A contemplation for a Sunday night-
America’s founding fathers meant for the Constitution to be a living and binding governance document. To both guide and reflect the shape of America’s government, and to be amended as things came up.
However, though we’re still bound by the Constitution, in large part we’ve stopped updating it, or at any rate, the amendments we’ve ratified aren’t representative of the most significant ways we’ve altered, reinterpreted, or departed from the original governmental forms and rights set forth in the Constitution (e.g., see the tangled skein that has arisen from the commerce clause, or the banality of perhaps half of the amendments after the Bill of Rights). The majority of our federal government- to this day- has very little constitutional basis.
Simply put, for whatever reasons, our big legal, organizational, and social shifts no longer get amended into the Constitution, and thus the Constitution (though still binding) no longer reflects our actual government, our society, or the law of the land.
Is that good or bad? I don’t know– but I would guess somewhat bad, because having a constitution detached from the how the law of the land actually works obscures the form of government from its citizens, and it obscures and hampers the function of the ideals and checks and balances built into the Constitution.
Now, I realize I’m probably not the first person to make this observation. However, here’s the question I’m throwing out there:
If we were to update the Constitution to be consistent with how our government is *actually* run, what would our new-slash-actual constitution look like?
Some existing amendments would be dropped, as they’ve been rendered toothless or are obsolete in modern society. Many amendments would need to be reworded; and many, many would need to be added. The sections dealing with the shape of the government would need a major overhaul, with very little in the way of states’ rights, and huge sections on federal bureaucracies, intelligence and defense agencies, new executive branch powers, regulatory agencies, and so forth.
It could be a very scary document, at that.