Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

Update Available: Federal Constitution v2.0, draft revision 2

January 11th, 2017 by Publius

Normative text is displayed in black. Archaic spellings and capitalization have been modernized. Annotation to distinguish changes from version 1.27 has been dropped, on the grounds that it was visually confusing and tended to steer reviewers away from careful review of the original test of version 1.27.

Rationale is displayed in red. Rationale is non-normative, but is provided to call out differences from release 1.27, better define terms of art, offer the reasoning behind the normative text, and offer other clarifications.

The Constitution of the United States

Preamble

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

This is unchanged from release 1.27. The preamble declares the authority behind the Constitution (“We the People”) and sets out a formal rationale. Some consideration was given to replacing the word “Welfare”, given the connotations that have attached to the term since release 1.0, but the Committee concluded that such terms of art are unavoidable and are best explained in the Rationale. We understand the term “general Welfare” to mean, in almost every instance, the provision of public goods, defined as goods (a good being anything which the public is willing to expend resources to have more of) with the properties that:

  1. It is non-excludable: Once the good is provided, it is difficult or impossible to exclude anyone from using the good.
  2. It is non-rivalrous: The use of the good by one individual does not significantly impair any other individual’s use of the good.

For example, most ordinary commodities are not public goods because they are rivalrous: The gasoline that you consume is no longer available for me to consume. Generally recognized public goods include national defense and basic scientific knowledge. The Committee recognizes that there is not a sharp natural distinction between public goods and other goods, but relies on the normative text of Federal Constitution v2.0 to erect artificial distinctions where necessary to prevent legislative overflow into legal buffer space.


Article I – The Legislative Branch

Section 1 – The Legislature

All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested solely in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

The addition of “solely” is to emphasize that this power cannot be delegated. This is further expanded on in Article I, Section 9.

Section 2 – The House

The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second year by the people of the several states, and the electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislature.

No person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the age of twenty five years, and been seven years a citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant for at least two years of that district in which he shall be chosen.

The Committee felt it appropriate to restrict Representatives to persons who have actually spent some time in the district being represented. The Committee also considered at some length whether “Inhabitant” should be further defined, but concluded that the definition of residency should remain in the hands of the States.

Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective populations, counting the whole number of persons in each state. But when the right to vote at any election for Representatives in Congress, the executive and judicial officers of a state, or the members of the legislature thereof, is denied to any of the inhabitants of such state, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such citizens shall bear to the whole number of citizens twenty-one years of age in such State. The actual enumeration shall be made within every term of ten years, in such manner as they shall by law direct. The number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand, but each state shall have at least one Representative.

The text of Amendment 14, Section 2, has been moved into this paragraph. Direct election of Electors is no longer assumed and other modifications implied by amendments in release 1.27 have also been incorporated. Dated provisions have been removed. The minimum voting age is no longer mandated to be less than 21, though a state is not forbidden to choose a lower age. This reflects the ample evidence that good judgment does not develop until well past the age of eighteen.

When vacancies happen in the representation from any state, the executive authority thereof shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies.

The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other officers; and shall have the sole power of impeachment, which may be directed against any person holding, or formerly holding, any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States.

The Committee thought it appropriate to clarify that former officers, and not just incumbents, are subject to impeachment, the penalty for the former being disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States in the future.

Section 3 – The Senate

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, chosen by the legislature thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote.

if vacancies happen by resignation, or otherwise, during the recess of the legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary appointments until the next meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such vacancies.

The Committee concluded that release 1.17 was not an improvement, and it is reverted in this release. Dated provisions have been struck out.

No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the age of thirty years, and been nine years a citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant for not less than six years of that state for which he shall be chosen.

As with Representatives, the Committee felt it appropriate to restrict Senators to persons who have actually spent some time in the State being represented.

The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no vote, unless they be equally divided.

The Senate shall choose their other officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the office of President of the United States.

The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments. When sitting for that purpose, they shall be on oath or affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two thirds of the members present.

Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States: but the party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment, according to law.

