Repealing the 17th amendment

Discuss the pros & cons of repealing the 17th Amendment to the Constitution.
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Repealing the 17th amendment

Postby Paul » Sun Jun 28, 2009 2:16 am

The 17th is completely out of the scope of TTO, but I completely agree that its repeal, or really , correction, is probably the second most important thing right after increasing the value of the vote and opening up the House to the average citizen.

Not to go too far into it, but the issue that the 17th amendment attempted to correct was a valid one - one of the problems leading up to the Civil War was under representation of some of the states in the Senate. This happened because terms would lapse without some states' legislators having elected a new senator. I think the better way to repair this problem would have been to provide competition to the legislators that also guarantees someone to be elected to office. For example, if by a certain date the legislator has not elected a senator, then the responsibility will irrevocably be moved to the newly elected members of the House. Before these members can be sworn in for their upcoming term, they must elect a senator. Obviously the senator would be one of the congressmen, and the transfer of the power from the state legislator to the federal representatives will not be in the general interests of anyone at the state level, so it is highly unlikely that a state would ever allow this to happen, and if it did, the person most likely to be elected would be someone recently elected to a federal office.

The beauty of this system is how the checks work. The state's interests and the people's interests are the only ones making and passing laws. Washington's interests are nearly completely removed. I imagine that after the second coming when the house is reduced to 30,000 people per district, we would see the last bastion of special interests holing up tight in the Senate, and nary a bill getting passed by either house.
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Re: Repealing the 17th amendment

Postby JEQuidam » Sun Jun 28, 2009 11:26 am

Paul wrote:The 17th is completely out of the scope of TTO, but I completely agree that its repeal, or really , correction, is probably the second most important thing right after increasing the value of the vote and opening up the House to the average citizen.
Paul, repealing the 17th amendment is outside of the narrow focus of TTO, but I agree with everything you stated, and this issue is highly complementary to our mission.

It's possible that in the future we could add repeal of the 17th amendment to TTO's educational mission, but I'm concerned that in the near term it would conflict with TTO's primary objective (advocacy of representational enlargement), primarily because it would confuse the message. In fact, it may seem contradictory to the uninitiated (i.e., "you want to increase the number of Reps we can elect, but not allow us to elect our Senators."). Many people may not understand.

The practical effect of the 17th amendment was to enlarge the number of representatives. It was put forth by Congress in 1912 and ratified by the states in 1913 [Wiki]. Coincidentally, that is also the last year the number of Representatives was increased to the current size of 435 (as a result of the 1910 Census). Congress did not reapportion the House at all after the 1920 Census (in violation of the Constitution!), and then permanently "fixed" their number at 435 in 1929. I can't help but wonder if the 435 Reps didn't see the Senators as effectively 100 more representatives (albeit elected from mega-sized districts) who were competing for the same campaign donations and special-interest support. And given how much more powerful a Senator is than a Representative (for the most part), you can imagine how quickly the influence-buying shifted from the Representatives to the Senators. (Compare the cost of an average senatorial race to that of a congressional race.)

Of course, the best way to remove the destructive effect of money from the Senatorial elections is to repeal the 17th amendment and simply allow the states' legislatures to appoint their Senators (as the Founders had specified in the Constitution). The Senators would then be accountable to the elected state legislators who appointed them, rather than the special interests who fund and support their political campaigns. This also makes the lobbyists' job much more difficult as instead of trying to influence a handful of Senators they have to influence hundreds of state legislators -- not that state legislators are saints, but it brings a huge amount of visibility to the process of exerting influence.

There is an analogy here. The Senators are beholden to the special interests who provide the support (financial and otherwise) that keeps them in power. Repealing the 17th amendment would make them accountable to the state legislators who appoint them. Similarly, the Reps today are likewise beholden to the special interests who provide the financing. Ratifying "Article the first" (the non-defective version) would make the Reps accountable to their constituency rather than to the special interests.
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Re: Repealing the 17th amendment

Postby Paul » Sun Jun 28, 2009 8:14 pm

I was hesitant to enter the fray on this one, but I gave in to temptation. This is always a challenge in these types of forums, to not enter into sideline intellectual debates and discussions which confuse the issue. I remember the same thing happening to Ron Paul in his interview with Tim Russell when they started debating Abraham Lincoln. It's like we've all got our debate hats on and we're willing to engage in pretty much anything that we have an opinion on.

