Skip to comments.Senate president wants 17th Amendment repealed
Posted on 11/12/2010 8:31:29 PM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
CORBIN LEXINGTON (AP) Kentucky Senate President David Williams told a group of law students that state legislators, not voters, should choose members of the U.S. Senate comments that drew a negative reaction from Kentuckys two senators.
Declaring himself a tea partier, Williams on Wednesday called for repeal of the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which provides for popular election of U.S. senators, the Lexington-Herald Leader reported.
Williams is seeking the Republican nomination for governor next year.
(Excerpt) Read more at thetimestribune.com ...
I back the Tea Party. I don’t back this man.
Repeal the 17th? Great idea, restore the republic.
Our new Representative in Florida 2 is also in favor of repealing the 17th amendment and returning the Constitution to it’s original way of selecting Senators.
I don’t much care one way or the other but probably would vote to repeal the 17th just because I think it would give states more power.
Apparently Williams can’t add. If KY’s legislature elected Senators, both would be Democrats.
You should. This is exactly what should happen across the nation. You have no idea how much harm the seventeenth Amendment has caused this nation and the ideals of it’s founders. Repealing it is one of the first steps to reclaiming our lost liberties. We must strengthen the states back to their original power. This is the primary weapon Progressives used to take ownership of this nation.
I don’t trust my legislators as far as I could throw them.
The purpose of the US Senate was supposed to be a body that deliberated outside the whim of popular politics. That’s why the US Senate was granted to approve treaties and judges. The US Senate has essentially been turned into an At-large congressional district.
“I dont back this man.”
Why? He wants to strengthen the republic and restore the balance of power built into in the Constitution.
Is it that, or some other reason?
Not necessarily. You see how many states have passed legislation to appeal 0bamacare. The entire Senate of delegation of the Commonwealth of VA would be GOPers.
While I would prefer the repeal of the 17th Amendment, I must agree that the chances of a repeal are unlikely. But there is an alternative that might prove to be even better than a repeal, solving this problem and many others.
An amendment to create a Second Court of the United States. It would rank in between the Supreme Court and the federal District Courts, but it would *not* itself be a federal court. Instead it would be composed of 100 judges appointed by the State legislatures.
Every year, some 8,000 cases are appealed from the federal District Courts to the Supreme Court, that can only hear a couple of dozen of them. The rest, no matter how important, are stuck with the decision made by the federal District Courts.
The Second Court of the United States would get first crack at these cases, *not* to determine if they were constitutional or not; but a step further, to determine if they should be handled by the federal courts *at all*, or should be returned to the State courts in which most of them began.
Additionally, the Second Court of the United States would act as a “nullification court”, giving the States a means to possibly reject new federal laws and mandates, bureaucratic regulations, executive orders, etc., that the States felt exceeded federal authority.
The Second Court of the United States would have original jurisdiction in all cases involving lawsuits between the States and the federal government, such as the effort of the Justice Department to sue Arizona over its anti-illegal alien bill. If enough States supported Arizona’s stand, they could decide to slap the Department with an injunction to stop the suit.
I’ve been over this with the anti-17ers and it just doesn’t benefit us on the whole (in fact, we would’ve gained fewer seats in the election than we ended up with now). Too many states would be completely closed off to us (MA, for example, we’d never elect another Republican Senator again for perpetuity - not with a 90% Dem legislature).
What would their term be? Could they be recalled at any time?
I would love to have JimRob jump in on this.
I like the idea.
The benefit would come years down the road. Much of the money pressure, need to campaign, and the like would be gone or minimized, and after a while the makeup of the senate would be quite different.
And I think it would be easier to change out a senator, if a small number of state politicians were in charge of his job.
It took a few years for the senate to become what it is, I think it would take longer to get it back.
It would be 6 years just like the Founders had it.
Through the courts, the majority of the people in the USA have been forced to live more and more according to the desires of 20% of the electorate. Anything they can't get through Congress, is achieved through the courts.
Most recent example: Alaska write in votes. State law clearly states the name must be spelled correctly. Judge says not really, the intent of the voter rules. Judge should have said I think the state law needs to be revisited, but at the present time, the law must be followed. JMHO..
I agree that the amendment needs repealing and is totally unlikely, but what if states set up a system to allow voters to recall their senators with 60% of the vote required to pass the recall petition?
