications that aren't immediately apparent.  An appointment is a simple binary.  Is this person qualified to hold this position: Yes/No.

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23 minutes ago, pilight said:

I agree a month is too short.  I proposed a year.  An appointment is different from legislation.  Bills can be amended and often have implications that aren't immediately apparent.  An appointment is a simple binary.  Is this person qualified to hold this position: Yes/No.

My point #10 is simply on appointments and not on legislation. A deadline of a year to hear or confirm an appointment is ridiculous, I think. Since it then gives the congress more backing to ignore a nominee at the end of a presidency. Personally, I think a month is about right to fill a seat, but considering there can be crises that could make a hearing a confirmation difficult to schedule, I'll expand it to 90 days. Any delay longer than that is pure political gimmickry. 

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43 minutes ago, vcczar said:

My point #10 is simply on appointments and not on legislation. A deadline of a year to hear or confirm an appointment is ridiculous, I think. Since it then gives the congress more backing to ignore a nominee at the end of a presidency. Personally, I think a month is about right to fill a seat, but considering there can be crises that could make a hearing a confirmation difficult to schedule, I'll expand it to 90 days. Any delay longer than that is pure political gimmickry. 

Does no one have any comments on my proposal, or is this an attempted 'pocket veto?' :P

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@pilight

Could you rephrase the proposal below into briefer language, for the purposes of voting. I need it to be concise and clear for this purpose. 

I would clarify the president's ability to remove executive appointees: "The principal officer in each of the Executive Departments, and all persons connected with the diplomatic service, may be removed from office at the pleasure of the President. All other civil officers of the Executive Departments may be removed at any time by the President, or other appointing power, when their services are unnecessary, or for dishonesty, incapacity. inefficiency, misconduct, or neglect of duty; and when so removed, the removal shall be reported to the Senate, together with the reasons therefor."

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13 minutes ago, Patine said:

Does no one have any comments on my proposal, or is this an attempted 'pocket veto?' :P

I think it's the opposite. I didn't say anything because I'm ready to vote for it. 

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6 minutes ago, vcczar said:

@pilight

Could you rephrase the proposal below into briefer language, for the purposes of voting. I need it to be concise and clear for this purpose. 

I would clarify the president's ability to remove executive appointees: "The principal officer in each of the Executive Departments, and all persons connected with the diplomatic service, may be removed from office at the pleasure of the President. All other civil officers of the Executive Departments may be removed at any time by the President, or other appointing power, when their services are unnecessary, or for dishonesty, incapacity. inefficiency, misconduct, or neglect of duty; and when so removed, the removal shall be reported to the Senate, together with the reasons therefor."

The president can fire his cabinet members and anyone who works in a civilian capacity under them without getting approval from the senate.

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Here are the current proposals, unless anyone is strongly desire to amend any of these, or propose others (we need all similar proposals to be compromised into a single proposal), then here are the proposals that are ready for a vote, which I will set up, hopefully, tomorrow: 

1. Abolish the Electoral College, in favor of the Popular Vote for Presidential Elections. 

2. The president can fire his cabinet members and anyone who works in a civilian capacity under them without getting approval from the senate.

3. Hold presidential elections every two years, for a total of eight years. 

4. President must request a declaration of war within 90 days of ordering a military action

4. The president can only veto law that is unconstitutional, rather than veto law because of ideological differences. The president vetoes the law, Congress can override the law as it is allowed to do so. I'd like to add that the SC can be counseled on the constitutionality of that law by Congress or the President. 

5. The Vice President is purely of the executive branch, and will not serve in the Senate. Additionally, the VP's duties are only those also of the president, and only those delegated by the president to him or her. 

6. Return to the original selection of the VP by which the VP is the second place finisher in an election, even if they are of separate parties. I don't believe in winner takes all systems, especially when a majority can lose an election. 

7. Allow citizens not born in the US to become president if they have been US citizens for 35 years. 

8. A president can be declared unfit and removed by a majority cabinet vote, followed by a 2/3 of the Senate. 

9. The president cannot pardon people that have committed major crimes or anyone attached to his or her own administration at anytime of his or her presidency. 

