What Would You Add to the Bill of Rights?

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 Amendment[1. Seriously, people of the 21st century. We didn’t intend for this allow personal arsenals. –James], 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?

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


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  • I’d modify the 2nd Amendment to read:

    The right of individual United States citizens to keep and bear small, non-automatic, firearms, and to shoot each other in self-defense, shall not be infringed by the federal government or the several states.

  • Given recent executive action to murder one suspect and shoot the other on sight, and to pronounce them guilty without benefit of formal accusation, presentation of evidence, and trial … that this thread might well be academic. Worry about loss of the first ten before adding new ones.

    • I’d blame the fantasy cloud you live in on video games, but you don’t even have the imagination required to play such. You just grab whatever anti-gubmint screed handed to you and run with that. Run, Forrest, Run!

      • I described the situation exactly as it played out. Exactly! What the hell is wrong with you people? I realize that you get your opinions from mass media, and that mass media has convicted these two. But you also pride yourselves on independent thought. Show some of that, for once. Good grief!

        • Your conspiracy theory would make a great deal more sense if the bogeyman you raise had killed both brothers or if there wasn’t photographic evidence of the elder brother charging the police in a gun fight.

          Of course the younger brother has the presumption of innocence, but that doesn’t mean a person needs to put aside reason and evidence outside of the courtroom.

          • That is so mindless! You think you know the guilty party based on images you saw on TV up there in Montana. I got a bridge to sell you too Don, given the level of critical thought on display here.

            I see how you carry on about political races as if there were no such thing as money. You cannot know anything about politics if you do not follow the money. You cannot know anything about news unless you read many sources – read. You just told me you based your opinion on what you saw. Don’t fight my conclusion. You hpgave it to me. You don’t think. You react.

            • Edgy stuff. Really illuminating. Perhaps you can share some 9/11 Truther theories next.

              What you mistake for nuance and sophistication is nothing more than garden variety paranoia.

              Throw some more tinfoil on next time.

              • Don, what do you think about Dr Judy Wood’s book “Where Did the Towers Go? Evidence of Directed Free Energy Technology on 9/11.”

                I think she makes a pretty good case that neither jet fuel nor high explosives, nor thermite, nor a nuclear bomb could have caused the demolecularization of approximately 80% of the WTC. buildings. Do you find any flaws in her methodology or her thinking?
                Here she is laying out her evidence in an organized public presentation of her research.

                As to Baucas’s seat, if Brian runs nobody of any stature will risk losing that stature to run against him. If he doesn’t run Rehberg will try to regain his lost glory.

              • C’mon, Pogie, don’t be mindless. Your standard talking points are satisfying for you. How nice. Here’s one for you: Just like the vast majority of Americans, if you see something on TV, you think it is true. You are remarkably unexceptional. TV is your reality. That’s why you cannot extract your mind from party politics – it’s all they talk about on TV. Therefore it is, to you, reality.

  • How ’bout these:

    In the interest of a secure and stable nation, the basic and necessary health care needs of all citizens shall be provided.

    That could actually be added to the first amendment, or just to piss off the wingnuts, the second. Then there is this:

    Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
    Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
    Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

    Yes, that would be the text of the ERA, the amendment that failed to gain popular support in a past time. I also think that the following would be an appropriate amendment to our constitution:

    The right of individual privacy is essential to the well-being of a free society and shall not be infringed without the showing of a compelling state interest, (as verified by judicial warrant).

    Yeah, that one for the most part is in the Montana Constitution. It was in part written by, and argued for by Bob Kelleher, a smarter man than most Montanans give him credit for.

    More than anything, I think a rewrite of the fundamentals of Article 1, Section 3 to the Constitution is in order. We need to emasculate the US Senate. It is shameful that 20 Senators represent less than 12% of the US population, and that 6 Senators represent over 25% of the US population and yet the 20 can significantly overrule those 6. That isn’t representation. It is tyranny of the minority. It’s a travesty.

  • Moved down here where it might be readable. Steve W, tin-foil hat specialist, writes:

    “I think she makes a pretty good case that neither jet fuel nor high explosives, nor thermite, nor a nuclear bomb could have caused the demolecularization of approximately 80% of the WTC. buildings. Do you find any flaws in her methodology or her thinking?”

    Yes. Very many do most specifically because 80% of the Towers ~weren’t~ “demolecularized”. That has been been shown to be complete BS time and time again by ‘official sources’, unofficial sources like the thermite bomb crowd, and even physicists at NYU, not to mention the volume of material removed from the site.

    Now, little Stevie Clueless, do you actually have anything to write about the topic of the post, you know the Constitution and American rights? Or is all you know of said what you’ve seen on TV or read at Conspiracy sites?

    • When you’re wrong will you actually bother to admit it? I’ll bet you cash money that you won’t … No more than if you’re right will you pick up a rifle and do something about it.

      You might want to learn some history, poet. Months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Prescott Bush and others, including Hearst, where postulating that the US President knew about the attack before hand and encouraged the Japanese as a ‘black op’ to engage the American people in World War 2. Notice please, this is the same Prescott Bush who with other pro-fascist businessmen plotted a coup against FDR. Strange that, they were never prosecuted for it, nor has anyone been imprisoned for being a ‘Pearl Truther’.

      If innuendo and loaded assumption is all you have, Lizard, than I observe that you have absolutely nothing at all, and most certainly nothing to do with topic.

  • The truthers are living in a world of pure delusion. Plain and simple. They commit themselves to a long list of fallacies and faulty logic. Valid arguments? No. Sound arguments? No. An understanding of induction? Hell no. Their conclusions are Anti-Bayesian. They can’t make predictions that follow from their fantasies, and, if their statements were true, the evidence we would expect to be there isn’t. (Insert Overlord-Mind Control Escape Clause Here)

    Moreover, the reactions we would expect real-life individuals to have to supposedly-plausible claims, such as the Dr. Wood Explanation, don’t happen. It reminds me of shitty shows such as Paranormal State and the like. They investigate something. Confirm that ghosts exist and are far from inert. And then walk away.

    In reality, people wouldn’t walk away from the discovery of non-physical causation. Nor-would the world’s physicists ignore Energy Beams that could covertly take down skyscrapers without anyone noticing. Nor would experts in CGI and computer graphics ignore faked planes crashing into towers for the world to see. Nor would…………..( Insert Overlord-Mind Control Escape Clause)(Repeat)

    And the reactions we would expect from the world’s experts are just one of those prior probabilities that the evidence would have to overcome to make the conspiracy theory probable (>.5), at the back end of our inductive analyzation. Not to mention the entire mountain of empircal evidence that would be needed to give us reason to buy the kool-aid.

    The fact that they do not recognize that the burden of evidence is on them, and that the burden is great, should come as no surprise, considering they have no evidence. That’s really all the induction we need.

    • I wonder what might have changed in the mid 90s to reduce gun violence? Maybe more stringent background checks, for one thing.

      As for the epidemic of gun violence in the US, the research says that we have an incredibly high rate of gun violence for a developed nation. Wonder why?

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