I’ve reviewed it from every which way (indeed, I’ve researched every person to have ever held a seat in Congress), and what you think will happen (in a positive way with a better class of Senators and perhaps state legislators) simply won’t. I suggest taking a look what happened during the last decades from the 19th century through to the ratification of the 17th. There’s a reason why it was passed. Big money, special interests, personal fiefdoms, hackery and the like... it was all there, and many of them were not “high minded” of the Constitution and states rights. With the people having a direct say, it levelled the playing field a bit. It’s better how it is now.
“Big money, special interests, personal fiefdoms, hackery and the like...”
Yes, things sure have changed!
Then the Senate would represent the States.
I’d settle for term limits especially in the senate. No more than two consecutive terms of four years each. Eliminate the six year term and make it four years as well but two years apart from the other senator. I don’t support it as much for Reps as redistricting helps stop some of the career congresscritters.
This won't strengthen the states, but rather will strengthen the two party system even more. Remember, even the so called conservative dem reps in the House voted for Pelosi, not who their constituents wanted them to vote for. If legislatures choose senators, it will not be the person their constituents want, but the person the national parties tell them to choose. Imagine how many conservative Republicans would in the senate if the RNC was calling the shots, likewise, how many moderate dems would there be if the DNC was calling it. The Tea Party would be a nonentity in the senate if the 17th were repealed. If you really want to make the states more powerful, reduce the power of federal judges; they are the ones who block reform at every opportunity. Congress has that Constitutional power.
Problem is, none of the state legislatures in existence today have this kind of governing mindset. The appointments to the senate would hardly be free from current politics. Nobody there believes in the kind of state sovereignty that existed at the beginning.
Not saying it wouldn’t be nice, I am saying there’s no way to get it back in the current system, as it stands now.
He is actually on target with this call. The 17th Amendment deprived the states of their ability to keep the federal power in check. The framers were not fools! They had a sound rationale to having US Senators elected by the individual State legislatures. Why?
Because it is sound principle to have federal Senators under the watchful eye of the State Senators, who are in turn, responsible to the voters of their individual districts. Thus the interest of the individual States are preserved.
Under the original arrangement, the voters wielded greater power over the actions of their federal Senators, for reason that the citizens of a State held more influence over their State legislator (an authority restricted to their associated legislative districts) In other words, the pre-17th Amendment arrangement “amplified” the power of the citizens of each State to rein in any mischief the federal Senator might attempt contrary to the best interests of that State.
The 17th Amendment to the US Constitution neutered State sovereignty.
Keep in mind that the US Constitution is an “enduring” document ... To wit: while the Constitution may be “organically” modified through the amendment process (made more clear in its actions) the basic precepts (how the government is structured) must not be changed, else the framework of “checks and balances” on federal power is compromised.
Article I, Section 4 clearly prohibits changing the place for choosing Senators. Amendment 17 violates this provision.
The 16th Amendment violates the 5th Amendment that protects against self-incrimination (Bill of Rights)
The 22nd Amendment, which limits the Executive to two terms, violates the “separation of powers” edict. The Legislative and the Judicial branches are not so limited.
The 23 Amendment gave Washington DC 3 electoral votes; however, the Constitution requires that electors be based on the combined number of US Senators and Congressional Representatives. Amendment 23 violates this provision.
Note that these Amendments: 16, 17, 22, and 23 violate key components in the structure of our government. Necessary components planned by the framers, who knew too well the weaknesses of men. To retrain the federal power—which is to be an “agent” of the several States, but only within the prescribed boundaries enumerated by the Constitution—these four Amendments MUST be repealed.
“Let no more be heard of confidence in man, But bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” — Thomas Jefferson
Why this complicated mess? Why not just return to the ORIGINAL PLAN of the framers?
I'm for it if they go all the way back to original plan to elect POTUS as well. The DEM's and the GOP aren't about to give up their controlling power over us & allow it to happen though.
David Williams won’t get too far in his repeal 17 effort. But you can see that our movement will go off the rails ... and give the voters another excuse to put the RATS back in power. People just don’t know how to stay relevant.
We cannot cut Dept of Ed budget by 10%, but let’s talk to the press about our daydreams and our political fantasies about Constitutionalism.
The 17th Amendment was one of the primary tools that the socialists used to destroy the power of the states and place it in the hands of the federal government. After the 17th Amendment was passed, the state governors and legislators no longer had a voice in what Washington did.
However, the current Senate makeup would be about 50-50 and would rapidly go 60 Republican, 40 Rat within 4 years. And a senator would rarely spend more than one term in office as the legislature decided it would be someone else’s turn every 6 years. No more +40 year senators.
The Republicans control the State Senate in Kentucky - Williams has been the Senate president for some time.