10. The president must fill all open vacancies in all areas in which he or she can make an appointment. The president has 90 days to make a nomination, and the Congress has 90 days to hear and confirm/deny the nomination. If the Congress does not hear or confirm/deny within that time, then the person nominated is automatically confirmed. 

11. Run-off round, with the top two candidates, in elections in which no candidate reaches over 50%.

12. Presidential recall: A recall would require at least one senator from a majority of states to present a petition signed by a certain % of the voting population.

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54 minutes ago, vcczar said:

My point #10 is simply on appointments and not on legislation. A deadline of a year to hear or confirm an appointment is ridiculous, I think. Since it then gives the congress more backing to ignore a nominee at the end of a presidency. Personally, I think a month is about right to fill a seat, but considering there can be crises that could make a hearing a confirmation difficult to schedule, I'll expand it to 90 days. Any delay longer than that is pure political gimmickry. 

Are we only counting days when the senate is in session?  They take the whole month of August off, for example, and are not in session on weekends or holidays.

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9 minutes ago, vcczar said:

5. The Vice President is purely of the executive branch, and will not serve in the Senate. Additionally, the VP's duties are only those also of the president, and only those delegated by the president to him or her. 

How would we break ties?

18 minutes ago, vcczar said:

President must request a declaration of war within 90 days of ordering a military action

What constitutes a "military action"?  Do covert operations count?  What form would the declaration take if we take military action against a non-government group, like ISIS?

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17 minutes ago, vcczar said:

Here are the current proposals, unless anyone is strongly desire to amend any of these, or propose others (we need all similar proposals to be compromised into a single proposal), then here are the proposals that are ready for a vote, which I will set up, hopefully, tomorrow: 

1. Abolish the Electoral College, in favor of the Popular Vote for Presidential Elections. 

2. The president can fire his cabinet members and anyone who works in a civilian capacity under them without getting approval from the senate.

3. Hold presidential elections every two years, for a total of eight years. 

4. President must request a declaration of war within 90 days of ordering a military action

4. The president can only veto law that is unconstitutional, rather than veto law because of ideological differences. The president vetoes the law, Congress can override the law as it is allowed to do so. I'd like to add that the SC can be counseled on the constitutionality of that law by Congress or the President. 

5. The Vice President is purely of the executive branch, and will not serve in the Senate. Additionally, the VP's duties are only those also of the president, and only those delegated by the president to him or her. 

6. Return to the original selection of the VP by which the VP is the second place finisher in an election, even if they are of separate parties. I don't believe in winner takes all systems, especially when a majority can lose an election. 

7. Allow citizens not born in the US to become president if they have been US citizens for 35 years. 

8. A president can be declared unfit and removed by a majority cabinet vote, followed by a 2/3 of the Senate. 

9. The president cannot pardon people that have committed major crimes or anyone attached to his or her own administration at anytime of his or her presidency. 

10. The president must fill all open vacancies in all areas in which he or she can make an appointment. The president has 90 days to make a nomination, and the Congress has 90 days to hear and confirm/deny the nomination. If the Congress does not hear or confirm/deny within that time, then the person nominated is automatically confirmed. 

11. Run-off round, with the top two candidates, in elections in which no candidate reaches over 50%.

12. Presidential recall: A recall would require at least one senator from a majority of states to present a petition signed by a certain % of the voting population.

I find a problem with both 2 and 8 being present together, from the precedent of Napoleon Bonaparte when he was First Consul of a three-member Consulate prior to being Emperor from 1799-1804. What he did is, if he suspected the other two Consuls would vote against him, he purged and replaced one or both of them before the vote. A President who was truly unscrupulous and corrupt (and probably deserved to be impeached) could purge enough Cabinet members before they could vote to stop an impeachment vote under this system. This combination makes me dubious in a worst-case scenario.

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15 minutes ago, pilight said:

Are we only counting days when the senate is in session?  They take the whole month of August off, for example, and are not in session on weekends or holidays.

Yes, the president has 90 days to nominate someone and the Senate has 90 days to confirm someone. If the Congress is adamantly opposed to someone they can avoid taking a break from Congress. Alternatively, the president can be considerate and withold announcing his or her nomination until later in that 90 day timeframe. The president under this criteria, could wait until the 90th day (roughly 3 months) and then the Senate could wait until the 90th day to confirm (3 months). This gives a 6 month, or half a year span to fill in office. At a minimum, the president can nominate someone on day one, and the Senate could then hear and confirm the next day, or wait 90 days (3 months). This is ample time, even with the breaks. 

