Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Repeal 17th Amendment
Findlaw.com ^ | Friday, Sep. 13, 2002 | John Dean

Posted on 09/24/2002 8:35:46 AM PDT by Dick Bachert

THE SEVENTEENTH AMENDMENT: SHOULD IT BE REPEALED? Why The Direct Election Of Senators May Have Been A Serious Mistake, And One That Helps Explain The Supreme Court's States' Rights Views By JOHN W. DEAN ---- Friday, Sep. 13, 2002

Federalism - the allocation and balancing of power between state and federal government - has emerged as a central concern of the Supreme Court under Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Slowly, but steadily, the Rehnquist Court has been cutting back federal powers, and protecting state's rights.

Many have wondered what the Court is doing. Why are the Court's five conservatives - the Chief Justice himself, along with Associate Justices Sandra Day O'Connor, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, and Clarence Thomas - creating this new jurisprudence of federalism?

The answer is simple: they are seeking to fill a void in our constitutional structure, a problem created early in the Twentieth Century. The problem began when, in the name of "democracy," we tinkered with the fundamental structure of the Constitution by adopting the Seventeenth Amendment.

The Amendment calls for direct election of U.S. Senators. It's a change that has in fact proved anything but democratic. And it is a change whose aftermath may haunt the Twenty-first Century.

Concerns About Federalism, Especially Post-September 11

Divisions of power are rooted in our Constitution. Experience had taught the Framers the dangers of concentrations of ruling authority, resulting in their ingenious template of checks and balances, with divisions and distributions of power.

Ultimate power in a democracy resides with the people. We are not a pure democracy, however, but rather a confederated republic (one that features, as well, county and local political subdivisions).

Thus, while there is national sovereignty, there is also state sovereignty. Power has been so divided and spread for one reason: to provide for and protect the highest sovereignty - that of each individual citizen.

Only fools reject the wisdom of this founding principle of defusing power. Yet from the outset there has been debate regarding the appropriate allocation and balancing of these powers. The debate has focussed on not only whether a particular matter should be dealt with at the state versus the national level, but also on how these allocations are adjusted from time to time.

Of late, for example, along with laments for those who tragically lost their lives during the September 11th terrorist attack, there has been widespread concern with new realignments of federal/state powers that have followed in the name of homeland security.

Most significantly, as I discussed in a previous column, Washington is assuming powers that have only previously existed during a Congressionally declared war.

Creating the United States Senate: The Framers' Bicameralism

In designing our Constitutional system, the Framers sought to remedy the limits of the Articles Of Confederation, which created a loose association of states with little central power. The new system, they decided, ought to feature a better allocation of powers - and the federal government should have the powers "necessary and proper" to perform its envisaged functions. The will of the People should be the foundation, and the foundational institution should be the law-making legislative branch.

Unsurprisingly, the Revolutionaries were not very impressed with most aspects of the British model of government. They rejected parliamentary government, with its king or queen and three estates of the realm (lords spiritual, lords temporal, and the commons).

But one feature of the British system, the Framers did borrow. That was bicameralism - a word coined by Brit Jeremy Bentham to describe the division of the legislature into two chambers (or, in Latin, camera).

The British Parliament had its House of Lords as the upper chamber and the House of Commons as the lower chamber. Citizens selected members of the House of Commons. The members of the House of Lords, in contrast, were those who had been titled by a king or queen (lords temporal) and the archbishops and bishops of the Church of England (lords spiritual).

Loosely basing our bicameral legislature on this model (minus the lords, both temporal and spiritual), the Framers created the House of Representatives as the lower chamber, whose members would be selected directly by the people. And with almost unanimous agreement, they determined that members of the upper chamber, the Senate, would be selected by not directly, but by the legislatures of the states. Each state would have two Senators, while Representatives would be apportioned based on population.

James Madison was not only involved in structuring the system, but was also a keeper of its contemporaneous record. He explained in Federalist No. 10 the reason for bicameralism: "Before taking effect, legislation would have to be ratified by two independent power sources: the people's representatives in the House and the state legislatures' agents in the Senate."

