Email L. Henry Platt, Jr.
|L. HENRY PLATT. JR.
July 4, 1972
This Constitution must be ratified by the several States, so it is also being sent to each of the fifty governors and to all of the members of the Senate of the United States.
All media are welcome to publish or broadcast portions according to the restrictions mentioned below.
L. Henry Platt, Jr.
Because this Constitution is given to the people, full permission to reprint the Constitution in its entirety is given to any publisher of any periodical. This Constitution may not be reproduced in booklet form without the author's permission, nor may excerpts of over one hundred words be taken from the Considerations of the author.
No further restrictions of Publication of any material in this booklet shall exist after July 4, 1973. The cover may be pictured inside any periodical immediately.
THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Revised July 4, 1972
with Brief Considerations by the Author
We the people of the United States of America, in order to form a more cohesive Union, establish truer Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common Defense, promote the general Welfare, and better secure the Blessings of Liberty and Prosperity to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America as revised July 4, 1972.
In the tradition of our great Nation, it is the goal of this Constitution and the Government which it sustains to encourage and reward growth and service to that Nation and its people. It is our traditional Philosophy that this can best be accomplished through individual initiative and contribution to the common cause.
Our Nation is dedicated to the proposition of equality among all persons, but the Liberty which this Constitution guarantees provides and encourages the achievement of material and personal distinction above the mean as natural rewards for outstanding economic and social contributions. However, those who have not previously shared in the labors and rewards of our society shall not be barred from the ladder of labor and success, of contribution and reward.
It is, finally, the purpose of this revised Constitution to provide encouragement and more durable means for each person in the United States to achieve his own constructive goals, and to continue to guarantee individual liberty and freedom as long as it does not deprive others of their liberty and freedom.
Section 1. All legislative powers granted herein shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, and this Congress shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives.
Section 2. The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several States, and the electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislature..
No person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to, the age of twenty-five years, and been seven years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be two years an inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.
Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union according to the whole number of persons within each State as established by an enumeration each ten years. Each Representative within a given State shall represent a nearly equal number of people, and the variance between the greatest number of people represented anal the least number of people represented shall not exceed fifteen. percent of the smaller number. Apportionment of Representatives' Electoral Districts shall be accomplished before the first elections following the year of enumeration, and this apportionment shall remain unchanged until completion of the next enumeration. The lines of apportionment shall be drawn by the upper house of each of the several States and by the three senior elected officials of the District of Columbia, which shall also be apportioned Representatives according to its population. No matter how small the population of any given State, it must be apportioned at least one Representative..
The House of Representatives will be composed of at least three hundred fifty, but no more than four hundred thirty-five members.
When vacancies occur in the representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such vacancy. Until such Elections have been duly competed, the Executive Authority shall appoint a Temporary Representative, who must satisfy all the requirements of Representatives, to discharge the duties of Representative until the vacancy shall be filled by election. The term of a Temporary Representative shall in no case exceed one hundred eighty days, and Senate vacancies shall be filled in a like manner.
The House of Representatives shall choose its speaker and other officers, and it shall have the sole power of impeachment.
Section 3. The Senate of the United States of America shall be composed of two Senators from each State, and the District of Columbia shall have no senators. They shall be divided as equally as possible into three classes: such that one third of the members shall be elected each two years to a term of six years. At the time of ratification of this Constitution, the terms of Senators shall continue in the form of traditional terms set under the Constitution of September 17, 1787.
Senators shall be chosen by popular election of all the electors in the State in which they are chosen, and the two Senators of each State shall be co-responsible to all the people of their State..
No person shall be a Senator of the United States who shall not have attained to the age of thirty years, and been nine years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be three years an inhabitant of that State in which he is chosen.
The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but he shall have no vote unless it is equally divided.
The Senate shall choose its other officers. A President pro tempore shall be chosen in case of the absence Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the United States.
The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments. When sitting for that purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside; and no person shall be convicted without Concurrence of two thirds of the members present and at least one half of the total membership.
Judgement in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States; but the party convicted shall nevertheless be liable to indictment, trial, judgment, and punishment according to law.
Section 4. Elections of Senators and Representatives shall be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in the years of those elections. All intelligent, adult, bona fide inhabitants, who are citizens of the United States of America, and all members of the Armed Forces, who are citizens of the United States, shall be eligible to vote in the State in which they reside. Any person who can name the current President of the United States, the current executive authority of the State in which they reside, and at least one Senator and one Representative of the State in which they reside shall be considered intelligent according to this section; but no person who is qualified to vote at the time this Constitution is ratified shall be disqualified primarily because of this section.
