>It was submitted by the 1st Congress to the states for ratification on September 25, 1789, along with eleven other proposed amendments. While ten of these twelve proposals were ratified in 1791 to become the Bill of Rights, what would become the Twenty-seventh Amendment and the proposed Congressional Apportionment Amendment did not get ratified by enough states for them to also come into force with the first ten amendments.
> The proposed congressional pay amendment was largely forgotten until 1982, when Gregory Watson, a 19-year-old sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin, wrote a paper for a government class in which he claimed that the amendment could still be ratified. A teaching assistant graded the paper a "C" and an appeal to the professor, Sharon Waite, failed, motivating Watson to launch a nationwide campaign to complete its ratification. The amendment eventually became part of the United States Constitution, effective May 5, 1992, completing a record-setting ratification period of 202 years, 7 months, and 10 days
>In 2016, Zach Elkins, a professor in the UT Department of Government, became interested in Watson's story and began to document its origins. He tracked down Sharon Waite, who had left academia in the 1980s to work on her family's citrus farm. Elkins suggested to Waite that they change Watson's grade. In 2017, Elkins submitted a grade change form with Waite's signature and a grade change to "A+". In an interview with NPR, Waite stated, "Goodness, he certainly proved he knew how to work the Constitution and what it meant and how to be politically active, [...] So, yes, I think he deserves an A after that effort — A-plus!" The registrar approved a grade change to "A", because the university does not give grades higher than "A".
How has this not yet been made into a comedy?
It’s hilarious to me that the bureaucracy of this university couldn’t allow even a single grade above an A in this exceptional circumstance - I wonder if it actually came down to some hard limit in their grade keeping system, or if some grumpy recordskeeper just said, “Nope, this is how we’ve always done things, so this is how we will always do things.”
The world is not as rigid as northern Europe thinks it is...
Far more rule and law-bending is happening than that, for the possibility of "inventing a new grade" to be really impossible/surprising.
The only problem was they legally had to go through a open contest for the position.
So when someone came up with 5x the qualifications (citations, papers, conferences, better universities attended, etc, globally too) than their ho-hum friend (some relative of the dean), the professor body suddenly folded the position.
A few months later, they announced a new opening, with some specially crafted qualifications, so that only their friend could pass.
> In 1994, the A* grade was added above the grade A, to further differentiate attainment at the very highest end of the qualification. This remained the highest grade available until 2017.
The grades are now 1-9, with 9 being the highest and above A*.
In this particular case, I think it certainly is within a University's remit to award a special grade given the exceptional circumstances.
Another example of the US inching toward the metric system ;-)
Although yes, the UK too is in this hybrid world where gas (petrol/diesel) is in litres, temperature is in Celsius, but vehicle speedometers are in miles per hour and feet and inches are very popular for height, measuring rooms and furniture, etc.
Universities have their own ideas
This is not some kind of overreach of bureaucracy.
Bah! That's grade-inflation, pure and simple. In my day, the grades topped out at cough4.0. Back in my day, a 4.0 coughreally meant somethingcough, not like these cough hold on, I gotta re-up my inhaler-
Ok, where was I?
Oh, right - Get off my lawn!
This is absolutely an example of rigid bureaucracy at work.
Also, you now are eligible for grade changes in past English classes because you used the word "can't" figuratively to describe a literal situation. Whether the grade changes occur and if they go up or down is up to the systems maintaining the grades and the teachers.
In all seriousness, this is not rigid bureaucracy preventing something that would be useful. Just because prof have such an emotional reaction to someones unusual effort does not mean new grade has a reason to exist.
They already went way outside, above and beyond anything I could've imagined. How do you change a grade decades after the course? Surely they're locked down soon after. To me, just going off and making it an A (rather than the professor just saying "well I've got egg on my face don't I?") is already incredible and a generous deviation from the bureaucracy.
There's literally an infinite number of ways to adapt the system to allow for a higher-than-A grade. Choosing to not do it is still a choice.
I'm not claiming they should've done anything different. I'm merely making sure bureaucracy's responsibility in this matter is pinned down.
