Drafting the 28th Amendment

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10 Responses

  1. Howard Wasserman says:

    Channeling Sandy Levinson, who would say this is precisely what is wrong with our constitutional thinking–only one proposal goes to the hard-wired structure, which is what Constitutions are supposed to be about.

  2. Bill says:

    “Maybe we should set up a national survey of law students to find out what they regard as the most pressing areas of need for amendment of our Constitution.”

    If there’s one subset of the populace that I’d trust less with proposing new constitutional amendments than law professors, it’s law students. I think this demonstrates more about the ideological make-up of the student body than what would ever have a prayer of becoming the 28th Amendment in our lifetimes, even if I support several of these on policy grounds alone.

    Interesting that two of the top 10 would gut the first two amendments of the Bill of Rights.

  3. anon says:

    Any particular reason how all of the top-10 proposals are what one may consider politically liberal? Just curious.

  4. Mike Zimmer says:

    The same-sex protection — equal protection and right to marry — did surprise me. However, a number of people have suggested that the issue of gay rights is generational. That young conservatives are more open to gay rights, or maybe are more libertarian in their conservativism than older people.

    It is like younger and older Cuban-Americans and our relationship with Cuba. I have had a number of Cuban-American law students tell me their views differ from their parents and especially their grandparents.

  5. “I wonder if the response would be different if the law school was not located in the heart of a major city.”

    Considering that all but a handful of states have 2nd amendment analogs in their state constitutions, some of them adopted recently, and the gun control movement hasn’t succeeded in getting any repealed? Probably.

  6. Jeff Hall says:

    Isn’t it interesting that, except for #2, all of the suggested amendments would simply enshrine a desired policy into the Constitution?

    The “Repeal of the Second Amendment” and “Constitutional protection for broad campaign finance legislation” would get rid of parts of the Bill of Rights that the students think protect unimportant people or rights. Suggestions 1 and 3-10 sound like the 18th Amendment, only with different issues-of-the-day. #2 is really the only suggestion that fixes a perceived flaw in the Constitution itself.

  7. Mike Zimmer says:

    I know that when I teach Con Law, I try to get out on the table important and deep critiques of the structure as well as the individual rights parts. I maybe should do a better survey but, at the end of the course, students accept or presume there are no alternatives to the structural problems but they still like asserting propositions that advance individual rights, whether the right is to possess guns or to marry someone of the same sex. By saying this, I may, of course, be simply admitting that I am not such a great Con Law teacher.

  8. SueSimp says:

    Or maybe it’s just that there’s a sort of intuitive feeling that the law of unintended consequences is less at play when fiddling with individual rights than when fiddling with the structure of the constitution.

    It’s easier to feel confident you’re doing the right then when granting people the right to get married than when altering a delicate suspension of checks and balances that, for reasons never entirely understood, has somehow held together for over 200 years.

  9. M.G.M says:

    How about an amendment reserving the protections of the Bill of Rights and other amendments for natural human persons, and specifically denying those rights to corporations?

    That might fall under the notion of “protection for broad campaign finance legislation,” but could actually extend far more broadly.

  10. Mike Zimmer says:

    If the Supreme Court does strike down the restrictions on corporation campaign contributions, I would expect that the issue of the “person”hood of corporate entities would get some more attention. Perhaps the way that would happen would be political campaigns at the state level to limit the authority of corporations to give campaign contributions as a condition of incorporation. My corporate law friends like Tim Glynn, however, might fear that this would just further the “race to the bottom” among states competing to get that incorporation business.