Progressives are ready to edit the Constitution. Are conservatives ready to answer?

The Bill of Rights.
(Image credit: Illustrated | iStock, Wikimedia Commons)

Should we rewrite the First and Second Amendments? In a contribution to a Boston Globe series on "editing the Constitution," law professor Mary Anne Franks of the University of Miami proposes replacing the first two items in the Bill of Rights with more qualified versions. You can catch Franks' drift from the subtitle of her book: The Cult of the Constitution: Our Deadly Devotion to Guns and Free Speech.

"As legal texts go, neither of the two amendments is a model of clarity or precision," Franks wrote at the Globe. But her rewrites don't improve the situation. The core idea is to make the amendments more consistent with promoting the general welfare, as promised in the Constitution's preamble. But Americans have traditionally — and rightly — believed strong protections for individual rights themselves promote the general welfare. Franks' versions offer much too little in that regard.

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