The Constitutional Renaissance Call

It is up to the states to fix it.

Repealing the 17th Amendment


You have been lied to by your high school civics teachers.  If you are like me, you were taught that the Founding Fathers formed the Constitution as a balance of power between the three branches of government.  This is wrong.  Our current form of government is a balance of power between the three branches.  The original version, prior to the 17th Amendment, was a balance of power between four branches of government: Executive, Legislative, Judicial and State Governments.  The United States was a union of individual states. The original purpose of the US Senate was to provide the state governments a direct representation at the federal level.  This is evident in various ways, not the least of which is the fact that the Senate ratifies all treaties.  In my most humble opinion, the topmost issue in shoring up the Constitution is repealing the 17th Amendment.  For this amendment severed the bonds between state governments and the federal government.  The amendment made Senators directly chosen by the people.  Where this may sound well and good, it made Senators campaign for votes and thus needing to appease special interests in order have the money to do so.  Prior to the amendment, the only people a Senator had to “campaign” to were the members of their respective legislatures; this requires little money.  The 17th amendment states the following:

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.

When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.

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.

The original language is still found in Article 1, Section 3 (*bracketed portions were replaced):

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, [chosen by the Legislature thereof,]* for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.

And

The Seats of the Senators of the first Class shall be vacated at the Expiration of the second Year, of the second Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year, and of the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so that one third may be chosen every second Year; [and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies.]*

Why the change?  That is a hard question to research.  There were a few cases where seats were left vacant.  However, these situations were not devastating to the operation of the federal government.  There was no failure to meet a quorum.  Rather these examples were used by early 20th century progressives to capitalize on a “crisis” with a fix “needing to be made.”  But was there really a crisis.  Funny, when I tried researching the reason for the 17th amendment, it is very hard to find the reason, anywhere.  Must have been some crisis, huh?!

The amendment was supposed to be an improvement for democracy; Senators now directly elected by the people.  In fact, it was just the opposite.  Senators have become more distance from the people.  When they had to be held accountable to legislatures, the people could correspond to their state representative, a person elected every two years, to do something about the Senator.  After the 17th Amendment, the Senators needed only to tickle the ears of the groundlings once every 6 years to be reelected.  The state governments had no voice.

Thus, started the entitlement programs.  Not only that, but states had to pay up for federal programs, like Medicaid. In a sense, this has become a loose form of taxation without representation for the states.  Since the state governments earn no money, all cost get past to the taxpayer.  In addition, after the passage of the 17th Amendment, abuses of the 10th Amendment, started to ramp up.

My solution is for the following amendment to be submitted and passed:

The 17th Amendment is immediately repealed.  All legislatures shall vote whether to retain or replace their Senators prior to the next federal election with each Senator’s term remaining unchanged.

Any Senatorial vacancies shall immediately be filled by a temporary appointment of the executive for that state until the state legislature can elect a replacement.  All disputes between state legislative bodies regarding replacement of a senator, which cannot be resolved within 45 days, shall be resolved by the State Executive.

State Legislatures may recall any sitting US Senator by a two-thirds vote.  Only one Senator from the state may be recalled every two years.  A recalled Senator vacancy shall be treated the same as any other.

This amendment restores the founding fathers’ original intent of the state government electing the US Senate.  It resolves the issues coming from legislatures being unable to sit a Senator.  It also provide a method to remove a Senator who goes to Washington and then abandons the will of the state governments, while at the same time maintaining stability of the Senate by preventing both Senators for a State being replaced in the same term. 

Though the precise verbiage is flexible, the new amendment should maintain the same intent.

Folks, this is the rallying cry!!  This amendment is what gives the states the motivation to call a convention of states to amend the constitution.  Please start crying out.  Send people to this website.  Enough tyranny.

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2 thoughts on “Repealing the 17th Amendment

  1. You have observed very interesting points! ps decent site.

  2. Pingback: Objects in this Mirror Should be Closer than They Appear « The Constitutional Renaissance Call

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