Thank you for the recent article regarding proposed amendments. All the viewpoints were well thought-out and apolitical. I’m no legal or history scholar.  I’m a systems architect, which is a fancy title for the “IT guy who sees the big picture.” This outsider view may negate my contribution, but I’ll share anyway in case you find it of interest.

I would alter the definitions of the court to require textualist interruptions of laws. Then, constitutionality and gray areas go to the defense/citizen. This shifts the burden of debate back to Congress as intended and eliminates the research about “what was meant” as they are limited to the literal words of the constitution.

I agree with [Professor Keith Whittington] that the bar is too high for amendment; something like 60 percent feels more appropriate.  

My real contribution is that everything government does needs to have built-in decay and easy review.  If we’ve learned anything, it is once enacted, government is “forever.” Only politically popular topics get discussed, leaving everything else as given. Invariably, these new topics are new programs. This leads to bloat as government only grows.

From a design standpoint, bloat is a sure sign of bad designs. Supporting it becomes exponentially expensive. Workarounds are tacked on to avoid other changes. Redundancy shows up everywhere, especially in rules. This sounds like the federal government. 

Good designs persist and get replicated; bad designs get evolved. Evolution requires death or adaptation. In order to find the things that should die or adapt, one has to go look for them. One has to compare expected to actual results. Congress (in its current form) will never take up the task of review, there are no headlines to be made there. So, let’s elect representation to do the review.

This new division of Congress would be elected right alongside the House but with a decidedly different purpose. With a 30 percent vote, any portion of any law is slated to expire at the end of the next Congress. Then in the next Congress, the (traditional) House can override the expiration, individually on a roll call vote with 75 percent. If they do not act or do not get the votes, the line or entire law is void. This gives huge power to this “House of Decay” but they can only take away and only after an entire Congress has elapsed.

Since they are elected to take away, they would make headlines by doing the mundane but important job of review.  

There are many other things I would do but they are all my personal political views and not truly structural.

Chris Heinemann
Springfield, Ill.