Texas Governor Rick Perry and the US Constitution

If you thought Obama was for change, you’re about to find out you were mistaken. Texas Governor Rick Perry knows what change is all about.

Rick Perry has a US Constitutional amendment wish list. Yahoo! reported is here, in part based on his book, “Fed Up!” As you have probably guessed, I have an opinion regarding his opinion, and you, reader, are about to be subjected to it.

So, in the order Yahoo! addressed it, here it is.

1. Abolish lifetime tenure for Federal Judges.

Not a bad idea. I’ve often felt that the baby boom generation has had far too much influence on society these last 50 years. As a result of simple demographics, boomers occupy a disprportionate share of certain large sectors of our labor force. If it hadn’t been forthe information technology boom and dot-com’s, I don’t think gen X would have had a chance at all. the legal profession is similarly out of joint: we (Gen X and Millenials) are harried by echoes of the culture war in every facet of our daily lives. I suspect many of us don’t care what one another are doing so long as we aren’t impeding our neightbor’s progress. I’m not sure Boomers have the same perspective.

Which all goes to say: if Perry got his way and one Supreme Court Justice left the bench according to seniority every two years, then that would be an eighteen year term for each Justice. That’s more than four Presidential terms, so one Judge serves at least as long as two consecutive Presidents. In the time since one Judge was appointed until he or she left the bench, a child is born and nearly graduate high school. From that point of view, eighteen years seems sufficient.

2. Congress shall have the power to override a Supreme Court ruling with a two-thirds vote.

Uh… that’s no different than a constitutional amendment, minus the approval of state legistlatures. I’d say that’s a piss-poor idea. Yes, the Supreme Court occasionally has some pretty crappy decisions, but that’s a good reason to write better legislation and pro-actively craft and amend the constituion to “form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and preserve the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity.” Congress’ failures should not be corrected with more Congressional power, regardless of the court’s action in absence of clear and concise legal codes.

3. Repeal the sixteenth amendment (income taxes).

I support this idea. Problem is, the Federal government will need a revenue replacement. Tariffs won’t make up the difference, especially with free trade agreements in force. A transaction tax is the only reasonable alternative, so whether it’s a sales tax, consumption tax, or value-added tax, somethings gotta come along and fill the gap. Alternatively, we can tax the states directly and let each state figure out how to pay it’s portion of the federal governments revenue bill. Fat chance.

A good idea, lacking supporting documentation and proposed alternatives is just a lot of hot air.

4. End direct election of Senators.

I know what Perry’s thinking here: get rid of direct election of Senators and you’ll get a Republican Congress. He’s right. But you’ll also get a corrupt Congress. I’d rid us of the Senate.

Personally, I’d like to see a two houses of Congress based on gender, and similar representation at the state level. No Senate to represent the States – ’cause the states are just historical remnants of the colonial and territorial governements. It seems to me that a gender divided Congress is more likely to fairly represent the country than a Congress based on geographic divisions. I’d also elect such a Congress at large. Subsets of society are more likely to get representation if all it takes is about one or two percent of one gender behind one candidate to get representaion is a chamber of 100 members.

Put simply, this is a can of worms Perry should be cautious about opening. This is not the founders United States of America. Cracking open the Constitution is liable to get Perry something he doesn’t want.

5. Balance the Federal budget annually.

I’ll support this. Congress would be wise to craft this with clear definitions and exceptions, just to be sure it isn’t a millstone or a farce.

6. Constitutionally define marriage as between one man and one woman.

Disagree. The federal government should not participate in marriage contracts. Neither should the states. All marriage contracts should be private contracts and subject to civil law. The complications surrounding custody of children, inheritance, jointly owned property, and such ought to be carefully and purposefully considered by the parties to the marriage. Codified marriage law should be in place to fill the gaps in inadequate marriage contracts and should not take the place of those contracts. Judges should be loathe to adjudicate benefits in absence of a written (or otherwise recorded) contract.

Do some homework on this as well: codified marriage law in the US is pretty recent. Common law ruled marriages back when the founders established the country. Divorce was rare. Society was patriarchal. Most children knew their (purported) fathers. Orphans and widows were orphans and widows indeed, and the common law was built for their protection and preservation, as well as passing property along customary lines of inheritance.

Also, we wouldn’t be in this mess if federal and state outlays weren’t tied to marital status. Follow the money, people. Federal spousal support benefits are what’s really at stake here.

Much more could be said: suffice to say I don’t care who “marrys” whom, as long as I don’t have to acknowledge more than your private contract, and you will acknowledge my private contract and leave me to act freely otherwise.

7. Abortion should be made illegal nationwide.

Hmmm… I’m inclined to pass on this one with the following caveat: sex between two people implies either a contract or a theft (and associated assault). So, the rights of the parties depend on the rights of the individuals involved in a pregnancy. Here’s my summary of which rights are default and which are not.

1. The purported father has a right to see a child born, unless he surrenders that right as part of the (implied or express) contract for sexual intercourse. His right to see the child born cannot reasonably exceed his risk and reward versus that of the mother.

2. The mother has a right to protect her life, health, and, specifically, ability to bear more children in the future. Her rights under the contract for sexual intercourse cannot reasonably exceed the purported father’s risk – which is probably a monetary assessment. This will be tought to codify, which is why there needs to be guidelines and juris-prudence.

3. The (unborn, potential) child (fetus, offspring) has a right to life, but such life is dependent solely on the mother, and as such, is secondary to her. At a fundamental biological level, infants cannot be born without gestation at the discretion of the mother, followed quite literally by it’s mother’s milk, concurrently and thereafter with education and support. Parents have a vested interest in their children, and only voluntary surrender or abandonment of that interest should have any bearing at law. The question at law shouldn’t be if abortion is or is not legal; the question should be when infanticide (the killing of dependent offspring) becomes filicide (the killing of offspring). Feticide (the killing of a fetus), while not ideal, shouldn’t be illegal in the sense that killing a purely legal entity (such as a business), isn’t illegal. both a fetus and a business exist for the purported benefit of their creator. Only an individual’s belief in a creator-god that is responsible for the conception of children could over-ride such legal logic – and such belief is a matter of faith in absence of evidence, which while protected by law, is nonetheless inadmissable as factual evidence.

So, in summary, if you’re gonna engage in sexual intercourse, anticipate the probability of conception and contract accordingly with a recorded contract.

And that’s my two cents, in case you’re interested. Comments encouraged.


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