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Thread: Should We Repeal the 17th Amendment?

  1. #1

    Default Should We Repeal the 17th Amendment?

    Representative Louie Golmert of Texas has recently proposed that United States senators be elected as they once were, by the legislatures of the states. This would require a repeal of the 17th Amendment, which requires direct election of senators by the people. by Bruce Walker

    Should We Repeal the 17th Amendment?


    Bruce Walker | The New American
    31 March 2010


    Representative Louie Golmert of Texas has recently proposed that United States senators be elected as they once were, by the legislatures of the states. This would require a repeal of the 17th Amendment, which requires direct election of senators by the people.

    When the Constitution was adopted, state governments were given great power and, in particular, state legislatures were given vast power. This was intended to make the language of the Constitution, which preserves the states as sovereign entities, protect that sovereignty in practice. When the two senators from each state were chosen by state legislatures, then those senators would not last long if they advocated a surrender of state power to the federal government.

    The president also was not chosen by the people, but by presidential electors who were chosen themselves not by the people but by the state legislatures. This effectively gave state legislatures control over the presidency and the Senate. Because the president nominates and the Senate confirms federal judges, the nomination and confirmation of members of thee Supreme Court and all inferior federal courts also were subject to veto by the states.

    The intention of the Founding Fathers was that these United States be a federation of equal members. Each state might have very different policies and laws on different issues, but people could choose which state they wished to live in, and so robust state governments naturally led to general freedom for all Americans.

    The Constitution and Bill of Rights, which enshrined the sovereignty of the states, could not be amended without the concurrence of three quarters of the states. Again, the Founding Fathers saw how to prevent the federal government from whittling away at states’ rights.

    The crumbling of states’ rights became when federal judges began to arrogate to themselves the power to amend the Constitution by simply reading it as they chose. Five justices became equal to 76 state legislative chambers. State legislators also gave up their power to choose presidential electors by providing that these individuals be elected by the people (in the early American presidential elections, there was no “popular vote” at all — not even for presidential electors.)

    The greatest loss, though, came when the states voluntarily agreed to amend the Constitution so that the people, not the state legislators, would now choose the members of the Senate. After that, there were virtually no real checks that state governments had to preserve their balanced rights in our federal system. Would amending the Constitution to repeal the 17th Amendment restore that balance? Yes, if state legislatures also became to assume responsibility again for electing the president (by choosing the electors, rather than leaving that to the people) and if state legislatures had the backbone to begin to reassert their rights.

    The strong reaction to the massive healthcare bill by states’ attorneys general is a good sign that perhaps states are ready to step back into their intended role in our federal system. Having robust states is not a partisan issue. It is not even an issue on what policies a particular state should adopt (if Massachusetts wishes to tax itself into penury, it is that state’s right — as long as the rest of us do not need to bail the Bay State out.)


    SOURCE:
    http://www.thenewamerican.com/index....17th-amendment
    Last edited by FrankRep; 03-31-2010 at 07:45 AM.
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  3. #2

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    If we did that, we would be less democratic, and should be more republic than democratic, but we still end up with a plutocracy.
    1776 > 1984

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  4. #3

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    yes
    "In reality, the Constitution itself is incapable of achieving what we would like in limiting government power, no matter how well written."

    "The protection against centralized government failed because of too many loopholes in the Constitution."

    Ron Paul from his book End the Fed

  5. #4

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    Judge Napolitano lays out a great case for repeal of the 17th Amendment in his new book "Lies the Government Told You."

    Quote Originally Posted by The Judge
    We live in a representative democracy, not a true democracy, and we trust our representatives to look out for our best interests. The original Constitution provided our state legislatures control of our U.S. Senators, but the Seventeenth Amendment took the power out of their hands, rendering the States defenseless against federal government abuses. It is no coincidence that the size of the federal government has grown exponentially since 1913 and U.S. Senators have been controlled by special interests often exercising their influence from outside the States that the senators represent.

    ...

