Skip to comments.Repeal the 17th Amendment?
Posted on 08/25/2010 7:07:09 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
I should start by acknowledging that repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment is hardly a mainstream issue and certainly not anything likely to come about (which is an understatement). However, the fact that there are people out there seeking its repeal is sufficient to garner comment, especially since said persons were significant enough within factions of the Tea Party movement to actually get some Senate candidates to state that they were in support of the repeal.
Further, every once in a while I will get a commenter who is favor a repeal, so it seems worth some discussion.
The proximate cause of this post is the following from TPMDC: Tea Party-Backed Repeal Of The 17th Amendment Gets Republicans Into Trouble
The “Repeal The 17th” movement is a vocal part of the overall tea party structure. Supporters of the plan say that ending the public vote for Senators would give the states more power to protect their own interests in Washington (and of course, give all of us “more liberty” in the process.) As their process of “vetting” candidates, some tea party groups have required candidates to weigh in on the idea of repeal in questionnaires. And that’s where the trouble starts.
In Ohio, Steve Stivers — the Republican attempting to unseat Democratic Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy in the state’s 15th District — came under fire from Democrats when it was revealed he had checked the box saying he would repeal the 17th Amendment on a tea party survey (see question 11 here).
(Excerpt) Read more at outsidethebeltway.com ...
I’m in favor of repealing the 17th as well (why bother with a bicameral legislature if you keep it, anyway?) But the vast majority of people would have their eyes glaze over if you tried to explain why. (In brief: Prior to the 17th amendment, state governments had influence on federal legislation via the senators they appointed. This tended to undermine the tyrannical centralization of power that we’ve seen in the federal government in our lifetime, keeping political power more decentralized, local/grassroots in nature, and ultimately more subservient to the citizenry.)
With repeal of the 17th amendment it would make recalling your Senator much easier.
I agree with repealing the 17th. How the states let go of this power is unfathomable to me. It was a wholesale destruction of state powers and a huge leap in destroying states rights, which is what those advocating a powerful central government want (it’s easier to rule over the people that way . . . ).
Repeal of the 17th would go a long way into making all politics local again.
Who woulda thunk it? ;-)
"How much am I bid for this man's senate seat? Do I hear an undersecretary position and $1,000,000? Ambassadorship and $1,500,000?"
I was far more eager to repeal the 17th before Blago was caught selling a seat in the Senate.
Anyway, the specific reason as I understand it for the 17th amendment was to broaden democracy, and counter what had become a fairly corrupted process at the state level, where people could buy senatorial seats by bribing the legislature back home without the world finding out about it.
Somehow, fools like Teddy Roosevelt thought it would be cleaner if the scoundrels bribed "the people" directly.. Go figure.
Now, in the age of pervasive communication and news coverage, it would make good sense to restore the elements of federalism that were sacrificed back then, and strengthen the people by decentralizing power.
Because congressional seats represent regional interest and senate seats represent geographic interests. In many states, it's vastly different when you look at their house delegation compared to their senate delegation. Both in the kind of people they elect and how many they elect. Hence South Dakota's elected officials have a lot more weight in the Senate than in the House, whereas Texas' elected officials have a lot more weight in the House than in the Senate. Michigan's Senate delegation is all liberal Democrat because Democrats outnumber Republicans statewide, whereas Michigan's house delegation is majority conservative Republican because there are large pockets of GOP areas around the state. And so on.
>> But the vast majority of people would have their eyes glaze over if you tried to explain why. <<
I understand the "reasons" given for repealing the 17th, and it only makes sense if you're in ALSO favor of repealing the 11th amendment as well so you can "go back to the original system the founders established" for electing the executive branch of government. In such a scenario, John McCain would become Obama's veep.
Hickley buzzard, are you also in favor of abolishing recall elections, referendum votes, direct initative, term limits, and selecting party nominees by primary elections instead of closed-door party conventions? How about giving women the right to vote, are you against that?
All of these things became popular and were first enacted into law during the "progressive era". Are we to presume ALL of them are bad by default? Speaking for myself, I wish we had term limits and recall elections here in Illinois.
You correctly point out that there are differences now between house and senate delegations (mostly due to gerrymandering), but miss the larger point that state governments have been transformed into powerless administrative provinces of the federal government, short of secession.
The 17th fails on its own merits - it's a century-old experiment, and its time to recognize it as a failure and end it before more damage is done.
I concur. Repeal the 17th, and gives the STATES a voice in the satanic Fed.gov!