However...I don’t think repeal of the 17th amendment is one of those issues not easy to explain and doesn’t make sense to make as an issue as a campaign for governor - it can only be used against him later in ads saying “Williams wants to take away your right to vote!” This was, politically, not a wise move.
That’s true...they’d probably vote in people who would bring them back more money to spend themselves in their own budgets.
Exactly right! With over 680 conservative state legislatures voted in with the mid terms this year, it shows this would give more control back to the States and especially to the voters.
I agree that Senators should be elected by their legislatures since the Senate would serve as a check against federal power especially mandates. A senator votes to cost states more money, the home state’s legislature fires his @$$ !
The 17th is not about producing a better class of Senators, it's about restoring state's rights and making the senators more beholden to the state.
When the 17th was ratified, it formally changed our form of government from a representative republic to a true democracy (i.e. mob rule). When you look at the makeup of the Senate today, you have a group of people who are literally beholden to power brokers and big money types, NOT their state or the needs of the states. That's what's been lost in the mix.
True, prior to passage of the 17th, the corruption of the state legislatures ran rampant but, IMO, that can be more easily controlled today.
Couldn’t repeal the 17th today. Today’s voters aren’t taught civics beyond “separate but equal”, “Democrats are our saviors” and “Republicans suck”.
The one-and-out Dem Kosmas campaign ran an ad against her Rep challenger Adams, that dredged up a statement Adams once made that said the 17th should be repealed. Of course, Kosmas framed it as that Adams wanted to “take away your right to vote”.
And that’s how the idiot Democrat voters of today would perceive it.
I am for that. It is time to repeal a lot. In fact we should focus on undoing a lot of the mess we have created...no new laws are needed. We already have too many.
How do you start a repeal? Can the people do it? I am getting ready to retire and it might be a good hobby.
Look how long it took to get us in this mess.
“Apparently Williams cant add. If KYs legislature elected Senators, both would be Democrats.”
Perhaps but them democrats would be beholden to the power-interest of the Kentucky state legislator and thus not inclined to expand the power of the Federal Government.
There is a reason the founders specifically spelled out that the senate should be elected by the state legislator NOT the people. It was not to make policy, but to help protect the federal nature of the system.
I know this is really hard to sell and people who support it probably shouldest be so open about it until after they have explained the very serous structural problem the 17 amendment introduced.
A logical step towards restoring the former Constitutional Republic...
The basic problem is that of balance of powers. Creating a passive requirement means that as soon as it is enacted, all efforts will be made to evade and overcome it. This is why all effective balances of power have people with a stake in their side of the balance, in competition with others on their sides. If one side gets too powerful, the other two sides are supposed to gang up to cut it down to size.
In this case, the system was set up so that the House would be the democratic institution, aka “The People’s House”. It would be balanced with the State appointed Senate, and the Electoral College to appoint the president. In turn, the president would appoint the judiciary, who would have to be approved by the Senate, giving the States yet more input into the system.
Yet another balance came into play as well. The balance between the federal government, the State governments, and the people. The people’s power was limited by republicanism, instead of democracy.
And it took the 14th Amendment (most recently brilliantly resurrected by Clarence Thomas in the MacDonald decision), to affirm the duty of the federal government to protect the people from abusive State governments.
However, the balance was disrupted by the 17th Amendment, which took away the ability of the States to protect the people against an abusive federal government. This mattered immediately, because though it was “sold” on the idea of more democracy, it was also needed to clear the path for the federal government to insert itself into the lives of the people with the 16th Amendment, the Income Tax.
In essence, the 17th Amendment “nationalized” the people. It took away any importance to their State citizenship, and made us all generic national citizens. Before then, the federal government had to go through the States to interfere with the people.
This was the basic problem. But since then, an unchecked federal government has grown by leaps and bounds, aided immensely by an experimental economic system of easy credit, that has led us to the state we are in today.
And caused yet another major problem: how to slash the size and scope of the federal government, to restore it to order?
Even just repealing the 17th Amendment would not be enough to cut such incredible overgrowth. It could only likely prevent *reduce* future growth.
So this is where a Second Court of the United States comes into play.
It over-balances the system in favor of anti-federalism. This means that it both recreates the States in a balance with the federal government and the people, but assigns the task of cutting down the federal government to size, to them.
A permanent “trimming” mechanism to both slash excessive federal growth right now, and to keep it from overgrowing in the future. This was a mechanism not foreseen by the founding fathers, but one that makes perfect sense as a part of their system.
