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Watch: John Stossel Asks How to Strengthen the Constitution. Goldwater Answers.

July 8, 2022

What does the Constitution mean to you? How would you change it? That’s a question that journalist and TV commentator John Stossel posed to Americans on the street, attorneys, and policy experts. The Goldwater Institute suggested two key ways to curb governmental overreach. And it doesn’t have to be done at the federal level. 

The U.S. Constitution is designed to be a floor of protection for individual rights, leaving the states free to safeguard those rights to an even greater extent. State constitutions have done just that, enacting provisions to protect taxpayers from being forced to fund special interests, and to protect property owners from unjust seizures. That was the theme of Goldwater Executive Vice President Christina Sandefur and Vice President for Litigation Timothy Sandefur’s responses when Stossel asked people how they would change the federal Constitution. In both instances, they proposed measures to help curtail the ever-expanding reach of government and strengthen constitutional freedoms. 

“A lot of state constitutions have something called the gift clause, and a gift clause is a prohibition on government subsidies to special interests,” Christina Sandefur said. And Timothy Sandefur adds, “I would include in the federal Constitution protections against the abuse of eminent domain that are found in many state constitutions.” 

By adding provisions that are commonplace in state constitutions, could the federal Constitution better protect Americans’ freedoms and our founding principles?

Of course, none of this is to say that the Founders got it wrong when it comes to our fundamental freedoms. And the U.S. Constitutions already includes crucial protections that must never, ever go away. As one man told Stossel: “Never take the speech away from the people. If you hate it, somebody else might love it, so as long as there’s no action to physically harm somebody, keep the free speech.” 

Keep the freedom of speech, indeed. And keep all of our other rights, too.

Watch Stossel’s video here, and read more about the issue in his nationally syndicated column, which reaches millions of readers across the country, here.

Brandon Small is a Ronald Reagan Fellow at the Goldwater Institute. 



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