When our founding fathers put together the framework to our country, they were very wise. They created a system of checks and balances to make sure that no one area of our government ends up with more power than it ought to have. They knew that times change, people change, and that people are fallible.
In fact, Thomas Jefferson even had the idea that we’d rewrite the Constitution to suit our needs every generation, because living under the laws of those who came before us, he likened to slavery! (Can you imagine if we started from scratch each generation?)
The part of our government’s system that is overreaching at the moment is the Supreme Court.
It started with Bush v. Gore – a case that is clearly the court just deciding the election for America, even though it was partisan, without legal precedent for doing so. They up and decided not to count 170,000 votes in Florida. Because they didn’t think there would be enough time to do it. Seriously. 170,000 people’s votes didn’t count because of a combination of political pull and laziness.
The Court even went so far in their concurrences and dissents to let lawyers know that they wouldn’t follow their own rules from that case in the future by saying “Our consideration is limited to the present circumstances because the problem of equal protection in election processes generally presents many complexities.” It’s really not that complicated. Read Souter’s dissent. He does a good job of explaining things.
Next, they gave corporations free speech in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, as if they were human beings– as though they were real, live, citizens, worthy of Constitutional protection. By doing this, they opened our political system, our courts, our country – to the shareholders of those corporations. These shareholders can come from anywhere – any country. They do not need to be American citizens. Because of this, we are now dealing with the situation in Wisconsin.
This Is Not The First Time The Supreme Court Has Screwed Up.
I mean, back in the day, the Dred Scott case said that black folks were property. Shameful, but that’s our past! We overcame that past by growing as people culturally and creating new laws for the court to then enforce.
The Only Way to Fix A Problem Caused By The Supreme Court Is To Pass A Constitutional Amendment.
In fact, Justice Anton Scalia recently reminded all of us about the way he votes by telling California Lawyer that women do not have equal protection under the law in America! As a traditionalist judge, he only interprets the Constitution’s laws as they were written and intended at the time they were written. Despite the fact that he is living in 2011, he is adjudicating as though the laws are stuck in time when they were written.
The only way to bring a court with traditionalist judges up to date is to bring our laws up to date.
We Can Accomplish A Great Deal With One Constitutional Amendment
The amendment I propose is very elegant and simple: it’s the way a programmer or lawyer would think because it works on all of our earlier laws and it gives us all what we already think we have but don’t. Equality, whether we are men, women, or something in between, but not if you are not a living, breathing human.
My Suggestion for The 28th Amendment: Honesty In Equality
Section 1: All enumerated rights for persons shall apply to all humans, regardless of race, color, gender, sexual orientation, or previous condition of servitude.
Section 2: Non-sentient, non-biological beings shall not be given equal rights to humans. This includes, but is not limited to corporations, robots, and artificial intelligence.
These protections are necessary.
Have you seen Watson? It beat the Jeopardy World Champions, and sure, it had a lot to do with computers having better trigger abilities, but after talking to folks who actually programmed that bad boy – the real world is about to have androids in it! It’s astounding and kind of hard to take in.
So What Now?
Step one is to get this amendment in the hands of Congress, with a ton of signatures, and get them to pass it.
Step two is to find someone with standing to bring a case in front of the Supreme Court that requires the court to reverse their decision based on the new law.
But that’s just my suggestion. Work with the system.
The only potential barrier to this working is the corporations’ money being used to bribe our legislature into keeping the amendment from ever being passed.