The need for two powers to concur would, in turn, thwart the influence of special interests, and by satisfying two very different constituencies, would assure the enactment was for the greatest public good. Madison summed up the concept nicely in Federalist No 51:

In republican government, the legislative authority, necessarily predominate. The remedy for this inconveniency is, to divide the legislature into different branches; and to render them by different modes of election, and different principles of action, as little connected with each other, as the nature of their common functions and their common dependencies on the society, will admit.

The system as designed by the Framers was in place for a century and a quarter, from 1789 until 1913, when the Seventeenth Amendment was adopted. As originally designed, the Framers' system both protected federalism and ensured that relatively few benefits would be provided to special interests.

The Cloudy Reasons Behind The Seventeenth Amendment

There is no agreement on why the system of electing Senators was changed through the enactment of the Seventeenth Amendment. But there is widespread agreement that the change was to the detriment of the states, and that it played a large part in dramatically changing the role of the national government.

Before the Seventeenth Amendment the federal government remained stable and small. Following the Amendment's adoption it has grown dramatically.

The conventional wisdom is that it was FDR's New Deal that radically increased the size and power of federal government. But scholars make a convincing case that this conventional wisdom is wrong, and that instead, it was the Seventeenth Amendment (along with the Sixteenth Amendment, which created federal income tax and was also adopted in 1913) that was the driving force behind federal expansion.

The Amendment took a long time to come. It was not until 1820 that a resolution was introduced in the House of Representatives to amend the Constitution to provide for direct elections of Senators. And not until after the Civil War, in 1870, did calls for altering the system begin in earnest. But forty-three years passed before the change was actually made.

This lengthy passage of time clouds the causes that provoked the Amendment to be proposed and, finally, enacted. Nonetheless, scholars do have a number of theories to explain these developments.

George Mason University law professor Todd Zywicki has assembled an excellent analysis of the recent scholarship on the history of the Seventeenth Amendment, while also filling in its gaps. Zywicki finds, however, that received explanations are incomplete.

Two Main Seventeenth Amendment Theories Don't Hold Water On Examination

There have been two principal explanations for changing the Constitution to provide for direct election of Senators. Some see the Amendment as part of the Progressive Movement, which swept the nation in the late 1800s and early 1900s, giving us direct elections, recall, and referendums.

Others, however, believe the Amendment resulted from the problems the prior Constitutional system was creating in state legislatures, who under that system were charged with electing Senators. These problems ranged from charges of bribery to unbreakable deadlocks.

Deadlocks happened from time to time when, because of party imbalance, a legislature was unable to muster a majority (as necessary under the 1866 law that controlled) in favor any person. The result was to leave the Senate seat empty and leave the state represented by only a single Senator, not the Constitutionally-mandated two.

Professor Zywicki basically demolishes both these explanations. He contends, first, that explaining the Seventeenth Amendment as part of the Progressive Movement is weak, at best. After all, nothing else from that movement (such as referendums and recalls) was adopted as part of the Constitution. He also points out that revisionist history indicates the Progressive Movement was not driven as much by efforts to aid the less fortunate as once was thought (and as it claimed) - so that direct democracy as an empowerment of the poor might not have been one of its true goals.

What about the "corruption and deadlock" explanation? Zywicki's analysis shows that, in fact, the corruption was nominal, and infrequent. In addition, he points out that the deadlock problem could have been easily solved by legislation that would have required only a plurality to elect a Senator - a far easier remedy than the burdensome process of amending the Constitution that led to the Seventeenth Amendment.

Fortuntely, Professor Zywicki offers an explanation for the Amendment's enactment that makes much more sense. He contends that the true backers of the Seventeenth Amendment were special interests, which had had great difficultly influencing the system when state legislatures controlled the Senate. (Recall that it had been set up by the Framers precisely to thwart them.) They hoped direct elections would increase their control, since they would let them appeal directly to the electorate, as well as provide their essential political fuel - money.

