Republicans Hate the Constitution

This is an update to a piece I wrote in early 2018. Republicans, media, and sadly Democrats all seem to believe that Republicans are into the Constitution. But, they are not: Republicans hate the Constitution.

Here is the full text of the Constitution. You should read it, it is not that long. In this post I am going to talk about the 27 Amendments to the Constitution in the context of today's politics. This post is part of 1 of 2 (I will focus on the main text in post #2). In describing the Amendments, I am generally pulling the text from Wikipedia, as to be as neutral as possible. I am not a lawyer and, as usual, welcome any/all debate on this!

Imagine if the 26 active Amendments (dropping 18, which was reversed by 21) were voted on by today's Congress (without further revision). Which ones would the Republicans and Democrats vote for or against. Democrats for 24 (against 2), but Republicans for just 12 (against 14).

Democrats (For 24) 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27 … (Against 2) 2, 10

Republicans (For 12) 2, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 20, 21, 22, 25, 27 … (Against 14) 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 23, 24, 26

In short, Republicans are not big fans of the Amendments to the Constitution. They would be very unified against the civil rights and liberties which dominate the early part of the Amendments, and the expansion of voting rights which is a big part of later Amendments. But, while there is not a strong will among Democrats to repeal the 2nd Amendment, if there was a vote for it now, very few Democrats would vote for it in its current shape.

1st Amendment Prohibits Congress from making any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.

Republicans Against: (1) President Trump is engaged in a war to discredit the press: "I use Social Media not because I like to, but because it is the only way to fight a VERY dishonest and unfair 'press,' now often referred to as Fake News Media," or: "The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!"  (2) Key goal of Republican party is to make their type of Christianity defacto established religion. Vice President Pence signed a law in Indiana that allowed any company to use "religion" as excuse for discrimination. The Republican position is to use "religious freedom" as an excuse for the state to recognize their form of Christianity as acceptable law. There is no way a majority of elected Republicans would put this Amendment into law.

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 shall not be infringed.

Democrats Against: Republicans are very into the 2nd Amendment, but conveniently forget the first part of it. They like a radical interpretation of this Amendment that allows for unrestricted gun ownership, usage, and production. Even banning research into gun safety. But, it is the Democrats who would oppose this Amendment, preferring to keep the fight for gun safety and regulation outside of the Constitution (a position a Republican New York Times columnist explored).

3rd Amendment Places restrictions on the quartering of soldiers in private homes without the owner's consent, prohibiting it during peacetime.

Republicans Against: Not much debate these days, but would it really surprise you if a Republican presidency demanded we provide provisions to our military? Would this be perceived as anti-troop?

4th Amendment Prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and sets out requirements for search warrants based on probable cause as determined by a neutral judge or magistrate.

Republicans Against: Republicans are currently against the FISA courts, but they are all about unreasonable searches and seizures. One of the first things Attorney General Jefferson Sessions did was emphasize forfeiture laws. Which is literally legalizing police having unreasonable searches followed by seizure of property with no recourse, even without any hint of a crime.

5th Amendment Sets out rules for indictment by grand jury and eminent domain, protects the right to due process, and prohibits self-incrimination and double jeopardy.

Republicans Against: President Trump believes in an expansive view of eminent domain. The entire border wall debate is around Republicans taking tons of land from Americans.

6th Amendment Protects the right to a fair and speedy public trial by jury, including the rights to be notified of the accusations, to confront the accuser, to obtain witnesses and to retain counsel.

Republicans Against: See Guantanamo Bay Cuba.

7th Amendment Provides for the right to trial by jury in certain civil cases, according to common law.

Both sides vote for overwhelmingly.

8th Amendment Prohibits excessive fines and excessive bail, as well as cruel and unusual punishment.

Republicans Against: See Capital Punishment. Republicans would worry that this Amendment would make prisons too soft for prisoners.

9th Amendment Protects rights not enumerated in the Constitution.

