Free Markets, Free People

Things I’d Like To See: The 28th Amendment

How do you suppose Congress would react to this?

Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States  Constitution:

“Congress shall make no law that  applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to  the Senators and Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies  to the Senators and Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States”.

The founders of this country went to great lengths to ban titles of nobility from existence in the US. They wanted no entitled “elite” on these shores, understanding first-hand what such an elite would and could do to the common man. And one of the signature problems of Europe’s elite (nobility) was the fact that they made rules for their subjects to which they were never required to adhere. Instead they exempted themselves and thereby lost touch with the effect their rules had on others.  The French Revolution, among others, demonstrated the pure folly of such a system.

But that’s essentially what Congress does every time it exempts itself from laws it requires the rest of America to follow. It is also one of the reasons for the huge and growing disconnect between government and the people. When you don’t have to live by the laws you pass, it’s is hard to sympathize or empathize with those who do.

The concept of “nobility” or elite doesn’t necessarily require noble titles to exist. Congress making laws it doesn’t have to live by is enough for most to label those doing so an elite class.

Now I’m not particularly interested in parsing the language of the proposed amendment – you get the gist of the idea.  Don’t you think, in the overall scheme of things, that requiring those who make the laws live by them would help reconnect them with the mainstream (and perhaps have them making fewer laws)? Wouldn’t doing so also give them practical experience concerning the effect of the laws they pass on the daily lives of ordinary people? Why shouldn’t they be in the Social Security system instead of a different (and much better) pension system? Why are they exempt from sexual harassment laws? If this health care system they’re contemplating is good enough for us, why not them?

My guess is most state legislatures would have no problem with passing such an amendment (given the mandates Congress routinely shoves down their throats).  And my guess is it wouldn’t require much at all to get a popular groundswell behind it as well.

Last – aren’t you somewhat amazed we even have to have this conversation or propose such an amendment to begin with?



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17 Responses to Things I’d Like To See: The 28th Amendment

  • Not to “parse” the language of the proposed amendment, but don’t we already have an Amendment that says “Congress shall make no law…”? I believe it’s the First, and (unless I am much mistaken) Congress has already wiped its collective behind with it. 

    Until Congress learns to FEAR the people, Congress will make any law it damn well pleases, regardless of what that toilet-paper-parchment-behind-the-bulletproof-glass says.


  • Section 9 Clause 8 already has No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States

  • Congress should submit to the same laws as the public. This was one of the points in the Contract with America. However, I think this is a bad idea.
    Law enforcement is an executive branch function. Checks and balances is a design feature. The executive branch already has much more power than the founders intended. I don’t want the President or the Attorney General deciding that our representatives acted “illegally”.

    • I don’t want the President or the Attorney General deciding that our representatives acted “illegally”.

      Even if that were to happen, it would be up to the courts to decide whether legislatures actually had acted illegally.  I don’t see much of an issue here.

  • Include government employees in that wording and I am with you.

  • Include citizens in that and I’d be with you too.  “Congress shall make no law that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States.”  Of course, that would make the handing out of political favors and pork unconstitutional. 



  • What makes anyone think they’d honor this law anymore than they already do the 1st, 2nd 5th, 9th, 10th or even the main body (Commerce clause, general welfare clause, etc)?
    To Congress, the Constitution is a body of SUGGESTIONS, not a body of LAW.

    • Sadly, I have to agree.  The politicians and bureaucrats and journalists and lobbyists who inhabit DC have a collective Alice in Wonderland complex: “The Constitution means exactly what I say it means, neither more nor less.”

      If they all agree that Congress has a power not explicitly found in the Constitution, or that some act of Congress or the president or the bureaucracy doesn’t violate the Constitution… then that’s reality for them AND for the rest of us.

  • We also have a balanced budget.  These are mostly lawyers who by profession get paid to circumvent the laws without breaking them.  Not uphold their spirit.  Otherwise they’d have legal training somewhere between nurse and TV repairman at the local community college.
    I mean Gramm-Rudman was suppose to help balance the budget.  What could go wrong?

  • It will never happen, but a brilliant idea nonetheless.
    Another great amendment would require any law (including the Constitution itself) to be judicially interpreted to mean what it was intended to mean by its author(s) at the time of its writing.

  • “Why shouldn’t they be in the Social Security system instead of a different (and much better) pension system?”  Well McQ they have been under SS since 1984 and are also under the federal employees’ pension plan unless they were in office prior to 1984 and elected to stay in the former excessively generous  plan.  And yes they exempted themselves and federal employees from the provisions of the “healthcare reform” bills and themselves from federal sexual harassment laws.

    I don’t disagree with the proposed amendment, but it will never get through congress unless we kick out just about every present member and then strike while the iron is hot for it, term limits, a presidential line item veto and a balanced budget with a 10 year implementation and a 4/5 override for real emergencies.

  • I agree that Congress doesn’t believe that they are govern by the same laws that they pass.  What we should do is vote them out.  Don’t let them stay in office for more than one term.  We, the citizens of the United States need to have Congress be afraid of us (the people) and not the reverse. 

    Congress has forgotten that they are here to serve the people and that we put them in office and we can vote them off as well.  I feel we should vote out all incumbents!!!

  • They can’t pass this quick enough.