* It is not up to me to decide that, it would be overreaching my mandate to make that change.
* This is against my moral values.
* This is against rules that everyone else bothered to follow.
All these are valid choices and right choices. The bureaucracy responsibility in cases like this is literally to resist the pressure to make exception just so someone feels good.
Numberphile has a nice video about it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzrRkhU248A
The remaining amendments are, well, just amendments. They don't necessarily specify rights, and are generally not considered part of the bill of rights.
In my matric year (grade 12) I took three first languages (although I already had two first languages by grade 10). The department of education did not like it, but I did it anyway, with some encouragement from my language teachers.
Fast forward to the final exams, I did well enough to make the provincial top 40, but was excluded due to what I still think was a bug in their system. Funnily enough, I walked to the provincial minister for education (later the national Minister of Health) and told him what happened. For a short while I was a radio celebrity due to the minister personally telling people "Look, this white boy got a B in Sepedi so you guys really should stop complaining and do better." 
The error was not corrected and I was actually at the ceremony by chance for having gotten best in English in the province. I also randomly got a call from some trust and got about $100 for my creative writing essay.
In any case I guess the whole radio thing was more amusing to me and actually was a better prize in the end.
 In South Africa, a B is 70%—79%; I had gotten 76%.
Side note: This podcast is excellent. The first two seasons are not songs, but investigative (and entertaining!) pieces on important Supreme Court rulings.
I for one never heard of this, so thanks for sharing!
It's one state shy of passing and has been that way since the '80s. That said, there's a very strong argument that the amendment is no longer eligible to be passed because, unlike Madison's amendment, there was an explicit "this offer expires" date in the bill passed by Congress, and that date has long passed. Also, several states rescinded their ratifications. That said, there are plausible legal theories that states aren't actually allowed to un-ratify amendments and that proposed amendments can't expire.
And with the benefit of hindsight, Waite says, Watson clearly doesn't deserve that C she gave him.
"Goodness, he certainly proved he knew how to work the
Constitution and what it meant and how to be politically
active," she says. "So, yes, I think he deserves an A
after that effort — A-plus!"
And that's exactly what happened.
On March 1, Waite signed a form to officially change
Watson's grade. Thirty-five years after Gregory Watson
wrote his paper, he finally got his C changed to an A.
Changes by you are highlighted in one color.
Changes by other parties are highlighted in other colors.
If you need a diff between versions Word can generate one for you in seconds.
So yes, this is exactly how we work. Because it was designed to fit our workflow.
Not true, at least from the point of view of a litigator.
The changes to an agreement can be crucial, especially in the absence of an entire agreement clause. There are, of course, rules about using evidence outside the agreement to construe its meaning, but many exceptions to this rule exist - eg, mistake. The biggest exception is ambiguity, where previous additions/deletions serve to highlight what the parties' intentions were at the time of agreement.
Even if it was, proving intent would be very difficult - after all just because you introduced a change doesn't mean I agreed to it.
Often contract clauses start off in a "no way I would sign that" state, and may get carried along for a while as you are focused on different things. The fact it existed in the history is, by itself, pretty meaningless.
That makes it superior for legal documents to all version tracking systems that I'm aware of that are used in the programming field.
One thing I've always been concerned about when negotiating a legal agreement is how I verify that the tracked changes actually track every change. Because Word lets the user decide which changes to track, I'm always reading the untracked sections as well to confirm that no other changes were sneakily introduced. That's something that git addresses well. Does Word have a solution there? If not, does that ever concern you?
In my limited experience, Word is used for the early back and forth, but final stages are done and reviewed in PDFs, and PDF diff tools used to identify any changes. No reason you couldn't do the same thing all in Word.
It does have such a tool, you would have rev A (old one) then collapse all the tracked changes in rev B and diff with A.
Also, Track Changes doesn't allow two people to work on a document asynchronously, while git does.
I have seen a ridiculous number of errors in legal documents given the fact that a huge part of the legal profession is to produce solid/error-free documents.