I’ve been in support of repealing the 17th Amendment for a long time now.
It’s not a failure. By your methods, all you do is put half (or more) of the Senate seats out of permanent reach of electing Republicans. Direct elections ensure that EVERY state has a shot at doing so, including even Massachusetts (Brown’s election would never have occurred with a 90% Democrat legislature).
Repeal the 19th Amendment.
It lays out the common reasons why the 17th passed, and then tries to disprove them by pointing out incongruities in the arguments, and then finally explains a market within the Senate for trading political votes based on longevity (the ability to back up the promise of future votes due to the guarantee of being there).
The bottom line is that the original system wasn't corrupt enough, which is why the 17th was passed -- to give Senators (as power brokers) the ability to promise to deliver legislation because of the guarantee of remaining in the Senate long enough to make good on trades for votes.
While we are still likely to end up with corrupt hacks in the Senate, at least they will be beholden to the interests of their own state.
As it is, money for senate campaigns come in throughout the country, and we end up with senators who are more beholden to Wall Street or the banks or the high-tech or medical industries.
No, we cannot escape corrupt politicians but we can at least try to direct their corruptness to our own states.
“The bottom line is that the original system wasn’t corrupt enough, which is why the 17th was passed”
That would be the very first step (framework wise) to begin restoring some semblence of the former Republic.
At least one immediate result would be the restoration of the true meaning of the 10th...
While people’s confusion on this issue is understandable and thats why i urge caution in efforts to get it done. We need to have a talk about the senate and the reason behind its existence as it is distinguished from the house before we move on to our discussion about the repeal of the 17th amendment.
It is absolutely vital for people to understand the function of the senate before they judge the merits of our proposal.
This is not about not trusting the people with the senate this is about the basic function of the senate in our Federal system, and the inehirt power-interest of our State legislators driving them to support only senators that look after their power.
To be frank it is what you might call the corruption of our State legislators that works in in our favor in terms of fulfilling the function of the senate which is to help keep the Federal Government from intruding upon the domain of the States.
The basic thing people need to understand about the function of the senate is that unlike the house and the presidency its not so much about politics as it is about the structure of our Federal system of government.
Tell me why would the democrats in Massachusetts state legislator want Washington D.C. running their socialist health-care system, much less forcing a huge number of other mandates upon them.
There is one fact you need to accolade about politicians, they are greedy for power. and it is exactly that greed both democrat and republican that will make them resistant to giving up that power to anyone whether it be the people or in the cases of State politicians Washington D.C.
THAT is the function of the Senate. Its to keep power local.
1 Scott Brown in 60 years is hardly worth 9 Ted Kennedy’s.
“Given the fact that the federal government has discarded the constitution as their operating document, what difference does one amendment or another make?”
This is more true then you know, prior to the 17th amendment being radifyed in 1913 a number of state did effectively have a popularly elected senate Washington State was one of them if memory serves.
In that case the States simply had an election and then the state legislators was simply obliged to follow thou with that election.
No solution is perfect but repealing the 17th and restoring the Senate to its original electoral motivation of protection the power of the State legislators in Washington D.C. is better then what has happen to us sense.
Of course we have to figure out a better way to help people remember and understand:
1: The critical Structural function of the Senate in our Federal System.
2: The motivation of senators in fulfilling their function being more reliably established when they are elected by those who’s power they would be protecting.
The Founders were much wiser people then we are they set up the senate with this spesfic function for good reasons. Although it was not prefect it function a lot better then what we have had sense we broke their system.
And that one Mass. senator would be counteracted by the two VA senators who are now Dems with a Repub legislature and governor. I'll make that trade...
I am all for repealing that curse of an amendment. This article, though, lost me when the author stated....
“The notion that somehow having the state legislatures choose Senators is more representative of the states interest than having the voters of the state choose the Senator is odd on its face”
I hate to tell the “professor” but our founding fathers gave the people a voice already...it’s called the House of Representatives. Why on earth would you give the people of a state TWO houses? The House was designed to give the people a voice and the Senate was designed to give the states a voice. We have utterly obliterated any resemblance of a republic that every existed in this country.
I would like to see county governments appoint State Senators. That way, good ideas from citizens need have a far better chance of getting to the US Senator, as one need only convince the county supervisor of their validity, instead of being one among millions. For certain, Baker vs. Carr must be overturned.
You're either not familiar with how many state legislatures in this nation have lopsided RAT ruling them, or you're very bad at gambling.
