How to Avoid a Possible Tie in Future US Presidential Elections Without Amending the Constitution

There is no need to amend the Constitution. The next Congress can just increase the size of the House by one from 435 to 436 to begin with the next next Congress.
BTW, I like the electoral college. I don’t want it abolished by amendment.  I would suggest this change:

Presidential Election Adjustment Amendment

What

  • Replace Electoral College, but keep state electoral votes.
  • States must bind electoral votes to a President/Vice-President candidate pair among only those on the legal state ballot or that were written in sufficient quantity to win the state-wide contest automatically as the election result is certified.
  • The above is true, even if one or both candidates on a ticket have died.
  • If a an electoral vote is certified to a presidential candidate that has passed away, the new vice-president shall assume the presidency at the beginning of the term under normal succession rules, and nominate a new VP per normal vacancy replacement procedures.
  • If an electoral vote is certified to a vice-presidential candidate that has passed away, the president shall nominate a new VP per normal vacancy replacement procedures after the term begins.
  • If both candidates have passed away, normal rules of presidential succession apply, beginning with the speaker of the house upon the term beginning.
  • Explicitly state that the “Acting President” cannot appoint a Vice-President or Acting Vice-President.

Why

The electoral collage changes are just for the sake of efficiency and to avoid a potential constitutional crisis in the form of faithless electors. The sections involving death of a candidate who wins are introduced to avoid a potential constitutional crisis by defining the solution ahead of time.

 

The Recess Appointment is a Flaw in The Constitution

Triggered by this, let me assert that  “Recess Appointments” are a flaw in the US Constitution.

The US should adopt a constitutional amendment that:

1) Negates recess appointments
2) Add automatic approval of any presidential appointment after say 4 months  if the nominee has not been rejected by the Senate.  Queued up appointments expire with the end of a presidential term.

This gets rid of recess appointment gaming/trickery/abuse, and forces the Senate to act up presidential nominees. It WIN-WIN for the US.

Balanced Budget Amendment?

When I was younger and just becoming political aware, I was against the idea of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the US Constitution. After all, congress can balance the budget when they need to….or so I thought.

Since then, I have come to realize that congress has acted irresponsibly during my entire adulthood. It can not be trusted to balance the budget. It has not the skill. It has not the wisdom. It has not the will. Bottom line: Congress is filled with Assholes beholden to public choice economic effects.

As Americans, we should not continue to reply upon a broken system to get the results we want  after decades of failure.

It is time for a Balanced Budget Amendment to the US Constitution.

Here is the outlines of a possible version from Orrin Hatch:

  1. Its mandates that total budgetary outlays for any fiscal year not exceed total revenues unless you have a two thirds vote to overturn it.
  2. It caps federal spending at 20% of GDP.
  3. It requires the President to submit a balanced budget to Congress every fiscal year.
  4. It prohibits revenue raising measures (like increasing taxes) that are not approved by two thirds of both the House and Senate.
  5. Provisions can be waived if there is a formal declaration of war or if the US is engaged in a military conflict constituting a threat to national security or if two thirds of both the House and the Senate approve.

The above works for me.

The time is now for this sort of thing!

Come on Tea-Partyers, make this happen!!! Demand pledges from candidates for this any other related measures!!!

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Here is my understanding of the Tea-Party(ish) Principles

I need to write these down and think some more about these. I am essentially in agreement with the principles.

– Public Policies must be at their core fiscally responsible/conservative

– Ruthlessly end corruption/cronyism/ethic-less-ness in GOV

– Preference for Individuals and Markets over Central Planning

– Yes for Free Markets and Entrepreneurial Capitalism; no for Crony Capitalism

– Federalism…more please.

– Reduced complexity and quantity of GOV laws, regulation, and programs.

– America doesn’t need to apologize or be ashamed for being America

– Remember and follow the principles in US Constitution, e.g:

Government of the people, by the people, for the people”
[…]
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…
[…]
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, 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.”
[…]
“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
[…]
“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.”
[…]

– Rollback  (not just reduce the speed toward) the march to a Nanny-State/Proto-State-Capitalism|Neo-Socialist state. [updated/added 9/26/2010]

Constitutional Amendment Idea: The Congress Is Not Beyond The Law Amendment

Lexington Green has some ideas on a new Contract with America and suggests a constitutional amendment:

Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and Representatives; and Congress shall make no law that applies to either Senators or Representatives or both that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States. Any law enacted in violation of this Amendment shall be void and of no force and effect at any time.

I would alter it slightly to:

Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and Representatives including their staffs; and Congress shall make no law that applies to either Senators or Representatives including their staffs or both that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States. Any law enacted in violation of this Amendment shall be void and of no force and effect at any time.

While writing this, I realized I had already noted something like this before…with the same Tagline even:

Not Above the Law Amendment

What

No officer of the government of the United States, or of any of the various States shall be held immune from any generally applicable law. Any law written so as to be generally applicable except to select officers of the Federal or State governments shall be null and void.

