By Steve Eggleston
Semi-retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has a new book coming out later this month titled Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution. Assistant Professor of Law at South Texas College of Law Josh Blackman received a review copy and revealed Stevens’ proposed amendments (H/T – Jazz Shaw). Let’s review them (non-typographical changes to existing sections are in italics, descriptions are in bold):
The “Anti-Commandeering Rule” (amend the Supremacy Clause of Article VI) – 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 and other public officials in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.
Why bother having states at all when every diktat from the District of Columbia is the unchallengable end-all/be-all?
Political Gerrymandering (new amendment) – Districts represented by members of Congress, or by members of any state legislative body, shall be compact and composed of contiguous territory. The state shall have the burden of justifying any departures from this requirement by reference to neutral criteria such as natural, political, or historical boundaries or demographic changes. The interest in enhancing or preserving the political power of the party in control of the state government is not such a neutral criterion.
Unless, of course, the concept of “majority-minority” districts survives. Indeed, the whole purpose of a majority-minority district is to ensure the election of a number of Democrats (preferably of the minority) as it is assumed that virtually every minority votes for Democrats and only Democrats.
Further, like Jazz, I don’t trust judges, which will inevitably be the arbiter, to be “fair”. After all, the state Senate district I live in had Oak Creek and Milwaukee’s East Side joined by the Jones Island sewage plant by a three-federal judge panel in 2002, with the unspoken explanation being the white liberal East Siders didn’t want to be part of a “minority-influence” district. The net effect is that, even though the Assembly district has since become reliably Republican (likely unintended as it flipped from 80 years of Democrat dominance in a special election held right in the middle of a voter revolt against the excesses of the Milwaukee County government), the Senate seat is now held by the most-radical elected Democrat in Wisconsin.
Campaign Finance (new amendment) – Neither the First Amendment nor any other provision of this Constitution shall be construed to prohibit the Congress or any state from imposing reasonable limits on the amount of money that candidates for public office, or their supporters, may spend in election campaigns.
Translation – “Shut up, conservatives and Republicans, and let the Rat Presstitute Organs and unionistas do all the campaigning.” My answer to that is an unprintable quote from Elwood Blues in “Blues Brothers”, but the last three words are “…this noise, man”.
Sovereign Immunity (new amendment) – Neither the Tenth Amendment, the Eleventh Amendment, nor any other provision of this Constitution, shall be construed to provide any state, state agency, or state officer with an immunity from liability for violating any act of Congress, or any provision of this Constitution.
Jazz thinks it’s an unnecessary rehash of the “anti-commandering rule”. It is not – rather, it is absolutely necessary if the goal is to cow states into subservience by every means available.
Death Penalty (amend the 8th Amendment) – Excessive Bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments such as the death penalty inflicted.
Sorry, Stevens, but some crimes do justify the application of the death penalty.
The Second Amendment (amend the 2nd Amendment) – A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms when serving in the Militia shall not be infringed.
Where to begin with this one? “Cold, dead fingers” comes to mind. The fact that, up through and past the Civil War, private citizens with the means to procure or produce weaponry had absolutely everything the military had also comes to mind.
Update (DTG) I think Justice Stevens’ book is a gift to conservatives .