Not necessarily so. In my own state, we have Democrats with a history of shamelessly purchasing votes from demographic groups, which has been enough to virtually guarantee re-election. Half of the State's population is in three cities, the rest throughout the State.
The result has been a Republican State Government with Democrats in DC.
Repealing the 17th would change that.
The more I've learned about the founding fathers (good and bad) as well as seeing the effects of where the federal government has overstepped the constitution gives me a new appreciation for the genius of what they put down in the constitution. It wasn't perfect, but it is far better than what our politicians have rendered it down to...and then discarded altogether. Now we have a speaker of the house like Pelosi, who when asked what provision of the constitution supported their laws laughed in the face of the questioner. Or you have congressman Pete Stark respond to a similar question asking what limits the federal government has from the constitution...he replied they could do pretty much anything they want to.
I encourage everyone to vote in November, but I have a feeling that it's just too little too late and more like window dressing and rearranging of chairs on the deck of the titanic. But until the ship goes down, by all means keep bailing...but it looks like the whole is too big and we're taking on too much water...and it also looks like some of the crew is attempting to sabotage the efforts of those trying to bail.
This paper examines the growth of government during this century as a result of giving women the right to vote. Using cross-sectional time-series data for 1870 to 1940, we examine state government expenditures and revenue as well as voting by U.S. House and Senate state delegations and the passage of a wide range of different state laws. Suffrage coincided with immediate increases in state government expenditures and revenue and more liberal voting patterns for federal representatives, and these effects continued growing over time as more women took advantage of the franchise. Contrary to many recent suggestions, the gender gap is not something that has arisen since the 1970s, and it helps explain why American government started growing when it did.
I encourage everyone to vote in November..........
I agree, use the ballot box to right abuses against this great nation
The founders were very astute, where as present politicians are not.
Our present pols forget that the purpose of the 2nd was to prevent Pelosi and Stark types from continuing their abuses.
At sometime in the near future I suspect that Pelosi and her ilk will find that not everyone will bend to their abuses of the constitution.
I hope and pray that the ballot box will correct the abuses, but I fear that the only correction will come with violent confrontation.
Therefore I prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
Mods this is not meant to be a threat against a elected official just my interpretation of events playing out in todays society.
As I said, we need to keep bailing as long as the boat is afloat, we owe at least that to all those who died in obtaining and securing our freedoms from the first minutemen to every soldier who has died for this nation over it's history.
Whatever the case may be, repealing the 19th Amendment won’t change a danged thing, since no state would dare to revoke womens suffrage.
“I encourage everyone to vote in November, but I have a feeling that it’s just too little too late and more like window dressing and rearranging of chairs on the deck of the titanic. But until the ship goes down, by all means keep bailing...but it looks like the whole is too big and we’re taking on too much water...and it also looks like some of the crew is attempting to sabotage the efforts of those trying to bail.”
I must admit the ship has been sinking much faster then we have ever been able to bail her out. Our efforts at stopping this have mostly been focused upon changing the chairs in Washington D.C. and each and every time we have made at best only token progress in reversing or even slowing the progress of this evil.(The centralization and growth of power in the Government)
If we are going to win this fight we need a game changer.
We can’t keep taking theses kinds of losses forever, eventually there will come a time when the great cycle will have to repeat itself, how that happens is a matter which we can influence.
Will we walk thou the desert of despotism before we endure the fire of Revolution, or will we somehow end this madness while we still have some shreds of a republic left?
We know form a study of history that there are very few examples where civilizations have been able to “reset” or even hold the clock in freedom as to avoid the “painful part” of the great cycle.
I know that if we are to “cheat fate” we will need to learn from their failures and successes and uses modern technology to give us the advantage they never had.
There are a great many minds between us have faith that if we study and discuss theses issues more then a few of us will find more then a few possible ways in which we can “tempt fate”.
I don’t see how he don’t recognize the propensity of legislators(politicians) to protect and advance their own power, even when that protection may go against the current will of the people.
For example: The state may want money for various things from the Federal Government as that money inevitably comes form other States. Whereas the people might not care so much in exactly how that money is spent and thus their inclined to let the Senators indulge themselves and their political fancy dictating to the State how to spend the Federal Money. the State legislator on the other hand will care as they will want the money given to them with little or no strings attached so that they may choose how it spend that money.(Thus more practical autonomy for each region and less corrupting vote buying power for Washington D.C.).
By placing the senate in the hands of the State legislators as the Founding Fathers places it, we help to make it more likely that the Senate will be elected to preform its basic constitutional function of protecting the power and autonomy from Federal intrusion.
