Nationwide Ballot Initiatives
U.S. Constitution Amendment Text
Amendment X of the
United States Constitution shall be, and hereby is, amended by appending the
following sentence: "The first power reserved by the People is the
appropriate point to start this Initiatives Amendment is by modifying Amendment X -
Powers of the States and People.
Article I, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution
shall be, and hereby is, amended by inserting the following phrase at the end of
the sentence: ", and in the People through their power of Initiative".
Article I, Section 1 defines the
allocation of "All legislative Powers". For clarity, this must be
revised to include the People's new right of Ballot Initiative.
1.3 This Constitutional Amendment
nationwide United States Citizens' Ballot Initiatives. It establishes a
(i.e., a U.S. Citizens' Initiatives Assembly) to manage the
The Boule shall
consist of a
randomly selected cross-section of the People. The
Boule shall be independent, protected from tampering, responsible
only to the People, and funded by the U.S. Government as an inalienable entitlement of the People.
The Boule is an independent self-perpetuating organization of the People.
Constitutionally, this clause is
sufficient if Congress were to complete the details. However, since Congress is
a source of many problems that this Amendment will resolve, the People
cannot allow Congress to furnish the details. Consequently, this
Amendment is of necessity relatively lengthy and has two references.
U.S. citizen groups
may create Proposed Initiatives but shall not
this right. All citizens and organizations signing or sponsoring a proposed
Initiative shall declare any benefit they may receive by proposing and by passage of the Initiative.
They shall communicate a Proposed Initiative to the Boule by its publication.
Initiative signers must have simple proof of identity at least equivalent to
Federal election voters.
The Amendment taps the creativity of the
People and their organizations to propose Initiatives. To keep order, the
Boule has the power to control
2.2 Direct democracy by
shall be, and hereby is, authorized and granted to the
People as an additional and parallel power to those granted to the
U.S. Congress, and each House thereof, and to those powers that Congress has assumed, will
assume, and could assume. Direct Initiatives shall have the power to do and undo all
manner of things that Congress has done, does, and will do.
shall include, but are not limited to:
legislation, proposing amendments, calling conventions of the States
to propose amendments,
implied powers including all powers under
Article I Section 8
Clause 18, rules, policies,
procedures, precedents and customs, appointments, remuneration, perquisites, and ethics. The sole limitation on the power of
Initiatives shall be the exclusion of impeachment
the Senate under Article I Section 3 Clause 6.
The People must have
equal authority to Congress to enforce checks and to correct deficiencies.
Congress has been and will be creative at annulling constraints. No one can
anticipate where future problems may lay—earmarks, voting rules, ethics,
committee chairperson power, etc. Consequently,
Initiatives must be able to address any congressional matters that the People
deem necessary and may have to repeatedly remedy related issues.
power, e.g., using the "basket clause,"
has required and enabled Congress to assume many things not in the Constitution.
For maximum clarity, to avoid dispute with Congress, and to minimize need for
Supreme Court interpretation, the basket clause and a list show specific matters Initiatives
can address. By placing a sole limitation on the power of Initiative, the Supreme
Court will be more likely bound to interpret that other powers are not limited.
Initiatives are the people's only permanent and certain method to assure that
Congress operates, and knows that it must operate, for the People's benefit and
not for the benefit of Congress, Congresspersons, or their friends.
2.3 The People
voting on Direct
Initiatives shall emulate electing
vote exactly the People's will.
A majority Initiative vote of the People in
a congressional district shall be the equivalent of the vote by its
member of the House of Representatives. A majority initiative vote of the
People in a State shall be the equivalent of the votes by its
To pass, a legislative Initiative shall require a majority
vote in a majority of the congressional districts and in a majority
of the States, i.e., a
double majority. To pass, an Initiative containing a
Constitutional Amendment shall require a majority vote in a
two-thirds majority of the congressional Districts and in a
two-thirds majority of the States, i.e., a
Matters decided in Congress by committee
or other subset thereof shall
be as if a majority of members of that House had passed them. An Initiative addressing a House of Representatives' Committee issue
shall require a majority vote in a majority of
the congressional districts to pass.