Section 4 – Elections, Meetings

The times, places and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by law make or alter such regulations, except as to the place of choosing Senators.

The terms of Senators and Representatives shall end at noon on the 3rd day of January, and the terms of their successors shall then begin.

The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3rd day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.

Language having no effect has been removed. Elements of v1.20 have been incorporated.

Section 5 – Membership, Rules, Journals, Adjournment

Each house shall be the judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members, and a majority of each shall constitute a quorum to do business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner, and under such penalties as each house may provide.

Each house may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member.

Each house shall keep a true and accurate journal of its proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such parts as may in their judgment require secrecy; and the yeas and nays of the members of either house on any question shall, at the desire of one fifth of those present, be entered on the journal.

The Congressional Record has become something of a laughingstock in the “true and accurate” category, and the Committee thought it appropriate to nudge it back to reality by adding this phrase.

Neither house, during the session of Congress, shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which the two houses shall be sitting.

Section 6 – Compensation

No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened. They shall in all cases, except treason, felony and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either house, they shall not be questioned in any other place.

The language of release 1.27 is incorporated into this paragraph in release 2.0

No Senator or Representative shall, during the time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil office under the authority of the United States which shall have been created, or the emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time; and no person holding any office under the United States, shall be a member of either house during his continuance in office.

Section 7 – Revenue Bills, Legislative Process, Presidential Veto

All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; nor shall the Senate propose amendments adding any appropriation to any such bill.

The power of the purse has become largely meaningless. The Committee changed the text to strengthen this power into something a little more meaningful, by restricting the Senate from adding any appropriations by amendment. It can only remove appropriations.

Every bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his objections to that house in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the objections at large on their journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such reconsideration two thirds of that house shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other house, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that house, it shall become a law. But in all such cases the votes of both houses shall be determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the persons voting for and against the bill shall be entered on the journal of each house respectively. If any bill shall not be returned by the President within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a law, in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall not be a law.

All bills for raising revenue shall enumerate each item for which revenue is appropriated; and the President shall have power to sign or return each such enumerated item separately, and Congress shall have power to reconsider each such item, and approve it by the concurrence two thirds of both houses, as if it were a separate bill.

The Committee has generally sought to restrict the power of the President in release 2.0 relative to release 1.27, but felt it necessary to expand the Presidential powers in this one instance, since no other branch of the government has the necessary global perspective to make potentially painful cuts to keep the revenues within budget.

Congress shall pass no bill for raising revenue which shall have the effect of increasing the indebtedness of the United States relative to that at the adjournment of the previous session of Congress, unless it be passed with the concurrence of two thirds of the members of each house and of the President of the United States.

The Committee sees no alternative to a balanced budget requirement, with a suitable escape clause for time of war or national emergency. No other mechanism has been proposed that gives a reasonable possibility of compelling fiscal responsibility from Congress.

Every order, resolution, or vote to which the concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the same shall take effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the rules and limitations prescribed in the case of a bill.

Section 8 – Powers of Congress

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

The Committee concluded that the text providing for the “common Welfare” invited disastrously elastic interpretation.

To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes,

The committee considered deleting the reference to the “Indian tribes” as a dangerous anachronism, but concluded that the time is not yet ripe to remove this anomaly.

To establish an uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;

There was considerable support on the Committee for modifying this clause to prohibit fiat currency. However, the Committee concluded that a return to a gold standard, or other currency basis, would simply give the nation a lesson in how deflation can be as disastrous as inflation.

To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States;

To establish post offices and post roads;

Some consideration was given to deleting the post roads provision as an anachronism, particularly in view of how the Interstate highway system nearly destroyed the passenger rail business. This was opposed by members of the Committee representing the western states.

To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for fixed and limited terms to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;

The Committee wrestled with the question of how to avoid the ridiculous terms of copyright now in effect, and settled on requiring that the term be fixed. This rules out “copyright for life plus” and other such abuses.

