Rick Perry has proposed some Constitutional Amendments. In a book called Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington, he advances some sensible ideas, and several others.
A couple deal with judges legislating from the bench. For instance,
1. Abolish lifetime tenure for federal judges by amending Article III, Section I of the Constitution. Currently, it reads, "The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office."
Unquestionably, judges are out of control, establishing their own fiefdoms, with no public accountability. They are supposed to interpret the law impartially, including The Constitution. The question is how accountable to the public judges should be, when the public often are at odds with the Bill of Rights and other laws.
On this theme, he suggests:
2. Congress should have the power to override Supreme Court decisions with a two-thirds vote.
Ridiculous! Sure the Court makes bad decisions, but Perry wants to trust Congress to fix them. Congress makes terrible decisions. This suggestion is reminiscent of FDR's trying to pack the Court with judges likely to indulge his wacky whims. It should occur to Perry that the reason the Supreme Court is often misguided is that they must be confirmed by Congress. Why they would be any better at second-guessing court rulings is a mystery. They are supposed to reign in the president, when he (or she) exceeds his (or her) powers, which they never do. Illegal wars and executive orders, for example.
There are two sensible ideas, hardly original to Mr Perry.
3. Scrap the federal income tax by repealing the Sixteenth Amendment.
It is clear that federal tax was misrepresented in 1909 as being a small amount affecting the very richest Americans exclusively. Today it has a tool for regulating behaviour, collecting unconscionable amounts and violating the Bill of Rights, specifically IV and V, by the IRS.
4. End the direct election of senators by repealing the Seventeenth Amendment.
The Constitution gave the states some control over federal abuse by allowing their legislators to appoint US senators. Such a system might have helped curb unfunded mandates which, it seems, popular voting does not.
5. Require the federal government to balance its budget every year.
Something must be done to curb overblown (or no) budgets. If we can't get an amendment tying federal spending to a percentage of the GDP, a balanced budget is the next best thing. One flaw in these proposals is the ability to override the limit by a large vote by both Congressional bodies. There should be an emergency fund, not a way to elude the spending curb. If Congress could be trusted, we wouldn't need to amend The Constitution.
He also sinks into "Rick's morality" territory. In a free country, the government should not legislate morality. That's what separates us from Iran. That and "Jersey Shore."
6. The federal Constitution should define marriage as between one man and one woman in all 50 states.
The Constitution is silent on marriage. It should remain so. That an amendment must be ratified by the states does not offset the majority's ability to force its views on a minority. Regardless of your religious or moral beliefs, this is an area where we can agree to disagree, not impose our views on others.
7. Abortion should be made illegal throughout the country.
Rick Perry has said that this amendment is "so important… to the soul of this country and to the traditional values" of our founding fathers. The Constitution's silence on abortion is not an oversight. Birth control was ineffective in those times, so abortion was the most viable method of family planning.
It pisses off conservatives (and others) who are anti-abortion that the Supreme Court in 1973 gave women the right to have an abortion. No such right exists. As with many issues, abortion is covered by the tenth amendment: "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." Criminalizing abortion would be divisive and unenforceable, as it was before the Court bestowed this "right."
Of course, it would create a movement to repeal such an amendment, turning the issue into a political hot potato.
Most criticism of Perry thus far centers on nonsense. Texas has created far more jobs than the rest of the country. The Left argue alternately that (1) these are crappy jobs and that (2) the Obama stimulus should get the credit for them. Which is it, morons?
They mention that he considered succession, something that comes up occasionally in California. Who hasn't considered that at some time? No big deal. Nor is his maligning Ben Bernanke, saying that printing more money would be "like treason." Ben works for a private bank, and they always get dumped on by politicians. No one elected this moron.
It is unlikely that Perry or any one person (from Bob to Rosanne Barr) could wreck the economy as much as Obama has, but Perry's social agenda would make him a poor president, in my humble opinion.
Control the government, let us control our personal behavior.