The legislatures of the several States shall fix the age of adulthood, which shall not be less than eighteen years nor more than twenty-one years, and the distinctions of bona fide inhabitants. Such distinctions shall be uniform within any given State so as to apply in all cases, but these distinctions cannot exclude any person whose sole residence has been within a State for at least one hundred eighty days from being a bona fide inhabitant of that State. The legislatures of the several States shall further fix the hours and places in which election shall be held.
Congress shall meet at least once in every year, and the Congress shall appoint the times at which it shall convene, except that the President of the United States shall also hold the power to summon Congress to convene.
Section 5. Each house shall be the judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of its members, and a majority of each shall constitute a quorum to do business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the attendance of absent members in such manner and under such penalties as each House may provide.
Each House may determine the Rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two thirds, expel a member.
Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings and from time to time publish the same except such parts as may in the judgment of that House require secrecy. Voting of the members of either House on any question shall, at the request of one quarter of that House, be entered into that Journal.
Neither House during the session of Congress shall, without consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.
Section 6. The Senators and Representatives shall receive a compensation for their services, which shall be determined by law and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. They shall in all cases except treason, felony, and breach of the peace be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective Houses as well as in going to and returning from the same. For any speech or debate in either House, its members shall not be questioned in any other place.
No Senator or Representative shall, during the time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil office under the authority of the United States, which has been created or which might be created in some future time. No person holding any office under the United States shall be a member of either House during his continuance in office.
Section 7. All Bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other bills.
Every bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate shall, before it becomes Law, be presented to the President of the United States. If he approves, he shall sign it; and it shall become Law. If he does not approve, he shall return the bill with his objections to the House in which it originated. That House shall enter the objections at large on its Journal and may proceed to reconsider it. If after such reconsiderations two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent together with the objections to the other House by which it shall likewise be reconsidered. If the bill is then approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become Law. In all such cases, all votes either for or against the bill shall be duly recorded in the Journals of each of the respective Houses. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten days (not including Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall become Law in like manner as if he had signed it - except that the Congress by its adjournment prevent its return, in which case the measure will not become Law.
Every Order, Resolution or Vote to which the concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take effect, must be approved by him; or if he does not approve, the measure must be re-passed by the Senate and House of Representatives by a two thirds margin according to the rules and limitations prescribed in the case of a bill.
Section 8. The Congress shall have the power to lay and collect all manner of taxes, income taxes, duties, imposts, and excises to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States of America.
Congress shall have the power to borrow money on the credit of the United States.
Congress shall have the power to regulate commerce with foreign Nations and among the several States. Congress shall have the power to establish a uniform rule of naturalization, uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies and uniform laws of liability in cases of interstate travel or commerce.
Congress shall have the power to coin money and set the value thereof in terms of both domestic and foreign currencies, and to print paper currency as well; to fix the standard of weights and measures.
Congress shall have the power to provide for the punishment of the counterfeiting of Securities, paper currency, coin and postage of the United States; and to provide for the punishment of those who violate the laws which Congress shall enact.
Congress shall have the power to provide for highways and postal service.
Congress shall have the power to constitute Tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court.
Congress shall have the power to promote the process of science and useful arts by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and inventions.
Congress shall have the power to define and punish piracies on the high seas, in the air, or in outer space; and offences against international law.
Congress shall have the power to declare War, grant letters of Marque and Reprisal, and to make rules for capture on land, on water, in the air, and in outer space.
Congress shall have the power to raise and support Armies, but no appropriation of money shall be for a longer term than two years. Congress shall further have the power to any other type of armed force as it may see fit so as to include both a Navy and an Air Force.
Congress shall have the power to provide for the calling forth of any of the armed forces to execute laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions.
Congress shall have the power to exercise legislation in all cases whatsoever over the District of Columbia, which shall be the seat of Government of the United States of America, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of any State in which the same be for military installations, aero-space installations, intelligence centers, Government buildings, and other needful buildings.
Congress shall have the power to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.
Section 9. The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended unless, when in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it.
No Bill of Attainder of ex post facto law shall be passed.
No tax or duty shall be laid on any articles exported from any State.
No preference shall be given by any regulation of commerce or revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another, nor shall vessels or vehicles bound to or from one state be obliged to enter, clear, or pay duties in another except as a matter of lack of customs houses in certain States may prohibit importation through them.