But while the law profession's response to this seems to be just "be a better lawyer", the software industry's response is "build better tools that don't allow me to make errors". I'm sure I don't need to tell you which method I think is preferable in the long term.
>For example, I can't edit a legal document while SSH'd into a host computer on my firms network.
Track changes is supported by LibreOffice and its kin, so certainly possible to ssh into a computer on your firms network and edit it. Might require an X server on your local machine, I am not sure if libreoffice works in terminal (but its open source, so if you really wanted to you could add support!)
That said, the recommended way to do what you are asking is to run an "Online Office Server", which gives you a online version of word (think google docs, but looks like MS word) that you can access through you VPN or company portal with ssl/tls. Different workflow for different folks I suppose.
>Also, Track Changes doesn't allow two people to work on a document asynchronously, while git does.
Office 2019 has added 'source control like' simultaneous/asynchronous editing when integrated with a Sharepoint server. Multiple people can have the file open, and the save button both commits your changes and pulls whatever other changes have been committed since, with options to resolve conflicts.
Furthermore, with the office 365 version of the office suite (or Online Office Server, which is nearly the same thing but self hosted) it is possible do live editing, whereby multiple people edit the same document simultaneously (google docs style). Not sure why you would want to do that, but it eliminates merge conflicts at least and seems to be pretty popular at my workplace. Especially useful when someone is presenting slides and there is something you don't like in them ;-)
Of course, as long as your document is on a sharepoint server, you get version control built in and can roll back to see the document at any save point, do diffs, etc.
It is true that the FOSS world is more civilized, but Microsoft isn't sitting by idly. They spent $8B on github for a reason, and it wasn't to get their business model.
Having to use MS Word in the cloud doesn't really scratch the itch I'm talking about either.
That's cool about Office 2019, I did indeed not know about that. Can I perform these Sharepoint-enabled changes while offline? It seems like all of the things you are talking about require a centralized online server in order to do. Regardless, I do not think there is a conflict between the statements "you need Sharepoint to do these things" and "Track Changes cannot do these things".
Asking a world that is used to what came out of Xerox PARC to switch back to 1970's technology on teletype emulators is...the only word I can think of is Quixotic.
To write software, I can use a CLI text editor, a basic GUI text editor, an advanced text editor like Sublime or Atom or VS Code, or a full on IDE like the JetBrains products. I have so much choice, and all of these are interoperable with each other and have different places where they shine. All work with git. I just don't think the same thing can be said for the document-creation workflows around law and such.
That's my general response to "why use 1970s tech?", though I guess I'm being a bit unfair here. Word is, in some ways, a marvelous piece of engineering. The whole Office suite is. Unfortunately, thanks to path dependence and business strategies, it's also locked in a place where it's not interoperable with anything outside the Office ecosystem by default.
I guess I have an answer to the age-old question: in sci-fi shows, how come nobody in-universe notices their computing technology is, in many areas, ridiculously inefficient and ineffective compared to the old XX/early-XXI-century tech? The answer may be, the sci-fi future tech is built on so many layers of lowest-common-denominator, walled garden, non-interoperable tech that people no longer know how interoperability or efficient computing looks like.
“Being old” is probably the lamest way to claim something shouldn’t be used.
There's got to be a better way.
It feels like the CVS way of versioning (Every document has a history) rather than the modern way of versioning (A set of documents has a history).
Perhaps this is a smaller problem for these kinds of documents because while my changes are often a dozen changed documents in a set of a hundred thousand documents, these word processor changes are typically across one or two documents in a set of one to ten?
It's almost like you guys are deliberately ignoring all the lawyers with actual transactional experience to create hypothetical problems that don't exist in the real world so you can suggest version control as a solution.
E.g: if you are in a process when there would naturally be two separate documents it may be that you are creating a single document becuse with the single document the change process works with the tooling.
Or is there something else inherent to the process that says a process/negotiation always includes one document?
I’m not sold on version control either - especially as structured text like word processors have such poor support - but it seems even change tracking in word documents should be able to track and show the differences in a set of documents such as a directory. I’m not arguing those tracking 3 word docs should use git.
