December 09, 2020

Five Proposed Amendments to the Constitution of the United States

After the American Century

The conduct of the Trump presidency has revealed the need for amendments to the US Constitution. The precise wording will require some fine-tuning, but here are my suggestions.

(1) The prompt and orderly transfer of power after an election being a paramount necessity for the preservation of public order and the practice of diplomacy with foreign governments, the declaration of who has won a presidential election shall not rest in the hands of the incumbent president, nor in those of a person appointed by that chief executive. Rather, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall determine who has prevailed in the contest, and thereafter the successful candidate shall immediately have access to all the information necessary to prepare to take office, together with office space, a budget to pay the transition staff, and all other forms of assistance that can reasonably be necessary.

(2) If a president chooses to replace any member of the cabinet, a new appointee must appear within 60 days before the Senate to be examined and evaluated. In the meantime, an acting secretary may be appointed, but this person must already be a member of that department of government, and he or she cannot be a candidate for the position. An Acting Secretary shall always be identified by that title and cannot use the title of Secretary during the temporary period of his or her appointment.

(3) To ensure fairness and minimize outside interference in cases of impeachment that concern any person in the Executive Branch, in such cases the Department of Justice's investigation shall be funded and overseen not by the president but by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. 

(4) On the use of the presidential pardon. The President  cannot pardon himself nor members of his or her family, nor use the power of the pardon in cases that involve treason, espionage or tampering with an election, nor may the president pardon persons who worked for his or her political campaign or on the White House staff. 

(5) Trust in the electoral system being essential to any democracy, no candidate for federal office shall claim that an election was not properly conducted, "stolen," or otherwise compromised except when such statements are made in writing and under oath before a federal judge, together with substantiating evidence of the charges made. False or misleading statements about election officials or about the conduct of an election must be investigated by the Department of Justice and are subject to prosecution under the laws of perjury and slander.