Americans chose to amend the Constitution just a few years after it was ratified, adding 10 amendments—known as the Bill of Rights—outlining essential rights and freedoms. But it’s been 21 years since the latest amendment. With constitutional issues continually at the forefront of public discourse, is it time to add the next 10 amendments?
This summer, the National Constitution Center will be holding a virtual town hall to debate 10 issues that could be proposed as The Next 10 Amendments. The discussion will begin in late May, just like the Constitutional Convention of 1787, and end on September 17, the anniversary of when the Constitution was signed.
Every seven to 10 days, we’ll present a constitutional issue, offering historical context and related primary documents to frame the discussion. The 10 issues were chosen based on a composite of multiple public polls.
For each issue, you can share your thoughts–and offer suggestions for a potential constitutional amendment about that issue.
Then, in early September, cast your vote in a referendum on potential amendments, gathered from participant comments.
Chris Phillips, research fellow of the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing at the University of Pennsylvania and executive director of the nonprofit organization Democracy Café, will serve as “convention moderator” and lead discussions. Perspectives from other constitutional experts will also be featured.
Here are the constitutional issues up for deliberation, along with key tentative discussion dates:
1. May 28: Right to bear arms – Discussion underway now.
2. June 5: Balanced budget amendment – - Discussion underway now.
3. June 12: Right to Privacy – Discussion underway now
4. June 19: Term limits for Congress – Discussion underway now
5. June 26: Federal regulation of marriage – Discussion underway now
6. July 5: Strict separation of church and state
7. July 15: Ban on burning or desecrating the American flag
8. July 23: Direct election of the president and vice president
9. August 1: Limits on campaign spending by candidates for federal office
10. August 8. Equal rights for all
11. August 15: Final debate over amendments
1. August 29: Voting begins
2. September 10: Voting ends
3. September 17: Results announced
The final results of The Next 10 Amendments will be announced at the National Constitution Center’s annual Constitution Day celebration on September 17, in conjunction with our national live chat with constitutional scholars and educators.
This summer, join the conversation—and see how “We the People” would amend our Constitution.
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