To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;

To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the Law of Nations;

To declare war and grant letters of reprisal;

Letters of marque are an anachronism, now prohibited by customary international law. The same is true of rules of capture. However, the Committee felt that letters of reprisal are still a viable instrument for authorizing military strikes or other actions short of declaration of war — and, by implication, of prohibiting such actions, if of an offensive nature, without such letters.

To raise and support armies;

The requirement that military appropriations be renewed every two years is an anachronism in a day when training, alone, takes at least a year, and weapons development programs far longer.

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;

To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

The militia deserves to be taken more seriously than it has been. However the Committee could devise no constitutional provision likely to accomplish this.

To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such district (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the State in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, and other needful buildings; and

The Committee struggled to find a way to make the requirement of the permission of the state retroactive to the time of admission, but could find no satisfactory language. But see below for an alternate solution.

To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

Section 9 – Limits on Congress

The importation clause (for slaves) has been deleted as anachronistic.

The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or actual invasion the public safety may require it.

The Committee believes the added word “actual” might possibly have slowed the momentum for the internment of Japanese-Americans in 1942.

No bill of attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed.

No capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken. However, the Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on personal incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration, with the following provisos:

  1. The income tax shall be applied uniformly to all income, except that:
  2. The Congress shall have power to exempt a fixed quantity of income, uniform for all persons, from taxation; and persons of the same household shall be permitted voluntarily to aggregate their income and exemptions for purposes of reporting and collecting the income tax.

The language of version 1.16 is herein incorporated, with modifications. The Committee could see no way to prevent the legislative abuse of the income tax, for purposes of social engineering, short of mandating a flat income tax and prohibiting all deductions and credits, with the exception of a uniform individual deduction which could be claimed by parents of children, children of the elderly, spouses of non-working spouses, and so on.

The Committee also concluded that only a flat tax offered any hope of ensuring that citizens all felt the cost of popular government programs. This hope may be illusory: A future Congress might adopt a very large individual deduction combined with a very high flat rate, resulting in a highly progressive taxation scheme. Proposals to limit the size of the deduction, or the tax rate, were rejected as unworkable.

No attempt is made to define “household.” The Committee felt that no definition was required. If an entire community agreed to call themselves a “household”, and aggregate their income and deductions, no real harm could be done.

Note that the text adopted here prohibits a corporate income tax. On the other hand, capital gains and dividends are now taxed at the same rate as other income.

No tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any state.

No preference shall be given by any regulation of commerce or revenue to the ports of one state over those of another: nor shall vessels bound to, or from, one state, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay duties in another.

No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law; and a regular statement and account of the receipts and expenditures of all public money shall be published from time to time.

No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince or foreign state.

Versions 1.1 through 1.2, 1.4 through 1.8, and 1.10 are now incorporated in the main text:

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.

The right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

The Committee chose to avoid any judicial mischief that might arise from the inclusion of a rationale in this clause.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed five hundred dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law. The parties to such a suit shall enjoy the right to have the assistance of counsel, and the party upheld by the jury shall have the right to recover reasonable and customary legal fees from the other party.

The Committee sees fit to institute a uniform “loser pays” rule in civil suits. It also saw fit to update the minimum value of a dispute warranting a right to a jury.

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

There was some desire on the Committee to resolve the issue of whether capital punishment is inherently cruel or unusual, but no consensus could be reached.

No regulation touching on commerce between the several states shall be construed to apply to commerce within a single state, but only to the actual passage of goods or services from one state to another.

The Commerce Clause has heretofore proven much too elastic.

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

No person shall be compelled to enlist in the army or navy of the United States, except in case of actual invasion or insurrection.

No peacetime draft, nor any draft for foreign wars.

All persons born within the jurisdiction of the United States, and having at least one parent who is a citizen of the United States; or naturalized in the United States according to law, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The Committee concluded, after much debate, that finding humane solutions to the problem of illegal immigrants would actually be simplified by eliminating the issue of “anchor babies”, which make such compromises as guest worker programs problematic.

The guarantee of equal protection of the law, extended to all such persons (not just citizens), is regarded as a sufficient protection of the rights of such noncitizens.

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race or color.

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax.