An Initiative addressing a Senate Committee issue
shall require a majority vote in a majority of
the states to pass.
Joint committee issues shall require a double majority Initiative
vote to pass.
In addition, an Initiative must always pass by a simple
majority of the nationwide Electorate.
The voting majorities
for initiatives follow the same majorities as those that the Constitution
defined and Congress currently uses.
Statistical anomalies can occur in
elections. Therefore, as a precaution, the Amendment also requires a simple
nationwide majority to pass an Initiative.
Nationwide Initiatives will treat voting by any
Committee or subset of Congress as if a majority vote of one or both Houses had
passed the issue.
A Direct Initiative shall
take effect when passed by the Electorate's
vote and immediately after certification of the vote. A Direct Initiative shall not be subject to any
veto. Congress shall not change or overrule a Direct Initiative except as
in the Direct Initiative.
A later Direct Initiative, or a nationwide
Referendum with the same voting criteria as the Direct Initiative, may change or overrule an earlier Direct
Initiative or Referendum.
The People cannot permit the President
to veto Initiatives or the Congress to
overrule Initiatives, otherwise the government could easily frustrate the
purposes of this Amendment.
Congress does not currently have a
referendum process in
place, but may do so in the future. The Amendment gives initiatives and
referenda equal precedence, the most recent prevailing.
2.5 Article V of the
U.S. Constitution shall be, and hereby is, amended by adding a
second clause consisting of the
following two sentences: "The People shall have the power by
Direct Initiatives to propose U.S. constitutional amendments to the States when passed by
double supermajority vote. Upon
certification of a passing vote, the proposed
constitutional amendment shall be as if Congress had deemed it necessary,
proposed it, defined the mode of ratification, and submitted it to the several States for ratification by their
legislatures or by conventions."
future, the People's fundamental right to alter their government
becomes more explicit by the power to propose constitutional amendments.
This requires a revision of Article V. It is best introduced as a
second clause rather than alter the first clause, which is already complex
and upon which many judicial opinions rely.
Recent Supreme Court rulings — e.g., requiring
constitutional rather than legislative process for
term limits and
line item veto — alone mandate
inclusion of this clause.
Note that two-thirds of the Boule must approve the
Constitutional Initiative before it gets on the ballot. Then, the
People must approve it by a double supermajority vote. Finally, three-fourths of the states must still ratify
it. Passage by this process will therefore be a more severe test.
However, whereas Congress was reluctant to disturb their status
quo, the People will probably use this process more.
Congress may change or overrule them. Within one year after submittal, Congress shall bring it to a conclusive
vote in both Houses subject to Presidential veto or refer it
back to the
Boule. This shall not limit the People's right at any time to
propose similar or
related Direct Initiatives nor the Boule's right to place them on the ballot
as Candidate Initiatives.
States seldom use
their indirect initiative process. The Amendment's indirect process is
easy to use. It will be efficient and effective to encourage Congress to take up
matters without going to the time and cost of a nationwide vote.
Initiatives shall be non-binding polls of the nationwide Electorate.
Advisory (i.e., consultative) initiatives seek the
People's guidance. For example, an advisory initiative may find
acceptable common ground for nationwide compromise on complex issues
or define the scope of a future initiative to avoid unnecessary
3.1 Members shall be
the People's sworn deputies obligated to act
in the best interests for all U.S. citizens
and their Constitutional rights. Members shall vote their own independent
un-coerced opinion after
open-minded deliberation. They shall not participate in voting for any group
affiliation, vote trading, sale, or favor. Any attempts to influence or organize
Members by political or any other association internal or external
to the Boule shall be tampering. Any promise made by a Member to or
for a person or organization that constrains or subverts their
freedom to vote independently shall not be binding.
Members shall be equals and treated
equally. The Boule shall
for their services.
Member's independence is important for the Boule to function
effectively. It is necessary therefore, that special interest of Members should
not form association within the Boule and that the
offence will be punishable under law, otherwise substantial attempts at such
influence are predictable.
