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The Liberty Amendments (Proposed Amendments)

Written by | December 28th, 2013

Back in August, I wrote a post called, “Article Five And The Liberty Amendments,” referring readers to the Article V process in The United States Constitution, and Mark Levin’s great book, “The Liberty Amendments.”

In this post, I wanted to share the 10 (below) proposed Amendments that Mark Levin suggested in his book. While we may not agree with all of the suggested amendments, in their totality, or perhaps we may feel that some amendments should be added or deleted, Mark Levin gave us a great starting point for which to begin the discussion:

1. An Amendment to Establish Term Limits for Members of Congress:

SECTION 1: No person may serve more than twelve years as a member of Congress, whether such service is exclusively in the House or the Senate or combined in both Houses.
SECTION 2: Upon ratification of this Article, any incumbent member of Congress whose term exceeds the twelve-year limit shall complete the current term, but thereafter shall be ineligible for further service as a member of Congress.

2. An Amendment to Restore the Senate:

SECTION 1: The Seventeenth Amendment is hereby repealed. All Senators shall be chosen by their state legislatures as prescribed by Article I.
SECTION 2: This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.
SECTION 3: When vacancies occur in the representation of any State in the Senate for more than ninety days the governor of the State shall appoint an individual to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the term.
SECTION 4: A Senator may be removed from office by a two-thirds vote of the state legislature.

3. An Amendment to Establish Term Limits for Supreme Court Justices and Super-Majority Legislative Override:

SECTION 1: No person may serve as Chief Justice or Associate Justice of the Supreme Court for more than a combined total of twelve years.
SECTION 2: Immediately upon ratification of this Amendment, Congress will organize the justices of the Supreme Court as equally as possible into three classes, with the justices assigned to each class in reverse seniority order, with the most senior justices in the earliest classes. The terms of office for the justices in the First Class will expire at the end of the fourth Year following the ratification of this Amendment, the terms for the justices of the Second Class will expire at the end of the eighth Year, and of the Third Class at the end of the twelfth Year, so that one-third of the justices may be chosen every fourth Year.
SECTION 3: When a vacancy occurs in the Supreme Court, the President shall nominate a new justice who, with the approval of a majority of the Senate, shall serve the remainder of the unexpired term. Justices who fill a vacancy for longer than half of an unexpired term may not be renominated to a full term.
SECTION 4: Upon three-fifths vote of the House of Representatives and the Senate, Congress may override a majority opinion rendered by the Supreme Court.
SECTION 5: The Congressional override under Section 4 is not subject to a Presidential veto and shall not be the subject of litigation or review in any Federal or State court.
SECTION 6: Upon three-fifths vote of the several state legislatures, the States may override a majority opinion rendered by the Supreme Court.
SECTION 7: The States’ override under Section 6 shall not be the subject of litigation or review in any Federal or State court, or oversight or interference by Congress or the President.
SECTION 8: Congressional or State override authority under Sections 4 and 6 must be exercised no later than twenty-four months from the date of the Supreme Court rendering its majority opinion, after which date Congress and the States are prohibited from exercising the override.

4. Two Amendments to Limit Federal Spending and Taxing:

Spending:

SECTION 1:Congress shall adopt a preliminary fiscal year budget no later than the first Monday in May for the following fiscal year, and submit said budget to the President for consideration.
SECTION 2: Shall Congress fail to adopt a final fiscal year budget prior to the start of each fiscal year, which shall commence on October 1 of each year, and shall the President fail to sign said budget into law, an automatic, across-the-board, 5 percent reduction in expenditures from the prior year’s fiscal budget shall be imposed for the fiscal year in which a budget has not been adopted.
SECTION 3: Total outlays of the federal government for any fiscal year shall not exceed its receipts for that fiscal year.
SECTION 4: Total outlays of the federal government for each fiscal year shall not exceed 17.5 percent of the Nation’s gross domestic product for the previous calendar year.
SECTION 5: Total receipts shall include all receipts of the United States Government but shall not include those derived from borrowing. Total outlays shall include all outlays of the United States Government except those for the repayment of debt principal.
SECTION 6: Congress may provide for a one-year suspension of one or more of the preceding sections in this Article by a three-fifths vote of both Houses of Congress, provided the vote is conducted by roll call and sets forth the specific excess of outlays over receipts or outlays over 17.5 percent of the Nation’s gross domestic product.
SECTION 7: The limit on the debt of the United States held by the public shall not be increased unless three-fifths of both Houses of Congress shall provide for such an increase by roll call vote.
SECTION 8: This Amendment shall take effect in the fourth fiscal year after its ratification.

