Raymund Eich

Constitution 2050

Ebook

A Republic. If you can keep it.

$2.99

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Description

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In these five stories, Raymund Eich posits new amendments to the United States Constitution. Amendments written to better bestow the blessings of liberty on the American people and their posterity. Amendments that those same American people, ranging from common men and women to Presidents, try to evade for personal gain. The Twenty-Eighth Amendment

President Archer faced a Middle East crisis. The audio-visual recording crew following his every public move limited how he could resolve the crisis. Or did they?

The Twenty-Ninth Amendment

It didn’t matter if Gretchen Archer knew what crime her presidential father committed. It mattered if she should have known.

The Thirtieth Amendment

Born to an illegal immigrant, Gonzalo had a chance to live and work in the United States. If he demonstrated fluency in the English language. Others had the same chance… and would pass the test by hook or by crook. The Thirty-First Amendment Empowered to pass a law restricting the practice of any religion other than Christianity or Judaism, Congress passed the 9/11 Memorial Act forbidding the practice of Islam. But if devout Muslims may eat Jewish food, what’s a kosher butcher to do? The Thirty-Second Amendment By chance, President Edward Slovachek could appoint three Supreme Court justices. Enough to tilt the Court to uphold a controversial law he supported. In the halls of the Senate, he could force through his appointments—but at what price?

Sample of “Constitution 2050”

The Thirty-Second Amendment

The Supreme Court shall consist of nine Judges, and all Judges of both the Supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices for a term of eighteen years.

The terms of the Judges of the Supreme Court shall be staggered, such that the term of one Judge shall end on the Thirty-first day of August of every odd-numbered Year.

The term of any Judge of either the Supreme or an inferior Court sitting as of the ratification of this amendment shall not be changed. For a Judge of the Supreme Court now sitting, his or her successor shall serve for the shortest possible term consistent with the first and second sections of this amendment.

The tall windows behind President Edward Slovachek looked out on the White House lawn and spilled warm spring light over his shoulders onto the polished mahogany top of the conference table. Large enough for cabinet meetings, now only the President sat at the table. The only sounds came from the tap of fingers on tablets, both his and those of his two aides seated along the windowed wall behind him; the faint buzz of the palm-sized Twenty-Eighth Amendment drones recording audio and video from their stations in the air around him; and the tick of the clock high on the wall to his left.

1:58. Two minutes.

The corners of President Slovachek’s mouth lifted. Senate Minority Leader Chowdhury knew who held the trump card. Chowdhury would be on time.

A minute later, a bustle came from the hallway outside. Directly across the room from President Slovachek, the doorknob rattled. Behind him, tablets thumped on the cushions of unused seats. His aides prepared to stand.

The President held out his hands, palms-down. “Follow my lead,” he said quietly, his voice rich and deep as the soil of Texas’ Czech belt. He stayed in his seat while the door opened.

“”

Sample of “Constitution 2050”

The Twenty-Eighth Amendment

1. Each person holding an office established under Articles One, Two, or Three of this Constitution, or holding an office to which he or she is appointed by the President with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall at all times be subjected to the following, except as exempted in Section 2 of this article of amendment:

A. Videography and audiography of his person and his or her utterances;

B. Recordation of his or her telecommunications to and from all other persons; and

C. Copying his or her non-electronic communications to and from all other persons;

with the products of Subsections A-C being immediately provided and archived in electronic form, to which access shall be granted without restriction to any citizen of the United States.

2. Each person subjected to Section 1, Subsection A of this article of amendment shall be exempted therefrom under the following circumstances, provided a log of all persons whom he or she met during the period of exemption, is kept and provided under Section 1 of this article of amendment:

A. If he or she is an Ambassador, when outside the United States, when speaking with an officer of a foreign government;

B. If he or she is the President, a Minister having authority over foreign affairs or war, or a member of Congress authorized by Law to monitor foreign affairs or war, when discussing a foreign government, after a state of war with that foreign government has been declared under Article One, Section 8 of this constitution, until such state of war has ended;

C. When alone or only with members of his or her immediate family, when at his or her residence, or at a place provided for his or her rest or recreation.

President James Archer held his umbrella with his left hand while using his right to scroll through social media messages on his smartphone. October rain plopped on the deep blue plastic, barely audible over the engines of the Marine One helicopter fleet idling on the White House lawn. The grass slapped his black leather shoes with rainwater.

He walked with a straight back, smartphone held at eye level. Have to look presidential, strong posture, for the cameraman ten feet to his right. Beads of water on the lens would give the video a somber reality. It would look good in the history videos, President Archer, resolute during an international crisis.

Next message. @POTUS why dont you just wetwork Abdullah? Solve #KurdistanVsMesopotamianRepublicCrisis with 1 bullet?

