I probably haven’t been posting regularly enough to generate a lot of feedback on this question, but I found myself intrigued by a post by The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf this evening, in which he asked “what “Bill-of-Rights-style amendment” folks would want to add to the Constitution.”
Personally, while I’d be tempted initially to add a footnote to the Second Amendment1, I think I would settle on the kind of positive right that is sorely lacking in the Bill of Rights. In his famous Four Freedoms speech, Franklin Roosevelt identified the essential demand of a democratic society to ensure that people have their basic needs met:
The third is freedom from want–which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants-everywhere in the world.
Roosevelt’s rhetoric is perhaps a bit broad for the Constitution, though, so I’d settle for ensuring access to health care for every American.
Kevin L. Cope and Mila Versteeg proposed some language back in 2012:
The people shall enjoy a right to reasonable and adequate healthcare. The Congress shall have power to ensure, by appropriate legislation, the foregoing right.
What say ye?
- Seriously, people of the 21st century. We didn’t intend for this allow personal arsenals. –James ↩