I half wonder if this forum shouldn't just be hidden, because it is very confusing. I am also not in favor of repealing the amendment, but rather recognizing that the solution to the problem it attempted to resolve was worse than the problem itself, but there is definitely a serious problem of state legislators not agreeing on things. I would hate to 100% rely on California's legislator to come to agreement so that Californians can have equal representation in the U.S. Senate. The state is about to run out of money and print IOU's for the second time in as many decades because of this problem.

I noticed that the links you posted are in the Strategy forum, was that intentional?
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Re: Repealing the 17th amendment

Postby JEQuidam » Sun Jun 28, 2009 9:56 pm

Paul wrote:I half wonder if this forum shouldn't just be hidden, because it is very confusing.
I don't think so. I believe that the only people who will notice are those that already understand the debate and have a pro/con view on the 17th Amendment. What % of the voters would that be? Probably less than 5%, IMO. The other 95%+ won't notice it or tune in.

Paul wrote:I am also not in favor of repealing the amendment, but rather recognizing that the solution to the problem it attempted to resolve was worse than the problem itself, ...
I can't fathom another solution. To me, it's a pregnant/not-pregnant thing. Either one wants the Senators elected in a popular election, or return to having the state legislatures select them. I have faith that the state legislatures could select well-qualified Senators 95%+ of the time, but nothing is perfect! And we cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good!

In any case, I can't imagine that the Senators chosen by the states' legislatures would be any worse than what we have now, most of whom are spineless and unprincipled careerist politicians. I'm sure you would agree.

(Those links are in this forum - check again.)
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Re: Repealing the 17th amendment

Postby Paul » Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:40 pm

When I hear 'repeal' I think 'return to the way it was before'. But the argument instantly comes up 'the way it worked before was not very good'. That's why I suggest using something like 'amend the 17th' as a solution, even though it's more like repeal and amend.

I don't support returning to the way it was before.
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Re: Repealing the 17th amendment

Postby JEQuidam » Wed Jul 08, 2009 6:24 pm

Paul wrote:I don't support returning to the way it was before.
Paul, I don't understand.

Do you want the Senators to continue to be elected, appointed by the states' legislatures, or something else altogether?

If the answer is "C", then what solution do you propose?
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Re: Repealing the 17th amendment

Postby claudevms » Wed Jul 29, 2009 10:02 pm

I would like to see senators from the several states be suggested for service by the Governor of a state with advise and consent of the state senate. A senator going to Washington is essentially an ambassador to the Federal Government from the state. They should be fighting "unfunded mandates" placed on the states, they should be re-callable if they are not doing their job and replaced in the same process above. Perhaps their term remains 6 years to overlap Governor terms? The states have exactly the same problem with senators today as the Federal Government has with the State Department employees. When you ask them to point to their country they point to the country they were appointed to. The senators point to Washington DC. If the number of people represented by a representative did not matter then King George could have told our ancestors he was our representative! Senators have an enormous voting base they are accountable to no one! The answer only to themselves.
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Re: Repealing the 17th amendment

Postby JEQuidam » Wed Jul 29, 2009 11:08 pm

claudevms wrote:I would like to see senators from the several states be suggested for service by the Governor of a state with advise and consent of the state senate. ....
Claude, that is an excellent idea. Is that your invention or do you know if it has been previously advocated?

That method bypasses the risk of state legislatures being deadlocked over the choice Senator, and puts the final decision squarely on the Governor (who is analogous to the "president" of the state). I suggest adding a provision which allows that state's legislature, upon a super-majority vote (e.g., ¾), to veto the Governor's decision or recall the Senator. That proviso would be evoked rarely and provides relief in the event of a truly egregious appointment, such as one that might be made by a Governor Blagojevich (hypothetically speaking, of course).

