The New Constitution: Amendment V – equal rights

The New Constitution

Amendment V

No governmental, private, corporate or commercial entity shall deny to any enfranchised citizen the rights or privileges accorded to others. The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Rationale

Sadly, America has a long history of discrimination. Some of our ancestors were slaves and our female ancestors weren’t allowed to vote. More recently we’ve seen the Civil Rights struggle, which recent events suggest is far from won, immigration and sometimes rampant prejudice against gays.

This amendment is straightforward – there shall be no discrimination on the basis of factors of birth: race, religion, creed, gender, sexual orientation, disability, etc.

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Index: The New Constitution Series

7 comments

  • Okay, this should take care of my discrimination-against-nonreligious-citizens concerns. I would still like to see a change to your previous amendment to say “prohibiting or compelling the exercise thereof,” however. Amendment V seems succinct and strong. I wonder if its current wording would prohibit businesses (e.g., restaurants, bars) from refusing service to certain customers? I’m looking forward to reading others’ reactions to this one.

    • It would absolutely, positively prevent businesses from discriminating, yes. They can refuse to serve you if you aren’t wearing shoes, but not because you’re black or gay

  • OK, so blind people can be airline pilots?

  • Evan Robinson

    It’s not discrimination to enquire about or insist upon the requirements of the job. If a blind person had a 100% functional prosthetic device which allowed them to successfully fly a plane, sure. In the absence of such a device, obviously not.

    For example, a bar may “discriminate” (except it’s not legally discrimination) in hiring bartenders by selecting only those who are over 21 (and thus legally allowed to serve alcohol) when they can’t ask “how old are you”, because that’s beyond the scope of meeting the nondiscriminatory requirements of the job.

    I think this is a great formulation.

    However, what about membership organizations? If you can’t deny entry to a non-member (denying a privilege), how can you have a membership organization? Unions? For that matter, how can you prevent trespassing if the landowner (a private entity) cannot deny entry (a privilege) to anyone she pleases? And does that ability change if the landowner is an individual vs a partnership (commercial entity) vs a corporation (which may or may not be commercial) vs any other form?

    • However, what about membership organizations? If you can’t deny entry to a non-member (denying a privilege), how can you have a membership organization?

      The amendment wouldn’t require you to admit everyone, but it would prohibit denial of membership based on things like racism, sexism, etc.

      Unions?

      This document will address unionization explicitly later on.

      For that matter, how can you prevent trespassing if the landowner (a private entity) cannot deny entry (a privilege) to anyone she pleases? And does that ability change if the landowner is an individual vs a partnership (commercial entity) vs a corporation (which may or may not be commercial) vs any other form?

      Here I think you’re proposing that somehow the amendment creates entirely new types of problems, but I don’t believe it does. The term “privilege” is used to indicate things like a driver’s license – not sure there is any RIGHT to drive, but if a state extends the privilege to group X collectively, it may not refuse it to group Y if the criteria involve the classes of discrimination articulated in the new BoR.

      The last question, which goes to individual vs partnership vs corporation is where things might get sticky and need to be hacked out by the courts. We have individuals who are also corporations. Now, say John Smith is also John Smith, Inc. and his office is in his home. Nobody questions that John the person can admit or deny admission to his home to whoever he pleases. However, can John Smith, Inc. refuse to allow blacks into the office?

      TNC doesn’t seek to eliminate property rights, and I don’t anticipate that the doc could any more be used to open that can of worms that the free press clause can be used to allow cub reporters free access to top-secret government facilities.

  • Pingback: Got Rights? Why We Need The Equal Rights Amendment | While you were sleeping

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