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Repealing the Seventeenth Amendment
Capital Gains and Games ^ | June 3, 2010 | Bruce Bartlett

Posted on 07/01/2010 9:14:54 AM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks

The New York Times recently published two back-to-back articles (here and here) mocking members of the Tea Party Movement for supporting repeal of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution—the one that changed the election of US Senators from state legislatures to the popular vote system we have today. Having endorsed this idea myself on occasion, I am compelled to say that just because some crazy people endorse an idea doesn’t necessarily make the idea crazy. Following are links to some serious commentaries supporting a return to the original system of electing senators established by the Constitution.

 
George Mason Law School professor Todd Zywicki is probably the leading authority on the history and problems with the 17th Amendment. Following is some of his work:
 
            ● “Senators and Special Interests: A Public Choice Analysis of the Seventeenth Amendment,” Oregon Law Review (1994). Online here.
 
            ● “Beyond the Shell and Husk of History: The History of the Seventeenth Amendment and Its Implications for Current reform Proposals,” Cleveland State Law Review (1997). Online here.
 
A 1997 article in the American Political Science Review by Sara Crook and John Hibbing concluded that the 17th Amendment dramatically changed the nature of the Senate. Different sorts of people were elected and senators became much more sensitive to changes in public opinion.
 
Claremont McKenna College government professor Ralph A. Rossum was highly critical of the 17th Amendment’s erosion of federalism in his 2001 book, Federalism, the Supreme Court, and the Seventeenth Amendment: The Irony of Constitutional Democracy. A good summary of his argument can be found in this paper delivered in 2003.
 
In 2002, former White House counsel John Dean wrote a column saying that repeal of the 17th Amendment would “restore both federalism and bicameralism.” One benefit, he said, is that the cost of running statewide senate campaigns would disappear and there would be more focus on state legislative races—a good thing in Dean’s opinion.
 
In a speech reported in the Harvard Crimson in 2004, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said that the 17th Amendment was “a bad idea.”
 


TOPICS: Chit/Chat; Government; History; Miscellaneous; Politics
KEYWORDS: 10thamendment; 17thamendment; antoninscalia; brucebartlett; federalism; johndean; newyorktimes; repeal; senate; senators; teaparty; toddzywicki

1 posted on 07/01/2010 9:15:01 AM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

The Founders did it that way for a reason.


2 posted on 07/01/2010 9:20:30 AM PDT by Mmogamer (<This space for lease>)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
In principle I agree with the repeal of the 17th Amendment.
Unfortunately our state, county & local governments are up to their necks in corruption, careerism, & general incompetence. However having said that since thy are closest to the “people” it might be the easiest to fix. A refocusing of general political interest and concern on the state legislature & ones particular legislator is a good thing ! Its what the founders intended !
The exception here is probably California, they seem to have an entitlement mentality that would embarrass a 4th generation welfare Queen.
3 posted on 07/01/2010 9:23:01 AM PDT by Reily
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Bringing Congressional apportionment back to 1:30000...which the Founders intended...down from 1:700000 today..would create a Congress that would be 10000 members. they could meet electronically from their districts...where their constituents can keep their eye on them


4 posted on 07/01/2010 9:27:39 AM PDT by mo
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

The Senate is there to represent the state’s rights, without this we ended up with the public raiding state treasures by Federal Government Fiat.


5 posted on 07/01/2010 9:37:16 AM PDT by dila813
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Repeal 17th and replace with ....

ONE of the Senators to be appointed by majority vote of a unicameral session of the state legislators. The other Senator to be appointed directly by the Governor of the state. Both shall serve for either:

1) the remaining of the term or
2) until completion of the term or
3) until expelled by Senate rules or
4) until arraignment on state or federal felony charges AND vote to remove by majority vote of the unicameral session.

Should for any reason, a senator is unable to complete a term, a temporary appointment shall be made by the opposite body. In other words, the Governor shall appoint the replacement for the Legislative Senator and the Legislators shall appoint the replacement for the Governor’s Senator.


6 posted on 07/01/2010 9:48:18 AM PDT by taxcontrol
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
...the Tea Party Movement for supporting repeal of the 17th Amendment... Having endorsed this idea myself on occasion, I am compelled to say that just because some crazy people endorse an idea doesn’t necessarily make the idea crazy.

Screw you too, Bruce.

7 posted on 07/01/2010 9:51:03 AM PDT by Talisker (When you find a turtle on top of a fence post, you can be damn sure it didn't get there on it's own.)
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To: Reily

Boy you nailed the argument against repealing the 17th. Further,there will be no correction of foul state legislatures due to decisions by the Supreme court holding both State legislative houses must be based upon population. “One man one vote.” By removing the older system of constituting State legislatures corruption was assured.


