Article 1 Section 8: List of the eighteen powers afforded the new federal Congress before ratification in 1790:
1: The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
2: To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;
3: To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
4: To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
5: To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;
6: To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;
7: To establish Post Offices and post Roads;
8: To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
9: To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
10: To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;
11: To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
12: To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
13: To provide and maintain a Navy;
14: To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
15: To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
16: To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
17: To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;–And
18: To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
How then, in a direct democracy, would the popular will be so explicitly if unsatisfactorily curtailed?
Our established bodies of state, federal and constitutional law, enacted over several centuries, need not be entirely swept away upon transfering the legislative power from the Congress to the People. Presented at this site is a direct democracy constitution that specifically stipulates:
…any existing statute, regulation, or ordinance not superseded or abrogated by this Constitution shall remain enforceable until an aggregate vote of fifty-one percent is attained for a precinct-certified reform among at least ninety-five percent of precincts subject to its enforcement.
(from Article 1: Section 3)
[For a more detailed explanation of the function of the required 95% precinct certification, see site page: 51%.]
Were this a negligible barrier to the enactment of new legislation, such a transfer of legislative power might well be unwise, even reckless. Instead the design of this proposed constitution guarantees that reforms must enjoy the very widest geopolitical support — a stringent prerequisite which itself ensures that statutory reform, especially at the national level, would come very slowly or not at all.
Any changes in the law would more often be limited to local ordinance reform, and to a lesser extent, state statutory reform. There, legal reforms might be enacted relatively safely, confined perhaps to single counties or precincts, where they might also serve the nation as our legislative testing grounds.
Yet the enumerated powers of Congress shown above would still require actual administering, even without the oversight committees of that old legislative body. These functions, and any necessary committees, would thus become the responsibility of the executive administration:
The power to appropriate revenues and the exercise of oversight, investigative and regulatory powers formerly delegated to the United States Congress by the original Constitution, where not previously delegated by the former, shall be delegated by the Attorney General to, and in turn by, the appropriate executive appointees, whose official acts may be halted by the President, the Attorney General, or by a three-fifths majority of the Governors, when deemed unlawful, wasteful or predominantly political in nature.
(from Amendment XI)
A few examples:
The Secretary of State shall have the power to define and process piracies, felonies and other non-military transgressions committed by United States citizens on the High Seas, or in any other international space, and offenses against the law of Nations.
The Secretary of Defense shall have the power to provision and maintain the armed forces; to maintain rules for the government and regulation of the armed forces; and to make rules for the capture of foreign enemies abroad.
(from Amendment XI)
The obvious objection to such a political structure might be that our Congress is currently in a much better position to oversee and at times to check the actions of the executive branch than would be the People themselves — or their Governors as their representatives — to say nothing of trusting the executive administration to check itself.
But further steps have been taken in the proposed constitution in order to check the power of the executive branch:
From within the Administration:
All policies of the administration shall originate with the President, who shall delegate their execution to the appropriate public officers; whereupon they shall carry out the policies within the purviews of their departments and within the limit of the law; or in the case of a disagreement with a policy, they may appeal to the full Cabinet for a vote of refusal, which shall deny the President the option of such a policy by a majority vote against it.
(also from Article II)
From the People:
Every public official within the United States but the President, either elected or appointed by an elected officer, may be replaced in a summer electoral initiative when, among an option of any precinct-certified candidates who meet all other qualifications for the office of an incumbent, an option to require the immediate replacement of an appointee by the appointer, where applicable, and an option to retain the status quo, one of the two former options receives an aggregate of fifty-one percent of votes cast for said office, among at least ninety-five percent of precincts subject to its oversight and authority.
(from Article I:Section 4)
From the two combined:
Or the People may, after two years of the existing four-year term, in the summer electoral initiative, replace the current President when, between an option to retain the status quo, an option to remove the President in order that the Vice President may become President, and an option to remove the President in order that the Attorney General may become President, one of the latter two options receives an aggregate of fifty-one percent of votes cast for the office among at least ninety-five percent of the precincts of the United States.
(from Article II)
Placing upon the shoulders of a single officer of the Cabinet the responsibility for administering an enumerated power of Congress lays accountability upon one individual who, under this political system, may be removed from office and replaced in the summer electoral initiative.
And when, with the start of every new season, the People assemble within their respective precincts to vote upon certified initiatives, those previously enacted laws that have since proven unwise may there and then be swiftly superseded.