    If any amendment is unconstitutional, it is this one. Can an amendment to the Constitution be unconstitutional? I submit it can, even if lawfully adopted, if it strikes at the core values of the Constitution. Removing the representation of the States as States in the central government was a direct and impermissable assault on federalism; more tyranny of the majority. It undermines the premise that the people and the States would have a place at the federal table. It also undermines the States' check on federal corruption of states' rights. This amendment, along with the Sixteenth (which permitted federal income taxes), has contributed more to 1984-style Big Government than any other. It is a direct repudiation of the framework the Founders set up. If anyone tells you that this Amendment enfranchises voters, tell that person that the Amendment disenfranchises the states.
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  6. #5

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    There is a sizable bloc of Tea Party supporters calling for repeal of the 17th Amendment to the United States Constitution. The 17th Amendment establishes direct, popular election of U.S. Senators, superseding Article 1, Section 3, Clauses 1 and 2 which empowered state legislatures to elect senators. by Joe Wolverton II

    Tea Party Wants to Dump 17th Amendment?


    Joe Wolverton, II | The New American
    Wednesday, 02 June 2010
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    Ron Paul Forum's Mission Statement:

    Inspired by US Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, this site is dedicated to facilitating grassroots initiatives that aim to restore a sovereign limited constitutional Republic based on the rule of law, states' rights and individual rights. We seek to enshrine the original intent of our Founders to foster respect for private property, seek justice, provide opportunity, and to secure individual liberty for ourselves and our posterity.

  7. #6

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    [quote=FrankRep;2621296]Should We Repeal the 17th Amendment?

    ...legislatures of the states....

    ...the people...

    ...state governments... state legislatures... states as sovereign entities...

    ...state legislatures...

    ...the people...

    ...the people... state legislatures... state legislatures...

    ... people... state... state governments...

    etc.

    The question this raises for me, and this is a show of my ignorance on this point, is what differentiates the "state" from the "people"? Are not the people the state? Without the people, where does one find the state? Under which rock does it reside? In which building? Where is it, exactly?

    The one argument I can see in favor of this repeal lies in the premise that the unwashed mob consists of stupid people, which is arguably the case. If we further accept the premise that those in the state legislatures are considerably more clued-in and are not beholden to unpublished agendas, then I can see how this return to Eden might be a good idea.

    But there is the other side of that coin. What happens when the state legislators are either equally stupid, ignorant, or corrupt with the rest? Then you have an inside job waiting to be carried out on our liberties, no?

    Is there a presumption in all of this that the state legislators are somehow more readily kept under control by the citizens? If so, how is it so? It is not at all clear to me why this particular suggestion is necessarily better than what we currently have in a significant degree. Could someone explain?
    Through lives and lives shalt thou pay, O' king.


    Be a warrior abhorrent of war, willing to wage it in the face of trespass.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by FrankRep View Post
    Should We Repeal the 17th Amendment?


    The intention of the Founding Fathers was that these United States be a federation of equal members. Each state might have very different policies and laws on different issues, but people could choose which state they wished to live in, and so robust state governments naturally led to general freedom for all Americans.
    How does freedom follow from this? If states hold arbitrary power, then the potential for tyranny shifts from the central government to those of a given state. I see advantage in that other states need not follow suit, but I also see a few problems. Why, for example, should I or anyone else feel compelled to leave our homes when a state legislature enacts tyrannical restrictions on our liberties? Is liberty not sacrosanct, and did the BoR not recognize this fact and ensure that no state entering the union would violate such rights? My take on the Constitution and entry into the Union is that by so doing, the states agreed to a baseline standard of behavior where human rights were concerned. Such an agreement necessarily imposes limitations on the power of the states, does it not? The Second Amendment states that a well regulated militia...etc.; this is a statement about the rights of ALL people and the corresponding limitation on ALL government. There is no picky-choosey going on here. Any state not agreeing with such restrictions was free to stand alone.

