Monday, June 12, 2006

Idiot Constitutional Amendments

I think it is instructive that the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which brought us Prohibition, is the only time in the Constitution's history that it has been amended to limit individual rights (the right to drink alcohol) -- and is also the only constitutional amendment that has been repealed.

Over the past two weeks, Congress has been considering two constitutional amendments that would limit individual rights. The first amendment considered would have restricted the definition of marriage to marriage between a man and a woman, thereby denying an individual the right to choose one's life partner. The second proposed constitutional amendment would ban flag-burning, an act that the U.S. Supreme Court has already upheld is protected political speech.

Fortunately, the marriage amendment did not pass, and neither should the flag-burning amendment. These Congressional actions are part of a popular trend to use constitutional amendments (which has been very successful at the state level) as a means to solve controversial political issues. Voting these proposed amendments down should send a loud and clear signal that the Constitution should not be used for political purposes.

The Constitution provides an expression of our ideals of what a free society should be. The hurdles to amend the Constitution (2/3 vote of both houses of Congress, Executive Branch approval, 3/4 of the state legislatures voting for it) are there so that it can't be subject to the shifting political winds, especially when those winds threaten to blow our individual rights away.


Blogger dscar said...


10:03 AM  

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