Equal Protection Clause - Wikipedia
The principle of fair representation in Congress must be: No legislator shall have authority or preferred status over another, because that disenfranchises the citizens represented by the subordinated legislator.The notion that power centers in Congress are undemocratic, that superiority of some of our representatives over others is unfair and unconstitutional, will perhaps strike some readers as odd; but consider the challenge of designing, from scratch, a representative assembly where each district is to be fairly and equally represented. Our present Congress, with its unequal power and influence, would not pass the test. Unless we happen to be represented by one of the few wielders of power, you and I and our districts are underrepresented in this Congress. But this problem can hardly be resolved without tackling the next, and greatest, abuse in Congress:3. Political parties: The bane of Congress
Nothing contributes so much to everything that is bad about the Congress as the presence and the power of the political parties. Logjams, contrived disagreements for party purposes where no disagreement would otherwise exist, filibusters, mindless opposition, equally mindless congressional submission to the President, and members' submission to the will of their party, are all direct consequences of the power of political parties in the Congress. The recent introduced the idea that political parties have no constitutional standing in the federal government. Parties are nongovernmental, private associations. They are not elected by the people, and have no constitutional or legal authority to govern or to influence government in any way, beyond that which is available to every other interest group.In a typical European parliamentary system (there are several variants), voters vote for a party. The ballot contains the name of the party, with its list of candidates. Each party then gets parliamentary seats in proportion to their fraction of the vote. There may be a geographical element in some elections, and there may be the opportunity to vote individually for candidates on the party list, rather than for the party as a whole, something that few voters bother with. So the vote is for the organization – the party – and in the end it's the party leaders, whether elected to office or not, who are given the moral authority to guide the government and make both legislative and executive decisions.
About the Equal Justice Initiative
Having deprived her of this first right of a citizen, the elective franchise, thereby leaving her without representation in the halls of legislation, he has oppressed her on all sides.
The needed change toward fair and equal representation in the Congress is to do away with the concept of seniority in both the House and the Senate. The operative concept must be that everyone who is sent to the Congress as a representative of a district or a state has a right to an equal hearing, because every district and state has that innate right. The fact that a representative has been in the House for twenty years, for example, should mean nothing beyond giving him experience. He was elected in the most recent election like all other members, and his position in the House should be the same as all other members. There is absolutely no reason that can be justified under the Constitution for why a district which repeatedly sends the same member back to the Congress should thereby gain greater influence over national law-making than other districts which send a new member. Doing away with all remnants of seniority favors in Congress will also have the beneficial effect that voters will no longer be faced with the common question about returning an aging member to Congress merely because he or she has enough clout to bring federal dollars back to the district.2.
04/11/2015 · The Constitution: Amendments 11-27
Of course the Executive and Judicial branches have significant powers. The President can veto congressional initiatives, but Congress has the final say, as it can override the President's veto. While the President is Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, the Congress can by budgetary and legislative means stop any military plans and activities. The President has no further authority over the Congress, while the Congress has authority to remove the President or any officer of the Executive branch, including military officers, under circumstances which it itself defines. Similarly with the Judiciary: the Supreme Court may strike down legislation from the Congress as being unconstitutional, but the Congress may trump the Court by rewriting the legislation or by initiating amendments to the Constitution to overcome such blocks. Finally, the Congress may remove Justices of the Supreme Court, and may alter the Court's authority, its rules, and its composition by law. So in the end, Congress is the ultimate federal authority under the Constitution, as befits the representative body of the people.
Indiana Constitution - Article 1
(i.e., congressional districts) is to have greater or lesser representation in the House than other such groupings. A for equal representation is that when we send our representative to the House, he or she have the same power and rights as every other member of the House. Because, if our representative does not have equal power and rights in the House, then our district does not have equal power and rights, and our representation is not equal and fair. However, as noted in a (do see this for background), over the more than 200 year history of the Congress, power-brokers and -seekers have succeeded in writing internal rules in the Congress that, in both the Senate and the House, give certain individuals and certain groupings more than their share of authority, which means that your district and mine get a lesser share of authority and less effective, i.e.
On the morning of the 19th, the Convention assembled at 11 o'clock
In what ways are our representatives unequal, and what practical effect does this have on our representation in Congress? To take the House of Representatives as an example – though a similar situation exists in the Senate – the three bad actors that deny us fair representation, all legitimized in the rules of the Congress, are:
For many decades, seniority ruled the House. When we sent a new congressman to Washington, we could expect that he would have no influence – in other words, we would be practically unrepresented, except for the vote – throughout his first term and more. The best he could do during his first term would be to kiss up to his party's leadership, hoping for better times down the road if we reelected him. If he behaved like a good party man, the party would throw in a few scraps of funding for his home district and give him a few bucks for his reelection. If he didn't, they'd find someone else more amenable to direction. While the importance of seniority has been reduced over the past couple of decades, important remnants of the practice remain in the rules of the House. The remaining rules still result in the different representatives having varying levels of power and authority, and therefore American citizens are, by these rules, condemned to having varying levels of influence in their representative body. Rules which have this effect lead directly to unequal representation, and so violate our constitutional guarantees.