How to fix it: As many, if not most, of you know I am a big proponent of further perfecting the Constitution. It was written by men so, therefore, it is imperfect. Furthermore, it was written during a period in our nations history when the threads that were weaving the American fabric were not yet tested for strength; much less how they would fit together to form the parent cloth. It is even true that the framers of the Constitution recognized that their first gambit in the birth of the American nation was not working a mere eleven years into the experiment. The Articles of Confederation were judged to be unsuitable by the cadre of leaders so they sought to forge a new document that would correct the mistakes of the past. Why is it then that we, 225 years later, are too timid to make such an observation? Certainly the eleven year span between 1776 to 1787 witnessed miniscule changes when compared to the massive transformations our country has seen in the last 225. So why not seek to further perfect the document from our advantageous position that comes along with being a witness to history; from learning from ones mistakes and making the simple realization that the men of those first formative years of the American experiment could not possibly have forecasted the metamorphosis that has transpired over the last two and a quarter centuries? At the top of the list is the admission that politics is a prevalent force in our nations governance. Once political considerations are put on the table and are addressed, the methodologies of mitigating what Washington called the baneful effects of party can be addressed. Put another way, the first step in solving a problem is to admit that there is one. We have a problem; its name is politics and it will not go away. What steps do we take to mitigate the effects of politics? The Constitution gives us a great system of checks and balances where one branch of the government can check the intentions and actions of another branch. It is genius. The rivalries that are born out of the document are, perhaps, the greatest thing about the Constitution. The founding fathersthrough the adoption of the documentclearly did not want Congress to trust the President or the Courts to trust the rule of Congress or that the President to be totally restrained in effecting eitherthus giving the Chief Executive the veto power and the power to appoint judges. Yes; the founder put in place a system of checks and balances. But while they wanted distrust; they didnt wantfrom all indications of the Constitutionis the disrespect between the bodies and, in the case of Congress, within the bodies themselves. The Constitution needs to be further perfected to ensure that one house of Congress should be required to hear the full work of the other house in a timely fashion; a straight up or down vote on the work submitted by the other house. Currently, the party leadership makes the determination of what bills are considered and the result has been unparalleled gridlock and the peoples business languishes as a result. A straight up or down vote may merely result in more bills being voted down than ever before. This is fine. That is what representatives do in a republic such as ours. However, when doing the peoples business, the record of the representatives votes will be more detailed and there will be no more hiding behind party leadership to shield a member of the body from having to take a stand. A vote of present should be done away with. The member is elected to serve the people of his or her state or district. Surely it isnt too much to ask that they read the bill and make an informed decision as to whether or not they support the bill. Where the matter isnt brought up by the other chamber of the Congress, the Congress should be forced to hold floor votes to conduct the nations business. When the President nominates federal judges, the Congress should have to consider those appointments in a timely fashion. It is a sign of disrespect to the jurists and to the people that nominations languish for months while the Senate refuses to hold nomination hearings. What is of equal disrespect to the nations citizenry is that Congress quite often is in session for less than one half of the calendar year. While this isnt always the blight that it can be made out to bemembers should be home in their communities as often as possiblemost Americans are given ten federal holidays from work where businesses are closed. There are generally 104 weekend days in a year so 114 days out of 365 are non-session days. Comparatively few Americans work on weekends and while Congressional representation is a privilege that should only be bestowed on the best qualified; we shouldnt expect the members to not have a life outside of their service to us. So 114 days are off the books without consideration. However, of the remaining 251 days in the year, Congress should be required to be in session no less than 167 of those days or 2/3 of the time. Another quarter of the remaining time21 daysshould be devoted to time spent in the community working to uncover the issues in their states and districts; holding hearings in the local chambers of commerce, meeting with community groups, etc Members of the Senate may use the 21 days to visit foreign embassies, meet with other world leaders or do work that is otherwise in accordance with their more generalized office if they wish. The point is that for most of the time; 300-302 days, Congress should be doing the job they were elected to do; be it in Washington or in their communities. States rights are not spelled out by the Constitution except to say that rights not defined should be given to the states. What is defined or not has put many people through law school in this nation. The States have been, at times, poor stewards of their responsibilities. Never more so has this been true when drawing Congressional boundaries or Gerrymandering as it is called. The word processor on which I am typing this recognized the word gerrymandering so it is a thing that has become part of our lexicon. For those who do not know, the word comes from the root gerrymander which was a mythical creature. Someone once used the term to describe the shape of a congressional district that was drawn to either favor one group or injure another. The Constitution needs to be further perfected to stop this practice. Its hard to imagine a system that is less respectful to the nation as a whole than to have these districts drawn to ensure a seat in the House of Representatives remains in the hands of one party or the other. District lines should be abolished all together. In their place, a non-contiguous grouping of persons by population needs to be implemented. I recommend it be done by zip codes via a lottery system. Call the more populous zip codes category A, moderately populated, category B, rural as category C. Then you take all of the As, Bs, and Cs and assign a district numbers via a lottery system as to where each district has roughly the same number of people. Then assign a legislator to a district every 10 years based on the census. He or she may have a district that has both Miami and Jacksonville neighborhoods but what we have now isnt equitable and is seemingly totally at the whim of whichever party happens to hold the pen that draws congressional boundaries. Safe seats will be a thing of the past in most cases. And seats that have historically belonged to one ethnicity or another will vanish over time as well. If this can be combined with campaign finance reform; there will be significant process into amplifying the voices of the voters over those of special interest. Constitutional perfections need to be added to the Court system as well. I do not feel that 30 year terms for Supreme Court Justices is out of the question. I would urge the Constitution to be further perfected to abolish Presidential pardons and bestow that power to the Supreme Court so that legal experts can consider the cases that are truly in need of review without the election cycle being a consideration. In an election year, those who are being considered for a pardon are often at the whim of the Electoral College since a President who gets a second term is more conscious of political fallout than one that doesnt have a second term coming their way. These extraordinary circumstances that are by definition matters of law should be decided by the high court. A simple 5-4 majority would be needed to overturn part of a conviction or commute a sentence. Where the Constitution is currently silent, voice needs to be added. Where the Constitution speaks, silence should be advised in some cases. In the last seventy years, Presidents have moved troops in and out of harms way totally without Constitutional authority outside of the stipulation that he is Commander in Chief. Congress shall have the power to declare war. It says so in the Constitution. The document needs to be perfected to mean just that; we dont move troops into harms way without Congressional approval. This can be done with proxies given to party leaders as to expedite the decision or if the members do not wish to give proxies, they have to be notified for a vote on whether or not to commit troops. Wars fought for convenience or with murky goals in mind should be abolished all together. There are endless avenues to travel down to further perfect the document. I think it should be regularly perfected. I wouldnt be comfortable with anything more often than seventy years or so with the understanding that the amendment process will still be available in the meantime. We do not know what the founders didnt write in the document. We can speculate on their intent but the document we have is ill-suited to the 22nd century realities.