This explanation troubles many. However, as Zywicki observes, "[a]thought some might find this reality 'distasteful,' that does not make it any less accurate."

Should The Seventeenth Amendment Be Repealed?

Those unhappy with the Supreme Court's recent activism regarding federalism should considering joining those who believe the Seventeenth Amendment should be repealed. Rather than railing at life-tenured Justices who are inevitably going to chart their own courses, critics should focus instead on something they can affect, however difficult a repeal might be.

Repeal of the amendment would restore both federalism and bicameralism. It would also have a dramatic and positive effect on campaign spending. Senate races are currently among the most expensive. But if state legislatures were the focus of campaigns, more candidates might get more access with less money - decidedly a good thing.

Returning selection of Senators to state legislatures might be a cause that could attract both modern progressive and conservatives. For conservatives, obviously, it would be a return to the system envisioned by the Framers. For progressives - who now must appreciate that direct elections have only enhanced the ability of special interests to influence the process - returning to the diffusion of power inherent in federalism and bicameralism may seem an attractive alternative, or complement, to campaign finance reform.

Profession Zywicki likes this idea as well, but is probably right in finding repeal unlikely. He comments - and I believe he's got it right -- "Absent a change of heart in the American populace and a better understanding of the beneficial role played by limitations on direct democracy, it is difficult to imagine a movement to repeal the Seventeenth Amendment."


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Government; News/Current Events; Philosophy; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: constitution; elections; federalism; incometax; statesrights
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-111 next last
SEE THE HIGHLIGHTED -- ALMOST PARANTHETICAL -- BONUS FOR THOSE FAVORING ELIMINATION OF THE INCOME TAX NEAR THE MIDDLE OF DEAN'S PIECE.
1 posted on 09/24/2002 8:35:47 AM PDT by Dick Bachert
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Dick Bachert
I saw a bumper sticker that said "When Women Vote, Democrats are Elected". In light of that I like to get rid of the 19th Amendment as well.
2 posted on 09/24/2002 8:43:02 AM PDT by Jaxter
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Jaxter
A well thought out piece, but liberals would not find it in their interest to repeal the Second Amendment, as they believe in concentration of power at the federal level.

Be Seeing You,

Chris

3 posted on 09/24/2002 8:52:24 AM PDT by section9
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Jaxter; Dick Bachert
Wow, and the car's still in one piece? ;-)

By the way, this column's been posted here, in case you're curious.

4 posted on 09/24/2002 8:53:31 AM PDT by inquest
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Jaxter
Whew! Now I won't have to take the heat for posting that idea!
5 posted on 09/24/2002 8:53:48 AM PDT by Diddle E. Squat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Dick Bachert
Please see also:

Democracy Is Not Freedom

Freedom, Wealth, and Peace,
Francis W. Porretto
Visit The Palace Of Reason: http://palaceofreason.com

6 posted on 09/24/2002 8:54:22 AM PDT by fporretto
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Jaxter
A return to election of senators via state legislatures would have no effect on campaign expeditures. It would up the ante for state legislative races. Corruption and lack-of-transperancy are a problem with state legislatures.

So, repealing the direct election of senators may or may not improve the system. Repealing the right of women to vote? No way. That's a non-starter. Too many conservative women run the local party organizations.

Repealing the income tax is a grand idea. It would help starve the monster.

7 posted on 09/24/2002 8:54:41 AM PDT by Woodworker
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Diddle E. Squat
Though actually one could argue better to keep the 19th amendment, but revert back to the voter definition of colonial times: property owners.
8 posted on 09/24/2002 8:56:53 AM PDT by Diddle E. Squat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Jaxter
"I saw a bumper sticker that said "When Women Vote, Democrats are Elected". In light of that I like to get rid of the 19th Amendment as well."

Ha, Ha. Not by this woman. I'm a conservative woman of the Ann Coulter mindset--gee, if I only had a body like hers.

9 posted on 09/24/2002 9:03:05 AM PDT by beaversmom
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: inquest
Search (with several relevant terms) DID NOT turn it up.