However, such a proposal complicates things a little. If we simply repeal the 17th amendment then we return to the constitutional requirement, to wit: "The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof for six Years". Any variation to that (such as your proposal) would require an amendment that not only repeals the 17th, but also proscribes the appointment process. At this point, I'm in favor of doing that. Alternatively, some will argue that we should leave it up to each state to determine how they want to choose their Senators (which I believe is a problematic approach).
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Re: Repealing the 17th amendment

Postby Paul » Wed Jul 29, 2009 11:56 pm

I don't agree that having the governor appoint the senator would solve the deadlock problem, and it could even aggravate it.

If Schwarzenegger were to appoint someone to the U.S. Senate, I'm quite confident whoever the appointee is would get not get approved by the state senate. Any negotiating attempts made by the governor and the Republicans with the Democrats would probably go about as well and as quickly as the budget negotiations have been going. In fact, the California budget debacle is a great example of how the states can be so terrible at getting things done. The state government has MUCH more at stake in not getting the budget done on time that if it failed to get a senator elected on time.

This is why I feel that the most important change must be to introduce some type of competition for the legislator, as I outlined in my post above:

Paul wrote:I think the better way to repair this problem would have been to provide competition to the legislators that also guarantees someone to be elected to office. For example, if by a certain date the legislator has not elected a senator, then the responsibility will irrevocably be moved to the newly elected members of the House. Before these members can be sworn in for their upcoming term, they must elect a senator. Obviously the senator would be one of the congressmen, and the transfer of the power from the state legislator to the federal representatives will not be in the general interests of anyone at the state level, so it is highly unlikely that a state would ever allow this to happen, and if it did, the person most likely to be elected would be someone recently elected to a federal office.


Additionally, a governor appointed candidate will always be a member of the same party as the governor. However, a senator appointed by a legislator will not necessarily only be a member of the one party.
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Re: Repealing the 17th amendment

Postby claudevms » Thu Jul 30, 2009 12:14 am

JEQuidam wrote:
claudevms wrote:I would like to see senators from the several states be suggested for service by the Governor of a state with advise and consent of the state senate. ....
Claude, that is an excellent idea. Is that your invention or do you know if it has been previously advocated?

That method bypasses the risk of state legislatures being deadlocked over the choice Senator, and puts the final decision squarely on the Governor (who is analogous to the "president" of the state). I suggest adding a provision which allows that state's legislature, upon a super-majority vote (e.g., ¾), to veto the Governor's decision or recall the Senator. That proviso would be evoked rarely and provides relief in the event of a truly egregious appointment, such as one that might be made by a Governor Blagojevich (hypothetically speaking, of course).

However, such a proposal complicates things a little. If we simply repeal the 17th amendment then we return to the constitutional requirement, to wit: "The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof for six Years". Any variation to that (such as your proposal) would require an amendment that not only repeals the 17th, but also proscribes the appointment process. At this point, I'm in favor of doing that. Alternatively, some will argue that we should leave it up to each state to determine how they want to choose their Senators (which I believe is a problematic approach).



Thank you! I have not heard anyone suggest this before. I'm sure many have thought of it. Symmetry is a concept I strive for in engineering. Asymmetric solutions usually don't work well. We do need to supersede the 17th amendment with a new amendment that could incorporate what we have discussed above. Do state senate bodies have the filibuster available to them? The wording could be changed so that the senator serves a term of six years or until he/her appointed replacement reports for service. This provides the poison pill to one party or another to replace the senator. I only love term limits due to how these vermin become lifers in the government. Making a senator into a gofer for the state government may help to keep them in check.

On the subject of the people's representatives in the House I would suggest that all 6,000+ be unpaid! They can work in an office in their congressional district, elbow to elbow, with the people they serve. They can form a staff of volunteers. A representative should only serve three terms. This matches a senator's six years. There would be no more lifers in our government. They could solicit contributions from their constituents for salary, medical, etc. or perhaps bill them. This would let the people feel the pain if the representative is getting out of control! All federal government business would be conducted through the Internet. The representative would have a 3D environment where they could interact just like being on in DC, but be at home where they can be watched!
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Re: Repealing the 17th amendment

Postby claudevms » Thu Jul 30, 2009 12:34 am

Paul wrote:I don't agree that having the governor appoint the senator would solve the deadlock problem, and it could even aggravate it.

