Three Modest Proposals For Constitutional Amendments

Discussion in 'Politics' started by AAAintheBeltway, Apr 27, 2007.

  1. In general our constitutional framework for the Executive Branch of government, as set forth in Article II, has worked well. I believe however that three fairly simple amendments are needed to address lingering problems.

    1. Length of second term. Like the last half of one's senior year, the last two years of a president's second term are often forgettable if not disastrous. Every two term president in my memory has had scandals, problems or simply worn out their welcome with the American people in their last two years. A simple solution exists and forms the substance of my first proposed amendment. "The term of office of the President and Vice President shall be four years, unless the President has previously been elected to a four year term, in which case the term of office of the President and Vice President shall be two years."

    In brief, a President who has served one full term would be running for only a two year term. This presents several wrinkles. A party would be more willing to dump a marginal president after one term and run someone new so they would have a shot at retaining the White House for four years. A challenger, who would be running for a four year term, would have a greater incentive and would not be under the great disadvantage that now exists.

    2. Senatorial Advise and Consent. A long list of Presidential appointments require majority approval by the Senate. Lately, that process has been complicated by democrat partisan warfare. Some appointment shave not been reported out of committee. Others have been filibustered. Neither process is in accord with the Constitution. A simple amendment should make clear than all presidential nominees requiring confirmation are entitled to an up or down mjaority vote.

    3. Presidential Succession. The Presidential Succession Law of 1947 addressed the simultaneous disability of both the president and vice president. Under this law, here are the offices and current office holders who would become president should both the president and vice president be disabled. Remember, to assume the presidency, a person must also meet all the legal requirements to serve as president.

    1. Vice President of the United States
    2. Speaker of the House
    3. President pro Tempore of the Senate

    Secretaries of the president's Cabinet now fill out the balance of list of succession:

    4. Secretary of State
    5. Secretary of the Treasury
    6. Secretary of Defense
    7. Attorney General
    8. Secretary of the Interior
    9. Secretary of Agriculture
    10. Secretary of Commerce
    11. Secretary of Labor
    12. Secretary of Health & Human Services
    13. Secretary of Housing & Urban Development
    14. Secretary of Transportation
    15. Secretary of Energy
    16. Secretary of Education
    17. Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs
    18. Secretary of Homeland Security

    When this law was adopted, the positions of Speaker of the House and President of the Senate were prestigious posts held by esteemed public servants. Now they are jokes held by partisan corrupt hacks. It would be a travesty if a disaster struck and Nancy Pelosi, someone who could never be elected to the post and whose policies are diametrically opposite to what the voters voted for, became president. My proposal would simply eliminate the Speaker and President pro tem from the line of succession and keep it exclusively within the Executive Branch.