It won’t cure all our problems but it will help slow the bleeding.
The industrialization excuses for the centralization of power is largely a farce the state is just as capable of deciding how to regulate industries as the federal government and with only minor federal help in enforcing those rules to prevent flight, we can have something closer to the best of both worlds.
Instead what we have right now is a Federal government that cares little for the autonomy and self-determination of our states, as the people vote for them as if they were 1 big government rather then 50 smaller competing States.
I know that if we are to cheat fate we will need to learn from their failures and successes and uses modern technology to give us the advantage they never had.
Although I would caution against relying on technology too heavily without having less technologically dependent back ups. for example, I don't think it'd be that hard to crash the internet...I don't mean by a single individual, but by a government or a rogue portion of it...or more simply, just legislating it such that it's no longer free (there are already efforts on that front).
Well if we can convince everyone that the 14th amendment was never properly radiated then the 19th amendment becomes the new “The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States” as spoken of in the currently numbered Twenty-first Amendment(would become the 20th).
Thus ending the Federal constitutional requirement that women be given the right to vote. This wouldn’t solve the issue of State Constitutional enfranchisement but it would give us a laboratory in which to make the case in practice.
Kill 2 birds with 1 stone I say.
Of course we will still have to deal with the new 17th amendment and we will have to keep at least 13 states from ratifying either a new Womens vote amendment or a new 14th amendment.
“Although I would caution against relying on technology too heavily without having less technologically dependent back ups. for example, I don’t think it’d be that hard to crash the internet...I don’t mean by a single individual, but by a government or a rogue portion of it...or more simply, just legislating it such that it’s no longer free (there are already efforts on that front).”
Actually it would be quite difficult particularity for the indefinite period that would be necessary.
Instead the greater and more likely problem will be an intelligence adversary that takes our commutations and uses them in conjunction with their other powers of government to obstruct our efforts from gaining any serous voice in power.
This however can’t be helped and we will have to figure out a battle plan that takes into account their full knowledge of what we are up to. (Believe it or not that can be an assent in terms of enabling us to control our opposition.)
The real question is how much knowledge and concern they have of us and our efforts. there is also a question of just how many of them may be convened to join our side.(This is big the more we can annex the better our cause).
>>”Because congressional seats represent regional interest and senate seats represent geographic interests.”
regional interest = geographic interests
Unless of course your referring to Geography as rocks, if that be the case the senate does an exceedingly poor job of equally representing the different rock types in the Untied States.
>> “I understand the “reasons” given for repealing the 17th, and it only makes sense if you’re in ALSO favor of repealing the 11th amendment as well so you can “go back to the original system the founders established” for electing the executive branch of government. In such a scenario, John McCain would become Obama’s veep. “
I think your confusing amendments. The 11th amendment says:
“The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.”
The 11th Amendment has nothing to do with the executive branch.
Of course the Federal courts have sense applied the 14th amendment to in part “repeal” the 11th amendment, along with a lot of other protections from the Federal Government.
But I think it’s funny that you would mention the 11th amendment as its probably the one amendment after the “Bill of Rights” that is the most unlike the 17th amendment.
PS: You really should read the story behind its passage as its something we can learn form and repeat today given the right circumstances.
Basically its a testament to State resistants to Federal injustice system intrusion.
Actually, I wouldn't be surprised. When I was in the military I was in a section that no longer exists, but now is part of Military Intelligence, and part of my training included some intelligence analysis and reporting. It's amazing what information you can gather when people assume their communications are private.
The “Show Me State” proves itself once again!!!
Excellent point, very well stated!!!
From what I've been able to find about the 17th amendment, Blago's antics are exactly the reason it was proposed and ratified in the first place.
Well, not his antics, specifically. But, the process of "electing" Senators was rife with corruption.
I’m all for repealing the 16th also. I think the founders were very wise to write the constitution not allowing a direct tax on income. Look at what a cluster of corruption and tyranny that has become. I think repealing the 16th would fix more problems than just about anything else that could be done. I am good with repealing the 17th also, but it is not as big a problem as the 16th is from my point of view.
In fact they do and it's because they are socialist swine. It's a fantasy to think rat state legislators are against federal government power. They most certainly are not. Many rats in Congress got their start in the statehouses. I don't know why some many freepers have this fantasy, it's absurd on it's face.
BTW, number of tea party Senators that would be elected by state legislatures? Probably ZERO.