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William C. Altreuter
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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

I enjoyed thinking about this writing assignment for my Constitutional Law class, so I'm sharing it.
We have been discussing the drafters' intentions in crafting Article I-- including the various compromises made along the way, and the notion that, according to Hamilton, the document was intended to represent the starting point for a governmental system that, like the common law tradition it derives from, would evolve over time. In fact, the governmental system and the document itself have evolved, but it could be argued that both are still very much rooted in the 18th and 19th centuries. Since the Constitution was ratified there have been a number of different governmental systems that other nations have developed and employed, some quite successfully. The belief that our Constitution is immutable and incapable of improvement is antithetical to the philosophical underpinnings of this course. We don't just what to know how the Constitution works, we want to think critically about how it might work better.
For this assignment you are to consider how you would propose re-shaping Article I. I will award points for creativity, so don't feel as though you should just nibble around the edges, or make minor tweaks. Should the United States move to a pure parliamentary system? Why not draw the Cabinet from Congress? Do we even require a legislature? If we do, should the means of selecting the members of the legislature remain the same? How would you change the selection process? Perhaps the legislature should be merely advisory. Are the present limitations on Congressional power still rational? Should they be expanded, or should they be limited? What limitations would you propose? Why do we want a bicameral legislature? Plenty of places get on fine without-- should we shuffle the powers presently assigned to the House and the Senate?

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