President Archer pressed the home button. “Tuxi,” he said to the software assistant, his voice deep and rich for the parabolic mic pointed at him by the soundman, “compose a reply. ‘@USAFan_65706, it’s illegal for me to target a foreign leader unless we declare war. Mesopotamia will comply with treaty obligations without need for war.’ Post it.”

The steel blue hulk topped with white of his Marine One loomed ahead. President Archer slipped his phone into an outer pocket of his overcoat. At the foot of the stairs, a Marine in dress uniform, tanned face impassive in the rain, snapped a salute. President Archer returned the salute, then trotted up the stairs.

He handed over his umbrella to the purser, said “Yes, black” to her query about coffee, and took a seat on padded beige leather at the rear

“”

Sample of “Constitution 2050”

The Thirty-First Amendment

The First Amendment to this Constitution is hereby modified, as follows:

Congress may make any law for the United States, and the Legislature of each of the several States may make any law for that State, regulating, restricting, or prohibiting the practice of any religion other than the Christian or Jewish religions.

Pockmarked ceiling tiles interspersed with buzzing fluorescent lights seemed poised to fall on Irving Blaustein’s head. His sneakers squeaked on scuffed vinyl. The air conditioning labored to clear the stink of bad coffee and human sweat, and fell short. The greatest country on Earth and its FBI offices were cramped and dingy.

All the aches and pains of middle age suddenly turned up a notch. Maybe it wasn’t the greatest country on Earth anymore.

His head drooped.

Or maybe his son was a schlemiel.

The clack of the soles of the attorney’s black leather oxfords slowed. “In here,” the attorney said in a brash voice. Jordan Shapiro, one of the best criminal defense lawyers in the city. But even though they went to the same temple, Shapiro wouldn’t cut Irving a deal on his hourly rate.

The things we do for our children.

Shapiro opened the door. Irving had seen the room a hundred times on TV. More scuffed tile under a drop ceiling with brown splotches of leaking water, plain wood table and chairs battered from use, and a giant window into the next room.

Irving ignored the two men who rose from the table as they entered. He went to the giant window. Past smudges of fingertip oils and dirt on the other side of the glass, Phillip sat in a chair like the ones in this room, turned away from the same sort of table. Phillip folded his arms over his chest and glowered at the cross-work of bars across the single window.

Uh-oh. Irving knew that look. Phillip knew he’d broken the rules, but in his mind it was the rules’ fault, not his. Four hours in FBI custody had not been enough to make him think otherwise.

Jordan Shapiro spoke with casual insistence to the two men. “I’m not going to speak with my client in the interrogation room.”

One FBI agent, two inches taller than Irving and fair of skin and hair, obvious the leader, rolled eyes as blue as his suit. “You know we can’t record your conversation.”

“No, it’s inadmissible in court. But you might record things—”

“That would be fruit of a poison tree. You know that’s also inadmiss—”

“You’re good at telling me what you want me to think I know. But I’ve seen you guys launder otherwise inadmissible evidence the way the Mafia launders money. Find us another room.”

The lead agent rolled his blue eyes one more time, then turned to the second FBI man. This one was shorter than Irving, with thinning black hair on his head and wisps of more peeking above the collar of his shirt and the knot of his necktie. From his skin tone and facial features, the shorter FBI man could have a background from anywhere in a circle bounded by Tel Aviv and Tehran.

Irving suddenly hated him. He could have been the one who entrapped Phillip.

“Right on it, Landry,” the shorter FBI man said, and headed for the door.

The tall one, Landry, nodded. “You two wait here.”

Irving turned his palms toward the water-stained ceiling. “Can’t I talk with my son?”

“”

Sample of “Constitution 2050”

The Twenty-Ninth Amendment

1. Any person holding an office established under Articles One, Two, or Three of this Constitution, or holding an office to which he or she is appointed by the President with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, who takes any action in word or deed contrary to the letter or the spirit of this Constitution, shall have committed the crime of contempt of the Constitution, the punishment of which shall be death.

2. A person accused of committing a crime against the person or the property of another may make an affirmative defense that the victim of that crime was guilty of contempt of the Consitution, or that the victim was attempting to protect a person that the victim knew or should have known was guilty of contempt of the Consitution.

The image of the dead girl glowed on the projection screen in Assistant U.S. Attorney Jurgensen’s darkened office. Sightless blue eyes stared at nothing. The harsh morgue lights bleached her skin yet couldn’t add an luster to her blond hair. The chill and gag-inducing scent of the morgue’s air seemed to seep from the screen into the room, into Jurgensen’s throat.

Gretchen Archer, seventeen years old, a President’s daughter.

Jurgensen ripped his gaze away from the screen and reached for the bottle of antacid tablets on his paper-strewn desktop.