No money shall be drawn from the Treasury of the United States except as provided for by law, and a regular statement and account of the receipts and expenditures of all public money shall be published from time to time.
No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States, and no person holding office of profit or trust under the United States shall without the consent of Congress accept of any present, emolument, office or title of any kind from any king, prince or foreign government.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, and all persons shall be free to practice their own religion or philosophy so long as it doesn't tax or restrict the freedoms of others. Germane to this section, religion shall be recognized by its content and not by its parentage.
Congress shall not deny any honest, sane, intelligent, capable, and responsible citizen the right to own and bear appropriate weapons and firearms. The states and local communities may define by law terms and restrictions to provide for the safe and orderly sale and ownership of these weapons.
Congress shall be authorized to govern, regulate, and control commerce in these weapons across state and national borders.
Congress shall not make any law abridging the rights of persons to speak respectfully on any matter, nor shall Congress so limit or abridge the freedom of the press. The rights of Persons to peaceably assemble to petition for redress of grievances shall not be restricted.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures by intrusion shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause supported by oath or affirmation; and any warrant exposing any person to secret observation cannot be concealed from that person for more than one hundred eighty days. All warrants must particularly describe the place to be searched and items to be seized; and any item seized, which shall not be prohibited to the person by law, shall either be replaced or compensated for while it is being held and unavailable for use.
The powers not delegated to the United States by this Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively or to the people.
Neither Congress or any State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of any citizens of the United States, nor shall any Congress or State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor deny to any person by law the equal protection of the laws. In this paragraph, life is recognized and protected from the time a person is capable of breathing, and property shall be protected from confiscatory taxation: All property may be taxed on a pro rata. basis to support the exigencies of government, but it shall not be taxed according to its potential value in an altered form.
Respect is the cornerstone and foundation of any orderly society. Commission of a felonious crime violates the respect and covenant of this Constitution; accordingly, Congress and the States may create laws of punishment for defined crimes as they see fit except that they may proscribe capital punishment for only these offences: High Treason, kidnapping, murder of any law enforcement officer or public official, contract murder, and piracy on the high seas, in the air, or in outer space.
Neither Congress nor any State shall make any law which recognizes or distinguishes between people on the basis of race, skin color, ancestry or religious affiliation; but Congress may enact legislation on request of certain sociological groups from participation in government programs of enumerated contributions and rewards.
Congress shall not make any law or attitude which provides legal advantage according to sex: in employment, in housing, public accommodations, and public programs, where physical needs and decent privacy are not affected, there shall be no discrimination according to sex.
Congress shall not enact any law which forces any person to work, study or live in any distant place (except during time of conscription into military service) against his will, but Congress may provide for pecuniary incentives to provide social growth which is in the best interest of the United States.
Restrictions on the Congress providing protection for the people shall be extended to the States as well. The powers not delegated to the United States by this Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively or to the people.
Article II: The Executive Branch of Government
Section 1. The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his office during the term of four years, but no person shall hold the office of President for more than ten years and one day. The terms of the Vice President shaIl be concurrent with those of President, but there shall be no limit upon the number of terms of the Vice President.
Election of the President and Vice President shall be accomplished in this manner:
Electors shall have the same qualifications requisite for electing Representatives and Senators, and the times and places of election of the President and Vice President shall be the same as the times and places for electing Senators and Representatives.
Electors shall choose two persons (from separate States) for the offices Of President and Vice President respectively, and votes for the office of President shall not counted for a candidate for Vice President, nor vice versa. Votes shall be tallied to find which person has the greatest number of votes for President, and which person has the greatest number of votes for Vice President; and these votes shall be tallied by State and by the Districts of the Representatives.
On the second Monday in December, the Senators and Representatives shall meet together for the sole purpose of choosing the President and Vice President. At that time each Senator and each Representative shall indicate the preferences of his constituents for President and Vice President. (All indications are open to challenge by any Senator. If the vote of any Senator or Representative in this election shall be found to be false, his vote shall be changed to properly report the choice of the constituents whom he represents. Also, and as a punishment for dishonoring this Constitution and its processes, this Senator or Representative shall lose his vote in all venues both public and private - except within the context of sole proprietorship - in the United States for the remainder of his life.)
Each member of this body shall indicate the preferences of his constituents for President and Vice President casting one vote for each Office, and these votes shall be tallied to find if any person shall have a majority of the whole Congress' votes. If there is a majority, the President and Vice President elect will have been chosen; but if there is not a majority or if Congress be equally divided, the members shall adjourn until the following day.