Both sides vote for overwhelmingly.

10th Amendment Reinforces the principle of federalism by stating that the federal government possesses only those powers delegated to it by the states or the people through the Constitution.

Democrats Against: Democrats could worry that this Amendment could be used to erode federal control. They would see it as redundant and potentially dangerous.

11th Amendment  Makes states immune from suits from out-of-state citizens and foreigners not living within the state borders; lays the foundation for sovereign immunity.

Both sides vote for overwhelmingly.

12th Amendment Revises presidential election procedures by having the President and Vice President elected together as opposed to the Vice President being the runner up.

Both sides vote for overwhelmingly.

13th Amendment Abolishes slavery, and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime.

Both sides vote for overwhelmingly (I hope). Some people have questioned how this relates to criminal justice reform, but I will discount that for this article.

14th Amendment Defines citizenship, contains the Privileges or Immunities Clause, the Due Process Clause, the Equal Protection Clause, and deals with post–Civil War issues.

Republicans Against: This grants citizenship to anyone born in US. Many prominent Republicans oppose this Amendment.

15th Amendment Prohibits the denial of the right to vote based on race, color or previous condition of servitude.

Republicans Against: Do you think the Republicans would give non-Whites the right to vote if they did not already have it? I think this would be really close, it depends on the current status quo.

16th Amendment Permits Congress to levy an income tax without apportioning it among the states or basing it on the United States Census.

Republicans Against: Republicans have called for repeal of 16th Amendment, hard to imagine a majority of them voting for income tax, if they could do again now. They would prefer the revenue come from more regressive taxes.

17th Amendment Establishes the direct election of United States Senators by popular vote.

Republicans Against: Republicans regularly plea for repeal of popular vote. Republicans do really well in state legislative races and view this as a way to get more control. Could be a close vote, especially if Republican senators had to vote, but House Republicans would not go for this.

18th Amendment Prohibited the manufacturing or sale of alcohol within the United States. (Repealed December 5, 1933, via 21st Amendment.)

 

19th Amendment Prohibits the denial of the right to vote based on sex.

Republicans Against: Popular Republican hashtag in 2016: . Similar to the 15th, this comes down to power and control. Women are more likely to vote and more likely to vote Democratic.

20th Amendment Changes the date on which the terms of the President and Vice President (January 20) and Senators and Representatives (January 3) end and begin.

Both sides vote for overwhelmingly. But, this should redone to move the date forward. Lame duck sessions suck.

21st Amendment Repeals the 18th Amendment and makes it a federal offense to transport or import intoxicating liquors into US states and territories where such transport or importation is prohibited by the laws of those states and territories.

Republicans Not Clear: Republicans back the prohibition on drugs, which is pretty similar. But, I assume they would be good with alcohol.

22nd Amendment Limits the number of times that a person can be elected president: a person cannot be elected president more than twice, and a person who has served more than two years of a term to which someone else was elected cannot be elected more than once.

Both sides vote for overwhelmingly.

23rd Amendment Grants the District of Columbia electors (the number of electors being equal to the least populous state) in the Electoral College.

Republicans Against: Same reason Republicans won't give them Congresspeople and Senators, it is filled with African-Americans, I mean Democrats.

24th Amendment Prohibits the revocation of voting rights due to the non-payment of a poll tax or any other tax.

Republicans Against: Republicans have fought hard to re-institute poll-taxes in the form of new ID laws, further distance to polls, longer lines, etc.

25th Amendment Addresses succession to the Presidency and establishes procedures both for filling a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, as well as responding to Presidential disabilities.

Both sides vote for overwhelmingly.

26th Amendment Prohibits the denial of the right of US citizens, eighteen years of age or older, to vote on account of age.

Republicans Against: Do you think the Republicans would give 18-21 year-olds the right to vote if they did not already have it?

27th Amendment Delays laws affecting Congressional salary from taking effect until after the next election of representatives.

Both sides vote for overwhelmingly.