Proposal  5 to Amend the VT Constitution

March 18, 2019

by John McClaughry

Proposal 5 to amend the Vermont Constitution to promote “reproductive liberty”, is now under Senate consideration. I don’t propose to discuss the “right to personal reproductive autonomy” that is the focus of that proposal, but the opening sentence would create a lot of problems.

That sentence reads as follows: “The people are guaranteed the liberty and dignity to determine their own life’s course.”

First off, this is a passive construction: “are guaranteed”. Who and what exactly is doing the guaranteeing? The Bill of Rights, to which Proposal 5 would be an addition, declares the rights of the people – for instance – to exercise freedom of speech and press, to be protected in the enjoyment of life, liberty and property, and to bear arms. But nowhere does the Constitution guarantee anything, let alone “the liberty and dignity to determine their own life’s course.”

Could a person, under this language, bring a lawsuit against the State for being made to wear an undignified helmet while riding a motorcycle? Could a person sentenced under Ch. II sec. 64 to perform hard labor in full view of the public, object that being seen in an orange jump suit cleaning up trash invades his dignity? Could a person bring suit claiming that food stamps and welfare payments are not sufficient to allow him or her to live a life of dignity at taxpayer’s expense?

I’m not keen on the rest of Proposal 5, but this first sentence really has to go.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

William Hays March 23, 2019 at 12:32 pm

A proposal: change prisoner ‘jump-suits’ to pink. How could a Progressive object? No “indignity” there.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

About Us

The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.
Read more...

Latest News

Commentary: The EV Subsidy Train Picks Up Speed

July 16, 2019 By John McClaughry Chairman Anthony Roisman of the Public Utility Commission has made it official. Vermont is facing a “Pearl Harbor moment”. We in Vermont...

Solving the Border Crisis

July 15, 2019 By John McClaughry During May a record 144,000 people crossed into the United States along the Southern Border, seeking asylum in our country. Not surprisingly,...

Credit Agency: Show Me the People, Vermont!

July 12, 2019 By David Flemming The good news: one of the top major credit agencies applauded Vermont’s legislators for recognizing that Vermont has a population problem. The...

IPCC Hiding Truth on its Failed Models

Testimony of Prof. John R. Christy, U.S. House Committee on Science, Space & Technology 29 Mar 2017 (excerpt) John R. Christy is Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science, Alabama’s...

Tunnel vision on carbon reduction leaves Vermont vulnerable to next “climate storm”

July 10, 2019 By Guy Page July 10, 2019 – Vermont’s energy leaders often warn about the dangers of climate-change related extreme weather. But the solutions they propose...

Video