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More Perfect Constitution: 23 Proposals to Revitalize Our Constitution and Make America a Fairer Country
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More Perfect Constitution: 23 Proposals to Revitalize Our Constitution and Make America a Fairer Country

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by Larry J. Sabato
 

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ISBN-10: 0802716210

ISBN-13: 9780802716217

Pub. Date: 10/02/2007

Publisher: Walker & Company

"No society can make a perpetual constitution, or even a perpetual law. The earth belongs to the living generation."—Thomas Jefferson

"A constitution intended to endure for years to come [is] consequently to be adapted to the various crises of human affairs."—John Marshall

"This book will ask readers

Overview

"No society can make a perpetual constitution, or even a perpetual law. The earth belongs to the living generation."—Thomas Jefferson

"A constitution intended to endure for years to come [is] consequently to be adapted to the various crises of human affairs."—John Marshall

"This book will ask readers to set aside their own political loyalties, to look past the current ‘values' debates and hot-button issues, to consider this very real possibility: that the failure of the nation to update the Constitution and the structure of government it originally bequeathed to us is at the root of our current political dysfunction."—Larry Sabato

The political book of the year, from the acclaimed founder and director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.

Larry Sabato has one of the most visionary and fertile political minds in America. Like so many, he is increasingly alarmed at the growing dysfunction and unfairness of our political system. To solve this, to restore the equity for ordinary citizens that is at the core of our democratic society, we must take a radical step—to revise the Constitution, the document that guides our political process, for until some of its outmoded provisions are reformed, we will only have more of the same.
The original framers fully expected the Constitution to be regularly revised by succeeding generations to reflect the country's changing needs; yet, apart from the ten amendments in the Bill of Rights, it has only been amended 17 times in 220 years, and most of those amendments had minor ramifications. Today, partisan gridlock dominates Washington; 17 percent of voters elect a majority of senators; the presidency has assumed unprecedented and unintended powers; while politicians spend as much time campaigning for office as they do governing; and average Americans feel more and more disconnected from the political process so that half or more don't vote in many elections—all of which would have horrified Jefferson and Madison.

A More Perfect Constitution presents twenty three creative and dynamic proposals to reinvigorate American governance at a time when such change is urgently needed. Combining idealism and pragmatism, and with full respect for the original document, Sabato's thought-provoking ideas range from the length of the president's term in office and the number and terms of Supreme Court justices to the structure of Congress, the vagaries of the antiquated Electoral College, and a compelling call for universal national service—all laced through with the history behind each issue and their potential impact on the lives of ordinary people.
Aware that such changes won't happen easily, Sabato urges us nonetheless to engage in the debate and discussion they will surely engender. As we head towards a presidential election year, no book is more relevant or significant than his.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802716217
Publisher:
Walker & Company
Publication date:
10/02/2007
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
5.92(w) x 10.02(h) x 1.18(d)

Table of Contents


Preamble     1
Creating a Capital Congress     19
Reforming the Senate     23
Reforming the House     32
Congressional Term Limits: Extreme or Mainstream?     41
Balancing the Budget: Setting the Stage for a Great Convention Debate     54
Continuity of Government: Preparing for the Unthinkable     69
Perfecting the Presidency     76
The Presidential Term of Choice     80
The Six-Year Term     84
The Alternative: A Presidential Confirmation Election     87
A Lengthened House Term (and Changes in the Senate Term)     93
War-Making Limits: Presidential Downsizing     97
Item Veto     101
Fairness for All: Making the Presidency Possible for Americans Who Are Not "Natural-Born"     104
The New Courts: Supreme But not Eternal     108
The Error of Lifetime Tenure     110
Fixed Terms     115
Not-So-Early Retirement     116
A Balanced Bench     117
Power of the Purse     118
Politics: America's Missing Constitutional Link     121
Of Parties, Presidential Politics, and the Quadrennial Orgy     123
The Regional Lottery Plan for the New Constitution     131
The Electoral College: Mend It, Don't End It     134
Adding Some Political Rules of the Game for the Twenty-first Century     152
A Citizenship of Service: Asking what we can do for our Country ... and Ourselves     154
An American History of Service: Military Calls and Civilian Supplements     157
The Case for Universal National Service (UNS)     166
Universal National Service and America's Future     176
Vox Populi: What do the People Think of Constitutional Change?     179
The Caution Light Blinks Steadily     181
Dissatisfaction with the Status Quo     183
Look Who's Talking     186
Rasmussen Poll on the Proposed New Constitution     190
Calling the Twenty-First-Century Constitutional Convention     198
The Founders' Daring-and Our Timidity     199
The Legal Netherworld Surrounding a New Convention     202
Setting the Ground Rules Prior to the Convention     205
Calling the Convention     211
After the Convention: Ratification and Its Aftermath     216
Conclusion: Getting There from Here     221
Afterword     233
United States Constitution and Amendments     237
Acknowledgments     261
Notes      263
Selected Bibliography     327
Index     335

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More Perfect Constitution: 23 Proposals to Revitalize Our Constitution and Make America a Fairer Country 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Larry Sabato is the Einstein of the Constitution. The ideas in this book could help save America from the sewer. Sabato wants to tweak the Constitution to make it more effective rather than to institute radical reforms. He lays out his case in clear language and impeccable logic. It's high time we had a constitutional convention, and this is one 'Virginia Plan' I could definitely get behind!
citgrad More than 1 year ago
Larry Sabato has done an outstanding job with his suggestions for needed changes in our Constitution. He follows in the footsteps of Thomas Jefferson who warned future generations that it would be necessary to "tweak" the Constitution to update it to keep its principals in tact for an every expanding country with an ever increasing population. Jefferson felt that up dating without changing the basic principals of a FREE Republic is in order. Sabato has does exactly what TJ prosed.