Diary

Proposed 28th Amendment to end Congressional double standards

The original version I came up with for this is as follows:

Congress shall make no law exempting its members or their staff in whole or in part from any other law, federal, state, or municipal. All such exemptions are hereby declared null and void.

I’ve also had passed on to me another version that someone else came up with, thus:

Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States.

I’m no constitutional lawyer, but I think some combination of those two should do the trick; the kicker, I think, is that any such amendment should make clear that not only is Congress forbidden in future from exempting itself from the laws it passes, but that all such provisions currently on the books are no longer operative, and thus that going forward, all the laws of the land apply to them, even those which previously did not.

This is a major issue, and one which I am firmly convinced rises to the level of a constitutional concern.  When we see Congress writing laws that apply to us but not to them, as most recently with ObamaPelosiCare (if this is such a wonderful thing, why don’t they want to live under it?), we see a legal double standard which is profoundly undemocratic, and utterly opposed to the spirit of the Constitution which our representatives are sworn to uphold.  We also see a behavioral problem which cannot be corrected by lesser means than a constitutional amendment, because Congress will never voluntarily restrain itself; the restraint must come from outside that institution.

Indeed, it would be impossible to get this amendment to the states for ratification by the normal process, because Congress would never pass it; they’d never admit they were deliberately scuttling it, but that’s exactly what they’d do—and it would be a completely bipartisan effort, make no mistake about it. If we the people want this added to the Constitution, we’ll have to do it by the other process specified in Article V: two-thirds of our state legislatures will have to request that Congress call a national constitutional convention to propose this amendment to the states. (Should a serious effort be made to do so, Congress might capitulate and pass the amendment to prevent a full-out constitutional convention, but that would be fine, too.)

Trying to amend the Constitution is no small thing under any circumstances; but ending a threat to the integrity of our government justifies the effort, and the legal double standard which Congress has created and is continuing to create for itself is in truth a significant threat to the integrity of our government.  Our lawmakers would no doubt govern differently if they had to live under their own decisions, and if the consequences of those decisions apply to them; the ability to declare that they do not corrupts the legislative process, and it makes our legislators inherently less our representatives.

(Adapted from a post on The Spyglass)