The Republican Party’s official 2016 platform is out, and there are some familiar calls for new constitutional amendments among the rhetoric.Much like the 2012 GOP platform, the 66-page document has plenty of references to the Constitution writ large, even boasting its own Preamble.
The new platform also contains a commitment to an originalist interpretation of the Constitution, complete with a few quotes from the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. “In tandem with a Republican Senate, a new Republican president will restore to the Court a strong conservative majority that will follow the text and original meaning of the Constitution and our laws,” the platform reads.
But what issues are so immediately critical as to require the historically important act of drafting, proposing and ratifying new amendments to the Constitution?
The first proposed amendment in the 2016 Republican Party platform is a “right to life” amendment, similar to ideas presented at recent GOP conventions.
“We assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to children before birth,” the proposal reads.
The Republicans also condemn the Supreme Court’s controversial Kelo decision (which permits the government to seize private property and transfer it to another private interest in order to promote economic development) and call for states to pass laws or state constitutional amendments to nullify or restrict the decision within their states.
Moreover, the Republicans repeat their demands for a balanced-budget amendment that “imposes a cap limiting spending to the appropriate historical average percentage of our nation’s gross domestic product while requiring a super-majority for any tax increase, with exceptions only for war or legitimate emergencies.”
Perhaps the most-publicized part of the platform deals with the same-sex marriage controversy, including the Supreme Court’s Windsor and Obergefell decisions.
“In Obergefell, five unelected lawyers robbed 320 million Americans of their legitimate constitutional authority to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The Court twisted the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment beyond recognition. To echo Scalia, we dissent,” the platform says.
“We do not accept the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage and we urge its reversal, whether through judicial reconsideration or a constitutional amendment returning control over marriage to the states,” the platform reads.
In comparison, the 2012 Republican Party platform asked for a federal amendment “defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”
The 2016 GOP platform also asks for a constitutional amendment protecting the ability of parents to direct their children’s education and care without “interference by states, the federal government, or international bodies such as the United Nations.”
Recent Stories on Constitution Daily
15 constitutional amendments proposed in Republican convention platformsConstitution Check: Does spending on war amount to declaration of war?Obama administration wants immigration case back at Supreme CourtOn This Day, Truman and Congress decide the current line of presidential succession