Tag Archives: Constitution

Ignorance of the law

Ignorance of the law is no excuse. That is the principle we are expected to live by. If we embrace the full implication of this principle, it may merit being adopted as a Constitutional principle that places the most effective constraints on government overreach.

If ignorance of the law is not an allowable excuse, it is imperative for government to enact laws that people can read and comprehend to remain in compliance. Moreover, the laws for crimes and misdemeanors, as well as the regulations that every person must comply with must be readable and comprehensible in totality for the average person without requiring professional legal counsel. This requires that all crimes, misdemeanors, and regulations must not exceed a certain maximum number of words in their totality. That limit should be established to be what an average student can read and comprehend by investing one hour per day during four years of high school. The government is forbidden from writing laws and regulations that exceed this limit, so as not to instigate ignorance of the law.

 

 

seventeenth amendment

The 17th amendment to the US Constitution establishes the direct election of United States Senators by popular vote. This amendment was ruinous, as it took away power from the States to appoint Senators to represent their own State’s interests. Instead, now Senators represent their national party’s interests.

I would repeal the 17th amendment.

I would amend the Constitution for the Senate to function primarily as the protector of the Constitution itself to limit the powers of the Federal government, and to preserve the power of the States and the People. This would be done by giving every State veto power, if both Senators from any State agree. This would force most legislation to be extremely narrow in scope. Virtually nothing could become law with any significant opposition from any part of the nation.

Furthermore, we need the process of repealing legislation and regulations to be far easier than the process for introducing them. Therefore, when both Senators from any State agree to repeal a law or regulation, it is done. This is equivalent to exercising a veto after a bill has become law. This makes perfect sense, because the real-world benefits, costs, and unintended consequences don’t become visible until a law has been in effect for some time.

second amendment

The Second Amendment to the US Constitution reads:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

The wording of this particular amendment is obviously poor as evidenced by the conflicting interpretations as to its original intent and meaning. However, regardless of the original meaning, there is a principle that is fundamental to the Constitution’s purpose, which is to protect individual rights. All rights are derived from and in support of the individual right to life.

The Second Amendment should have been focused on the right to self-defense and the defense of others, as well as the means upon which such defense relies. Because life cannot enjoy any liberty if its existence is threatened by force, the defense of life is necessarily a right. The means of marshalling a defense would include firearms, ammunition, and other things that are not sufficiently protected today, such as bullet-resistant vests, helmets, and armor. Even simunition (ammunition that is for paint marking of targets for training with realistic weapons) is restricted to law enforcement and military uses. A right to defense of life would properly protect such liberties from government bans and onerous regulation.

Perhaps something that reads more like:

Congress shall make no law abridging the right of self-defense or the defense of others; or the right of the people to pursue the means of achieving security from aggression and tyranny.

checks and balances

The US Constitution established a Federal government with powers divided to provide checks and balances. Clearly this system of checks and balances has been largely eroded.

The laws passed by Congress have delegated its legislative responsibilities to the Executive branch. Laws are written that grant regulation writing power to the Executive. Laws are written that delegate the power to start offensive wars.

The Executive branch routinely issues executive orders and waivers that either nullify the enforcement of existing laws or rewrite them. Executive orders are often used to initiate the enforcement of rules that are in effect new laws that have not been passed by Congress.

The Supreme Court has been toothless in defending the Constitution by limiting the Federal government to the powers expressly granted. This raises the question, why would we even have an expectation that the Supreme Court should have jurisdiction to rule on matters of law for which the Federal government has not been granted any power. When all powers not expressly granted to the Federal government are reserved to the States and the People, it should be clear that the US Supreme Court should be similarly limited. Would it not make sense for State Supreme Courts to retain ultimate authority for all such matters instead of deferring to the US Supreme Court?

When the Executive branch oversteps its authority, what possible remedy is possible, when it requires a super-majority of Congress to impeach, and the US Supreme Court is largely deferential to Congress and the Executive?

We are left to resort to State nullification by the sovereign states and jury nullification by sovereign individuals. Through these means we can safeguard the powers that are reserved to the States and the People, when the Federal government has betrayed us and the Constitution to which they pledged to defend.