Legal agreements are basically a war over each party's choice of standardized language followed by battles over customized terms.
- Laws are passed by Congress and signed by the President.
- The actual formal text of the law is printed in the “US Statues at Large”. Think of this like a commit log— it’s written as a series of add/modify/remove operations to the United States Code (USC), which represents the “master” branch of the repo; our current laws.
- Sometimes the add/edit/remove operations have implications in many parts of the code. There is a manually-intensive process that actually determines which parts of the USC must be modified and how. This is like code review on a PR.
- Periodically, after many laws are passed and many mods to the USC, it is “republished” (tag/release).
Why we couldn’t do this with our laws is beyond me. Institutional inertia I suppose.
But Executive's do get up to "naughty shit!" as a Uk Party Whip said to me once in a bar.
Word's "track changes" feature is good enough that an MVP for such a VCS product would need to have a very good UI.
(Source: talking about version control with a lawyer in the family.)
Why are legal documents recorded in a format that requires expensive software to access?
Why are LaTeX, Markdown, or HTML not sufficient formats? What makes plaintext not "human-readable"? I don't think anyone has trouble reading/writing their Facebook and Twitter posts in plaintext.
Why can't our government afford to develop a lawmaker-specific format and an editor (or plugin for an existing editor) to make it easy for lawmakers to work with?
Why can't our government afford to fund the creation of a VCS solution with a lawmaker-friendly interface and a public server to host the repository on?
Why can't all of our legal documents at least be hosted on a public server in their current state?
I'm guessing the answer to all of these is "because the public doesn't care enough, so it doesn't help anyone get re-elected and, therefore, there is no available funding". I have a hard enough time getting engineers to understand the value of good VCS, much less an average US citizen.
Because lawyers can afford it, and don't really feel like expending effort evaluating software alternatives instead of just doing their work. And because of legacy/network effects. And because no one has pitched an alternative right for that audience.
Lawyers can afford free software too.
I have seen that MS Office suite has become a hammer used to drive many non-nails in various businesses, and would like to see people using more open standards. But I totally understand that for many use cases it's good enough and that people consider the cost to be not particularly significant
Do you think having access to a tool with the least communication friction saves you 2 minutes/month of your lawyers time? 30 min of your junior marketing person? This isn't a hard call to make usually.
As for lawyers, just because they can afford to use expensive software doesn't mean they should. I can afford to write software in Word, but I don't plan to try that any time soon.
Also, I think people seriously overstate how "easy" it is to use Word. I have spent litteral days of my life in classes that taught me how to use Word. I have spent hours relearning MS Office interfaces as they've changed over the years. I'm pretty sure I picked up GitHub-flavored Markdown in less than 15 minutes.
My point about the cost is that the network effects of the tool here are more important than the tool itself. You might be able to have a better local workflow using other tools, but if everyone you collaborate/work with doesn't use them then the cost of communication is far higher than any savings.
Realistically, legal work isn't much like coding. Although lawyers do spend time editing documents that isn't where the real time is. For that reason I'm not convinced that changing to a putative VCS workflow would have enough efficiency impact to pay for the training etc. except on a very long term. This sort of thing makes it very difficult to win out against network effects.
This is much the same reason that excel is used for a lot of things where better tools exist. The combination of network effects and having better things to do than learn a new approach and toolchain are hard to shift.
Because the cost of the software is trivial compared to the cost of incompatibility or friction in communication.
So your real problem here is with the access to said laws, which is not a software problem.
I'd bet a tool like lyx (https://www.lyx.org/Screenshots) would go along way to being a better solution. It's a great document writer (as opposed to a word processor) and apparently has some VCS support (although I haven't tried this) and diff viewing and is a lot more reliable for annotations and all that stuff than word.
I've done some legal automation work before, it would have been so much easier (and get better results) to have a plaintext format we could manipulate with shell scripts than working with docx and word.
- But doesn't plain text suck for difs?
+ But doesn't plain text suck for diffs?
