PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES

AMENDMENT 28 - To be known as #11 of The Bill of Rights THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY, INTIMATE ASSOCIATION, LIFE, AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

Section 1: In the following sections, "covered jurisdiction" means the United States, any state, or any other subordinate jurisdiction.

Section 2: No covered jurisdiction may pass any legislation defining any conduct occurring in privately-owned space as criminal when there is no reasonable chain of events that could lead to an actor's actual conviction for the (specific occurrence of) the crime. Obtaining witness testimony in consideration for immunity will be considered a legitimate method of obtaining conviction for a crime when (1) the witness is victimized by the crime, or (2) there is immediate threat of injury or death to persons.

Section 3. No covered jurisdiction may pass any legislation which criminalizes private, consensual, non-fraternal intimate conduct between adults, unless a specific occurrence of the conduct results in provable infliction of injury upon or transmission of disease to a person. No covered jurisdiction may pass any legislation or administrative rules whose only purpose is to "stigmatize" persons based on a perception of their participation in the intimate conduct as just defined. In this provision, "fraternal" refers to persons related by blood, by military rank, or by similar reporting relationship in government employment.

Section 4. No covered jurisdiction may pass any legislation which criminalizes or otherwise prohibits cohabitation between any consenting adults, except for reasonable requirements for per-person living space.

Section 5. Nothing in Sections 1, 2 and 3 requires any covered jurisdiction to recognize any group of individuals as a "suspect class" according to their preferred forms of adult intimate behavior. Nothing in these sections requires Congress or any State or subordinate jurisdiction to recognize any particular intimate relationship as a legal marriage.

Section 6. The United States of America recognizes the right of any human being to Life, and of any pregnant woman to her own person; therefore there must be reconciliation of competing legitimate interests. The policy of the United States of America is to give the highest priority to the right to live for anyone who is capable of knowing of his or her existence. Accordingly, no covered jurisdiction may prohibit abortion during the first ninety days of pregnancy. From day 91 to the end of term, the States (but not the Congress) will have the right to limit abortion according to normal legislative remedies.

Section 7. The United States recognizes property as an important component of personal privacy and expression. No covered jurisdiction may seize property under tort and hold it without trial for more than a brief period necessary to ensure public health and safety. Property may be withheld permanently only after civil trial or as part of a sentence for a criminal conviction.

Section 8. No covered jurisdiction may require involuntary servitude, even with pay, of anyone.

Section 9. The expression of a voluntary silent prayer or spiritual practice in a public place will not constitute government or public endorsement of a particular religious expression. The voluntary, incidental display of a religious object or artifact in a public place likewise will not constitute public endorsement of religion.

Section 10. The United States recognized the rights and responsibilities of a parent to give informed consent to the content of his or her child's education. State and local governments must allow a parent to veto the exposure of his or her child to material the parent deems objectionable, and must, within five years of enactment of this amendment, provide a decentralized mechanism to determine and ratify school curricula at the most local level practical. No covered jurisdiction may order parents to transport students to particular public schools merely to maintain certain racial ratios.

Section 11. No covered jurisdiction, for purposes of employment, loan subsidies, housing, licensing, or admission to public educational institutions, may establish preferential treatment or quota assignment for members of any social group, defined by race, ethnicity, gender, or age. This provision does not preclude preferential consideration by public agencies due to income or economic circumstances. No covered jurisdiction may exclude from employment, education admission, access to government information, or professional license, anyone because of race, ethnicity, gender, age, or (apart from observed inappropriate conduct) sexual orientation. This provision does not preclude the application of bona fide medical, physical or intellectual job qualifications by public, intelligence, law enforcement or protective agencies, and the Armed Forces.

Section 12. When anyone is charged with an offense of making indecent or otherwise unsuitable material available to minors, a successful defense is made when the actor makes a good-faith effort to publish in an area not normally or immediately accessible to minors, or to use customer age-screening technologies available at reasonable effort and cost.

Section 13. The United States shall honor reasonable and proper procedural due process in all administrative actions against its employee or against members of the Armed Forces.

AMENDMENT 29 - Marriage

Section 1- No State will be required, under the Full Faith and Credit Clause, to honor a marriage made in another State if that marriage would not have been valid in the subject State.

Section 2- The Federal government is not bound by the marriage laws of any State in characterizing a marriage relationship for purposes of defining an tax liabilities or Federal benefits in Federal law.

Comments:

Some of the provisions in Amendment 28 arguably could be enacted as federal statutes without a constitutional amendment. But if that were done, a challenge to such a statute could be made on the grounds that Congress is exceeding its specifically enumerated powers which, according to the Tenth Amendment, belong to the states or to the "people" (through locally representative democracy).

On the Proposed 28th Amendment, I would now add to provision 12 the phrase, "… and without undue hindrance to legitimate adult communication." For example, requiring credit card or adult access verification (COPA) may severely restrict the flow of ideas on "adult topics."

On June 4, 1998, the House of Representatives defeated the proposed Religious Freedom Amendment, introduced by Istook. The Amendment would have read as follows:

"To secure the people's right to acknowledge God according to the dictates of conscience: Neither the United States nor any state shall establish any official religion, but the people's right to pray and to recognize their religious beliefs, heritage or traditions on public property, including schools, shall not be infringed. Neither the United States nor any state shall require any person to join in prayer or any religious activity, prescribe school prayers, discriminate against religion, or deny equal access to a benefit on account of religion."

Note: (May 2001). A reader points out to me that Amendment 27 (1992), which says, “No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of representatives shall have intervened,” had been proposed as part of the Bill of Rights and that therefore my proposal would logically become #12 of the Bill of Rights  This (#27) has sometimes been called the “Rip Van Winkle Amendment.”  One source is The Bill of Rights: Creation and Reconstruction by AKHIL REED AMAR, Yale University Press.

Ó Copyright 1996 by Bill Boushka. All Rights reseved.