While members of the House read the Constitution line by line Thursday, the Senate put forth its proposal for an entirely new version of the hallowed document. Though Senate Democrats have pledged to seek ratification of what they’ve named the People’s Constitution, the political prospects for adoption are uncertain.
“Every society throughout history has seen fit to adopt new constitutions and charters from time to time,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. “Now is America’s time, and as the House reads the old Constitution, we hereby put forth this new People’s Constitution.”
Most of the revisions modify the Bill of Rights. However, the People’s Constitution contains the original general welfare and interstate commerce clauses – seen as granting broad powers to the federal government – but this time underlined and with bold and italicized text.
Article 5, governing the amendment process, is absent from the revised document. “We didn’t really think this provision necessary anymore,” said Reid. “The Constitution needs to adapt to the needs and desires of the people, and it’s the job of Congress to gauge that.”
The second, ninth and tenth amendments, regarding the right to bear arms and limits on federal powers, are completely absent. The new First Amendment defines the Establishment Clause as meaning that no governmental body or official of any kind can ever say, do or think anything remotely religious. Other than hate speech, racist speech, or “mean speech,” the right to free speech is given high protection.
Abortion has often been justified as an extension of Fourth Amendment protections of privacy. The People’s Constitution makes it clear: “This amendment shall be construed as broadly as possible to protect, as holy, sacrosanct, and beyond reproach or question, the right of every woman everywhere to have any and all abortion procedures, without limit or restriction of any kind.” An added provision makes it a felony for any elected official to ever attempt to change this clause.
Gone from the Fifth Amendment is anything compelling government to provide “just compensation” for property seized through eminent domain, while the Eighth Amendment outlaws capital punishment throughout the country.