- Especially when you have a really long, multi-line
- paragraph that has bmore than one change? And if we
- relied on word wrap, then the scope of change would
- be the paragraph and all hope is lost. At least
- this way we might eventually regain some
+ Especially when you have an exceptionally long,
+ multi-line paragraph that has more than one change?
+ But if we relied on word wrap, then the scope of
+ change would be the paragraph and all hope is lost.
+ At least this way we might eventually regain some
equivalency by chance and it's clear that nothing
after that point has changed.
(For clarity, I think probably a sentence-by-sentence diff would work well. But then it's not plain text; you're relying on some processor to collect sentences into paragraphs.)
Markdown or Asciidoc has the same benefit as far as paragraphs.
But again, all those tools are built for developers, and especially the ones used by git for internal purposes like for conflict resolution make some strong assumptions that don't hold for prose.
For a start they’re using Word, which doesn’t work well with version control.
And asking most people to stop using MS Office is like asking them to go and live on the Moon, they look at you like you’re some kind of crazy person.
It's basically the same as using Word's own history features.
First, you’ll use this technique to solve one of the most annoying problems known to humanity: version-controlling Microsoft Word documents. Everyone knows that Word is the most horrific editor around, but oddly, everyone still uses it.
...Now Git knows that if it tries to do a diff between two snapshots, and any of the files end in .docx, it should run those files through the “word” filter, which is defined as the docx2txt program. This effectively makes nice text-based versions of your Word files before attempting to diff them.
But it's terminology is really confusing.
But yeah some layer of abstraction would be handy.
I always think of introducing it to my wife when she looses a document or something but god damn the terminology.
The lack of continuous versioning is a problem for most document like workflows.
So why do you expect the git hash to encode the timeline?
Git encodes the timeline in the parent/child relationship of commits (and/or the date stamps). Trying to look for the timeline information in the hashes is going to be futile, that's not where it's supposed to be found.
For documents that get send back and forth via email, amongst more than 2 participants, git's DAG is actually a better representation than a linear timeline.
(But yes, if you don't like that, you can set up git to reject commits with more than one parent to enforce a linear history.)
You get 30 days of history for every file in Dropbox (120 days for Business users). Earlier you could pay a bit extra to get a full year of history -- but that feature, called Extended Version History, is no longer available.
OneDrive unfortunately offers only 30 days, I believe Google Drive is similar.
Every once in a while, they update Developer License Agreement or Paid Application Agreement (updated over 100 times so far), and every time they just show a wall of text. I save it as a file and take a diff to the previous version.
They must be using a VCS internally but they make us repeat the same effort again and again. It's stupid.
Beyond technical hurdles that could be solved with a set of FLOSS components and plugins to popular CMSes, I don't see any reason not to do this if one runs a honest company.
Consider yourself lucky. There are still legions of legal documents in WordPerfect.
B.t.w since it’s about the US Constitution it is customary for me to share a link to its book form on the web:
In software, you need to track versions because you keep everything in multiple files, and you're making changes to multiple files, and you can have regressions with each new version.
In a negotiated legal document, you have just the one authoritative version: the offer you've sent to the other party (or the counter-offer they've sent back to you). For lawyers, this takes the form of edits to the document as highlighted by the Track Changes feature. (Prior versions are basically irrelevant except for historical interest.) And even then, the document going back and forth isn't even the executed (aka "production") document, it's just the development version. Once the document is executed, the development versions get deleted because the executed document is the only truth legally and so prior versions absolutely do not matter.
No, you literally can't. They're separate files. A legal agreement is just one document. It makes a world of difference for version tracking.
Also, software has versions. If you have an issue, you can just rollback to a working version. Legal agreements don't have multiple working versions. They just have the one, and you don't get to update it, because if you change it, you have a different agreement that supersedes all old copies, which are now longer worth the paper they're printed or or the bytes that store them.
Sure, you could have needlessly more complicated version tracking for legal documents. But Track Changes in Word works fine, because the legal field doesn't need anything more complicated.