And the highlighting of the INCOME TAX comment (by a WASHINGTON INSIDER) bore emphasis.

10 posted on 09/24/2002 9:05:34 AM PDT by Dick Bachert
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Diddle E. Squat
If you're going to restrict voting to property owners, then no taxes of any kind can be levied on non-property owners. Property owners would have to pick up sales taxes and the like (if there are any).
11 posted on 09/24/2002 9:09:56 AM PDT by BikerNYC
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Jaxter; Diddle E. Squat
That's always an interesting discussion topic to bring up at parties, if the talk has already turned political.

I'll all for killing the 17th Amendment, too.

12 posted on 09/24/2002 9:13:21 AM PDT by FreedomPoster
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: beaversmom
Statistically, you are an anomoly (as is my wife).
13 posted on 09/24/2002 9:14:21 AM PDT by FreedomPoster
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Dick Bachert
That's cool, it wasn't a criticism. That's why I said "in case you're curious".
14 posted on 09/24/2002 9:16:17 AM PDT by inquest
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: beaversmom
if I only had a body like hers.

Stop eating altogether. That's what she does.

15 posted on 09/24/2002 9:16:49 AM PDT by GraniteStateConservative
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Dick Bachert
Do wish Dean had mentioned ROGER SHERMAN'S ardent support for senate election by state legislatures, not to mention his "Connecticut Compromise" in the establishment of a bicameral system here.

For those to whom Roger Sherman is unknown, he is the ONLY man to sign ALL FOUR documents surrounding the formation of the United States.

He was also a fervent OPPONENT of PAPER MONEY (author of gold and silver tender portion of Art.1, Sect. 10).

This almost certainly explains WHY he has been chucked down the old memory hole by the ever-vigilant history revisionists.

16 posted on 09/24/2002 9:17:10 AM PDT by Dick Bachert
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: BikerNYC; Diddle E. Squat
Personally, I'm kind of partial to the poll-tax idea, myself. People tend to treat with greater respect, that which they're obliged to pay for.
17 posted on 09/24/2002 9:18:48 AM PDT by inquest
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Dick Bachert
Thanks for the post.

It's too bad that the rampant populism we have in this country would doom any such attempt -- I'd love to see it, though. It's fascinating to try and imagine the complexion of a Senate chosen by the State Legislatures.

Let's take it one more step and have the New York State Senate chosen by the County Legislatures.

But, back to populism -- I still get into arguments with people who think everyone should vote on everything (via the Internet, of course): true democracy. Wow, can you imagine the budget, then?

18 posted on 09/24/2002 9:29:51 AM PDT by BfloGuy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: BikerNYC
If you're going to restrict voting to property owners, then no taxes of any kind can be levied on non-property owners. Property owners would have to pick up sales taxes and the like (if there are any).

A fair amount of these taxes would then be passed along to those who rent from said property owners.

19 posted on 09/24/2002 9:59:08 AM PDT by Constitutionalist Conservative
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: BfloGuy
I like that idea myself. Unfortunately, the states preceded the counties historically and are subservient to them politically by charter. (County charters must be approved by the state legislature.)

Really thoroughgoing federalism would isolate the individual from the predations of all but the political unit closest to him: the town. Towns would be answerable to counties, counties to states, and states to the federal government. No government could levy a tax or impose a law on any but the level immediately below it. Poof! No more income tax. You'd see "revenue sharing" and similar inanities disappear like mist at sunrise. And political competition among districts would allow us to determine what laws we really needed for the common defense and general welfare.

I know it'll never happen. I can dream, though.

Freedom, Wealth, and Peace,
Francis W. Porretto
Visit The Palace Of Reason: http://palaceofreason.com

20 posted on 09/24/2002 10:48:30 AM PDT by fporretto
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: Constitutionalist Conservative
No taxation without representation.
21 posted on 09/24/2002 10:50:52 AM PDT by BikerNYC
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

Comment #22 Removed by Moderator

To: MRAR15Guy56
Agreed!
23 posted on 09/24/2002 11:08:58 AM PDT by BikerNYC
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: Dick Bachert
Nice piece. I wrote a law school research paper on this subject last year, and quoted a lot of Zywicki's work. With the 17th Amendment, the states no longer have a representative in the federal government - thus no one to look out for their interests. It's really just that simple...
24 posted on 09/24/2002 11:15:20 AM PDT by July 4th
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: BikerNYC
No taxation without representation.

