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Mirrored from Slashdot:

Make the following change to the Constitution:

Each year, before any new law can be created or any existing law modified, the Speaker of the House must first read aloud every last federal law on the books while all other members of Congress listen. If that takes more than one year (and the federal tax code alone would easily do so) then Congress is allowed only to repeal existing laws the following year. The next year after that, the reading aloud begins again and only if completed within one year can a new law be passed or an old law modified. –causality

This would never work, because as you pointed out, it’s impractical from the start. A better approach would be to pass a constitutional amendment that provides for a mandatory sunset of laws. Ideally, you’d also require codification of all laws.

So the amendment would say something like, “1) All new laws passed by Congress must be codified into titles. 2) Each title (or existing uncodified law) shall automatically sunset and be removed from the official record of titles after __ years from the later of its original passage or last renewal. 3) For the purposes of this amendment, laws existing at the time of this amendment’s ratification which were originally passed over __ years previous shall be considered to have been last renewed at a date within the last __ years, with the date randomly assigned by the ____ office.”

Thus, you’d cause all existing laws to sunset slowly over the next __ years (for whatever value you fill in), and they’d have to be codified when they were renewed.

Then, if you want to help keep laws simple (which seems good in theory, but may just push the complexity to the executive branch’s rulemaking process) and ensure there’s been adequate time to read them before voting (which I support), you could pass another amendment (or add another section) that says, “Any law passed by Congress must have been read aloud in full by a representative or senator, as appropriate, or it shall be null and void.” Obviously, the exact wording of these amendments might need some tweaking, but it seems more sustainable. –rlaager

The following was another reply to the posting I quoted above (i.e. it was not a reply to my reply):

I’d rather have a 66% required to pass laws, all laws have a sunset clause exponentially longer every time it is passed (1yr, 2yr, 4yr, 8yr, 16yr etc…) and to pass from a sunset vote it requires 75% acceptance due to being in action due to the benefits should be obvious. –ArsonSmith

Why do you need increasing sunset lengths? A statute against murder, for example, should be easy to renew. It’d take a few minutes at most, even if you require a voice reading of the full text. I’d imagine if you used unanimous consent or voice votes, you could renew all the obvious, non-controversial laws in a couple of days sessions, at most. Is someone really going to be the jerk that fillibusters the law against murdering the President (murder being a state issue and fillibusters being a federal Senate thing, I had to specify this more)? It seems like their party (since political parties aren’t going to disappear any time soon) would quash any attempts at that because of how the public would react. –rlaager

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Re:Wait hold on mugger…

Mirrored from Slashdot:

I’m about as pro-gun as you can get, but when I hear stories about how Britain is locking up people for defending their families I get very suspicious. Do you have any links to one of these incidents? I imagine there is more to the story than is being told. — edwardsdl –timothy

From the article you linked to:

Lord Judge said: “This trial had nothing to do with the right of the householder to defend themselves or their families or their homes.

“The burglary was over and the burglars had gone. No one was in any further danger from them.”

This wouldn’t be legal in the U.S. either. –rlaager

Until the next day, say. –timothy

I knew someone would reply with this. Yes, we can all cheer personally that the bad guy is off the street and they’re not going to tie anyone else up. But from a legal point of view, once the immediate threat has ended, you can’t use force in self defense.

My point was that this is not an example of “Britain locking up people for defending their families”, especially with the implied contrast to the United States. Legally, they locked this guy (and his brother) up for chasing, beating, and permanently injuring a guy in the street. Had the same beating happened while they were still in immediate danger, the legal situation would’ve been entirely different. –rlaager

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