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

Version 1.3 was removed as an anachronism, covered adequately by Version 1.4. Version 1.9 was removed as muddying the clear message of version 1.10, which is that the powers of the federal government are few and enumerated.

Consideration was also given to dropping the prohibition on a poll tax, but the Committee concluded that the original concerns remain sufficiently valid to leave the prohibition in place.

Section 10 – Powers prohibited of states

No state shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation; grant letters of marque and reprisal; coin money; emit bills of credit; make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts; pass any bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts, or grant any title of nobility.

No state shall, without the consent of the Congress, lay any imposts or duties on imports or exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing its inspection laws: and the net produce of all duties and imposts, laid by any State on imports or exports, shall be for the use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such laws shall be subject to the revision and control of the Congress.

No state shall, without the consent of Congress, lay any duty of tonnage, keep troops, or ships of war in time of peace, enter into any agreement or compact with another state, or with a foreign power, or engage in war, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay.


Article II – The Executive Branch

Section 1 – The President

The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his office during the term of four years, and, together with the Vice-President chosen for the same term, be elected, as follows:

The Committee felt that a wholesale revision of the method of electing a President was in order.

Each State shall be represented by two electors, and the people of each district a single elector. The electors shall be chosen randomly from each State and district from the pool of citizens eligible for jury duty in that State or district; and the electors shall be chosen on the first Tuesday of May preceding the end of the sitting President’s term.

The electors shall meet not earlier than the first Tuesday of June following their selection, in a manner designated by law, and shall receive a compensation for their time according to law for each day they shall meet to consider the choice of President.

The qualifications of the electors shall be certified at the time of their first meeting; and any elector who is found not to be a citizen of the United States, by birth or naturalization; or who has been convicted of bribery or other felony, or who is found to have unlawfully evaded jury duty, shall be dismissed, and shall not be replaced.

An elector may be excused, according to the regulations for jurors of grand juries of the State or district which he represents; but any elector so excused shall not be replaced.

The electors shall have the power of subpoena, and their proceedings shall be kept secret, according to the same regulations governing grand juries.

The requirement for secret proceedings goes hand in hand with the power of subpoena.

No State or district shall have power to constrain the vote of its elector by any act of law.

The electors shall be under oath or affirmation to diligently seek out candidates who will protect and defend the Constitution and administer the law in equity and justice.

The Committee felt this symbolism was important. The “administer the law in equity and justice” phrase was proposed by one of the Utah members and rather caught the fancy of the rest of the Committee.

The Chief Justice shall preside over the electors in all their proceedings, but shall not vote; and during this time the powers of the Chief Justice shall be exercised by the most senior Associate Justice.

The electors shall choose the President and Vice-President by separate ballots; and the person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors selected.

If by noon on the first Tuesday of November preceding the end of the sitting President’s term, the electors shall not have formed a majority to elect any person as President, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President.

The implication is that repeated ballots by the electors in an attempt form a majority are acceptable, and the election is over as soon as a ballot produces a majority for any candidate. If not, the last ballot taken before noon on Election Tuesday will provide nominees for Congress to select from.

In like manner, the person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.

No person who was not a citizen at birth shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States.

Striking out anachronistic language and clarifying the meaning of “natural born citizen”.

In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.

Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.

Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.

Incorporating v1.25 into the text.

No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once.

Incorporating v1.22 into the text.

The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of their successors shall then begin.

If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.

The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.

Incorporating the text of v1.20.

The President shall, at stated times, receive for his services, a compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that period any other emolument from the United States, or any of them.

Before he enter on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the United States.”

Section 2 – Civilian Power over Military, Cabinet, Pardon Power, Appointments

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States; he may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices, and he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.

He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law: but the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.

The President shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of their next session.

All officers and employees of the United States shall serve at the pleasure of the President.

The spoils system is a terrible system — except compared with a permanent professional civil service.

Section 3 – State of the Union, Convening Congress

He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the state of the Union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both houses, or either of them, and in case of disagreement between them, with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper; he shall receive ambassadors and other public ministers; he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and shall commission all the officers of the United States.

