`` Six Amendments : How And Why We Should Change The Constitution

1644 WordsSep 28, 20157 Pages
John Paul Stevens’ book, Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution, advocates the concept of self-governance which, in his perspective, has been poorly compromised by recent Supreme Court rulings. At the age of ninety-four, Stevens criticizes these modern court opinions and advises that we push for amendments to overturn these misguided court decisions. The six subjects of controversy that Stevens has proposed remedies for are the anti commandeering rule, political gerrymandering, campaign finances, sovereign immunity, death penalty, and gun control. These claims are supported with both historical evidence as well as his own personal perspective on court rulings that he has participated in during his 35 years as a…show more content…
This “anti-commandeering” rule states that Congress does not have the power to pass laws that require state officials to implement or enforce federal laws. Stevens dissented, stating that the logic behind the ruling was inconsistent with the supremacy clause of the constitution. This challenge against the federal authority had no clear footing since there is no principle within the Constitution stating that the federal courts cannot commandeer states. In addition, this practice has also already been settled for over a century where state courts were frequently commandeered to carry out federal policies and laws such as during the New Deal. The anti-commandeering rule also proved to be dangerous as it may threaten the nation’s ability to respond effectively during times of external invasion or natural disasters. “It also impairs the the efficient administration of ordinary federal programs” (15). The anti-commandeering rule brings back the separate spheres of powers seen in dual federalism. However, in an era where cooperative federalism has been established for decades, the anti-commandeering rule becomes illogical. Stevens suggests that adding the four words “and other public officials” to the Supremacy Clause in Article VI of the Constitution would resolve this issue. The subject of sovereign immunity also challenges federalism, the idea that the government cannot be sued without its consent. This is an
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