A Proposed 28th Amendment to Ensure This Never Happens Again

After the events of January 6, we should be asking how to prevent, not only such an event, but the series of events that led up to it, from happening again. The Senate convicting Donald Trump on charges of inciting the insurrection is one suggestion often talked about, but what about some other Trump-like president in the future? A 28th Amendment to the Constitution to make some changes to the process, as well as to make some things so clear that even Donald Trump and Louie Gohmert can understand them may be the answer.

Section 1: The terms of President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 4th day of January unless that date shall fall on a weekend in which case the terms of President and Vice President shall end at noon on the next Monday.

Originally, the Constitution set March 4 as the date of the inauguration, but the 20th Amendment moved that date up to the current January 20. The reason why is quite simple: March 4 is a long way from the first Tuesday in November which hamstrung Abraham Lincoln’s ability to deal with the succession crisis and delayed Franklin Roosevelt’s ability to attempt to tackle the Great Depression. By moving the date of the inauguration up, it gives an unscrupulous president less time to do harm on the way out while still giving the incoming president nearly two months to prepare for the task ahead.

Section 2: The Vice President, as President of the Senate, shall preside over the joint session of the counting of the electors which shall take place on the 20th day of December. An objection to a state’s electors may be raised provided the objection be signed by at least one member of each house after which the joint session shall adjourn and each house shall debate the objection for not more than two hours whereupon each house shall require a three-fifths majority to sustain the objection. The Vice President shall have no power in determining the validity of a state’s electors.

Here we have some reforms to the Electoral Count Act of 1877 that we all became familiar with over the past month. Once again the date is moved up, to prevent passions from growing hotter over longer periods of time. It also raises the threshold from a simple 50%+1 to 60% to sustain an objection which will prevent a majority party from simply throwing out electors from states that their party’s candidate lost. It does keep the challenge system, because while Trump’s tales of voter fraud and a stolen election were bunk, that does not mean that it is impossible for some future election to be tainted with actual ballot stuffing, bribery, or other instances of genuine fraud. Finally, this section clarifies what most of us already know, but simply makes it crystal clear for those that do not, that the vice president is not a kingmaker.

Section 3: No lawsuit alleging illegality during the election may be brought by any candidate for President or Vice President, nor any elector, nor any third party after the proper authority of the state in question certifies the election. States shall not certify the selection of electors until no less than 21 days after the election, but no more than 28 days. No state, or group of states, shall have the power to sue any other state regarding the manner in which another state conducts its election.

Again, the idea that a certification means the results are final is not new, but that did not stop the Trump campaign and its allies from trying. This section makes clear that if you file a suit after a state certifies its election it goes straight to the paper shredder, so do not even waste your time or lie to your supporters that it will somehow end with success. However, to prevent premature certification from unscrupulous state officials, there is a three-to-four week waiting period to ensure any legitimate legal action can proceed, but that 28 day maximum provides a set-in-stone end date for the election to ensure we do not have to deal with never-ending frivolous lawsuits by campaigns that are “just waiting for the legal process to play out.” A final clarification states that states run their elections and that other states have no role to play in those elections, so no more Texas-like lawsuits.

This amendment does not seem radical. It simply clarifies some things, changes some dates, and requires at least 60% of Congress to void an election instead of 50%+1. It takes two-thirds of each house to ratify an amendment, which should be doable considering 70% of the House and over 90% of the Senate voted to affirm the election. The only question would be whether there would be enough Republicans in three-fourths of the state legislatures to realize that this is not just about Trump, because one day a Democrat might try to do what Trump did over these past few months.

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Writing about politics and other interesting things. Contributing Writer to NewsBusters. Member of YAF’s National Journalism Center’s Spring 2019 class.

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Alex Christy

Alex Christy

Writing about politics and other interesting things. Contributing Writer to NewsBusters. Member of YAF’s National Journalism Center’s Spring 2019 class.

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