Section 4 – Powers prohibited of the President

The President shall make no regulations touching on any persons who are not officers or employees of the United States, except such regulations are first ratified by a majority of both Houses of Congress.

The Committee is hopeful that this provision will stop the growth of the regulatory state in its tracks.

Section 5 – Disqualification

The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, maladministration, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

Impeachment for maladministration was proposed by the original Committee for version 1.0, but not adopted. The need seems clearer now.


Article III – The Judicial Branch

Section 1 – Judicial powers

The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The judges, both of the Supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their offices for a term of fourteen years, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services a compensation which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.

No person shall be appointed to a second term as a judge of the Supreme Court.

The changes are intended to eliminate the unseemly clinging to office by elderly judges as Presidential elections approach.

Section 2 – Trial by Jury, Original Jurisdiction, Jury Trials

The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority; to all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls; to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction; to controversies to which the United States shall be a party; to controversies between two or more states; between a state and citizens of another state; between citizens of different states; between citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants of different states, and between a state, or the citizens thereof, and foreign states, citizens or subjects.

The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.

Incorporating v1.11 into the main text.

In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be party, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction. In all the other cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make.

The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury; and such trial shall be held in the state where the said crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any state, the trial shall be at such place or places as the Congress may by law have directed.

Section 3 – Treason

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.


Article IV – The States

Section 1 – Each State to Honor all others

Full faith and credit shall be given in each State to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. And the Congress may by general Llws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof.

Section 2 – State citizens, Extradition

The citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states.

A person charged in any state with treason, felony, or other crime, who shall flee from justice, and be found in another state, shall on demand of the executive authority of the state from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the state having jurisdiction of the crime.

 

Eliminated in v1.13.

Section 3 – New States

New states may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new states shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state; nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states, or parts o

The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.

2. The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.

3. If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.

4. The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.

f states, without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned as well as of the Congress.

The Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to prejudice any claims of the United States, or of any particular State.

All public lands claimed by the United States from the time of the admission of the state in which they are located, and which have not been improved by the United States by the construction of forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, and other buildings needed to exercise the powers of the United States enumerated herein, shall revert to their respective states immediately upon ratification of this revised Constitution. The United States shall retain only such lands around such improvements as are necessary and proper for the continued effective use of such improvements.

The Committee regards this provision as essential to the dignity of sovereign states under a federal government.

Section 4 – Republican government

The United States shall guarantee to every state in this Union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on application of the legislature, or of the executive (when the legislature cannot be convened) against domestic violence.

Any state which shall default on its public debts shall, with concurrence of three fourths of the Senate, be expelled from the Union.

No state has defaulted on its public debts since the Civil War. Let’s keep it that way.


Article V – Amendment

The Congress, whenever a majority of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of a majority of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by three-fifths of the several states.

An amendment shall be deemed ratified by a state when the legislature thereof shall twice pass a resolution to that effect. The second resolution shall not be passed until after an election of the members of the more numerous house of the state legislature has intervened, nor less than two years from the passage of the first ratifying resolution.

No amendment shall deprive any state, without its consent, of its equal suffrage in the Senate.

The Committee is persuaded that the process of amendment has become so onerous that the people no longer have a meaningful voice in what kind of government they shall live under. To remedy this, the process of proposing amendments has become much easier (requiring only a simple majority in each house of Congress) and the ratification requires only three-fifths, not two-thirds, of the states. On the other hand, the process of ratification has been deliberately extended to give some time (a minimum of two years) for thoughtful reconsideration of the decision to ratify.

The Committee made these alterations with great reluctance, sharing the Foudner’s distrust of unlimited democracy, but also acknowledging that a Constitution that cannot realistically be amended by the prescribed process will be informally amended by other means, usually by an appeal to the courts, which can only lead to dictatorship by an oligarchy of legal scholars. The proposed new ratification procedure was considered less dangerous than providing Congress the power to override Supreme Court decisions by supermajority, which was the other proposal mooted by the Committee


Article VI – Debts, Supremacy, Oaths

All debts contracted and engagements entered into, before the adoption of this revised Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the original Constitution.

