Confronting Constitutional Confusion

Constitutional Confusion

It seems that every election we face Constitutional Amendments. I am an attorney. I got good grades in Con Law, yet trying to understand these amendments always gives me a headache. I acknowledge that my mind has slipped since my law school days, but shouldn’t everything on the ballot be understandable? I challenge you to read the 14 amendments and then explain even one of them to someone else. That might make for a great reality show. It should not be so, but it is.

The Nature of Constitutions

Constitutions contain the fundamentals of governments, and the rights of the citizens. They should contain permanent basics. Since 1974, the Louisiana Constitution has been amended 175 times. The U. S. Constitution has only been amended 27 times since 1789. The first ten amendments, The Bill of Rights, were adopted almost immediately. Many voters, recognizing that amendments should be rare and deal only with serious matters, are tough to convince that an amendment is worth approving. They vote against every amendment unless convinced otherwise.

The Nature of Politics

On the other hand, once an amendment to the Louisiana Constitution is presented to the voters at least two-thirds of both the Senate and state House have approved the measure. So some of us vote for every amendment deciding to give our politicians the benefit of the doubt.

The Nature of Responsibility

Although the always-vote-no and always-vote-yes positions have a valid basis, maybe we should be individually responsible enough to learn what we are voting on and decide on our own what’s best for Louisiana. That requires some work and research. The best source I have found for learning about the amendments is the PAR Guide. It is online here. The Public Affairs Research Council is a generally respected non-partisan source of information of public interest.

As November 4 draws near I may have a fit of courage or insanity and share my decision on some of the races and on the individual amendments. More importantly, it’s time for each of us to study, pray, decide and vote.  After all, we wouldn’t want all the money that’s being spent to help us decide to go to waste, would we?

  1. Thank you for posting the par website. You are right the amendments are always so confusing and when I read them I get even more confused, most of the time I listen to Moon G. Moon is always on when I’m working, so here I come. Hope I’ll be able to understand it. Thanks

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