Source: Creative Destruction Blog

Update: Here is the original Source

Fakery: “Sen. Russ Feingold and Rep. Paul Ryan officially unveiled their proposal for a line-item veto…”

From JSOnline.com:

Sen. Russ Feingold and Rep. Paul Ryan officially unveiled their proposal for a line-item veto that would allow the president to trim earmarks from spending bills.

How brave and courageous of them…except, its a fake out.

A line-item veto is not constitutional.

Authority for a President to have a line-item veto can only come from by way of a Constitutional Amendment (I support the line-item veto concept, and have my own variant, BTW).

So that is what Wisconsin’s Senator Feingold and Rep. Ryan must be proposing a Constitutional Amendment, right?

No:

Feingold and Ryan said they believe the proposed legislation would stand any constitutional challenges because Congress would vote on the president’s proposed package of earmarks. If either chamber votes against the package by a simple majority, it will not be enacted, making the proposed legislation different from the line-item veto struck down in 1998 by the Supreme Court, which said Congress wasn’t authorized to give the president that power.

Feingold said Congress would not be allowed to amend the president’s line-item veto package and, since it would be under a strict time limit for action, there would be no filibusters.

Though line-item vetoes have been proposed in the past, Feingold and Ryan are hopeful the dire state of the U.S. economy will motivate lawmakers to pass the legislation.
[…]
The legislation requires the president to submit earmark deletions to Congress within 30 calendar days of signing a bill into law. It would sunset by the end of 2014 to allow Congress to decide whether to renew it.

Here are my two takeaways:

1) The don’t really respect the US Constitution that they are sworn to uphold. If they did, they would have submitted a resolution for Constitution Amendement (Feingold is on the Judiciary committee). The will never get my vote for anything (Ryan has been having a bad streak with me)

2) They don’t really want the president to have line-item veto authority – this is just for show.

This is why I have little respect for congress.

One other thing, you usually hear regarding the line-item veto, that it takes too long to get an amendment passed. Just remember it took just under four months to pass and ratify (starting 10 March 1971, ending 5 July 1971) the 26th Amendment.

The 4th Amendment, The meaning of “Unreasonable” and the so-called Civil Libertarian Left

On Tech Dirt, I saw this – “FBI Asks Congress To Ignore The Whole ‘Probable Cause’ Part Of The 4th Amendment” :

So, in case you haven’t been paying attention, the text of the 4th Amendment of the US Constitution reads:

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.

Pretty straightforward and reasonable, right? Except we’ve seen an awful lot of erosion of that recently, what with Congress’s decision to allow warrantless wiretaps and the Department of Homeland Security insisting that probable cause isn’t needed to search your laptops at the border. Well, if it’s not needed at the border, why is it needed at all?

At least that seems to be the theory being pushed by the Attorney General, who is asking Congress to approve a plan that would let the FBI begin an investigation and surveillance on someone without probable cause — actually “without any reasonable basis” at all. That would seem to be in direct violation of the 4th Amendment, but apparently, ignoring the 4th Amendment is all the rage in Washington DC these days.

This is just bullshit in so many ways.

I commented:

This is really a debate over what the word “unreasonable” means in this context.

Obviously, from the comments on this post, most people are ignore or skimming past that word, or implicitly believing that no search is reasonable, and therefore all searched require warrants.

I for one don’t have a problem with with the Feds listening on overseas calls that only “enter” the US by a quirk of technology. When I hear people call that “domestic spying” I generally ignore anything they else they say or write and mostly likely to be further nonsense.

Anyways, surveillance (public observation) is not covered by the 4tgh amendment. Starting an investigation is not covered by the 4th amendment.

While the author of the post says the 4th amendment is “Pretty straightforward and reasonable” he sure seems to be confused by it.

As I think more about this, this really isn’t a constitutional issue. This is part of an on-going fight by one part of American Society against the rest that is in this case attacking the legal system in order to weaken the parts of it used to investigate and pursue criminal actors and anti-security actors (e.g. foreign agents, terrorist).

The author isn’t dumb. He clearly misspeaks on the constitution (quoting a section about searches, then applying it to something different) hoping to riles up the masses. Given that only 3 of 56 commentators do not seemed fooled, he was successful.

BTW, here is the dictionary.com definition of unreasonable:

1. not reasonable or rational; acting at variance with or contrary to reason; not guided by reason or sound judgment; irrational: an unreasonable person.
2. not in accordance with practical realities, as attitude or behavior; inappropriate: His Bohemianism was an unreasonable way of life for one so rich.
3. excessive, immoderate, or exorbitant; unconscionable: an unreasonable price; unreasonable demands.
4. not having the faculty of reason.
[Origin: 1300–50; ME unresonabel. See un-1, reasonable]
[…]
—Synonyms 1, 2. senseless, foolish, silly. 2. preposterous, absurd, stupid, nonsensical. 3. extravagant.

Of course, the Fourth Amendment is quiet on Surveillance or on criteria for starting an investigation.