Constitutional Law

In Zoom convention, legal scholars of varied ideologies backed these 5 constitutional amendments

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Should Arnold Schwarzenegger be allowed to run for president? Should U.S. Supreme Court justices have 18-year terms?

Those were among the constitutional issues considered during a Zoom convention of legal scholars from conservative, progressive and libertarian backgrounds, the Washington Post reports.

They agreed on five proposed constitutional amendments that would:

    1. Eliminate the requirement that presidents be natural-born citizens. If the amendment passed, Arnold Schwarzenegger could run for president.

    2. Allow Congress to veto executive actions by a majority vote of both chambers. A failure to act by Congress wouldn’t affect any judicial determination on whether an executive action is valid or enforceable.

    3. Authorize presidential impeachment for “serious criminal acts or for serious abuse of the public trust,” rather than “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” A three-fifths vote would be needed for impeachment by the U.S. House of Representatives (as opposed to the current majority threshold) and for conviction by the U.S. Senate (as opposed to a two-thirds threshold).

    4. Set terms of 18 years for Supreme Court justices, so that a vacancy happens every two years. A Senate vote would be required for all nominees, avoiding the issue that derailed then-nominee and now-U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland.

    5. Make it easier to amend the Constitution by lowering the vote needed for Congress to propose an amendment to three-fifths of both houses and the vote needed for approval to two-thirds of the states. States could also propose amendments with approval from states representing two-thirds of the U.S. population. And states representing three-fourths of the population could call a constitutional convention. Amendments proposed by the states would need ratification by states representing three-fourths of the population.

The convention was organized by the National Constitution Center, according to the Washington Post article authors, Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of the National Constitution Center, and Sal Khan, CEO of the Khan Academy.

“What unites all five amendments,” the article said, “is a focus on the structures of government, rather than individual rights. By preventing all power from being concentrated in one place, all are designed to ensure that each of the three branches can check the others or that all three branches are ultimately responsible to the people.”

The scholars who backed the amendments plan to present them to Congress.

Hat tip to How Appealing.

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