Skip to comments.Lawmaker believes Legislature should select U.S. senators
Posted on 02/10/2010 12:10:30 PM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
PHOENIX -- A freshman Southern Arizona lawmaker is leading the effort to strip Arizona voters of the right to nominate U.S. senators.
The proposal by Rep. David Stevens, R-Sierra Vista, would give that right to the elected legislators from each party. Only after that process is complete would voters get a say, in the general election, who they actually want to send to Washington.
Stevens said his measure, if approved by Arizona voters in November, would be a partial return to the way things were before the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was adopted.
Until then, each state legislature actually got to choose its U.S. senators, with voters allowed only to pick only the folks going to the House of Representatives. The 1913 amendment requires direct election of all members of Congress.
Stevens said that amendment was a mistake. He said the old system ensured that senators were responsive to the desires of state lawmakers.
"The state is supreme over the federal government,' he said. "And when they weren't doing what we thought they should be doing, we could recall them at any time.'
With direct election, Stevens said, federal senators are less interested in protecting the rights of the states and more interested in looking out for the powers of the federal government.
"It takes away the ability of the state to negotiate with the federal government,' he said.
Unable to repeal the 17th Amendment, Stevens is trying the next best thing: changing the nominating process.
He said HCR 2046 would not run afoul of the U.S. Constitution because it does preserve the direct election of senators as required. He said nothing in that amendment spells out the nominating process for those candidates, which is what he wants to change.
Because his plan requires voter approval, nothing in his measure would affect this year's Republican primary battle involving incumbent John McCain and challengers J.D. Hayworth and Chris Simcox.
Stevens said, though, there might be an entirely different political landscape if McCain, Hayworth and Simcox were busy battling for the support of the 35 House Republicans and 18 GOP senators rather than seeing who can corral more popular votes at the primary in August.
In fact, he said it is possible that someone like Hayworth, whose campaign warchest is going to be dwarfed by McCain, actually might have a better chance of becoming the party's nominee.
"He would have to come down and, basically, campaign us,' Stevens said.
Stevens said he believes he can sell voters on the idea of giving up their right to nominate their U.S. senators.
"I'll ask them if they feel like they're being served by their senators,' Stevens said.
"And I can pretty much tell you what they're answer is going to be, that is 'no,' ' he continued. Stevens added, though, he said he's not just talking about Arizona but the situation nationwide.
The plan will get no backing from McCain.
"Senator McCain believes all elections, primary and general, should be decided by the people, as stated in the Constitution,' said aide Brooke Buchanan.
Hayworth said he is sympathetic to what Stevens is trying to do.
"I believe in states' rights,' he said. But Hayworth said he can't support this specific measure.
"Right now I just think it's important for the people to decide' who are their Arizona senators.
And Simcox said he's not sure if such a change would make the process better.
On one hand, he said the measure might help candidates like himself who he contends are more committed to the principles of the party and less to being loyal to those who control the party structure. But Simcox said he also can foresee a way that this system also can be co-opted by the party leadership.
The measure does have an escape clause for recognized parties that don't happen to have any members in the Arizona Legislature: Their U.S. Senate nominees would continue to be chosen the way they are now through a primary race.
Stevens said even if he gets his wish and the nominating process is changed, it still might be difficult for Arizona lawmakers to keep their federal senators' feet to the fire. That goes back to the 17th Amendment and that federal requirement for direct election.
"Once they get elected to their six years, we (legislators) don't have the ability to call them back,' Stevens said.
I agree with this proposal.
Direct election of Senators
Time to turn back the clock..and stop those Progressives.
I believe the 17th amendment was a big mistake..if US Senators were beholden to the state legislatures..we wouldn’t have such runaway federal government..imho..
The 17th Amendment was a huge mistake and it should be repealed.
I believe electoral college votes should be split by the number of districts won with the two extra votes going to the overall winner. No more winner take all. Imagine democrats only picking up 28 votes in CA instead of 40.
Repeal the 17th bump!!
Rebellion is brewing!!