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5 minutes ago, pilight said:

How would we break ties?

What constitutes a "military action"?  Do covert operations count?  What form would the declaration take if we take military action against a non-government group, like ISIS?

A cover operation is a military action. I don't think you can declare war on a non-state, so I think declaring war on ISIS doesn't really mean anything. That's like declaring war on Walmart. 

In regards to breaking ties, we definitely need to figure this out. Let's say that no matter what, the VP is removed from the senate. Perhaps the senate president must be selected from someone outside of the Senate to fill that specific role, which will otherwise be non-voting. The president of the senate cannot hold two government positions. Alternatively, we can have a tie-vote automatically equal a negative vote, requiring a majority of a bill to pass. 

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7 minutes ago, Patine said:

I find a problem with both 2 and 8 being present together, from the precedent of Napoleon Bonaparte when he was First Consul of a three-member Consulate prior to being Emperor from 1799-1804. What he did is, if he suspected the other two Consuls would vote against him, he purged and replaced one or both of them before the vote. A President who was truly unscrupulous and corrupt (and probably deserved to be impeached) could purge enough Cabinet members before they could vote to stop an impeachment vote under this system. This combination makes me dubious in a worst-case scenario.

What would you have instead? Should there be a block against mass firings? Perhaps, a review to accept the firing? Perhaps no removals if the cabinet member is clearly competent and of good standing? Or, at least, a 30 day waiting period before the cabinet member has to step down, if they are in good standing. This way if the president is firing cabinet members on the verge of declaring them unfit, then the cabinet has a month to get together to vote him out. 

I still think it will be alright, since a president would have to fire the majority of the cabinet to not be declared unfit. 

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20 minutes ago, vcczar said:

A covert operation is a military action.

It's not going to stay covert if we have to formally declare war shortly afterwards.  Heck, the operation might not even be complete within such a short time frame.

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22 minutes ago, pilight said:

It's not going to stay covert if we have to formally declare war shortly afterwards.  Heck, the operation might not even be complete within such a short time frame.

Why would we be in covert operations another country with which we have not declared war or will not declare war. if you mean spying, then that is something other than a military option. If you mean sending in special-ops to assassinate someone or force a coup, that shouldn't be done without the intent of declaring war, since we shouldn't really be doing that at all. 

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16 minutes ago, vcczar said:

Why would we be in covert operations another country with which we have not declared war or will not declare war. if you mean spying, then that is something other than a military option. If you mean sending in special-ops to assassinate someone or force a coup, that shouldn't be done without the intent of declaring war, since we shouldn't really be doing that at all. 

Spec-ops of any sort have not generally been a military tactical style I've approved of in a broad. It strikes me as dishonorable, cowardly, treacherous, and unbecoming of a moral, principled civilization of any sort. And before anyone on these forums with a relative in one spec ops group or another lashes out at me, I speak as someone having a late great uncle who was actually in the joint Canadian-American Devil's Brigade of WW2.

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58 minutes ago, vcczar said:

What would you have instead? Should there be a block against mass firings? Perhaps, a review to accept the firing? Perhaps no removals if the cabinet member is clearly competent and of good standing? Or, at least, a 30 day waiting period before the cabinet member has to step down, if they are in good standing. This way if the president is firing cabinet members on the verge of declaring them unfit, then the cabinet has a month to get together to vote him out. 

I still think it will be alright, since a president would have to fire the majority of the cabinet to not be declared unfit. 

A combination of any of those restrictions should fix the issue I perceive.

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25 minutes ago, Patine said:

A combination of any of those restrictions should fix the issue I perceive.

I'll amend it to say that cabinet members of good standing removed by the president will retain their position in the cabinet until a replacement is nominated, heard, and confirmed. This will generally take a month by nature. A president seeking an immediate removal of a cabinet member considered in good standing (not treasonous, scandalous, etc) will have to address a committee on why the cabinet member is not of good standing. The senate will then move on the matter. 

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