    I buy the argument of states' contractual rights and their consequent right to call the federal government on the carpet for usurpations and other transgressions. I do not, however, buy the argument that states are sovereign in the manner suggested by many - that they are indeed free to impose arbitrary restrictions upon the primal sovereignty of the individual. The whole idea behind the founding of this nation was to secure and ensure liberty for all. It was not to indulge the whims of "states". Had that been the case, we should have put G. Washington up as the first King or Emperor of the USA and dispensed with all pretense to an interest in individual liberty.


    The Constitution and Bill of Rights, which enshrined the sovereignty of the states,
    It also enshrined the sovereignty of the individual as coming first and foremost among considerations. States' powers are granted by the people making up those states. Even so, the right of one person or group thereof to enact restrictions upon the equal rights of the rest is not within the envelope of morally legitimate prerogatives of any person or group thereof. Enactment of such restrictions constitutes an egregious violation of the rights of all men, no matter how insignificant, innocuous, or necessary such acts may seem on the surface.

    Again, the Founding Fathers saw how to prevent the federal government from whittling away at states’ rights.
    But failed to seehow the states could whittle away the rights of their own citizens? This doesn't make sense.

    Again I ask: what keeps the strong state governments in check? A strong state government is a great thing when it is behaving as you want it. When it begins running amok, however, its strength becomes proportionally less attractive.

    The ONLYl legitimate role of government is the guaranty of human rights. Beyond that, government holds absolutely zero purpose and even less moral authority.
    Through lives and lives shalt thou pay, O' king.


    Be a warrior abhorrent of war, willing to wage it in the face of trespass.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by malkusm View Post
    If any amendment is unconstitutional, it is [the 17th]
    This statement is, of course, ridiculous. Any Amendment to the CONSTITUTION is by definition constitutional.

    Can an amendment to the Constitution be unconstitutional? I submit it can, even if lawfully adopted, if it strikes at the core values of the Constitution.
    Nonsense. The amendment process was set into place in order to alter the Constitution. Period. AFAIK there was no limitation on degree or manner. We are free to amend our way into a totalitarian state if that is what we choose, or allow to have chosen for us.

    If the Klan got hold of the government and amended the Constitution to mandate lynching negroes and jews, then it would be CONSTITUTIONAL. It would also be morally reprehensible, but that is an orthogonal issue. Constitutionality does not of necessity have to be right. We are empowered to adopt whatever sort of government we want - that is the bottom line in this.
    Removing the representation of the States as States in the central government was a direct and impermissable assault on federalism; more tyranny of the majority. It undermines the premise that the people and the States would have a place at the federal table.
    ...people and the States... What is the difference between them? I see no difference. The people ARE the States, are they not?
    Through lives and lives shalt thou pay, O' king.


    Be a warrior abhorrent of war, willing to wage it in the face of trespass.

  10. #9

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    Yes, we should. But we won't, because the demagoguery will drown out any attempt at even discussing the issue. "They're trying to take away our votes!!!"
    * Enforce Border Security – America should be guarding her own borders and enforcing her own laws instead of policing the world and implementing UN mandates.

    * No Amnesty - The Obama Administration’s endorsement of so-called “Comprehensive Immigration Reform,” granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, will only encourage more law-breaking.

    * Abolish the Welfare State – Taxpayers cannot continue to pay the high costs to sustain this powerful incentive for illegal immigration. As Milton Friedman famously said, you can’t have open borders and a welfare state.

    * End Birthright Citizenship – As long as illegal immigrants know their children born here will be granted U.S. citizenship, we’ll never be able to control our immigration problem.




    Reprinted from http://www.ronpaul2012.com/the-issues/immigration/ [Nov. 29, 2011]

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by angelatc View Post
    Yes, we should. But we won't, because the demagoguery will drown out any attempt at even discussing the issue. "They're trying to take away our votes!!!"
    That can be played both ways.
    Through lives and lives shalt thou pay, O' king.


