My @Quora answer to Should the Bill of Rights be integrated into the Constitution of the United States? http://www.quora.com/Should-the-Bill-of-Rights-be-integrated-into-the-Constitution-of-the-United-States/answer/Kris-Rosvold-1?srid=X0qr&share=1
The Bill of Rights is already part and parcel of Our Constitution. Legally those Amendments carry the same weight as the “rest” of Our Constitution.
There’s a serious problem with the assumption inherent in this Question which I see repeatedly on Quora.
The problem is that the Amendments to the Constitution and the Original Body of our Constitution are viewed as if they were two different things with two different processes for changing them. They’re NOT separate in any sense, yet folks talk about them as if they were.
This view of them “being two different things” is often used for political gain, and obfuscation by both “conservative” Party Brass and “liberal” Party Brass as well as several talk show hosts (Like Rush “to judgement” Limbaugh). It’s also used by our bribed and treasonous Congresscritters to make it seem marginally less henious that they’re consistently taking actions which directly and intentionally violate Our Constitution, and their legally binding Oaths to protect it.
It’s flat wrong, and that view violates both the Letter of the Law, and the Spirit of the Law.
Here’s why it’s wrong:
An Amendment* to any document is a change to that document. Specifically, in a Constitutional sense, it’s a change which was suggested by Congress or the Several States, and which Citizens have explicitly agreed to as being legally binding upon them, through Our Several State Legislatures, through the Ratification Process.
In practice. The correction of an error committed in any process, pleading, or proceeding at law, or in equity, and which is done either of course, or by the consent of parties, or upon motion to the court in which the proceeding is pending. 3 Bl. Comm. 407, 44S; 1 Tidd, Pr. 696. Hardin v. Boyd, 113 U. S. 756, 5 Sup. Ct 771, 2S L. Ed. 1141.
Any writing made or proposed as an improvement of some principal writing. In legislation. A modification or alteration proposed to be made in a bill on its passage, or an enacted law; also such modification or change when made. Brake v. Callison (C. C.) 122 Fed. 722.
Law Dictionary: What is AMENDMENT? definition of AMENDMENT (Black’s Law Dictionary)
Our Constitution demands the consent of the parties (Ratification) in order for any changes to become law.
Here’s what that process looks like as we use it today:
Here’s what the actual words of Our Constitution say about this process:
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.
There is one minor “bug,” which is actually a feature, that might encourage the view that the Constitution and its Amendments are two different things. This is the fact that when we change our Constitution the original language being changed isn’t edited out. The reason for this is so that we, and our decendants, can see for posterity what changes were made.
Now… there is also a claim that SCOTUS can “amend” the Constitution by declaration or interpretation, but that power isn’t explicitly granted anywhere in the actual words of Our Constitution; and since our Constitution specifically prohibits the branches of government from having any powers which aren’t specifically granted to them by the Constitution… this is dead wrong.
What SCOTUS is charged with, and allowed to do is only to determine if legislation being challenged complies with our Constitution. They may not “edit” the Constitution without a Constitutional Amendment Process.
Congress is also specifically prohibited from making such ad hoc changes by their legally binding Oaths to protect the Constitution and by Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which identifies such action as “insurrection or rebellion against the United States Constitution” which is a High Crime.
A Constitutional Convention is the only Constitutionally legal way to change Your Constitution… at least according to the actual words of Our Constitution.
I’m reasonably sure that this Question was begged by the current Move to Amend which is in process now.
Note that the House Bill below seems to attempt to evade that call to amend by putting it in a law. This, if it suceeds, can then be (quietly and conveniently for corporate bribers of course) changed back by simply burying the change in another unrelated law.
House Joint Resolution 48 introduced April 29, 2015
[Artificial Entities Such as Corporations Do Not Have Constitutional Rights]
The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights ofnatural persons only.
Artificial entities established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the People, through Federal, State, or local law.
The privileges of artificial entities shall be determined by the People, through Federal, State, or local law, and shall not be construed to be inherent or inalienable.
[Money is Not Free Speech]
Federal, State, and local government shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own contributions and expenditures, to ensure that all citizens, regardless of their economic status, have access to the political process, and that no person gains, as a result of their money, substantially more access or ability to influence in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure.
Federal, State, and local government shall require that any permissible contributions and expenditures be publicly disclosed.
The judiciary shall not construe the spending of money to influence elections to be speech under the First Amendment.
Excuse the bold, I’m not yelling… the app is having “issues” removing the Headline setting… N.B.F.U.
There is a serious problem with this bill in that the Constitutional Convention they have in process doesn’t limit the issues at discussion to the issue raised by the proposed Amendment.
Yes, I know that the authors believe that this limitation is implied by the process, and that it has been used that way historically, but in this day and age when bribed Congresscritters use a 2200 page “version” of “interpretations” to assert authority which they are not given anywhere in the actual words of Our Constitution, and which power they are explicitly prohibited from grabbing… by the Constitution; this lack of limitations concerns me deeply.