On Tuesday, the Representatives shall again indicate the preferences of their constituents, except Representatives who indicated minor candidates (not receiving at least the third highest number of votes) who shall be free to vote for one of the major candidates. The Senators may on this day vote for any person they wish to see if a majority candidate may be chosen. There shall be only one ballot on this day, and if no majority is found, then Congress shall adjourn for two days.
On Thursday, members of Congress shall all be free to vote for any of the three candidates receiving the greatest number of votes on Tuesday, and after one complete vote, Congress shall adjourn for the day. If a majority has been found, then the President and Vice resident have been chosen, but if not, Congress shall meet on the following day.
On Friday, voting shall be open as on Thursday, but ballots shall continue until a majority can concur on a President and Vice President.
No person shall become President or Vice President the United States unless he is a natural born citizen of the United States, and any person who becomes President or Vice President of the United States must at the time his inauguration have attained thirty five years of age and have lived within the United States for at least fourteen of the previous twenty-one years.
The President and Vice President shall be inaugurated on the same day, which shall be the third Monday in January following election to the office of President and Vice President, except that upon the request of the President-elect, this day may be postponed up to twenty-one days. The times of inauguration shall not apply in cases where President is removed from office by death or impeachment. In those cases, the Vice President (or other designated person if there be no Vice President) shall enter the office of President as soon as possible.
Before he enter on the execution of his Office, the President shall take the following oath or affirmation: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States of America, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Upon removal from Office, death, or the resignation of the President, the Vice President shall immediately enter into the Office of President of the United States. Upon vacancy of the Office of Vice President, Congress shall convene within thirty days to confirm a new Vice President to begin the remainder of the existing term within a total of sixty days of the vacancy of the office.
The President shall nominate a Vice President of his own choice, but this choice must be confirmed by a majority of both Houses of Congress. Congress shall make provision for cases in which both the Office of President and the Office of Vice President shall become vacant simultaneously.
Section 2. Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.
When the Vice President and a majority of either the principal executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by Law provide transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the duties and powers of the office as Acting President.
Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress by law may provide transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty- one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two- thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.
Article III: The Judicial Branch of GovernmentSection 1. The Judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such inferior courts as the Congress from time to time nay see fit to establish. The Judges, both of the Supreme Court and of the inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behavior and shall at stated times receive for their services a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.
Section 2. The judicial power shall extend to all cases in law and equity arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made or to be made under its authority; to all cases affecting ambassadors and other public ministers and consuls; to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction as well as the domains above the earth; to controversies between two or more States; or between citizens of the same State claiming property under the laws of another State.
In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a State shall be party, the Supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In ail other cases before mentioned the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction both as to law and fact with such exceptions and under such regulations as Congress shall make.
The trial of all crimes except in cases of impeachment shall be by jury if either party requests, and the jury of twelve shall be diminished by half only in cases of petty offenses or of less than one thousand dollars. Trials shall be held in the State where the said crimes shall have been committed, but when not committed within any one State, the trial shall be held in such place or places as Congress shall have by law directed.
Defendants in criminal cases shall be guaranteed a jury of their peers, but this peer group shall not be extended to aliens, minors or criminals.
Section 3. In all courts of the United States, trials for criminal offences must begin within sixty days of the indictment, or the defendant must go free from accusation, except if the defense shall postpone the case; and if the defense shall more than twice delay proceedings except with special permission from the judge and the chief executive of the State or District in which the trial is being held, it shall forfeit its case. In no case may a person be held by law for more than twenty-four hours while court is in session without indictment, and he must be given a written copy of the indictment in any official language of the court within twenty-four hours; and if these two conditions are not met, he shall go free.
Defendants in all criminal offences shall be guaranteed legal counsel criminal offenses punishable by jail or fines of more than two hundred fifty dollars. Excessive bail shall be prohibited.
Section 4. In trials of prosecution Justice shall not necessarily mean acquittal.
Section 5. Treason against the United States shall consist only of levying war against them or in adhering to any hostile alien power by giving them aid and comfort except humanitarian relief. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of three witnesses, two of them to the same act, or on confession in open court, in which case they shall be preserved from capital punishment.
The Congress shall have the power to declare punishment of treason, but no conviction of treason shall work corruption of blood or forfeiture except during the life of the person convicted.
Article IV: Personal Rights and Liberties.
Section 1. No person shall be held to involuntary servitude except as punishment for a crime, neither shall any person being detained for treatment be denied written access to counsel or public officials.
