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View Diary: Should we amend the US Constitution? Justice Stevens thinks so, incl. 2nd Amendment (new book) (321 comments)

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  •  unfortunately, amending the Constitution (9+ / 0-)

    is virtually impossible now.  Maybe someday if demographic shifts push us so overwhelmingly to the left that we can overcome the gerrymandering . . . or if the Republicans gain just a few more legislatures and the presidency.

    Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

    by corvo on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 06:43:46 AM PST

    •  Who said "now"?? :-) Not Stevens, not me. (19+ / 0-)

      I don't understand where that thought comes from, though I've read it elsewhere. Maybe it's somehow tied in to the Twitterverse, or a 24/7 news cycle, that progressives are loosing our ability to see the long-term? The Tea-Party funders and others who read the Powell Memo are acting long term.

      Fwiw, I see reducing gun-violence as a 40-200 year undertaking, during which all options are on the table.

      •  Of course not now. (8+ / 0-)

        A generation from now maybe.  Assuming that climate change hasn't done us in by then.

        Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

        by corvo on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 07:04:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly, I see reducing gun ... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sharon Wraight, Smoh, tytalus

        ... violence as a long-term proposition. That's why I suggest we look at the long-term past for reasons to amend/repeal the second amendment. How many armed revolts have occurred in the United States, France and the U.K. since they became "Democratic"†?

        That's over 500 years of history, and I think we need to balance that with the fact that more people have died from gun violence than from all the wars in this country's history.

        The Founding Fathers were concerned about a Government that was so over-bearing that a second amendment was seen as necessary. That was their experience. We have over 200 years of a contrary experience just in the United States. Sure, there will always be a few doomsday preppers and anarchists who will argue otherwise, but they will not always have a political powerhouse like the NRA to back their fear-mongering. The pendulum will swing, and we need to be ready for it.

        ---------------

         †  I understand that the U.K. isn't exactly a "Democracy," but since the early 1900s, it is close enough to count for this analysis.

        Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. Ron Paul thinks he's a wit, but he's only half right.

        by Tortmaster on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 08:39:04 AM PST

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    •  Constitution was formally amended 1x since '71 (12+ / 0-)

      which is why Roberts Court is so determined to informally amend it.  There simply isn't the ability in the current political climate to ratify a substantive amendment.

      The 27th Amendment (which took 202 years to ratify) is fairly innocuous--it deals w/ Congressional pay increases.  The 26th Amendment (lowering the voting age to 18) was the last meaningful amendment.  Were it not for the furor over the Vietnam-era draft, I'm not sure it would've been adopted.

      As a point of contrast, prior to the current 43 year (and counting) drought, the Constitution was amended 7 times in 40 years from 1932-71.

      Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

      by RFK Lives on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 07:14:50 AM PST

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      •  Those droughts are typical (7+ / 0-)

        Amendments 1-12 were ratified between 1791 and 1804, then nothing until the Civil War; that brought three amendments in five years (13-15 between 1865 and 1870).

        Nothing again until 1913, when the 16th and 17th were ratified, followed by 18 and 19 by 1920.

        After that, there were shorter time periods between amendments, and they didn't tend to be blocks of amendments as before (e.g., two in 1933, one in 1951, etc.)

        So the 40-year drought you refer to is pretty much in line with the overall history of amending the Constitution. The post-WWII period is more the exception.

        But my mind won't really be blown ... like the blow that will be mine when I get my sig line in a front page Cheers & Jeers post.

        by VetGrl on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 07:58:03 AM PST

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        •  What else tops your "wish list," if any? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Smoh

          E.g., do you support ratification of the 28th, Equal Rights Amendment, per the Democratic party platform?

          Or clarification of the 14th, denying corporations legal personhood?

          Or an amendment clarifying campaign finance and the role of money in free speech?

          Or an amendment on privacy?

          Or on executive authority? Or matters of war? None? All? Others?

          Maybe some of these would come together in a cluster, during some critical-juncture in the coming decades?

          •  Is this reply in the right place? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Smoh, happymisanthropy

            My comment didn't weigh in, opinion-wise, on anything, so I'm not sure I understand the reference to a wish list or the questions about what I support that follow.  I was merely giving some historical context to the parent comment.

            Maybe the reply was intended for someone else?

            But my mind won't really be blown ... like the blow that will be mine when I get my sig line in a front page Cheers & Jeers post.

            by VetGrl on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 10:00:14 AM PST

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            •  Yes, sorry if I wasn't clear. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Smoh

              (I'm a bit busy replying. Interesting discussions! :-) )

              I appreciate your info on the historical context, that's helpful.

              And I'm curious to hear your opinion (on 2A, and on various other proposed amendments, perhaps including though not limited to the ones I listed). Are there any amendments you'd be pleased to see ratified?

    •  The other half of Article V (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sharon Wraight

      allows for 2/3 of the states' legislatures to call a convention, which would propose an amendment or amendments. Such a call could be limited or open, depending upon the intent. Ratification is by the same 3/4 of states.

      This almost happened with direct election of senators, until Congress got embarrassed into proposing the amendment themselves.

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 10:22:50 AM PST

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      •  would be more likely to crack up the country (0+ / 0-)

        Blue vs. Red states seem to break down roughly 1/3rd to 2/3rds.  The red states call a constitutional convention and between a divided moderate right and a unified far right the convention produces a teabagging fundangelical constitution.  Regardless of how 3/4ths of 50 states vote, you've got yourself a full-blown constitutional crisis; someone's going to end up not just disappointed but living under a government and a system of laws that they view as fundamentally illegitimate.

        The country has lasted this long because rich people are generally on the same side regardless of any other differences between them.

        Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

        by Visceral on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 01:40:33 PM PST

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        •  No crisis, because such an amendment (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sharon Wraight

          wouldn't be ratified.

          Those who don't believe the government is legitimate would be the same ones who don't believe so today, convention or no convention.

          Guess we should just give up on ever trying to make things better, then!

          Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

          by Simplify on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 03:54:59 PM PST

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    •  Presidency is irrelevant for amending constitution (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib, Smoh

      He has no formal role in the process

      •  true, but a real president (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sharon Wraight, Old Sailor

        can be one hell of whip.  Ask LBJ.

        Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

        by corvo on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 06:22:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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