In the same way, i can literally think of my legal documents as a single document (say, a visa application) with multiple files (say, a petition, a copy of my wedding certificate and a reference from a friend). [Ironically, this language is precisely the reverse of what you would say with the printed copies.]
When they're printed out you can't tell what the boundaries are. Don't get confused by the implementation and the abstract concepts. If there's a distinction that doesn't work well, you can change it. Maybe version 2035 of Word stores every paragraph in a separate file inside a zip archive. There's no reason Generic Version Control System 2038 couldn't be written to peak inside those archives.
Ideally, settled issues should remain settled as remaining outstanding issues are resolved during the deal-making process.
But, this is a western tradition/convention, Asian deal-makers seem to be more than happy to look back and re-open settled issues, driving American lawyers insane.
Something like this already exists in multiple forms because it is very useful. It's so useful that the owners of those sites can charge lawyers a lot of money for access... Hundreds of $ per month.
That's not true. Many a times I needed to comb through old commits for debugging purposes.
Also, with multi-branch development, you often have many non-release branches that are relevant at a specific point in time.
Because to me, the interesting parts are not the final versions, but would be in seeing the version history of the constituion as it was drafted and language was changed and rechanged, even with commit notes taken from records of the constitutional convention.
For example, the currently topical impeachment language went through revisions on "be removable on impeachment and conviction of": 
> "malpractice or neglect of duty." -- two North Carolina members
> "treason, bribery, or corruption." -- five-member drafting committee
> "treason, bribery, or maladministration." -- George Mason
> "high crimes and misdemeanors against the United States." -- delegates
> "high crimes and misdemeanors." -- final version
It really would be fascinating to watch the constitution evolve in "real time" across all edits. I don't know if anyone's done something like that before. Obviously it would be a tremendous amount of scholarly work to put together.
All these 6 figure salaries and we still can't write code that handles dates.
How does someone look at a date and think it should only have two digits? How's it possible that someone could look at a system that only stores enough time for 68 years in future and think that's fine? Why is so much code written with the assumption that a year is a four digit number?
The passage of time is guaranteed and yet programmers are somehow constantly surprised that it happens. The world is 14 billion years old and will exist for much much longer. Someone might need to write code dealing with any of those time periods, why do we make them expend mental effort on (what should be) such a reasonable, trivial task?
We have the bits to spare. It's a strange form of collective procrastination.
GitHub's BigQuery public data set has 234,759,841 unique commits, and it appears there's 2 dates per commit (author and committer dates). So an extra ~1.8GB per master/shard group.
Entirely doable but I have no idea what their scale actually is or how that translates to network throughput or anything else really.
That said, I cringe every time I see a date problem presented in a work interview or challenge. Like how to calculate the first Monday in a set year. Because I have done exactly that, professionally. And as the years went by - edge case over edge case showed up, making me rewrite the formula. So dates are non-trivial.
You probably know there are leap years, but did you also know there are leap seconds ? So beware of that when you implement that time critical database redundancy and replication system.
Don't you think these two things might be related?
In particular, https://stackoverflow.com/a/24977895 says:
”As I mentioned in 2017, in "Use future date while making git commits", Git has started to adopt a different and dedicated timestamp_t type.
As illustrated in Legilibre/Archeo-Lex issue 47:
Dates are now using the timestamp_t type, defined as typedef uintmax_t timestamp_t;, in place of unsigned long type, in order to fix some issues on 32bits platforms... and Windows 64 bits ^^.
The project archeo-lex.fr (which depends on older dates) is using git hash-object, combined with the Git repo viewer Legilibre/Archeo-Lex-web.
This is now (Feb. 2019) done, as commented by Seb35“
(https://archeo-lex.fr/codes has a history of French law)
Tom Scott has a pretty good video explaining exactly why writing code about time is not trivial:
The Problem with Time & Timezones - Computerphile
You realize 48 years ago is the Unix epoch? Circumventing this problem to admit commits that were made before 1970, which clearly has no real world use case, is over engineering at its worst. Similarly, with designing a system to last longer than 68 years. The number of tech companies that have lasted more than 68 years can be counted on one hand.
