An admirable plan called, A Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq, proposed by Darcy Burner, a candidate for the House from Washington state, 53 other House candidates, 4 candidates for the Senate and some former Pentagon officials, includes, Restoring our Constitution. In that section of the plan are included the following statements and proposals:
"our systems of checks and balances have failed us at critical moments."
The systems of checks and balances have not failed us, they're still in place. It's the people who have ignored, abused and violated them who are still in place who have failed us.
"we must repair the underlying Constitutional framework of our republic and provide checks to executive authority."
The underlying framework of our Constitution needs no repair, it still provides for the checks to executive authority. What needs repairing is the system that allowed our government to be taken over by people who cavalierly violate the Constitution and its checks and balances.
"clarifying that the President does not have the Constitutional authority to unilaterally alter legislation through signing statements."
The Constitution is already very clear on this, it does not need clarifying. Under the enumerated powers principle of the Tenth Amendment, the President's powers are strictly limited to the 12 provided for in Article II, Section 2, which does not include the power to use signing statements.
"clarifying that the Fourth Amendment requires probable cause and a warrant for the government to spy on Americans."
The Fourth Amendment reads, "no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause." That statement is already as clear as it can be made to any literate person. It does not need clarifying. What it needs is enforcing against its violators, not clarifying.
The problem that I have with the whole tone of this plan, as admirable as it is, is that it passively addresses wrongs, violations and criminal behavior as if something has gone wrong with the Constitution, which reads the same, plus amendments, that it did when written in 1789. According to the plan, the violations of the Constitution are addressed as if they were an act of God, beyond human control. The plan doesn't address what has actually gone wrong and that is that George Bush and his administration have violated the law of the land, the Constitution.
The plan does not propose the remedy to this, which is the arrest, charging, arraignment, indicting and prosecution of the criminals responsible for it, George Bush and his administration.
The plan proposes solutions to problems that do not exist, implied problems with the Constitution that the Constitution clearly has already anticipated and has already solved. The people who wrote this plan have studiously ignored and failed to point the finger of blame at the people who are the cause of the problems they are addressing and instead use it as an outline for legislation to correct those wrongs, legislation that would necessarily duplicate what the Constitution already prohibits as illegal and unlawful acts.
Pointing out what has gone wrong is fine as far as it goes, but trying to clarify what is already clear, repair what has never been broken and merely repeating what the law is instead of enforcing the law is a sorry substitute for putting the criminals in prison who have violated that law.