Taxing:

SECTION 1: Congress shall not collect more than 15 percent of a person’s annual income, from whatever source derived. “Person” shall include natural and legal persons.
SECTION 2: The deadline for filing federal income tax returns shall be the day before the date set for elections to federal office.
SECTION 3: Congress shall not collect tax on a decedent’s estate.
SECTION 4: Congress shall not institute a value-added tax or national sales tax or any other tax in kind or form.
SECTION 5: This Amendment shall take effect in the fourth fiscal year after its ratification.

5. An Amendment to Limit the Federal Bureaucracy:

SECTION 1:All federal departments and agencies shall expire if said departments and agencies are not individually reauthorized in stand-alone reauthorization bills every three years by a majority vote of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
SECTION 2: All Executive Branch regulations exceeding an economic burden of $100 million, as determined jointly by the Government Accountability Office and the Congressional Budget Office, shall be submitted to a permanent Joint Committee of Congress, hereafter the Congressional Delegation Oversight Committee, for review and approval prior to their implementation.
SECTION 3: The Committee shall consist of seven members of the House of Representatives, four chosen by the Speaker and three chosen by the Minority Leader; and seven members of the Senate, four chosen by the Majority Leader and three chosen by the Minority Leader. No member shall serve on the Committee beyond a single three-year term.
SECTION 4: The Committee shall vote no later than six months from the date of the submission of the regulation to the Committee. The Committee shall make no change to the regulation, either approving or disapproving the regulation by majority vote as submitted.
SECTION 5: If the Committee does not act within six months from the date of the submission of the regulation to the Committee, the regulation shall be considered disapproved and must not be implemented by the Executive Branch

6. An Amendment to Promote Free Enterprise:

SECTION 1: Congress’s power to regulate Commerce is not a plenary grant of power to the federal government to regulate and control economic activity but a specific grant of power limited to preventing states from impeding commerce and trade between and among the several States.
SECTION 2: Congress’s power to regulate Commerce does not extend to activity within a state, whether or not it affects interstate commerce; nor does it extend to compelling an individual or entity to participate in commerce or trade.

7. An Amendment to Protect Private Property:

SECTION 1: When any governmental entity acts not to secure a private property right against actions that injure property owners, but to take property for a public use from a property owner by actual seizure or through regulation, which taking results in a market value reduction of the property, interference with the use of the property, or a financial loss to the property owner exceeding $10,000, the government shall compensate fully said property owner for such losses.

8. An Amendment to Grant the States Authority to Directly Amend the Constitution:

SECTION 1: The State Legislatures, whenever two-thirds shall deem it necessary, may adopt Amendments to the Constitution.
SECTION 2: Each State Legislature adopting said Amendments must adopt Amendments identical in subject and wording to the other State Legislatures.
SECTION 3: A six-year time limit is placed on the adoption of an Amendment, starting from the date said Amendment is adopted by the first State Legislature. Each State Legislature adopting said Amendment shall provide an exact copy of the adopted Amendment, along with an affidavit signed and dated by the Speaker of the State Legislature, to the Archivist of the United States within fifteen calendar days of its adoption.
SECTION 4: Upon adoption of an Amendment, a State Legislature may not rescind the Amendment or modify it during the six-year period in which the Amendment is under consideration by the several States’ Legislatures.