But it might be a good idea in general, and then it would solve this issue as a side effect.
But in any case, eg Python supports dates before 1970 just fine. It was a conscious decision by the application developers of git to restrict themselves to whatever C has to offer.
IBM, Siemens, Texas Instruments, that's it of the top of my head. Anyone else?
James Ashley authored and JesseKPhillips committed on Dec 6, 1986
8th Congress authored and JesseKPhillips committed on Jun 15, 1980
Also, somebody else did the work a few years ago , would be interesting to compare them.
I still think there is some merit to the idea. The challenge, however, is to convince legislative bodies to use such a system.
It's a pretty complex task, especially at the state level where there often aren't consistent plaintext publishings, or in some cases even digital versions of the effected code/regulations.
There are pretty much always digital versions, though they may not be freely available to the public or licenses in a way which would permit using them as a basis. (Lexis/Nexis has them, with change history, links to relevant case law, etc., etc., etc.)
Generally the bills that change legal codes are timed to take effect all in the same near-future date, and so a new “printing” is issued. How often this happens varies, but can be as little as once a year.
In the cases where a law is immediately effected, judges and lawyers are smart and read the news, and services like lexis have alerting. The main legal providers will also “patch” things in themselves in advance of printings, and do change sets and redlines by hand.
Oftentimes bills instruct regulatory agencies to do things, which is a process that includes lots of published notice.
Only for already passed legislation, rather than pending, though.
The constitution grants the govt rights.
The people have all the rights not expressly forbidden by law.
Law enforcement seriously lags in this as well
Let me know how the violence thing doesn't happen in a victimless crime.
I'm trying to say that the threat of violence from the people isn't there anymore, for many reasons, one of which is the huge disparity between the military and consumer availability.
I disagree, recently one event has shown the violence is just under the surface.
Large groups of people went to that mans ranch just to threaten the govt.
You're just going to disagree regardless though, aren't you?
For those confused..
There is a commit saying this
Most glaringly, there is the part in https://github.com/JesseKPhillips/USA-Constitution/commit/7f... in the article talking about the President's powers, saying "The President shall have Power to [...] He shall from time to time [...]" and the diff inserts "No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law." between these sentences.
This doesn't work at all, not only because this amendment has nothing to do with the President's powers, but especially because the "He" starting the next sentence has nothing more to refer to.
Of course this would be a lot more boring if the amendments were just tucked on at the end, but I'm afraid reality is just boring here.
The US constitution is unusual in leaving the main text unchanged and appending amendments at the end. Most countries don't do that.
For example, Australia's constitution  has been amended several times since it was first adopted in 1900. But, it is amended by changing the text of existing sections, inserting new sections or subsections (examples: section 105A, subsection 51(xxiiiA)), and deleting entire sections (example: section 127).
The president is the commander an chief of the military, it seems reasonable he would not be allowed to quarter his troops in peoples homes.
Take a look at this one
Branches and commits are done under accounts tied to elected officials (though clearly their staffs mash the keys).
We could have AI doing actual work of monitoring WHAT THE WHAT is going on.
Hence the unlikelihood of this ever happening.
Plus the reality that legislation is mostly a requirements document anymore, with the real work occurring in the Executive in the form of regulation concocted by unelected bureaucrats.
You can thank the British for that.
In non-common law systems, extra-judicial experts (e.g., law professors) have too much weight in interpreting laws.
If a legal hair is to be split, a common law court should do it. And, the court's holding should have precedence until a democratic legislature with jurisdiction over the issue says otherwise.
I don't quibble with your description of the idealized versions.
See also http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Legal%20Systems/LegalSystemsCo... for some alternative systems of law.
Do you mean https://en.wikipedia.org/wik/Codification_(law) or writing law in computer code, or something else?
If the former: Codification of Common Law is an ongoing process, and I guess will always be a bit behind the latest court rulings. (And that's by design.)
One of the worst things about growing up in America is being inundated with propaganda about how we should revere the founding fathers only to grow up and realize that much-revered Constitution is riddled with bugs and badly needs refactoring to accord with modern best practices.