    Be a warrior abhorrent of war, willing to wage it in the face of trespass.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by osan View Post
    ...people and the States... What is the difference between them? I see no difference. The people ARE the States, are they not?
    Uh, no. The state legislatures are elected by district. The Senate elections are held by the population at large.
    * Enforce Border Security – America should be guarding her own borders and enforcing her own laws instead of policing the world and implementing UN mandates.

    * No Amnesty - The Obama Administration’s endorsement of so-called “Comprehensive Immigration Reform,” granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, will only encourage more law-breaking.

    * Abolish the Welfare State – Taxpayers cannot continue to pay the high costs to sustain this powerful incentive for illegal immigration. As Milton Friedman famously said, you can’t have open borders and a welfare state.

    * End Birthright Citizenship – As long as illegal immigrants know their children born here will be granted U.S. citizenship, we’ll never be able to control our immigration problem.




    Reprinted from http://www.ronpaul2012.com/the-issues/immigration/ [Nov. 29, 2011]

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by osan View Post
    That can be played both ways.
    No, we on the right have no support in the media or the government on this issue. It's a discussion for intellectuals, which is nothing that sells advertising spots.
    * Enforce Border Security – America should be guarding her own borders and enforcing her own laws instead of policing the world and implementing UN mandates.

    * No Amnesty - The Obama Administration’s endorsement of so-called “Comprehensive Immigration Reform,” granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, will only encourage more law-breaking.

    * Abolish the Welfare State – Taxpayers cannot continue to pay the high costs to sustain this powerful incentive for illegal immigration. As Milton Friedman famously said, you can’t have open borders and a welfare state.

    * End Birthright Citizenship – As long as illegal immigrants know their children born here will be granted U.S. citizenship, we’ll never be able to control our immigration problem.




    Reprinted from http://www.ronpaul2012.com/the-issues/immigration/ [Nov. 29, 2011]

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Judge Napolitano
    It is no coincidence that the size of the federal government has grown exponentially since 1913 and U.S. Senators have been controlled by special interests often exercising their influence from outside the States that the senators represent.
    I disagree with Napolitano's implication here. It's certainly no coincidence that the government has grown exponentially since 1913, but to say it had to do with permitting direct election of senators while ignoring the fact that 1913 was the year our current central banking system was chartered seems to be missing the point entirely. I would think Ron Paul must agree with me here, as he spends vastly more time and energy raging against central banking than he does calling for the repeal of the 17th Amendment.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pennsylvania View Post
    I disagree with Napolitano's implication here. It's certainly no coincidence that the government has grown exponentially since 1913, but to say it had to do with permitting direct election of senators while ignoring the fact that 1913 was the year our current central banking system was chartered seems to be missing the point entirely. I would think Ron Paul must agree with me here, as he spends vastly more time and energy raging against central banking than he does calling for the repeal of the 17th Amendment.
    Before the ratification of the 17th amendment, several states elected senators through referendum. By 1912, as much as 29 states used that process so the 17th amendment was de facto ratified before 1913.

  16. #15

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by osan View Post

    ...people and the States... What is the difference between them? I see no difference. The people ARE the States, are they not?

    I would COMPLETELY dissagree... The people are not the state legislature. In a republic you elect a representative such that the people are free from worrying about all the minute details. The people select the representative that would vote as they would vote IF the individual person had all of the knowledge that the representative has.

    The representative (at least in theory) has been working in politics and has been following state laws as they develope. (MOST) People mearly choose who they vote for because of name recognition, or they are the "correct" sex...

    When the state looses it's representation in congress, and the people directly vote for senators, it's just like having two house of representatives... It becomes mob rule and that's why we have so much trouble getting spending under control...

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by TCE View Post
    That argument is full of fail. It assumes state appointed Senators will tow the party line vs listen to the state legislature. The states will select Senators who will support the state. Most important here is these Senators will vote against unfunded mandates or they will be replaced.

    Another unseen force might be that if these Senators worked contrary to the people's wishes they might vote more conservatives into office at the state level.
    Insanity should be defined as trusting the government to solve a problem they caused in the first place. Please do not go insane!






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