9. An Amendment to Grant the States Authority to Check Congress:

SECTION 1: There shall be a minimum of thirty days between the engrossing of a bill or resolution, including amendments, and its final passage by both Houses of Congress. During the engrossment period, the bill or resolution shall be placed on the public record, and there shall be no changes to the final bill or resolution.
SECTION 2: SECTION 1 may be overridden by two-thirds vote of the members of each House of Congress.
SECTION 3: Upon three-fifths vote of the state legislatures, the States may override a federal statute.
SECTION 4: Upon three-fifths vote of the state legislatures, the States may override Executive Branch regulations exceeding an economic burden of $100 million after said regulations have been finally approved by the Congressional Delegation Oversight Committee [see An Amendment Establishing How the States May Amend the Constitution].
SECTION 5: The States’ override shall not be the subject of litigation or review in any Federal or State court, or oversight or interference by Congress or the President.
SECTION 6: The States’ override authority must be exercised no later than twenty-four months from the date the President has signed the statute into law, or the Congressional Delegation Oversight Committee has approved a final regulation, after which the States are prohibited from exercising the override.

10. An Amendment to Protect the Vote:

SECTION 1: Citizens in every state, territory, and the District of Columbia shall produce valid photographic identification documents demonstrating evidence of their citizenship, issued by the state government for the state in which the voter resides, as a prerequisite for registering to vote and voting in any primary or general election for President, Vice President, and members of Congress.
SECTION 2: Provisions shall be made by the state legislatures to provide such citizenship-designated photographic identification documents at no cost to individuals unable to afford fees associated with acquiring such documents.
SECTION 3: Early voting in any general election for President, Vice President, and members of Congress shall not be held more than thirty calendar days prior to the national day of election except for active-duty military personnel, for whom early voting shall not commence more than forty-five calendar days prior to the national day of election.
SECTION 4: Where registration and/or voting is not in person but by mail, citizens must submit an approved citizen-designated photo identification and other reliable information to state election officials to register to vote and request ballots for voting, no later than forty-five calendar days before the primary or general elections for President, Vice President, or members of Congress. Registration forms and ballots must be returned and signed by the voter and must either be mailed or hand-delivered by the voter to state election officials. If delivered by a third party, the voter must provide written authorization for the person making the delivery and the third party must sign a statement certifying that he did not unduly influence the voter’s decisions.
SECTION 5: Electronic or other technology-based voting systems, for purposes of registering and voting in national elections, are proscribed unless a reliable identification and secure voting regimen is established by the state legislature.


Further Reading/Viewing:
Mark Levin, on The Hannity Show, discussing the book, and explaining how The Article V process works.

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3 thoughts on “The Liberty Amendments (Proposed Amendments)

  1. Jeremy D McAlpin

    1. Putting in term limits would be a band aid on an issue where the problem isn’t at. The solution isn’t that they shouldn’t be allowed to serve the public with unlimited terms in office, but that the Congress is currently unrestrained in what they think their Constitutional duties are. The other solution is in repealing the 17th, getting the State’s representation back to them. Also, the voting booth and an informed public is the best term limits on those elected to Congress.

    2. Just needs to stop at Section 1 and 4. Sections 2 & 3 are not required.

    3. Term limits on the Supreme Courts are not required if the Congress were doing its duty in holding them to serve in “good behavior”, which would include not being able to take cases for which they are not permitted to by the US Constitution.

    The Courts should not be viewed as having any power or authority to override Congress or the President. The Federal Government was not set up to be 3 co-equal branches, but was set up in order of power, most to the least. As well as all the Court decisions are only opinions, not to be taken as law, for which they have no authority to make. So their opinions don’t require an Amendment to the US Constitution, unless you want to grant more power to the Courts than they currently have according to the US Constitution.

    4. Not required if the Constitution were to be followed in what is allowed to have the public’s money spent on. The Federal Government was never meant to have any sort of direct influence on the public in terms of taxing purposes. What’s required is removal of the 16th Amendment, OR to have a flat income tax to come in compliance of equal protection under the law by eliminating the “progressive” income tax. Also removal of wages from the idea of “income”.

    5. This makes all currently unconstitutional departments like the EPA, Dept. of Education, Dept. of Energy, HHS, NSA, TSA, FDA, Dept. of Agriculture, to name a few, Constitutional. If the department or bureaucracy is not listed in the Constitution, it needs to just be outright eliminated without allowing the department any way to try and redeem their unconstitutional purpose.