If Schwarzenegger were to appoint someone to the U.S. Senate, I'm quite confident whoever the appointee is would get not get approved by the state senate. Any negotiating attempts made by the governor and the Republicans with the Democrats would probably go about as well and as quickly as the budget negotiations have been going. In fact, the California budget debacle is a great example of how the states can be so terrible at getting things done. The state government has MUCH more at stake in not getting the budget done on time that if it failed to get a senator elected on time.

This is why I feel that the most important change must be to introduce some type of competition for the legislator, as I outlined in my post above:

Paul wrote:I think the better way to repair this problem would have been to provide competition to the legislators that also guarantees someone to be elected to office. For example, if by a certain date the legislator has not elected a senator, then the responsibility will irrevocably be moved to the newly elected members of the House. Before these members can be sworn in for their upcoming term, they must elect a senator. Obviously the senator would be one of the congressmen, and the transfer of the power from the state legislator to the federal representatives will not be in the general interests of anyone at the state level, so it is highly unlikely that a state would ever allow this to happen, and if it did, the person most likely to be elected would be someone recently elected to a federal office.


Additionally, a governor appointed candidate will always be a member of the same party as the governor. However, a senator appointed by a legislator will not necessarily only be a member of the one party.


You are correct sir!!! There must be a poison pill to get the state governments to do their jobs.
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Re: Repealing the 17th amendment

Postby JEQuidam » Fri Jul 31, 2009 9:52 am

My concern is that those opposed to repealing the 17th amendment will fuel a debate among us on how the appointment of the Senators should be conducted by the states. We'll be busy arguing about that amongst ourselves instead of getting the 17th repealed.

Paul, you state that the Governor would simply appoint a Senator from his own party. I agree that may happen (though that does not necessarily mean that person is not well qualified). In response, I point out the the majority party of the state legislature may simply do likewise. So that point is at a draw.

However, I believe that in a world where we have 6,000 federal Reps, the political party duopoly will no longer exist, and that the Governor (and many state legislators) may be independents or third-party candidates.

Also, relative to Claude's suggestion (as I modified it), I don't believe that the Governor's appointment should have to be approved by the state legislature. So I guess it's "Advise", not "Consent". However, the legislature could veto it based on some supermajority.

Anyway, my mind is still open, but that notion does make a lot of sense to me.

Claude, regarding the compensation of the Representatives, I believe they should be well compensated, but this should be the subject of a different thread. This very point was made during some of the debates in 1788. The gist of the rationale is that if they are not properly compensated, the Reps will consist largely of the very wealthy (which is not bad if they are not overrepresented) and scoundrels who intend to use the office for personal gain (or, worse yet, wealthy scoundrels). Members of the "middling class" (like me) who have families to support could not possibly become Reps. The business of government is very important and I would hope we could attract the most capable citizens from all walks of life.
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Re: The corrupt Senate

Postby TheTrucker » Mon Aug 10, 2009 10:58 am

The "Gang of 6" in the Senate is an illustration of the corrupt nature of our United States Senate.. This group of "senators", bought and paid for by the medical insurance sector, have been working very hard to stop health care reform in this country. The total number of cows and pigs represented by these 6 senators is greater thnn the number of people. The human population being represented is less than the population of Los Angeles County, California. If we were discussing a veterinary bill then this sort of representation might be appropriate. But that is not the case. We are trying to battle the blood sucking health insurance thieves.

Campaign funds come from two sources and always have and always will. First of all such funds come from the people of the state or the district as each person makes a small contribution. Then there is the lobby, corporate, and rich people funding that comes from the special interests like health insurance and Wall Street and such. In the state of Wyoming if all persons give a dollar then the campaign fund for "popular" TV ads is half a million bucks. In the state of California if all the people give a dollar then the amount would be 34 million. Now imagine that you are a corporation with lots of shareholders and officers and employees through which you can fund a senator's campaign. All votes in the Senate are equal. Which vote will you buy? You can CRUSH the populous of Wyoming with a couple of million bucks and sell whatever "snake oil" you might need to insure that "your man" will win.

Montana is only twice the population of Wyoming and it is a blue state. Max Baucus is supposedly and Democrat. Yet he too was purchased by the health insurance sector, and so too the senators from North and South Dakota. Party affiliation seems to make little difference.

