House reads Constitution, Senate proposes new one

As the House read the Constitution, the Senate offered its own version of the governing document.

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.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment 3 – Quartering of Soldiers. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment 4 – Search and Seizure. Ratified 12/15/1791.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment 5 – Trial and Punishment, Compensation for Takings. Ratified 12/15/1791.

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment 6 – Right to Speedy Trial, Confrontation of Witnesses. Ratified 12/15/1791.

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment 7 – Trial by Jury in Civil Cases. Ratified 12/15/1791.

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment 8 – Cruel and Unusual Punishment. Ratified 12/15/1791.

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment 9 – Construction of Constitution. Ratified 12/15/1791.

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment 10 – Powers of the States and People. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

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