    6. This one is needed to help refine what the Framer’s intent on commerce within the US is.

    7. Grants the Federal Government the authority to buy land for the public use, essentially changing Art 1 Sec 8 Cl 17 by not having the States be the stopgap between the People and the Federal Government as they were meant to be.

    8. Essentially changes Article 5 in the adoption of Amendments. A more clearly refining of Article 5 may be that every 4 or 8 years, mid Presidential terms, that an Article 5 Convention shall be called by Congress to propose Amendments. Keeping the requirements for adopting the Amendments the same

    9. Not required to delegate the authority to the States, as under the 10th Amendment the States already reserve this power to themselves. The US Constitution was meant to only delegate power to the Federal Government from the States, not the States delegating power to themselves that they already have.

    10. The States need to be the ones who are to require ID’s to vote, not the Federal Government. Less centralization of power and no intrusion of the Federal Government into matters of the States.

    Reply
  2. Mark Ross Post author

    Jeremy, thank you for the insightful comments! Here is my response to your comments etc:

    1. There are conflicting opinions in regards to term limits: Some say there should be term limits, while others believe it restricts others from, continually, reelecting representatives who they feel served them well. While you are right, Jeremy, in that the core problem is an unrestrained Congress, many of us feel as though Governments can not be ‘permanently’ restrained, and therefore, this secondary restraint would be a good way to prevent people from spending too much time in the Federal Government, where there are many temptations, and people are too often corrupted. Term limits seem to work well for the President, therefore, I believe it would, also, work well for Congress.

    2. I believe that Section 3 is required. Prior to the ratification of the 17th Amendment, it was said that, because of politics, Senate seats would sometimes go unfilled; therefore, this provision would assure that each State has their proper amount of representation, and that the State Legislatures will not take more then 90 days to appoint their Senators.

    3. I agree with you, again, Jeremy that, terms limits should not be required; but, as we have learned, in well over 200 years, Congress can not even hold themselves accountable, let alone Supreme Court Justices. As with the President, and the proposed term limits on Congress, I think it would, also, be a good idea to limit how much time Justices spend in the Federal Government.

    Although, I must say, since, in the same proposed amendment, both Congress and the States can override a Supreme Court decision (which is great!), that may be enough to remedy an out of control, or overly-partisan, Supreme Court.

    4. I really like the idea that, if a budget is not created by Congress within a certain period of time, then, automatic, across-the-board cuts kick in. Also, that, Congress can not spend more then they take in. That would be incentive for Congress to operate within a budget.

    Where this amendment fails, imho, is by allowing Congress to go on borrowing. I would suggest either repealing their Power to Borrow, altogether, or seriously limiting it.

    I totally agree with you Jeremy, in that, The 16th Amendment must be repealed, and ALL income tax abolished. If we must be taxed, I would prefer a retail point-of-sale tax, ONLY. If the Income Tax doesn’t go away, then, a flat tax is the only way to proceed forward. While all Income Tax is an enemy to Individual Liberty, a flat tax would get rid of most of the class-warfare legislation, and the corruption we currently have in the Federal tax code.

    The Federal Reserve, and a sound currency system, is not addressed, either, in any of these Proposed Amendments. We need to abolish The Federal Reserve Bank, and give the monetary Powers back to Congress – or figure out a new system of, perhaps, competing currencies. We must, also, make sure that, all currency is strictly backed by gold/silver, or some other ‘tangible asset.’

    5. We totally agree with that! While Levin’s amendment is putting a band-aid on the current problem, it, also, seems to codify into The Constitution that, endless agencies are permissible.

    I would scrap this amendment, and re-address The Necessary and Proper Clause written, originally, into Article 1, Section 8.

    6. We totally agree!

    7. Jeremy, I’m not sure which clause, exactly, you are referring to, but, the 5th Amendment says this: “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” Therefore, perhaps the 5th Amendment needs to be re-addressed, if the goal is to further prohibit the Federal Government in this area.

    8. We agree! We could make the The Article 5 process a little less ambiguous, but, there is no reason to redefine it. It may be good to say that, Congress, or any agent of The Federal Government, will not be needed or required in The Article 5 process, when exercised by the State Legislatures.