How do you expect to get them to agree to change it? I doubt people in Alaska or Montana think the Senate is a “bug”.
If you don’t think the structure of the federation works for your state, you can try to get your state to secede. That’s more logical, and more likely to succeed, than convincing others to vote against their own interest out of a sense of “fairness”.
Believe me, I ask myself this question weekly. I don't know how it will happen, but the federation will not thrive without that change. In fact I would argue it is unstable currently.
>I doubt people in Alaska or Montana think the Senate is a “bug”.
I doubt people in Wyoming or Vermont consider the Senate to be fairly represent the federation. But you will rarely catch a politician admitting that. Oppressors will always opress, and that isn't my problem. It's theirs. The oppressed will always resist. Everything evens out in the end.
Despite its many problems, the US is one of the most prosperous, peaceful, and stable regions in the history of the world.
Without the Senate, the US simply wouldn’t exist (the smaller states wouldn’t have agreed to it), and North America would by now be a few dozen independent, competing, conflicting countries. It’s hard to imagine how that would be more stable than the current situation.
By the way, larger groups agreeing to give disproportionate power to smaller groups, in order to keep their union or federation together, happens all the time. Examples off the top of my head include Canada (where Quebec is massively overrepresented in the federal parliament), the UK (where England is the only constituent entity without its own legislature), Bosnia (whose three main ethnic groups split the Presidency equally despite having 50%/30%/15% of the population), and I’m sure there are many other examples...
The Bosnian example is particularly forceful, as this superficially “unfair” deal ended the bloodiest war in European history since WW2, in which more than 100,000 people died.
All of them? 20% of California is still 4.5 million people.
>America would by now be a few dozen independent, competing, conflicting countries
1. that is not proven. alternatives could have been chosen.
2. just because the Senate made sense among several mostly equal population states does not mean it makes sense today.
>Canada (where Quebec is massively overrepresented in the federal parliament)
And they have their own party. You cannot honestly believe that is an ideal situation.
>UK (where England is the only constituent entity without its own legislature)
The Scottish National Party exists, as do unionist and separatist terrorists in Northern Ireland.
>Bosnia (whose three main ethnic groups split the Presidency equally despite having 50%/30%/15% of the population)
Just because that makes sense for a young democracy does not mean it makes sense in California, a state with high cultural value given to equal voice and representation.
>this superficially “unfair” deal ended the bloodiest war in European history since WW2
Are you threatening war if California asserts its natural rights to self-governance? Unionization under threat of violence is not unionization. It is slavery.
Aren't they much worse now?
So you're saying we shouldn't revere the Constitution because it's not perfect?
Name anything in the world that's perfect.
Dual sovereignty is a fundamental part of the American experiment. Though I would have no issue with going back to the old way to pick Senators.
For the record, I don't disagree with the existence of an upper house (in Australia we somewhat copied the US Senate design, though territories get fewer representatives than states). But its practical purpose is to facilitate less partisan discussion of legislation (and in Australia we only get that benefit because we have a preferential voting system). And it should be noted that many countries have abolished their upper house and become unicameral, and have continued to function just as well as before.
The Senate ensures less populous states have an equal vote in our united (federated) states.
The purpose of the Senate is to give all states equal suffrage in the legislature. Article 5 of the constitution states “no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.“
Unfortunately, that's basically the one amendment that the Constitution says is illegal to make. (Ignoring parts of the Constitution that are no longer in force.)
That said, you could first make an amendment making it legal to abolish the Senate, then make a second amendment actually abolishing the Senate. But obviously that may make things a lot harder.
> ranked choice popular vote
Note: I would advise against use of the term "ranked choice voting". This term is often used to mean IRV, effectively implying that IRV is the only way to hold a vote based on ranked choices. It isn't, and it isn't a particularly good voting method either (it's non-monotonic)! I'd suggest naming the specific voting method you mean if you have one in mind, or using another term -- an ordinal voting method, if that's what you mean, or maybe just anything other than FPTP, or maybe just anything satisfying a particular criterion such as being cloneproof...