One of the most important, and yet catastrophic, judicial decisions ever made was Marbury v. Madison (1810). It both established the authority of the Supreme Court to overturn laws based on those laws being unconstitutional, which was good; but it indirectly resulted in the president being effectively “above the law”. That is, the SCOTUS ordered him to perform his duty, and he refused.
Since the impeachment and conviction of the president, or even of an officer of his cabinet, has proven untenable, and there are no other constraints on him, it was only a matter of time before the office would, and did, evolve into an “imperial presidency”. Today, under many circumstances, the president can behave in effect as a dictator. And get away with it. With the now terribly unconstitutional “Executive signing statement”, as well as executive orders and memos, laws are enacted that have never seen the halls of congress.
Likewise, the federal judiciary, which is supposed to be organizationally at the will of the congress, has received almost no supervision or direction from them, and acts accordingly, involving itself whimsically in anything and everything. Even doing horribly unconstitutional things like ordering States to fund things judges want, and setting up special masters to push them around.
In all of these things, and more, is where the Second Court of the United States comes into its own. But importantly, it is *not* a federal court. It is a “convention of State courts”, that decides *not* constitutionality, which is a function of the federal courts, but *jurisdiction*, whether a case should be in the federal court system in the first place.
Since it addresses the 8,000 or so cases appealed from the federal District Courts, it can determine that many of those are not federal issues, and should be returned to the States. And this takes advantage of the situation that the SCOTUS cannot possibly hear 8,000 cases.
Right now, the overwhelming majority of these cases are rejected by the SCOTUS, which means they are stuck with the decision of the federal District Courts, for better or worse, often worse. But if those cases go through the Second Court of the United States, three things might happen.
Either they will agree that it is a federal issue worthy of the SCOTUS, which would probably reduce the 8,000 to just a few hundred cases, a much more manageable load for the SCOTUS; or they will say that it is a case for State, not federal jurisdiction. If it is not appealed, it is taken out of the federal courts entirely. If it *is* appealed, even with a few hundred cases, it will likely *not* be heard by the SCOTUS.
But the “default” in this case is *not* to uphold the decision of the District Courts, but to uphold the decision of the Second Court. That is, taking the case out of federal jurisdiction and returning it to the State of origin.
You see the slam dunk, here? Vast amounts of State authority returned to the States, taken from the grasp of federal judicial activists.
But it gets even better, because the Second Court of the United States has *original* jurisdiction of lawsuits between the States and the federal government.
Right now, if a State sues the federal government, or the feds sue a State, the case has to go through a long and expensive process, taking years, and will likely have to be heard by the District Courts or the SCOTUS anyway, unless one side or the other quits.
But with the Second Court, a State could confront an onerous federal law, bureaucratic regulation, executive order, unfunded mandate, etc., by suing the federal government, and the case would go directly to this “convention of State judges”, giving all the other States the opportunity to join with this rejection as a federal oppression.
At the very start of its first term, the Second Court would have a docket full of such lawsuits, with well over a hundred years of federal oppression that the States would agree to eliminate.
Now granted, such suits could still be appealed to the SCOTUS, but this is good, as it would prevent anti-federalism from running wild, either.
Put it all together, and the beneficial effects truly eclipse just a repeal of the 17th Amendment. And, when restored to balance, the system of the founding fathers is truly a magnificent machine.
the 17th amendment is the one greatest thing that has undermined our republic....it has essentially taken away states rights and representation in the federal government...it should be repealed asap..
Yea, the South, midwest and uppermidwest, parts of the rust belt, mountain west would all be republicans.
Plus, lobbyists would have to deal with 50 state legislatures instead of one in Washington.. It would reduce their influence tremendously..
I don't know if your idea can be codified in a way that it could be enforced, or not.
But what's certain, IMHO, is that the judiciary is broken because the judges/justices are confirmed by the Senate, and with direct election of senators, senators are nothing other than federal legislators representing the people of the states, rather than the state (government)s themselves.
Repealing the 17th is the obvious solution, but not the only solution. You could also amend the Constitution to allow presidential candidates to nominate judges/justices at the start of their election campaigns - and be entitled to name those judges/justices as the need arose, without Senate confirmation. The election campaign would constitute the vetting of these judges. It could also empower the states to unelect justices, but said justices would continue to serve until the next presidential election (so it wouldn't be known who would name the unelected justices' successors).
The Constitution should also specify the number of justices on SCOTUS, so that court packing would be absolutely off the table.
Interesting. So you haven’t found instances where the senators actually represented their state and its constitutional interests vs. those of the people of the state?