Section 2. No soldier shall be quartered in any house without the permission of the owner, nor can disaster refugees be quartered by any authority without its full responsibility for any accidents and/or damage.
Section 3. No person may be required to testify against himself or at the risk of body or limb, and no evidence obtained by coercion may be used against that person.
Section 4. No minor child may be taken from his domestic setting without his consent except to protect either the child or society.
Section 5. Although a person abrogates his pact with this Constitution and its guarantees of liberty and freedom by the commission of felonious crimes, he shall be forgiven and restored to his rights of citizenship, except the privilege to be elected to Congress, the Presidency, or to the Chief executive office of the State in which he may reside, after a period not less than five years or twice the time served from the time he had been released and completed his probation.
The several States shall make provisions for the regulation of this section.
Section 6. The right to live is protected, and the right and privilege to die naturally cannot be denied. A fetus, an unborn human being, shall begin to accrue rights when life (movement) might be felt by its mother within her womb, and this time shall be nominally set at seventeen weeks of gestation. A fetus shall have no protections under this Government or this Constitution before having been this time in gestation.
Section 7. All citizens of the United States shall enjoy the right to speak and worship, with due courtesy to others, as they desire; and no acts between consenting adults shall be questioned.
This section shall not prevent Congress of the States from prohibiting, regulating, or taxing commerce of any kind.
Section 8. In criminal protection, the intended victim shall always enjoy prior right.
Article V: The Obligations of the States
Section 1. Full faith and credit shall be given in every State to the acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other State. The Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved and the effect thereof.
Section 2. The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States except as prescribed in Article I, Section 4 of this Constitution.
A person charged in any State with treason, felony, or other crime, who shall flee from justice and be found in another State, shall on demand of the executive authority of the State from which he fled to be delivered up, and removed to the State having jurisdiction of the crime.
Section 3. New States may be admitted by the Congress into this union, but no new State shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other State, nor any State be formed by the junction of two or more States without the consent of the legislatures of the States concerned as well as the congress.
The Congress shall have the power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States. Nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to prejudice any claims of the United States or of any particular State.
Section 4. The United States shall guarantee to every State in this union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion, and on application of the legislature (or the executive authority if the legislature is not in session) against domestic violence.
Article VI: Amendments
Whenever two-thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, the Congress shall propose Amendments to this Constitutions, or on the application of the people of two-thirds of the States within a seven year period shall call a convention for the proposing of Amendments, which in either case shall be valid to all intents and purposes as a part of this Constitution when ratified by a majority of the people in three-fourths of the States.
This Constitution shall be offered as an amendment to the Constitution of September 17, 1787. When ratified by a majority of the electors in three quarters of the States, it shall become effective on the first day of July following its ratification except that Congress may allow up to one year delay for the implementation of parts of sections which might be unfeasible to accomplish in a shorter period of time.
This Constitution and any amendments to it must be approved within seven years, or it shall cease to exist; and if that amendment should be desired later, it must again be proposed as a new amendment.
Article VII: Continuum of Obligation
All Debts contracted and engagements entered into before the adoption of this Constitution shall be as valid under this Constitution as before. Laws and precedents existing before the adoption of this Constitution shall stand subject to review upon the adoption of this Constitution.
This Constitution and the laws made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States , shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every State shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the legislatures of the several States, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by oath or affirmation to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust Under the United States of America
Article VIII: A Tradition
Upon ratification of this Constitution, a suitable large ornamental copy shall be made of this Constitution on high quality parchment. This copy of the Constitution will be placed on display in a place in the White House where the public visitors might see it, and each succeeding new President of the United States will affix his signature to it confirming the traditional constitutional form of government of the United States and affirming his pledge to support this Constitution as the supreme law of the land superseding the Constitution of September 17, 1787 and all other laws.
This Constitution is offered and given to the people of the United States of America on the one hundred ninety-sixth anniversary of its birth with the hope and desire that it will serve as a clearer path and way for the people of this nation and their posterity to find and achieve both joy and prosperity.
L. Henry Platt, Jr.
CONSIDERATIONS OF THE CONSTITUTION
The first question in the mind of the reader is "Why do we need a new Constitution?" and the second most popular question is probably "Why has this been done by one person instead of a committee?" The first question is important because it explains this author's motivation. In recent years there has been a considerable fluctuation of opinion in the Supreme Court of the United States, and present trends seem to indicate a quickening of the pace. Change is a good thing, but rapid change does not benefit the greatest number of people.
