Statute vs

Constitutional Amendment



Laws and amendments can both solve problems in political process. A written instrument can focus public efforts and measure progress.
 Amendment is a last resort because it’s so difficult, and overkill when it's not needed.
But statutes won't work when it is (see The Fair Elections Clause, Ballot Initiatives, Voting Safeguards in History, Disarming Corruption). Is the need to repair and safeguard our political process too large for statutes alone?


Statutes can do vital work. Some of the most important reforms we need today can be done without amending the Constitution. (Two are discussed in How to End Corporate Personhood by Statute and The Public Grievance Question.) But statutes can't do everything.


Unlike statutes or even rulings, amendment is a lasting solution (see Sole Public Funding Safeguards Electoral Outcomes).  If the causes of a problem aren’t understood, it’s premature; but if causes are well known, it’s high time. The public’s political functions have eroded a little from error and a lot from assorted schemes that are well known within government.  

The political process is made up of interconnected processes (electoral procedure, districting, and so on). In each of these, the problems recur over generations. Statutes have been tried many times without success.  Even introducing several bills at once seldom works with interconnected problems because bills change while going through Congress, and not all pass.  

A statute can only address so much.  The Constitution has barely addressed the political process (see The Constitution and Politics). It hasn't yet covered campaigns, filling multiple Congressional vacancies in quorum emergencies, or other matters. When the Constitution doesn't lay groundwork any law is a wild guess on Congress' part rather than a detail of the public's expressed will.


Not everything can be managed by statute at all.  Statutes requiring fair contest, impartiality, and truth and accuracy, for example, will be defeated in the courts. Only the Constitution can establish the principles that government must observe based on our values, or protect rights beyond question (see The Fair Elections Clause, The Most Important Clause in American Law). Congress knows such statutes will be struck down, so when you see them be aware that they are disingenuous. This amendment both restores the text and details it with these long-needed clauses. It's the only measure under consideration as of 2016 that does. 


Yes, a federal statute can override a Supreme Court ruling. The second Religious Freedom Restoration Act is an example. The Court may then reverse itself, but sometimes even reversal just creates conflicting precedents (see Restoring Invalidly Amended Text and In Reality, Neither Final Nor Infallible). Only amendment can resolve conflicting Supreme Court precedents. 

When related problems are treated as unconnected, pieces can shift among them.Fixing one problem in one area can cause a new problem in another.  In this area, solutions have also tended to whittle away the public’s role. Sometimes that’s done to aid efficiency, but in the long run it defeats efficiency to cut the public out of the process. This amendment crosses established fields to treat these processes as a system for the first time. Only when they work together can the people get the most from them.  

And we still have to safeguard our political processes, which only the Constitution can do. It's because they haven't been protected that so much repair needs to be made. As soon as a political reform passes affected interests start trying to repeal it, water it down or render it ineffective. State statutes are vulnerable to federal ones, and local laws are vulnerable to either one. 


Federal statutes are subject to Congress itself repealing them, revoking parts of them, or rendering them ineffective by provisions in other statutes. Proposals are seldom passed without alteration or compromise even when all members mean well but when corruption is a part of the problem, as it is with a political process reform bill, any bill proposed by Congress or a state legislature is almost guaranteed to be fatally flawed.  
 

The Constitution is harder to mess with, and this amendment lays a foundation that will make future statutes stronger against maneuvering (see The Most Important Clause in American Law).

Amendment can also limit itself from outgrowing its purpose by incorporating checks and balances. The sections of this proposal go into detail by section.



An amendment is needed to address the political process. ​

When the Constitution doesn't lay groundwork any law is a wild guess on Congress' part rather than the public's expressed will.