Constitutional Amendments to Help Sustainability
U.S. Constitutional Amendments to Help Sustainability
“Changing the U.S. Constitution is foundational to making significant progress on environmental protection”.
Henry W. Clearsky
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- The 27th Amendment was the last to be ratified in 1992. It delays Congressional pay raises until after Representatives have been elected.
- If the United States is to effectively reduce all sources of pollution by 95+% (which could come close to being sustainable for future generations), then we need to eliminate the waste and inefficiency of our federal government structure.
- This proposal recommends specific amendments, not a Convention. There is a fear that a Convention would open up too many areas of the Constitution for change. (1)
- If two-thirds of the voting citizens and their government representatives supported this plan, a major step forward could be accomplished in Sustainability for the U.S..
Amendment for Presidential Elections, qualifications
- Americans have always emphasized being qualified for important jobs, yet, there are no specified qualifications for President directly dealing with his/her ability to perform in the office.
- The new amendment would state each person entering the Presidential race must have completed at least four years of service to their country in one of these elected offices: Senator, U.S. Representative, Governor of any State.
- Any Vice-President chosen to run must have completed four years of service to their country in one of the 3 offices above, or as Lieutenant Governor of any State.
Amendment for Presidential Elections: health, conflict of interest
Within a few weeks of being nominated by their party, each President and Vice-President candidate will be required to:
- complete a full medical exam by a team of doctors within the United States military. Any aspect of their health which could affect their ability to carry out their duties, will be publicly communicated to the American people within a few weeks of the exam completion.
- release their previous two years tax returns to the American public. If they fail to meet the deadline, their nomination is void.
- sign an agreement which states that within a few weeks of being successfully elected (and before taking office), they will turn-over all their financial assets to a blind trust company (except: reasonable numbers of homes and cars, plus $500,000 cash or cash-equivalent). Cash draws from the blind trust could be set-up. The blind assets (or equivalent) will be returned to the candidate within a few weeks of their leaving office. If they fail to complete this agreement and turn over their assets, they cannot assume office, and must step down.
Amendment for Presidential Elections, campaign
- Campaigning for president in any way or raising money for candidates (such as via events or mail-outs) prior to January 1st of election year is prohibited.
- However, each political party can identify and recruit candidates at any time.
- Each incumbent or new candidate will formally state their intention to run by January 10th of each election year. Primaries would run from March to May.
- Ten groups of 5 states each (with geographic diversity within each group) will be formally identified. There will be a mandated schedule of ten primary election Tuesdays across ten weeks.
- Each year, the state-group that was last (in May) will be first to hold their primary four years later. All other groups will have their primary moved back one week. A rotation.
- Each major party’s convention will be held in mid-July or mid-August on an alternating schedule for which party goes first in each election year.
- Other political parties must hold their primary in early July or early August.
This plan is very fair and brings order to the “business” of elections.
Amendment for Representatives and Senators
- National congressional elections would be held every four years
- The term for U.S. Representatives and Senators would be four years, with term limits capped at a maximum of 16 years total.
- A person could have 16 years in the House and 16 years in the Senate.
- All Senators would be elected or re-elected every four years.
- Also, campaigning in any way, by incumbents or politicians interested in running for office, would be prohibited until January 1st of the election year. Candidates have until January 10th to formally state their intentions.
- Political parties can recruit candidates at any time.
- No fund-raising for candidates in any way (such as via events or mail-outs) until January 1st of the election year.
- The country does not need an election process that has become a “business” all it’s own. Outside the election time period , everyone should be doing their jobs and performing their work.
- This new process streamlines the election process and lowers cost.
Amendment for Supreme Court
- The constitution will clearly state the number of U.S. supreme court justices shall be nine, no more, no less.
- The constitution will clearly state that if a justice leaves the court prior to August 1st of an election year, the current President will nominate a replacement.
- Further, if a justice leaves the court on August 1 st or later in an election year, the newly-elected President will nominate a replacement immediately after inauguration the next year.
Amendment for Supreme Court Appointment Cycle
- Having supreme court justices hold office for life is an archaic rule that has now become negative in many ways.
- Term limits promote the entry of new justices, which could always be opportunities for greater diversity, or greater interest in Sustainability.
- Each confirmed Justice would serve a maximum of 36 years. This provides nine four-year time periods, nine justices. In each time period, one new justice is confirmed.
- Each newly elected president will nominate a new justice early in their term, and the new justice takes their place by July 1st. The out-going justice leaves the court on June 30th of that year.
- A new, clearer rule must be defined concerning justices ability to carry out duties when health or other reasons severely limit their performance for more than 6 months. A new person should be appointed.
- The United States needs healthy, vibrant, sharp minds in these roles.
If a Senator or Representative Changes Political Parties
- If a Senator or Representative states they wish to change parties, they are no longer eligible to fill their current office.
- They ran as a member of one party, and Federal law should prohibit them from changing parties and staying in office.
- A replacement will be named either by the appropriate Governor or special election.
- To run on one ticket, win the election, and then change parties and stay in office should NEVER be allowed by law.
Important Additional Law
- Across the U.S., to help the environment, all political posters and placards (of any material) would be banned by federal law. Billboards and any electronic or newspaper media would be allowed.
- Hundreds of thousands of the placards are made from “foam core”, which is nearly impossible to recycle effectively. Huge amounts just go in the trash. This means some of the material will get into nature.
- It’s base ingredient, polystyrene, is very harmful to fish and wildlife once it breaks down into small bits over time.
- Likewise, huge numbers of paper mail-outs should be banned, just more trash.
- Elections should be implemented with “zero waste to landfill” thinking.
How can Political Reform help Sustainability?
- Our current election process gives too much power to one person due to lack of term limits (except the President is limited to two terms)
- If that person is not a Sustainability champion, then progress can be severely curtailed for decades.
- Also, there are now hundreds of thousands of jobs geared towards electing or re-electing a candidate.
- Far too many of these jobs become full-time, which costs millions
- These proposals create a new system that only needs large numbers of employees in the election year.
- In the near future, America needs millions of people focusing their professional careers on projects that reduce pollution.
- Out-of-control politics and costs need to be reined in.
- Less carbon to the atmosphere, less solid waste, less waste plastic … these are the big issues that need to receive attention.
- USAToday, January 26, 2016, Voices: Constitutional convention an unlikely reality
Henry W. Clearsky, born in America, resides in Texas