8 posted on 07/01/2010 10:08:36 AM PDT by AEMILIUS PAULUS (It is a shame that when these people give a riot)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

I have contended for many years that the 16th and 17th amendments are responsible for many if not most of our problems today.
However, one of my best friends has made a very persuasive argument that it really is the 19th amendment that is the root of all our woes.
Could be just could be.


9 posted on 07/01/2010 10:08:42 AM PDT by Tupelo
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To: mo
http://www.thirty-thousand.org
10 posted on 07/01/2010 10:13:03 AM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks (70 mph shouldn't be a speed limit; it shoud be a mandate!)
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To: Tupelo

The three Amendments have a common underlying principle, “egalitarianism!”


11 posted on 07/01/2010 10:14:10 AM PDT by AEMILIUS PAULUS (It is a shame that when these people give a riot)
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To: Reily
The best argument for repealing the 17th amendment is occupying the senior senate seat from Washington state. The second best is occupying the junior senate seat from California.

Unfortunately, both named idiots have a lot of constituents who are also idiots and firmly believe idiots have a right to power.

You will not cure such idiocy overnight, nor will you lay the groundwork for repeal of the 17th amendment without undertaking and succeeding at far simpler and politically achievable tasks first.

It is like repealing Obamacare. Outright repeal is a pipe dream, but neutering it by taking control of the House of Representatives and defunding it is an imminently achievable task.

12 posted on 07/01/2010 10:16:16 AM PDT by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

tnx for the linK!


13 posted on 07/01/2010 10:31:43 AM PDT by mo
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Bookmark.


14 posted on 07/01/2010 10:32:16 AM PDT by Sergio (If a tree fell on a mime in the forest, would he make a sound?)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Bookmark.


15 posted on 07/01/2010 10:33:15 AM PDT by Sergio (If a tree fell on a mime in the forest, would he make a sound?)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
There are advantages and disadvantages to repealing the 17th Amendment.

If it were repealed you can be sure that we would see Bob Bennett from Utah in the Senate until he was as old as Byrd.

16 posted on 07/01/2010 10:41:10 AM PDT by wintertime (Good ideas win! Why? Because people are not stupid.)
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To: wintertime

And we would probably see Charlie Crist appointed by Floriduh until ice hockey was played in Hell (sigh).


17 posted on 07/01/2010 10:59:09 AM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks (70 mph shouldn't be a speed limit; it shoud be a mandate!)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

The 17th Amendment fundamentally altered our form of government FROM a Representative Republic to a Democracy. Prior to passage of the 17th Amendment, the senators were elected by their state legislatures who, in turn, were elected by popular vote of the people of the state. Thus the chain of responsibility to ther voters remained intact and unbroken.

The election of senators by the state legislature allowed the US Senate to focus on matters that affected the US government AND their state without interference or influence from outside “special interests”.

After passage of the 17th Amendment, candidates to the US Senate became obligated to every campaign contributor and special interest group that had “bought” representatives in the US House of Representatives, thus transforming us FROM a Representative Republic TO a true democracy.


18 posted on 07/01/2010 11:00:53 AM PDT by DustyMoment
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

No system is perfect. However, repeal the 17th is necessary to restore balance to the Constitution. The Senate is to represent the sovereignty of the individual states and control the power gather by the Federal government.

Yes, the States may select poorly, but that’s life. If that happens to your’s or mine, then the remedy is to pick better state legislatures, not throw out the Constitution.

Without the State’s having control of the Federal Government, the “commerce clause” and “general welfare”

If the States have no say over the Fed, then the “commerce clause” and “general welfare means unlimited power. It means the supreme court is also no check or balance.


19 posted on 07/01/2010 11:05:44 AM PDT by rigelkentaurus
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To: AEMILIUS PAULUS
I am for the repeal of the 17th Amendment!
i think the long terms benefits more then make up for the short term problems posed by the general incompentence & corruption inherent in state legislatures. By refocusing people back on their state legislator & state senator these local Foghorn Leghorn's would be forced to clean up their act. Yes I know state legislative corruption led to the 17th Amendment. Then the accusation was the legislators were “bought and sold” by the railroads. However fundamentally altering the state's relation to the federal government is obviously not the cure for that problem.
State legislatures need term limits just like the federal legislature does. (Again California seems hopeless !)
Both need term limited and time limited meaning meet for a limited period of time.
20 posted on 07/01/2010 11:17:19 AM PDT by Reily
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
And we would probably see Charlie Crist appointed by Floriduh until ice hockey was played in Hell (sigh).
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

I suppose term limits could help somewhat if it was part of the Amendment.

21 posted on 07/01/2010 2:16:11 PM PDT by wintertime (Good ideas win! Why? Because people are not stupid.)
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