The repeal of the 17th amendment _MIGHT_ do a lot to fix this regardless of whether you are a "states rights" Republican or a "larger insurance pool" Democrat. The only beneficiaries of the current system are the rich and the powerful whether they are the large land owners, the national and multinational corporations, or simply the very very wealthy.
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Re: The corrupt Senate

Postby JEQuidam » Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:10 pm

TheTrucker wrote:...This group of "senators", bought and paid for by the medical insurance sector, have been working very hard to stop health care reform in this country.
Mike, I would be most grateful if you would try to make your points, which are valid, without basing them on partisan stands, as it distracts from the primary purpose of this forum.

The fact is that there are powerful corporate interests on all sides of that issue (which I wish you had pointed out). Mega corporations such as Wal-Mart are begging the government to take over the health liabilities as that would have a greatly beneficial impact on their EPS. Several other companies, such as General Electric, have a huge vested and direct interest in seeing the federal government take over the management of health care. The lawyers' lobby has successfully blocked any tort reform from being included. So it is accurate to say that powerful special interests, corporate and otherwise, are working all sides of this issue. So, when making these types of arguments, lets try to identify all of the powerful Special Interests that are working to corrupt the federal legislature.

Of course, I don't trust anything that will come out of this corporate- and Special-Interest-controlled Congress. Clearly a citizen-controlled House of Representatives would produce the most sensible solutions for the health care crisis. Furthermore, they would ensure that we the people fully understood what was in the legislation prior to voting on it.
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Re: Repealing the 17th amendment

Postby Paul Taylor » Sat Oct 03, 2009 8:20 am

While repeal of the 17th might be outside the narrow focus of TTO, I can easily see it becoming important for the electorate to repeal it once they realize the improvements in representation that arise from enlarging the house. Enlarging the house would seem to negate the underlying need for the 17th, and a return to appointed senators would, I think, make happy many people who fight for states' rights.
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Re: Repealing the 17th amendment

Postby Paul » Sat Oct 03, 2009 11:52 am

I've been thinking that I rather like the idea of having the senators appointed by the states similar to ambassadors, with no defined term. Six years is a very long time and all sorts terrible things could be done during that period.

If the states appoint the senator, then could send a replacement at any time, that would place even a larger fire under the senator to vote the will of the states.

It would still solve the issue that the 17th was supposed to solve by keeping the existing senator in office until the new one is sworn in, thus disagreements at the state legislator will not result in a state's going without representation in the senate. Even if the representation is not in perfect congruence with the legislator, it is still better than no representation and if the legislator is in some disagreement about replacement, then it is likely the senator is not radically outside the wishes of the state.
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Re: Repealing the 17th amendment

Postby TheTrucker » Sat Mar 27, 2010 11:34 am

Paul wrote:I don't agree that having the governor appoint the senator would solve the deadlock problem, and it could even aggravate it.

If Schwarzenegger were to appoint someone to the U.S. Senate, I'm quite confident whoever the appointee is would get not get approved by the state senate. Any negotiating attempts made by the governor and the Republicans with the Democrats would probably go about as well and as quickly as the budget negotiations have been going. In fact, the California budget debacle is a great example of how the states can be so terrible at getting things done. The state government has MUCH more at stake in not getting the budget done on time that if it failed to get a senator elected on time.

This is why I feel that the most important change must be to introduce some type of competition for the legislator, as I outlined in my post above:

Paul wrote:I think the better way to repair this problem would have been to provide competition to the legislators that also guarantees someone to be elected to office. For example, if by a certain date the legislator has not elected a senator, then the responsibility will irrevocably be moved to the newly elected members of the House. Before these members can be sworn in for their upcoming term, they must elect a senator. Obviously the senator would be one of the congressmen, and the transfer of the power from the state legislator to the federal representatives will not be in the general interests of anyone at the state level, so it is highly unlikely that a state would ever allow this to happen, and if it did, the person most likely to be elected would be someone recently elected to a federal office.


Additionally, a governor appointed candidate will always be a member of the same party as the governor. However, a senator appointed by a legislator will not necessarily only be a member of the one party.