Compensation is required to make mandatory participation more
specify the random-selection
It may vary its
between all Citizens and a willing subset of Citizens, and between Citizens entitled to vote
and Citizens registered to vote,
by Direct Initiatives passed by a
double supermajority vote.
Once selected, a Boule
Member shall serve a mandatory duty of citizenship as a private person for a
specified by the Boule. Boule service shall have priority over
all other citizen's duties and work including military, clerical,
political, professional, parenting, secret, or business
Failure to serve and
fulfill a Member's obligations shall be punishable unless excused for excessive hardship by a Federal Court in accordance with
specified by the Boule. No Citizen may
The Boule Rules state that a
simple random sample from all
Citizens entitled to vote must initially generate the list of Members. The
executive branch will
probably choose from the Social Security master list—removing those not eligible to
serve from the selection. If a better
database of Citizens becomes available, e.g., from Homeland Security, then that
may be used.
Initially, all those selected must serve because it appears that
permitting Members to decline for less than excessive hardship could
large special interests to influence the Boule. Though service may sometimes be an imposition, it is a
reasonable duty of citizenship.
shall be the sole authority to
manage the initiative proposal process, to select and qualify all U.S. Candidate
Initiatives, and to place them on nationwide ballots. The Boule shall obtain whatever advice and assistance it deems
Boule shall have the
right to subpoena
and enforce that right through Federal Courts.
The Boule shall ensure that
Candidate Initiatives are
worthy and comprehensible and shall not
Electorate. The Boule shall specify the
citizen groups and
organizations that may propose Initiatives, shall define
abuse of the initiative process, and shall control the ease of proposing
State initiatives have indicated the number of
Initiatives on which an electorate can reasonably vote. There must
be a single authority to control the number of proposed Initiatives,
prevent abuse, and to select the most important,
process will be chaotic.
The Boule must have powers to demand
information similar to Congress to perform its check and balance
Boule shall be self-governing
in accordance with its Rules. It shall have the obligation and right to sustain
itself. It shall obtain approval to change its
budget and Members'
remuneration by Direct Initiative. The U.S. Government shall deposit
to the Boule's
account its total annual budget one month in advance of its initial convocation and each
If the budget in not available, the Boule shall have the power to
borrow on the credit of the United States.
If U.S. government sources are unavailable, this Amendment
may be funded by
philanthropic sources and the States.
The Boule shall be exempt from taxes or levies. The
incorporate and dissolve in
States of its choice. For
legal action against them, this
Amendment grants the
Boule and its Members the same protections
and immunities as Congress and congresspersons.
Whereas Congress can change all congressional rules, the rules
constituting the Boule's Charter require Direct Initiative
approval of the People. In this
way, the People assume full control of the Boule and the Initiative process
insofar as they do not violate the Constitution—government is not involved.
To give the Boule a defined legal status, it can incorporate
itself. However, litigation can breach corporate shields with relative ease, so
the Members must have legal protection against potential personal attacks. Congressional protection has proved very adequate.
To cover the possibility that Congress fails to fund the
Initiatives process, then the final source can be
philanthropic funds and the
By Direct Initiative passed by a double majority
vote of the Electorate, the Boule may form
Subsidiary Boules as necessary to perform separable work.
shall have the same status as Members of the Boule but may serve
for different periods.
For example, it
may eventually prove best that a separate body should provide
ballot opinions to
the voters about the Candidate Initiatives rather than get the opinions from
those who selected the initiatives.
3.6 The Supreme
Court shall have the power to require the
to use a supermajority vote by its Members, a double majority Direct Initiative,
or a double supermajority Direct Initiative approval by the People to change a
rule or implement a new rule. Whenever the Boule requests the
Supreme Court, it shall promptly advise the Boule of its
probable opinions on proposed rule changes.
The Supreme Court can intervene to prevent the Boule
from creating or changing the rules to permit
too low or too high
a level of approval. It assures that the Boule cannot use its
rules to gain more power than intended by the Constitution. It also
provides guidance to the Boule to minimize error and subsequent confusion.