The founders of this great nation had it right the first time.
Cal is screwed either way. Look at what we have already elected.
Incorrect. Senators were chosen by their state legislatures for a 6 year term. Legislatures could not recall them at will.
Agree Jim !!
Direct election of Senators
Time to turn back the clock..and stop those Progressives.
Notice the bias in how they portray it as an attempt to strip voters of their rights? As if federal government under the current setup wasn't doing that on a vast scale already.
The legisl00tures could, apparently, successfully pressure the Sinators to resign, however. (Yes, I spelled it that way on purpose.)
At this point I am all in favor of political triage. Cut their star out of the flag and reduce them to territory status till they can get their s*it together. If they cannot get it together auction their land off to other states.
"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find only things evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelogus
I agree, absolutely. That year, along 1935 (Social Security Act), was one of the biggest reasons that liberty lost it's primacy to federal rule. It was a HUGE mistake which of course is never spoken about in our public schools. I would wager less than 1% of the graduating seniors in public school even are aware that US Senators were once elected by the state's respective legislatures, to say nothing of why it was a good idea then, and now.
There was no need to pressure a senator to resign. If he wasn't welcome anymore, he would know it without being told.
Repeal of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Amendments
We consider the federal income tax to be destructive of our liberty, privacy, and prosperity. Therefore, we are working to bring about its complete elimination and the repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. We recommend that the current system be replaced by an equitable, simple, noninvasive, visible, efficient tax, one that does not destroy or even infringe upon our economic privacy and liberty.
We also call for the repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment. Its enactment greatly reduced the power of our state legislatures and state governments which are much closer to the people and damaged our system of federalism.
I think that’s a excellent way to undo the damage of the 17th.
The passage of the 13th amendment turned Senators into Federal animals when they were designed to be State animals.
I support repeal.
Make that the 17th Amendment. sheesh...
“Repeal the 17th bump!!”
Can we have a twofer, the 16th needs to go.
“Rebellion is brewing!!”
I guess rebellion makes a better “battle cry” but it must be accompanied by revival (political and spiritual), without an increase in virtue any effort will fail.
This isn’t a bad idea if you want to get senators who are more beholden to state government than popular whims.
Three cheers for the Arizona Federalist! (or Anti-Federalist!) (*)
This is a brilliant idea, as it doesn’t have to repeal the 17th Amendment.
John McCain hates it, because his rich wife and lobbyists buy his seat, and the Arizona GOP is too cheap to fund a decent candidate. McCain doesn’t give two poops about Arizona.
Even if the State legislators pick a liar who promises loyalty to the State, then falls in love with the national government and betrays his State, this effectively term limits him to one term!
(*) By today’s definition, a “Federalist” wants a balance of power between the national government and the individual States, and an “Anti-Federalist” wants the States to be superior in power to the national government. Right now, they are not in conflict at all, because they both believe that the national government has far too much power, taken at the expense of the individual States and the people.
How does this proposal differ from the selection of Dede in NY23 ?
Oregon gets to deal with SF, Nevada gets LA, and Arizona shall be blessed with San Diego. SacraMENTAL shall be bulldozed to the ground.
This man is right. The Founders knew the damage that could be done by a “royal” senator, using his incumbency to maintain his personal power for 6-year-term after 6-year-term. The amendment passed at the beginning of the Progressive period was a blatant power grab by members of the senate and needs to be repealed.
As I understand it, Diddly Dee was selected by NY GOP insiders, while the AZ Sinatorial candidate would be selected by GOP legisl00ters.
(Yeah, I know, my cynicism is showing. Repealing the 17th, as good an idea as it is, will be a risky gamble until we get better legislators by being more active on the state level.)
So do I.
I noticed that, too, although the author/editor seemed to me to be concerned about voting rights. It's something that advocates of this maneuver should NOT put in their brochures.
Yep the 17th was a dumb one for sure.