I also do not agree with the selection of a Senator by a governor but for very different reasons. The senator should be selected by the legislature of the state because this does away with the focal point for corruption that is currently employed by out of state interests. I am also of the opinion that state legislators should be paid considerably more than currently. Owing to the desirability of the position there would be people in the community that are vying for that job at all times and always on the lookout for any form of malfeasance with which to nail the current representative. The individual in that job should be secure in his/her finances so long as (s)he does the job of a representative of the people. A well paid representative is simply less susceptible to corruption. The per capita amount of money lost to this salary function is derisory. On this score, the people of Wally Mart and Tyson Chicken will still have a lot of pull concerning who will be the senator from Arkansas. But it won't be some Chinese outfit that is buying influence in the US Senate. And alas, what is good for Tyson may well be good for Arkansas. And is that NOT the province of the senator from Arkansas?

But what to do should the state legislature fail to select a senator within a few weeks? I would then fall to a state wide special election typically between the candidates coughed up by the state legislature. Such an election will be open as it is now, but the candidates owned by the political parties or by the Chinese government will get the most media advertising just as it is now (see latest Supreme Court ruling).

But let us be clear about this. I would simply redefine the 17th amendment as a proposition of states rights. The states decide what they want to do about the situation. If they want the governor to appoint the senator then that is what they will get. It is _THEIR_ state. If they want elections as they are now then they do that also. The people of each state should have the choice, operating through their state legislatures, of defining their own mechanisms for selecting a senator.

Max Baucus is a Democrat and the Republicans love the latest Supreme court ruling. This tells us that corruption is not party specific. The senators representing states that have a greater population of cows and pigs than people are the most susceptible to corruption. The people's candidate in Wyoming will have a campaign war chest of half a million bucks if all the people of the state contribute a dollar. The Toyota sales force spends more than that for lunch. If a national or multinational corporation is going to try to buy influence in the Senate it will do it in Montana or Wyoming and not in California. Of course if you limit the size of the state legislature you get a greater amount of corruption at the state level as is the case in California. Smaller legislatures are more corrupt. But senatorial selection by the legislature is still less corrupt than the current system.
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Re: Repealing the 17th amendment

Postby JEQuidam » Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:19 am

TheTrucker wrote: I would simply redefine the 17th amendment as a proposition of states rights. The states decide what they want to do about the situation. If they want the governor to appoint the senator then that is what they will get. It is _THEIR_ state. If they want elections as they are now then they do that also. The people of each state should have the choice, operating through their state legislatures, of defining their own mechanisms for selecting a senator.

I agree!
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Re: Repealing the 17th amendment

Postby Paul » Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:07 pm

Well, I disagree on this one. The problem with the state argument on Federal positions is that they do affect the citizens of other states. Special interest ownership of the senators from just a few states can wield massive power in the Senate, and this affects all states. I do not want to have a single person responsible for selecting people put in such high office, as one person will be much more prone to corruption than many. I believe the senators should be appointed to office by their respective state's legislator for indefinite terms, and replaced at the convenience of the legislator, much as a foreign ambassador.
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Re: Repealing the 17th amendment

Postby JEQuidam » Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:28 pm

Paul wrote:Well, I disagree on this one. The problem with the state argument on Federal positions is that they do affect the citizens of other states.
So many things that a neighboring state may do can affect other states (e.g., income tax rates, restrictions on alcohol sales, etc.). That obviously can't be a rationale for regulating what few areas the states still have sovereignty over -- except where explicitly permitted in the Constitution.

I certainly have a strong opinion on how Senators should be selected in Georgia (in the absence of the 17th amendment), but I don't think I should dictate to Idaho how they can do it.

Putting aside that question for a moment, what I'm wondering is, given how difficult it would be to repeal the 17th, would it be easier to simply repeal it, or to repeal it with some additional set of requirements on how the Senators are to be selected by each state? As a practical matter, I believe it would be easier to simply repeal it without all the additional baggage of agreeing on a mandatory selection system. If so, it would be better to get it repealed than it never being repealed because of disagreement over the perfect selection process!
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Re: Repealing the 17th amendment

Postby Paul » Wed Apr 21, 2010 6:17 pm

JEQuidam wrote:So many things that a neighboring state may do can affect other states (e.g., income tax rates, restrictions on alcohol sales, etc.). That obviously can't be a rationale for regulating what few areas the states still have sovereignty over -- except where explicitly permitted in the Constitution.


