The strengths and weakness of the NYS Constitution
The NYS constitution creates a structure for the State of New York government through enumerating the basic principles and rights of American citizens. In comparison to the other state constitutions, the provisions of the NYS constitution are detailed following more often-made amendments than their federal counterpart (Stephenson 323). Some of the significant strengths and weaknesses of the constitution include:
A major strength of the NYS constitution is its equality and fairness to the American citizens living in the state. The constitution also clearly sets out the human rights. It also has provisions that set out relative limits to government powers. The constitution has been protecting individual rights since its inception. The bill of rights has specific limits, especially to the government powers to facilitate individual protection from cases of government abuse (Stephenson 323). Some of the provisions in the bill of rights allow New York State citizens to have the freedom of press, speech and religion; protection from excessive fines and punishment, prohibition from cases of unreasonable searches, and the natural rights. The constitution also defines how the congress and the government are run. Such section elaborates on the legislative powers granted to the congress (Stephenson 323).
The NYS constitution also has a section that defines the checks and balances system, which is one of the most significant parts. This ensures that every branch of the New York State government functions with limits to ensure no branch is too powerful. The system ensures that decision made within the NYS government is not taken lightly (Galie and Christopher 363). The Senate is charged with the responsibility of approving policies with the congress passing laws. Checks and balances also ascertain that the rights of NYS citizens are protected through limiting the powers of every branch of the government.
The major weakness of the New York State constitution is that it is outdated. It should undergo implementations to update its contents to reflect the current American society times. The constitution weakness is also the amendment process (Tarr and Robert 4). This has to involve two significant ways, which include a proposal of the amendment in the legislature that is a subject to voter approval. The other way has to involve a convention, which is also subject to voter approval and can be handled through two processes. This can be through a legislative proposal and is subject to voter approval and by an automatic referendum, which happens every twenty years.
The current NYS constitution also has a weakness in approval concept since a legislative proposal has to undergo two successive legislatures in order to be submitted for voter approval (Tarr and Robert 4). Whenever a convention process is called for, teams of fifteen at-large members with three senate district members are elected. The member’s compensation is based on an assembly member level. Such a convention is meant to meet on a regular basis in the capital until the task assigned is complete especially from the first Tuesday in April after the elections. In most cases, whether a limited-call convention meant to handle specific issues is constitutional oriented or not is unclear in the current NYS constitution (Tarr and Robert 4).
Proponents base their arguments on the aspect that the constitution has limitations and not relatively granting as a document (Galie and Christopher 368). They cite the fact that one of the conventions in 1801 was also a limited-call. This happens while the opposition to such issues, arguing that since the NYS constitution does not in any way provide expressly for such conventions, any convention would be considered unconstitutional.
Galie, Peter J, and Christopher Bobst. The New York State Constitution. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. Print.
Stephenson, Donald G. The Right to Vote: Rights and Liberties under the Law. Santa Barbara (Calif.: ABC-CLIO, 2004. Print.
Tarr, G A, and Robert F. Williams. State Constitutions for the Twenty-First Century: Volume 3. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2006. Internet resource.