Keep for this release, with suitable modifications.

This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, any thing in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.


Article VII – Ratification Documents

The ratification of the conventions of thirty-five states shall be sufficient for the establishment of this revised Constitution between the states so ratifying the same.

Ratified by the same percentage of states as v1.0.

 

The Committee has endeavored to improve the structure and performance of Federal Constitution v1.27, but no system can be made foolproof. User error continues to be the chief source of difficulties with the existing installation, and it seems likely this will continue to be the case into the future unless users familiarize themselves with the product and its intended uses.

 

Comments (8)
Filed under: Deseret Review,I can't possibly see how this could go wrong,We transcend your bourgeois categories | Tags: , ,
January 11th, 2017 12:54:24
8 comments

Vader
January 11, 2017

For readers who have read the earlier draft, and are impatient to spot changs in the new draft: The most significant changes are in the method for electing Presidents and in the method for ratifying amendments to the Constitution.


Bookslinger
January 11, 2017

@Publius: Is this your work? If not, would you please give a link? Thx.


Ugly Mahana
January 12, 2017

(1) Some provision should be provided for the compensation of electors. The job is going to take time and attention, and they deserve more than a token payment. (Of course, this could be set by Congress.)

(2) There needs to be a protection against the electors being bought by candidates or other factions.


Ugly Mahana
January 12, 2017

One more thing, although this is not as much an issue as the numbers points above: the people at large should have some means of ratifying or rejecting the electors choice.


Vader
January 12, 2017

There is a clause stating that electors get a daily compensation set by law.

Congress can certainly set a punishment for electors accepting bribes, but I wonder if there is a workable way to keep the identity of electors secret, such as is done with grand juries. In other respects, the Committee seems to regard a grand jury as a model for the College of Electors it envisions, which I find an intriguing concept.

I think I’ve seen the idea of electors chosen at random elsewhere, but I can’t recall where. The proposal certainly wasn’t presented in this fleshed out form.


Zen
January 12, 2017

Article 1
Section 8 – I think our current status with the “Indian Tribes” is not beneficial. I suggest we give them the option of either being a territory or a full state with their own star on the flag.
Post Offices are no longer necessary. What was important was that information could be shared quickly and affordably. The internet and phone lines fulfills its original purpose much better the current post office. The main purpose of the current post office is delivering advertisements.
Armies and navies are good. But the Air Force and space (and anything we can’t even imagine yet) is not included. Or perhaps we should incorporate that into either armies or navies.

Section 9 –
I am very happy to see the bill of Rights added directly to the Constitution text. But I would like to see our right to a speedy trial recovered. “speedy” has been so watered down as to be effectively meaningless.
An immigration lawyer friend of mine, pointed out that wherever you draw the line, it is going to hurt someone. Just FYI.
I think it might be helpful to develop the concept of a minimal American: what is the minimum number of things you must affirm and do to be considered American. Immigrants per se don’t worry me much. But those who have no interest in Freedom or who have anti-American sentiments do worry me.

Article 2
Section 1 –
I have a time understanding legalese (though this is very understandable for legalese). I appears you are strengthening the Electoral College representation by land (and therefore, rural populations). I approve of that.
Perhaps I just didn’t notice it, but some restrictions on presidential Executive Orders, or at least on their power and scope, will be important.

Article 4
Section 3 Paragraph 4 There appears to be some missing text / typo.

Perhaps I just didn’t notice it, but some restrictions on presidential Executive Orders, or at least on their power and scope, will be important.


Wilhelm
January 12, 2017

Article II
Section 1-
The term “equity” is now used on college campuses to link disparity in outcome with discrimination and therefore to justify mandating equal outcomes. This wording is a ticking time bomb as it could enshrine disparate impact doctrine in the constitution.

See the following: https://www.google.ca/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=equality%20vs%20equity


G.
January 13, 2017

If the Committee’s work at getting the users to adopt the changes were as successful as the Committee’s work at drafting sensible changes, the Committee would deserve all thanks.

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