4.1 The Congress,
the President, the Courts and the States shall have power to enforce this
article by appropriate legislation, executive authority, judgment, and action. They shall
implement expeditiously and cooperatively the
intentions of this Amendment and as outlined by the reference documents "Government Actions"
and "Boule Rules."
They shall convene the Boule within one year of this Amendment's ratification.
If a first branch of government fails its obligation while a second
has the ability, then the second shall exercise that power. These obligations shall continue upon successor Congresses,
Presidents, Courts, and States until the People by
Initiative affirm that the intentions of this Amendment have
Implementation details are not appropriate in the Constitution
and are therefore in a reference document. These Government
Actions can never be sufficiently precise to ensure absolute compliance. In
the event that a recalcitrant Congress, President, Courts, or States should
fail their obligations, these obligations shall fall upon other branches that
can fulfill the obligations in full or in part, or shall fall upon their
will permit the People to use their electoral vote to enforce compliance. Although the Amendment requires governments'
the Boule can always remedy any
defects by Initiative—its initial convocation should take place on time
despite any defect or reason.
4.2 The Governments shall not tolerate any law,
regulation or actions that impede or limit the use of
U.S. Initiatives or the Boule’s access to information. The Governments shall preserve, protect and defend
Initiatives, the Boule, and its independence.
time periods specified by the Boule, the Governments shall protect,
punish violation of, the Boule's and each Member's
and family's privacy, freedom from tampering, freedom from press, media
intrusion or exploitation, and failure of duty to serve. Punishments shall
penetrate all shields to reach decision makers, include mandatory jail
terms, and use fines based on percentage of assets.
Boule Members and their families are
private persons. The Amendment must
protect this status. The situation is similar to a Grand Jury except that the
Boule would be even more tempting to media. The Member's status must be in the
Amendment, or the Supreme Court might allow media access under
Amendment 1. Corporate shields and
vast assets protect the most potentially
dangerous offenders; they must anticipate
discomfort of punishment equally no matter their status.
4.3 This Amendment hereby adopts
reference document "Boule Rules" for
the Boule and
binds it to follow them. This
Amendment does not incorporate the reference documents "Government Actions" and "Boule Rules."
By adopting the rules for the Boule, they become
binding on the Boule yet not part of
the Constitution. In effect, it "spins off" the Boule as a viable
entity. The Boule's Charter
the Boule's authority to current needs and requires nationwide Initiatives to change these
Guarantee Clause Clarification
Article IV, Section 4 of the United States Constitution shall be, and hereby
is, amended by appending the following sentence: "State referendums, and United
and State initiatives selected or qualified by popular
signature petition or a Boule, are consistent with and not a
contravention of a republican form of government."
Though there are
good reasons to believe that nationwide
Initiatives are permissible under the Constitution's republican form of
government, arguments can
dispute this view. The Supreme Court
has indicated that it might regard this
as a political issue falling within congressional purview. This would be
unacceptable, so this Amendment must resolve the issue.
Amendment pre-authorizes that the People may repeal this Amendment.
of the United States Constitution shall be, and hereby is, amended
by appending the following two sentences at the end of the second
clause: "Ten years and again twenty years after a U.S. Direct
Initiative first appears on nationwide ballot, the Boule shall
include a Candidate Direct Initiative to repeal the Amendment when passed by a
double majority vote. Should the
Electorate choose repeal, Initiatives previously or concurrently passed shall
remain as if they had originally been enacted by Congress and Congress may
then change or overrule them as regular business of the Congress subject to
This Amendment is for the benefit of the People who
ordained and established the Constitution. Therefore, it is up to the People to repeal the
Amendment if they find it unsatisfactory. Inclusion
of a graceful repeal process is reassurance to some who otherwise might be unwilling to support it. With
greater difficulty, a constitutional amendment may also repeal it—as Amendment
XXI repealed prohibition.
7.1 The article shall be inoperative
unless, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to
the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or if the Congress
proposes them by conventions in three fourths thereof, shall have ratified it as an Amendment to the Constitution.
Congress has consistently added this standard clause to recent Amendments.
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