You do know that landlords routinely pass along the costs of property taxes to their tenants, don't you? And that businesses price their goods to cover their taxes?

I'm not really sure of the point of your slogan. If you are using it as an argument against disenfranchising non-property-owners, well and good. If, on the other hand, you are using it as an argument against business/property owners passing along their costs to their customers, that dog won't hunt.

25 posted on 09/24/2002 12:00:30 PM PDT by Constitutionalist Conservative
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: Constitutionalist Conservative
I know they pass it along to me, but I can vote now.

I don't think you should take the vote of renters away just because they are in very good jobs that don't pay enough to afford buying an apartment in NYC. To some, there are more important things in life than owning property, and that, by itself, should not disenfranchise people.
26 posted on 09/24/2002 12:14:40 PM PDT by BikerNYC
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: Dick Bachert
16th 17th and yes the 19th all need to be axed.
27 posted on 09/24/2002 12:24:47 PM PDT by weikel
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: BikerNYC
I don't think you should take the vote of renters away just because they are in very good jobs that don't pay enough to afford buying an apartment in NYC. To some, there are more important things in life than owning property, and that, by itself, should not disenfranchise people.

Excellent point. A better dividing line would be between the net producers v. the net consumers of tax $$. That might be a bit hard to calculate, though, and would result in another bureaucracy that would rival the IRS. :-(

28 posted on 09/24/2002 12:28:57 PM PDT by Constitutionalist Conservative
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: weikel
16th 17th and yes the 19th all need to be axed.

Don't forget the 14th, Section 1, final sentence: "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

As I understand it, this section has been judicially interpreted to transform the Constitution from a document carefully defining the boundaries of the fedgov into a behemoth whose tentacles reach into every nook and cranny of state and local government. It's where the fedgov changed from servant of the States into their master.

29 posted on 09/24/2002 12:41:46 PM PDT by Constitutionalist Conservative
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: Dick Bachert
WOW!! Someone else actually arguing something I have been saying for years!! The direct election of Senators removes completely the State's representation in the federal government and has undermined this nation is so many ways its unfathomable.

The House represents the people, the Senate was meant to represent the states, and the Executive branch represented the federal government, and the Supreme Court played referee... now since this ammenment there is no state representation in the federal government!! It is tragic.
30 posted on 09/24/2002 12:48:36 PM PDT by HamiltonJay
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Dick Bachert
Great article! Have never seen it stated more clearly. The 17th (and 16th) must go if we are ever to restore our constitutional republic.

And the RATs must be voted out. If we want to contine the Rehnquist Court's work of cutting back federal powers, and protecting state's rights, we need a Republican majority to ensure that the retiring Supreme Court Justices are not replaced by liberals.

BIG BUMP!
31 posted on 09/24/2002 12:57:52 PM PDT by Jim Robinson
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: All
Now more than ever, the RATS must be voted OUT!
32 posted on 09/24/2002 12:59:07 PM PDT by Jim Robinson
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: Woodworker
"So, repealing the direct election of senators may or may not improve the system."

Exactly but, instituting TERM limits for all Congress critters would go a long way in stopping foolishness like Senator "Pork-Barrel" Byrd!

33 posted on 09/24/2002 12:59:49 PM PDT by Mad Dawgg
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: HamiltonJay
Why do you think the States' interestes would differ from the interests of the People?
34 posted on 09/24/2002 1:00:13 PM PDT by BikerNYC
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: Dick Bachert
While we are talking about getting back to the fundamentals, I want to suggest that an important reform will be the return of federal land to the states, along with the agencies that administer the land.

