Justice Stevens Weighs In

Retired Supreme Court Justice Stevens has a new book out in which he makes the case for six Amendments to the Constitution.

  1. The “Anti-Commandeering Rule” (Amend the Supremacy Clause of Article VI) This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges and other public officials. in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.
  2. Political Gerrymandering – Districts represented by members of Congress, or by members of any state legislative body, shall be compact and composed of contiguous territory. The state shall have the burden of justifying any departures from this requirement by reference to neutral criteria such as natural, political, or historical boundaries or demographic changes. The interest in enhancing or preserving the political power of the party in control of the state government is not such a neutral criterion.
  3. Campaign Finance – Neither the First Amendment nor any other provision of this Constitution shall be construed to prohibit the Congress or any state from imposing reasonable limits on the amount of money that candidates for public office, or their supporters, may spend in election campaigns.
  4. Sovereign Immunity – Neither the Tenth Amendment, the Eleventh Amendment, nor any other provision of this Constitution, shall be construed to provide any state, state agency, or state officer with an immunity from liability for violating any act of Congress, or any provision of this Constitution.
  5. Death Penalty- (Amend the 8th Amendment) Excessive Bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments such as the death penalty inflicted.
  6. The Second Amendment – (Amend the 2nd Amendment) A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms when serving in the Militia shall not be infringed.

Of course, the likelihood of passing any amendments in this politically polarized age is fanciful; lawmakers can’t even manage to pass what should be relatively noncontroversial legislation.

Nevertheless, these eminently rational suggestions provide plenty of food for thought.  Not to mention, an implicit condemnation of our unwillingness to come to terms with the realities of modern life.


  1. Perhaps grass roots movements such as Moral Mondays can be used to reduce the power of the oligarchies extant today. Somewhere “power to the people” got lost.

  2. Government of business, by business and for business shall not perish from this state – or this country in the near future. With a SCOTUS bought and paid for by the 1%; the 99% are victims of wealth running rampant in government at all levels.

  3. It would be a blessing to us if such an amendment could ever be considered, much less passed. But history indicates it will never happen. I hate to contemplate it but there is no incident where power & privilege were ceded peacefully. Founding Fathers were clear on that points which is why they fashioned the Constitution to restrict the government and not the people. Legislatures now write laws to curtail rights, not insure them. Run Liz, run!

  4. I give it a thumbs up but I’m a hard core liberal libertarian. You know, the bleeding heart one.

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