The US Constitution


The US Constitution


  • Limits government, avoiding tyranny. E.g. Obama had to step down as Senator; Congress overrode Obama's veto on the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act; and Texas introduced open-carry gun laws despite Obama's attempts to restrict gun usage. The framers did this intentionally.
  • Protects citizens' rights through entrenched clauses. E.g. Bill of Rights. However the Supreme Court can restrict these rights.
  • Provides opportunities for participation. E.g. California 2012. However this can be overwhelming.


  • Produces a weak government through gridlock. E.g. 2013 government shutdown. This is worsened by polarisation and partisanship.
  • Rigid. E.g. the ERA had a 2/3 majority in 35 states, but it still wasn't enough. However there is some flexibility through the Supreme Court's ability to interpret. Furthermore, this can be a good thing in order to preserve the Constitution as fundamental law.
  • Produces a powerful unelected Supreme Court that is politicised. E.g. 5-4 decisions such as D.C. v. Heller are common; Bush appointed conservative justices while Obama appointed liberal. However their power is part of the system of checks and balances.
  • There are outdated elements. E.g. (arguably) 2nd Amendment, 3rd Amendement. However if one amendment is deemed outdated, where does the line lie for the rest?
  • Produces overrepresentation of small states, which affects the Senate, constitutional amendments and the Electoral College. E.g. California (pop. 40 mil.) and Wyoming (pop. 0.5 mil.) both have 2 senators. However this is partly intentional in order to protect states' rights.
  • Too much monetary influence on elections and legislation. E.g. Open Secret estimates the total cost of the 2012 presidential election at $6 billion. Several attempts have been made to stop this, but have been unsuccessful (e.g. Citizens United v. FEC 2010), coming down to the 1st Amendment right to free speech.





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