“Boss, you cannot seriously contemplate letting this go,” Shabazz Clayton said from the other side of the desk. He stood between the two visitor chairs, fists on his hips. The other two prosecutors on Jurgensen’s staff, Janice Hong and Robert Edelstein, flanked Clayton, Hong with her hands clutching the backrest of one chair, Edelstein slouching on his elbow on the backrest of the other. Hong and Edelstein nodded, more vigorously as Clayton said, “There’s no doubt in the slightest that that terrorist killed her.”

Jurgensen chewed and swallowed antacid tablets. Citrus flavor lingered in his mouth, a tiny dollop of pleasantness in this damned day. “You know the language of the Attempting to Protect clause of Section Two as well as I do.”

Clayton rolled his lips together, then scowled at the screen. “Show the video again.”

Jurgensen sighed. The video played in a background loop in his mind 24/7. It projected itself on the inside of his eyelids when he tried to sleep. He reached for his wireless keyboard and fingered the trackpad.

The morgue photo of Gretchen Archer vanished, thank Christ. The video shot by the Twenty-Eighth Amendment crew on duty that day filled the projection screen. President Archer walking through the park, approaching the podium set up near the stainless steel pillar at the northern base of the Gateway Arch. His wife, Melissa, at his side, Gretchen also next to him in a lightweight yellow sundress falling two inches below her knees. A warm spring day in the Eastern District of Missouri, in Jurgensen’s jurisdiction.

Eight Secret Service personnel ringed the Presidential family. A crowd not far off-screen chanted “Contempt! Contempt! Contempt of the Constitution!” The chant lacked the glib performance of most staged protests. This one snarled. This one meant it.

Archer, to his credit, strode with a straight back to the podium. The evidence retrieved from the lodge subbasement at Camp David and the testimony of Miller, the intelligence operative, about secret meetings

“”

Sample of “Constitution 2050”

The Thirtieth Amendment

1. The first sentence of the first Section of the Fourteenth Amendment is hereby repealed and replaced with the following:

Any person born in the United States to parents who are both citizens or permanent legal residents of the United States and are subject to the jurisdiction thereof, or any person naturalized in the United States, is a citizen of the United States and of the State wherein he or she resides.

2. Any person under the age of eighteen years who is now living, who was born to at least one parent who was neither a citizen nor a permanent legal resident of the United States, and who was considered a citizen of the United States under the first sentence of the first Section of the Fourteenth Amendment as of the date of ratification of this Amendment, shall have the right to live and work in the United States, upon attaining the age of eighteen years and demonstrating fluency in the English language.

Gonzalo’s stomach flopped like a beached fish gasping for breath. The waiting room was a plain place of vinyl tile, paneling the color of caramel, and hard, misshapen plastic chairs. The only sounds came from the shifting bodies of the other twenty-two test takers and the rustle of traffic on the twelve-lane freeway a kilometer away. The United States flag hung on a pole at the front of the room, next to a picture of President Benchley, as stern as an angry saint.

Gonzalo glanced around the room. Here he was in Los Angeles, just two hundred kilometers from Mexico, but only three other test-takers looked Latin American, let alone Mexican. Four looked like Arabs—in the corner, two negros with brown-black skin—there were even two rubios, brother and sister, perhaps, blond hair and blue eyes set in wide faces. But the greatest number were chinos. What word did the americanos use? Orientals? Asians?

One chino, black hair spiked over a face dominated by thick-rimmed eyeglasses, spoke to the rubio brother. “My father, big man in party, send my mother to luxury birth hospital, Orange County.”

Da,” said the rubio, then muttered something in a foreign language.

“My father bring in test prep tutor. From U.S. Spend top dollar.” The chino smelled of cologne and cigarettes. “I ready.”

Gonzalo’s stomach turned more sour. Test prep tutor? He couldn’t compete with that. All he’d done to learn English was press the CC button on television shows from San Diego. And check out books from the americano missionary library on Avenida Benito Juarez, books with pictures about FIFA World Cups and auto repair.

He took a breath. He didn’t compete against the chino. It only mattered how many questions he answered right.

He glanced around again. His gaze met that of the one Latina in the room. Clear skin and black hair shiny under the fluorescent lights in the ceiling. Beautiful, but who was he to say she was too beautiful for him? He gave her a confident look. Her gaze lingered on his for a long moment, then coyly turned away.

After he started his own auto repair shop, he’d scrub the grease from under his fingernails and find her.

A door opened next to the picture of President Benchley. Everyone in the waiting room looked up. In came a tall gringo with stooped shoulders and a stubbly brown beard. “It’s almost time to enter the testing room.

“”

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Ebook

Writer

Raymund Eich

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