Because the original intent was for Congressmen to represent the current mood of the country (elections every 2 years, changing districts, states gaining/losing seats) while Senators were supposed to represent the interests of the states (reserve funding/projects) and slow down majority opinion to be able to see the total impact ( elections every 6 years, each state gets 2-small/large, north/south, east/west).
Congressmen should be representative of the district and not thrust upon us (like Murtha’s wife will be). Senators should represent our state’s represenatives (Legislature).
With the way it is now, everyone direct elected, what is the difference in a Senator and Congressman?
“Time to turn back the clock...”
Only if turning back the clock means the instant demise of the IRS and the Federal Reserve. Both are mostly foreign owned, banking controlled organizations that have no Constitutional merit.
Twenty eight states have legislatures controlled by Democrats. Thirteen are controlled by Republicans. Eight are split. One is non-partisan. Do the math.
14th Amendment was the beginning of the end.
Good for him. It should be for the Several States to individually decide how they choose their Senators.
He’s asking for half-a-loaf, and often in politics such proposals can wind up making a bad situation worse.
His proposal does not do what’s needed and it gives too much power in the party to incumbents. If there is still a primary process, it should not be controlled by the legislators.
Instead of half-a-loaf, we need to return election of Senators to the state legislators; and that needs to include making them subject to recall by the state legislators as well.
It is a lie that such a change makes a Senatorial choice less a choice of “the people”.
Senators were intended to represent the State, as an entity, and as a government, which, as that government, was to have representation in the Federal Government.
“The people” elect their State legislators; and by that representation their legislators were to elect their Senators - to represent the State.
Direct election, and the campaign process of direct election, opened the seats of the Senators to mountains of money and influence beyond the territory - and without regard to the interests of - the State; much more so than was evident before their “direct” election.
That's the one part that sucks about repeal: the party angle. The crinimal DemocRAT legisl00tures need to be replaced, while the RINO elements in the Pubbie legisl00tures need to be weeded out and retired.
Read some history. The then-members of the Senate fiercely opposed the 17th Amendment. It passed the House year after year before the Senate finally caved in to overwhelming public pressure.
I don’t get this. So, there would be no primary?
The legislature would choose the candidates, but how many?
And how does this not aid someone like Byrd who simply can send federal dollars home to balance the state books?
To continue, this just seems like a way to make bribery easier. Instead of buying off the voters, I can simply buy off 20 or so legislators by promising them federal dollars for their district.
Suddenly, Bobby Nobody from Beckley County, WV can have a bridge on I-77 named after him.
While I agree in printable, I don’t think this half measure is the way to do it. As it will almost certainly backfire, killing the over all causes.
This is an easy target for a largely ignorance population be sold into being against.
The best in term measure is simply a senate recall mechanism initiated by either the voters in a referendum or the legislator more dynamically.
That works for me :)!!!!
This proposal means nearly half the states in this country would never elect Republican Senators again. Scott Brown would’ve lost by a 9-to-1 margin in MA in favor of “Marcia” Coakley.
1,000,000% correct FM!
But our belief is that returning to the original intent of the Constitution would, over time, change the US Senate into a body very, very jealous of the rights and prerogatives of the individual States. That is the point of repealing the 17th Amend. Democrat and Republican are not the problem. It is the Progressive Philosophy to consolidate power in the national government that has infected both parties that is the problem.
At least this is how those of us pushing for this see it.
I understand the argument, we had this discussion recently in another thread, but you simply can’t get around the makeup of the legislatures. People believe the quality of the Senators would improve, I really don’t. It only serves to make them that much less accountable to the people. I know what kind of hacks my state would’ve sent to DC, and it chills my blood. It wouldn’t have been for 140 years until last year we would’ve been able to send a Republican to the Senate.
I doubt that. If the People are strong enough Republican to elect a Republican Senator their State legislature/assembly will appoint a Republican - or blow their chance at reelection.
Originally the US Senate represented the States and the House of Representatives represented We, the People. Now our State has no representation. Why do we have an Upper and Lower House at the Federal level when both are composed of elected politicians? With both being directly elected why not eliminate the Senate and combine both functions in the House?