BLM, Forestry, Wildlife, and others should become state agencies, so that their employees answer to the people directly affected by their policies.

Every federal agency should have to underego examination to determine why it should remain federal, rather than be divided into 50 separate state agencies. Some should obviously be eliminated altogether, and some should legitimatedly remain federal.

But the constitution provides that the "default" is state control. Time to get back to that. I realize that if we don't have the muscle to shut down the National Endowment for the Arts, or the National Education Association, breaking up the Forestry Service is going to be tough.
35 posted on 09/24/2002 1:17:09 PM PDT by marron
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: marron
Every federal agency should have to underego examination to determine if they are authorized by the Constitution. If not, they should be disbanded and any assets sold off and the proceeds returned to the treasury. If the individual states wish to continue the function, and the state constitutions allow it, and the state legislatures vote it in, so be it.
36 posted on 09/24/2002 1:26:46 PM PDT by Jim Robinson
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: Constitutionalist Conservative
It has but that intrepratation is wrong the correct intrepretation of the 14th should be " The States are to be bound to the bill of rights".
37 posted on 09/24/2002 1:56:51 PM PDT by weikel
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: BikerNYC
Why do you think the States' interestes would differ from the interests of the People?

I think the States would be most interested in keeping the fedgov subservient to the States, rather than vice versa. A State-elected Senate would be the first to holler if legislation came up that usurped matters that are the proper prerogative of the State and local governments.

Most individual folks are not interested in such abstract concepts as dual sovereignty and subsidiarity, but State governments certainly are.

38 posted on 09/24/2002 2:05:34 PM PDT by Constitutionalist Conservative
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: Dick Bachert
Bookmarked for later reading. Thanks!
39 posted on 09/24/2002 2:06:45 PM PDT by Vets_Husband_and_Wife
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Jim Robinson
Every federal agency should have to underego examination to determine if they are authorized by the Constitution. If not, they should be disbanded and any assets sold off and the proceeds returned to the treasury. If the individual states wish to continue the function, and the state constitutions allow it, and the state legislatures vote it in, so be it.

Yeah. What Jim said!

:-)

40 posted on 09/24/2002 2:08:39 PM PDT by Constitutionalist Conservative
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: Constitutionalist Conservative
Fine. Then it's up to the States (whatever they are apart from the People) to educate the People about what their interests should be, rather than what they are. It concerns me that this proposal would make such a distinction between the States and the People, rather than just see the States' interest being the interests of a certain group of people, that group being those living in the State.

I wonder how this proposal would fare in a vote by the People.
41 posted on 09/24/2002 2:14:13 PM PDT by BikerNYC
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: BikerNYC
I wonder how this proposal would fare in a vote by the People.

I suspect, given the current ignorance of the electorate on the principles of federalism, such a proposal would go down in flames. Even with concerted efforts by the States to educate their people, I still think it would end up being too abstract to gain any traction with the majority.

42 posted on 09/24/2002 2:18:12 PM PDT by Constitutionalist Conservative
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: Jim Robinson
Absolutely!

Ron Paul led a brief movement in Congress to get them to do a Constitutional Impact Study DETAILING precisely WHERE the Constitution authorized ALL new legislation.

Needless to say, it failed.

Like my old friend, Lester Maddo -- no states right slouch himself -- said when the crime in the Georgia prison system was brought to his attention, "What we need is a better class of criminal."

We'll get these things done when we get a better class of politician.

And we'll get THEM when we get a better class of citizen.

Hat's off to you, Jim, for aiding that vital process.

43 posted on 09/24/2002 2:19:17 PM PDT by Dick Bachert
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: Jim Robinson
Every federal agency should have to underego examination to determine if they are authorized by the Constitution.

Yes. Absolutely.

Any agency that is not constitutionally federal in nature should either be dismantled, or divided into 50 parts and handed back to the states. That puts political control closer to the control of the citizen. And, it allows 50 ongoing experiments in governance, which is what our system is supposed to provide. There is nothing wrong with having 50 different policies on a given subject; if we are free people, it is a certainty that we will have 50 different policies that should converge over time, but never completely agree.