    9. I love the idea that this would, essentially, codify into the Constitution the Power for States to, effectively, nullify Federal Legislation. The problem with this amendment is, it could be said that, States loose their ability to act as “individual sovereign States,” in regards to Federal Nullification etc. One State does not need the consent of another State in order to Nullify wholly unconstitutional, Federal Legislation.

    10. I totally agree Jeremy! This Power belongs solely to the States, and should not be changed.

    Reply
  3. Jeremy D McAlpin

    1. How about looking at it like this, if there are term limits placed on Congressman, in their last term what would prevent them from doing whatever the heck they want to? They aren’t going to be reelected so no real electoral consequences to how they vote. And they essentially voted themselves a retirement pay.

    How about something to help limit that corruption instead to the effect of:

    “Excluding emoluments, no law shall be made to exclude those serving in any Federal office, nor any law exclusively apply to the same.

    Excluding emoluments, all laws that have been made to exclude those serving in any Federal office, or laws exclusively applying to the same, shall be null and void upon Ratification.

    No one elected to Federal office shall receive any emolument or pay whatsoever beyond the following pay period following the end of their term in office.”

    But if anything for term limits, it should be limits on consecutive terms, and making them live under the same laws for which they passed, through having to make a living wage.

    2. Section 3 would already be taken care of with the repeal of the 17th Amendment, reenacting part of Art 1 Sec 3 Cl 2 “and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies.”

    3. You seem to be viewing the Supreme Court as having the authority and power that they do not. If the Courts were to be rung into following their limits listed within the Constitution, thus holding them accountable to “good behavior”, there is no need to limit their terms. The Court’s decisions were never meant to be the final word on matters, as the only thing they give is opinion, it can already be overridden by the States or Congress. What this Amendment is doing is granting authorities of the Federal Courts over the other branches and States where there were no authorities in the first place.

    4. Is a budget constitutionally required now? If not, why do we need one? If so where? I would contend that you’re not looking at it with a Constitutional perspective, just as Levin isn’t. Why not instead of looking at it by how much is spent, look at it by what it’s spent on. This is linked with #5. What if we were to eliminate all the departments and bureaucracies that are currently in place that are not constitutionally allowed to exist? All of them. All the welfare handouts, all the red tape departments, everything gone. How much money would the Federal Government be left to spend money on? Very little. Would we really need a predetermined budget which can be used and abused by those in Congress to spend money on their little unconstitutional pet projects? All that Congress would need to do would be to be called back into session to appropriate funds where needed maybe once a month or year.

    A flat income tax is the only constitutional means of carrying out an income tax. Everyone is treated the same way by paying the same percentage of income. And I don’t see how we would need a consumption tax, just go back to the way it was, imports & duties with as much cheap crap we bring in from China we would protect our own businesses.

    The Federal Reserve or sound currency doesn’t need to be addressed by an Amendment. You’re going by the idea of “There needs to be a law” when there doesn’t need to be one when it’s already pretty much covered by the Constitution. In Art 1 Sec 8 Congress was given the express duty: “To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof…”, nowhere else in the Constitution were they granted the authority to be able to re-delegate that express authority to someone else. There doesn’t need to be an amendment to abolish the Federal Reserve, it could be done instantly, with the Congress bring back their power only they were delegated in the first place.

    5. So why would the “Necessary and Proper” Clause in Art 1 Sec 8 need addressed? What does it say? “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper…” this is where people usually stop not continuing to read the limitation on it being “… for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States or in any Department or Officer thereof.” Which means what? That Congress only has the power to make laws that fall in line with what they were delegated within the Constitution. It doesn’t need to be to be readdressed, what it needs to be is reasserted by the States.

    7. I stand corrected. Let me rewrite this then to: It’s not required. In the 5th Amendment it says “nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation” The kicker is “without just compensation” meaning that it has to be fair market value, with the agreement of the property owner to compensate them for the loss of ownership of their property.

    8. Well, can probably add to that “each Presidential election year, each State Legislature by means of their own choosing, shall decide to hold a Convention under the means of Article 5 to propose Amendments, and if two thirds decide to have one held, it shall be held 2 years following where the Congress shall set the time and place by the last Wednesday of February following an election year.” Or something to that effect.

    Reply

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