It wasn’t that long ago, when the fanatics were once again pushing an anti-flag burning amendment (trust me: don’t get me started), that I was thinking that there weren’t too many things left we needed to do to the Constitution. “If Congress is seriously considerings such silly things to tack onto the Constitution, we must be running out of important things to have in there,” I thought.
How wrong I was.
It’s clear from Dick Cheney’s shenanigans, and many of the more heinous activities of the Bush Administration, that some additional Constitutional clarity is in order. Not that I think any of our Representatives are reading this blog (certainly not mine–it’s Lamar Smith, for crying out loud), but this is my blather, after all:
- The line of succession needs to be tightly defined. For one thing, if no non-native born American can be President, then the current line is obviously bogus. For another, the current line of succession can leave you with a President from the other party in a split government, which is really not okay. This obviously needs to be fixed.
- A very clear set of definitions on what the Vice Presidents powers and authorities are needs to be enumerated. I don’t think all the things a V.P. can do needs to be listed, but in the fine tradition of the Constitution, a nice clear listing of what he or she can never do would be a good idea. Especially in light of recent events.
- The recent use and abuse of Presidential “signing statements”, aside from being a clear violation of how the founders envisioned the separation of powers, has been spectacularly confusing for the poor schmoes who are trying to implement the laws Congress has enacted. Recent studies have shown that a significant percentage of laws that have had “signing statements” attached are not being followed. Is this due to confusion, or nefarious purposes? Who the heck knows; it just makes it clear that this whole “signing statement” nonsense needs to be taken care of. I would propose an amendment outlawing them altogether. I don’t think that would ever fly, but I think it would be more in line with the separation of powers that the founders had in mind. This “signing statement nonsense is clearly and obviously a case of the Executive just legislating; Jefferson must be spinning in his grave.
I could also make an argument for a “privacy” amendment too, honestly. A lot of people say that the Constitution has an “implicit” right of privacy in it; a lot of judges disagree. Well, screw it, I say–let’s either put one in there, or shut the heck up about it.
I’m probably going to have another whole post about the Supreme Court’s latest rulings, but one note that’s a follow-on to one of my earlier posts: the ruling against the “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” guy, and particularly Scalia’s concurring opinion (where he feels the Court didn’t go far enough) , is a perfect example of Scalia being perfectly happy to throw out his “strict interpretationist” cred when he runs into an issue that bugs him (in this case, “Drugs! Evil evil evil!”). I do no have a problem with conservatives; I do have a problem with spectacularly hypocritical ones.