A good metaphor would be a bucket of stones of different sizes representing the people of a city, a State, or of a nation. The stones are varied in size, shape, and quality; but they are secure in their place enjoying rest and peace. If continued rapid change occurs by shaking the bucket violently, the security and peace of the smaller stones is threatened and the large stones all wind up on top.
A good example of this metaphor might be Urban Renewal. It is rapid: in less than ten years it accomplishes what normal attrition might take fifty or more years to accomplish. It is violent: it destroys many units of housing. The big stones come out on top: the poor end up paying more for scarcer housing, the middle income people pay higher taxes to build public housing and provide the tax revenue it does not, and the developers make money.
A mouse in the middle of the floor will wander aimlessly, because he is not certain which way to go. If he is on a beam or against the wall, though, the mouse has a guide to travel quickly to his destination.
Certainly the people of the United States are not mice, but a more effective guide can make it easier for smaller people (or stones in the metaphor) to find their way up from the bottom as they desire. In the preamble of this Constitution the sentiment of mutual contribution from all the people of the nation is needed to produce a truly viable society for all the people. President John F. Kennedy proclaimed this sentiment in his innaugural address, and the founding fathers assumed that it was an integral part of every human being.. This Constitution contains this sentiment, even though it does not provide specific legislation. However, the spirit is apparent, and this will help to guide the nation toward President Kennedy's charge to us: "Ask not what your nation can do for you, but ask what you can do for your nation."
John 3:16 is a popular passage from the Bible, and a current paraphrase of it is applicable to the second question: "For God so loved the world, he did not send a committee." A legislator here in New Haven recently commented that legislation is a strange breed of thing: if corn is planted, corn grows; but the bill that is first written often bears little resemblance to the legislation which is finally enacted. These are the two primary reasons that this task was done by one man. The first Constitution was modeled after the constituticn then used by the State of Connecticut, and for that reason Connecticut is called the Constitution State. This author has been fortunate to see a number of reforms in this Constitution already a way of life in Connecticut.
In writing this Constitution, great care had to be taken to strike a proper balance between ideals and reality, and between what this author might feel and the thought of others. For this consideration, much thanks is given to the many people who answered so many seemingly silly questions from time to time and from place to place. It is hoped, therefore,. that this Constitution can be passed without challenge and be made the law of the land.
Probably the major change in this Constitution is the form of electing the President. At present all the votes of each State are cast as a block such that a matter of just a few popular votes in either New York or California can mean forty or more electoral votes. In this Constitution electoral votes are still used, but they are accorded along lines of representation. Each Congressional district gets one electoral vote, and the State gets two votes based on the plurafity statewide. Many critics feel that a popular election is better, but this form of election, should give approximately the same results with one very important difference: stability. In the 1960 election victory of John Kennedy over Richard Nixon, the popular vote was extremely close, and recounts have often come up with far greater discrepancies than the difference in percentages between the two candidates. When races are close, vote fraud is encouraged, and articles have appeared in several periodicals showing this. The system for the election of the President described in this Constitution is the best defense against vote fraud which could be devised in the United States. It is conceivable that if the President were chosen by popular vote, the Kennedy-Nixon election of 1960 would still be undecided, with recounts and challenges continuing. Stability is a strong factor in maintaning a powerful government.
This is not a really new Constitution, because much has been taken verbatum or almost so from the first one, and to see the differences, the two should be laid side by side. This Constitution enlarges the rights of the people and brings them into a more active role in the governing process.
Several years ago a question on the voting machine sought reduction of the voting age to eighteen years, and it was defeated. The next year the legislature ratified the amendment to the Constitution lowering the age of sufferage to eighteen with little difficulty. People in Connecticut have welcomed the lowering of the age of majority, though. Privilege and responsibility go hand in hand, and most people respect this.
Under this Constitution any amendment must be passed by a majority of the voters in a given state in order for that State to ratify the amendment, and this Constitution must be ratified in a like manner. Because it will be more difficult to pass this Constitution than many of the amendments to the first one, it will mean that many people will need to be brought into the process. This need can only be accomplished by education Madison Avenue style. The end result is a people who better understand their government, and when people understand their government, they appreciate it more, criticize it less, and profit more from it.
Every person can help to make this Constitution become the law of the land: discussions with neighbors, gifts of copies of this booklet, letters to elected officials, questions to candidates for office on this Constitution, all these things help to make preople aware and interested in the wellbeing of our great nation.
© L. Henry Platt, Jr.