And I agree with your earlier post; to even think about doing this, it is going to take a clear Repub majority in Congress... not just Repubs, of course, but conservative small "L" libertarian Repubs, to get this job done.

44 posted on 09/24/2002 2:25:12 PM PDT by marron
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: Constitutionalist Conservative
I believe you are correct. And I believe that's why the founders set it up the way they did. The House was for the representatives of the people. The founders knew that the people are easily swayed by current events and popular opinion and that they may not always choose what's best in the long term for the Republic.

The Senate was set up NOT to be directly answerable to the people. The Senators were given longer terms. The Senate was established as the upper chamber in the system. The Senators were intended to be senior statesmen and defenders of the Constitution and the Republic, even to defend it from the people. They were intended as a check on the hot heads of the people's house, not accomplices. They were intended to be representatives of the sovereign states and guardians of the Republic.

The 17th changed all that. Suddenly, we are no longer a republic, we are a "democracy" (as taught by politicians, and the liberal media, and the public schools since 1913). The Senate no longer defends our national sovereignty not to mention state sovereignty or the Constitution or the Republic. The Senators are now more interested in accumulating maximum federal power for their own selfish reasons. The states and the Republic be damned.

We must continue the battle in the Supreme Court. We must block the liberals and appoint only conservatives to the judiciary at every level of government.

Vote out the RATs.

Recruit and support and campaign mightily for the most conservative new blood we can find in the farm systems and the primaries, but regardless of who wins the primaries, we must support and campaign for and elect the Republican candidate in the general elections. It's the only way we will ever defeat the left and it's the only way we will ever restore our Liberty!

Vote the RATS OUT!

45 posted on 09/24/2002 2:42:46 PM PDT by Jim Robinson
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: marron; Dick Bachert
And I agree with both of you. We must elect the most conservative candidates as possible. The big "L" and the little "l" libertarians should take a lesson from Ron Paul. If they really want to get elected to make a difference, as opposed to just sending a message that will never be heard, they should pool their resources and get some of their best people through the primaries and onto a Republican ticket where there are numbers to actually win a race. Ron Paul is great, but the Libertarian Caucus in the Congress is a virtual graveyard. There's only one man standing. Give the man some help. He deserves it. We all deserve it.
46 posted on 09/24/2002 2:50:27 PM PDT by Jim Robinson
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 44 | View Replies]

To: weikel
16th 17th and yes the 19th all need to be axed.

I'm in favor of all amendments after the 12th needing to go. Since the Constitution itself denies no one the right to vote, the 15th & 19th are politically motivated and therefore unnecessary. Likewise the 13th was a reiteration of the Emancipation Proclamation and also, IMHO, unnecessary. I agree with most here that the wording of the 14th is open to mischevious interpretation.

Of all the amendments that make my blood boil it is the 16th:

Article I, Section 9: "...No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken..."

Amendment XVI: "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration."

This blatant turning of the Founders words directly against them, my fellow FReepers, is IMHO the worst crime in this nation's history. The kind of taxation authorized by the 16th is precisely that against which the Founders revolted .

47 posted on 09/24/2002 2:53:32 PM PDT by LisaFab
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: Jim Robinson
Amen!

Praise the Lord and pass the -- ballots!

48 posted on 09/24/2002 3:00:07 PM PDT by Dick Bachert
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 46 | View Replies]

To: Jim Robinson
Well said and most appropriately on this thread. For the Founders, like Ronald Reagan, knew that to achieve their final goal, they had to compromise some and keep their 'eyes on the prize' so to speak.

These midterm elections are parmount to starting down the long road to re-building this country the way the Founders intended it.

49 posted on 09/24/2002 3:00:53 PM PDT by LisaFab
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 45 | View Replies]

To: LisaFab
Alright you can't be serious about getting rid of the 13th...
50 posted on 09/24/2002 3:05:30 PM PDT by weikel
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 47 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-111 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson