Tuesday, October 9, 2007

A Constitutional Convention?

I won't usually shill for books I've never read on this blog, but UVA political science professor Larry Sabato's "A More Perfect Constitution" offers some fascinating proposals to consider for a new constitutional convention. Drawing on the writings of many of the original framers, Sabato "persuasively argues that, while much of the Constitution should remain sacred, some crucial revisions are essential to restore equity for ordinary citizens."

Here are just a few that caught my eye:

  • Expand the Senate to 136 members to be more representative: Grant the 10 most populous states 2 additional Senators, the 15 next most populous states 1 additional Senator, and the District of Columbia 1 Senator.
  • Appoint all former Presidents and Vice Presidents to the new office of “National Senator.”
  • Lengthen House terms to 3 years (from 2) and set Senate terms to coincide with all Presidential elections, so the entire House and Senate would be elected at the same time as the President.
  • Establish a new 6-year, 1-time Presidential term with the option for the President to seek 2 additional years in an up/down referendum of the American people.
  • Eliminate lifetime tenure for federal judges in favor of non-renewable 15-year terms for all federal judges.
  • Convene a new Constitutional Convention using the state-based mechanism left to us by the Framers in the current Constitution.

He lists a total of 23 suggestions that are certainly worth your time to take a look at. I don't necessarily agree with all of them, but several of the proposals would certainly help de-politicize many of our governmental institutions which seem, in comparison to when the original framers were writing, as though they are being held hostage by the modern political process.

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