Well, I'm gonna' say that's a pretty weak argument that could be used to justify volumes of actions, including state officials traveling to neighbor states to make arrests without permission from the state being entered. The fact is that senators from other states have decided that California is only to receive back 79% of the money it sends out in federal taxes, and many states are in the same position as we are. The EPA has blocked the efforts of the California Air Resources Board on a number of occasions. Basically, the Federal Government, acting on legislation from other states, has taken many actions that are in direct opposition to the desires of the citizens of California (again, see Delta smelt). If the citizens of one state have the ability to directly affect those in another state without that state's having any say the matter, that is a form of tyranny, and this is why I believe that every state has the right to decide how those officials get elected.

Putting aside that question for a moment, what I'm wondering is, given how difficult it would be to repeal the 17th, would it be easier to simply repeal it, or to repeal it with some additional set of requirements on how the Senators are to be selected by each state? As a practical matter, I believe it would be easier to simply repeal it without all the additional baggage of agreeing on a mandatory selection system. If so, it would be better to get it repealed than it never being repealed because of disagreement over the perfect selection process!


I consider this from the point of the opposition. What arguments will they use against us? I think one that they would use is the original purpose of the 17th amendment, which was to prevent states from being under-represented in the Senate. My understanding is that this was happening leading up to the Civil War because there were so many contentious issues and state legislators were so divided that neither side would allow a senator to be elected. That is why I propose that the senators serve indefinite terms at the pleasure of the legislator. Nobody wanted to see TARP passed, so what I think would have happened was the instant that bill came up for a vote, a number of state legislators would have voted on and swore in (something they can do locally) new senators, then informed the old senators to return to whatever it was they did before public life. This is an asset.
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Re: Repealing the 17th amendment

Postby Pseudolus » Wed Jun 30, 2010 9:04 am

I'm FOR the repeal of the 17th Amendment. Actually, it's repeal is part of my 3 step process to save America (another of the steps is obviously the ratification of "Article the First").

But, with regards to how Senators are appointed, I think it would have to be by the state legislatures as originally intended by the Constitution. If the state legislature gets into a deadlock and cannot appoint a Senator before one is to be seated, then the Governor of the state would temporarily appoint someone to fill the vacancy until the state legislature resolves the deadlock issue.

It's an easy fix and is already basically in the original language of the Constitution.
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Re: Repealing the 17th amendment

Postby JEQuidam » Wed Jun 30, 2010 9:38 pm

Pseudolus wrote:But, with regards to how Senators are appointed, I think it would have to be by the state legislatures as originally intended by the Constitution.
I believe that any attempt to impose a method of selection (other than the default method provided by the Constitution) would doom any 17th amendment repeal efforts. My only caveat is that it would be reasonable to allow the state legislatures to define an alternative method for selecting the Senators.
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Re: Repealing the 17th amendment

Postby Pseudolus » Fri Jul 09, 2010 1:48 am

Proposed language of a new amendment to repeal the 17th Amendment:

    Section 1.
    The seventeenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

    Section 2.
    If Vacancies in the representation of any State in the Senate happen by failure of the Legislature of such State, the Executive authority of such State may make temporary Appointments until the Legislature of such State fills such Vacancies.

    Section 3.
    This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.

Thoughts? Comments? Problems?
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Re: Repealing the 17th amendment

Postby dogtired » Wed May 18, 2011 10:53 am

I don't think repealing the 17th is out of scope because it addresses proper representation.

There is a book out now that covers this subject. It brings up the subject of the old deadlocks in appointing senators. It suggests that after some serious vetting, the state senate narrow their choices down to two candidates, then invite the lower house in for a joint-house vote. This is important because the senator will be representing them too.

The book also suggests that a state should be able to remove their senator should he fail a vote of confidence in both houses by two-thirds majority.

The book is entitled THE BALTIMORE PRINCIPLES by Carl Douglas. It also addresses lower house reps as well as representation at local, county and state levels.
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