Questions for Kagan, Additions to Those by Ralph Nader

By Kelly Gerling

Ralph Nader posted a list of questions that ought to be asked of Elena Kagan in her hearings before the US Senate.

I like these questions by Ralph Nader. Here is the link to the essay:

I’d suggest that an additional category of questions would also be helpful, not only for the Kagan hearings, but for progressives and the entire nation to consider. Here are a few in the category of electoral and structural analysis of the US government:

What do you believe about the contradiction between the statement in the Preamble of the Constitution that WE The People originated and established the Constitution and the vast supermajorities to amend the Constitution in Article V, where as few as five percent of the American people, represented by small states can reject an amendment passed by the other 95 percent?

Is Article V exclusive as a means of amending the Constitution, or does the sovereignty of the American people enable them to amend or replace the Constitution by a majority vote of us as one People?

If no, then how does such limited sovereignty of the American People square with the declarations otherwise in the Preamble, the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence, the First Amendment right of assembly (in convention), the Ninth Amendment and the 10th Amendment, and the fact that the states used such a mechanism of sovereignty to adopt the Constitution when they joined this current and second Constitution of our nation?

Also, why then is the following statement in the Declaration of Independence not applicable to American in the 21st century?

“whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness . . . when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.”

Is vast Senate disproportion combined with its powers exceeding the House of Representatives a constitutional barrier to democracy in our system? (Powers being judiciary appointments, cabinet appointments, treaty approval, and jury for impeachment.)

Does private and corporate money in politics contradict the principle of popular sovereignty of one-person-one-vote? If no, why not?

What are the problems with the so-called “balance of powers” in the structure of the US government regarding the evasion of responsibility for unpopular public policies whereby the American People do not know whether the House or the Senate, or a Senate committee, or the Supreme Court, or the President is or isn’t responsible? Why is this not a “pass-the-buck” structure of evading responsibility of anti-democratic and unpopular policy decisions?

Is the supremacy clause of Article 6 Section 2 of the Constitution making “treaties made” the “supreme law of the land” applicable to US actions in the use of force, such as the invasion of Iraq and torture, that are clearly violations of the spirit and letter of such treaties at Geneva, CAT, and the UN Charter?

Does Congress have the power to institute a law to require a federal charter for corporations and private businesses engaged in interstate commerce to require responsibility for serving the public good and workplace democracy (as Germany does with economic self-determination)?

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