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Is It Time To Repeal the 17th Amendment?

Posted Wednesday, August 22, 2012, at 3:23 PM

According to U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Paragraph 3, Clauses 1,2, the legislature of each state was to choose two senators. Here's how it reads:

"The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, (chosen by the Legislature thereof,) (The preceding words in parentheses superseded by the 17th Amendment, section 1.) for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.

Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes. 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.) (The preceding words in parentheses were superseded by the 17th Amendment, section 2.)"

After being proposed 5/13/1912, the Seventeenth Amendment was ratified 4/8/1913. Here's how it reads:

"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."

Thus, the Seventeenth Amendment established the direct election of two U.S. Senators from each state. In my judgement, this is when our country took a turn from the constitutional republic (also called democratic republic). it was founded as and headed down the path to becoming a federal democracy. It took away state representation which is necessary in a constitutional republic. We, the people, are represented by our elected representatives.

Recently, the direct election of our senators has created some problems which would not have happened had we just stuck with the original intent of choosing our senators.

I copy and paste the following from Wikipedia:

"Due to the controversy over the impact of the Seventeenth Amendment, there has been advocacy for both reform and repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment. With the commencement of the Obama Administration in 2009, four sitting Democratic senators left the Senate for executive branch positions: Barack Obama (President), Joe Biden (Vice President), Hillary Rodham Clinton (Secretary of State), and Ken Salazar (Secretary of the Interior). Controversies developed about the successor appointments made by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and New York Governor David Paterson. This created interest in abolishing Senate appointment by the governor.[57] Accordingly, Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Representative David Dreier of California proposed an amendment to remove this power; Senators John McCain and Dick Durbin became co-sponsors, as did Representative John Conyers.[57] The Tea Party movement has been at the forefront of the campaign to repeal the Seventeenth Amendment entirely, arguing that it would protect states' rights and reduce the power of the Federal government. [58]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seventeenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

And now we have the problem of Republican candidate for Senate, Todd Akin. Repealing the 17th Amendment would certainly keep such problems from recurring. Our Missouri State Legislature, under control of Republicans could elect two Republican senators to represent Missouri. Similarly, Democratic state legislatures in other states would vote for Democratic senators to represent their respective states.

So, here's my proposal, an amendment to the Constitution, repealing the Seventeenth Amendment! What say you?

God Save America,

Richard D. Swift

505 Hickory Hills Dr

Dexter MO 63841


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After reading the nice letter from Greg Mathis, I can no longer promote such an idea! Greg did a great job of showing the reasons why repealing it would not be good. Thanks Greg for your helpful letter. I do appreciate your kind words and am certainly not above taking the kind of constructive criticism of this which you gave.


-- Posted by swift on Mon, Oct 1, 2012, at 3:47 PM

For some reason the website you posted didn't highlite. So, I'm trying it again! http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2008/11/...

Well, thanks for your input on this. I didn't know the Tea Party supported it until I had already planned on posting this blog entry. Then when I checked out the info on wikipedia, I find out it has been on the forefront of it. Thanks for bringing up the possible negative repurcussions of repealing the 17th Amendment.

-- Posted by swift on Sat, Sep 1, 2012, at 11:34 AM

On it's premise, I would be inclined to agree that it would resolve some problems. Consider the potential problems it would create. We have a political climate in which the GOP and the Democrats have centralized power (vote for this or we won't give you campaign money), the exponential increase in corporate influence over elections since Citizens United v. FEC (9 out of 10 congressional seats are won by the candidate that has the most money spent on them*), and state government's willingness to ignore the will of the people (Missouri Prop B) for whatever reason makes me believe that we would create the most corruptly appointed legislative body in history.

I'm very surprised that the Tea Party supports this in that it would obviously shift power out of the hands of the people. That seems to be in opposition to the "grass-roots" founding of the Tea Party.


-- Posted by mikeshirrell on Sat, Sep 1, 2012, at 11:06 AM

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My wife Susan (Sue) and I have lived in Soddard County since September of '96. We both graduated from Bible Missionary Institute, our denomination's small four year Bible college in Rock Island, Illinois. I was born and raised in Pomona, California while my wife was raised in Monmouth, Illinois. I am an ordained minister in the Bible Missionary Church. We attend and are members of the Dexter Bible Missionary Church. I've been employed by Tyson Foods for 14 years. My wife is a CNA. I've always been conservative in my political views and have always been active in politics and the Pro-Life movement. My politics have not always been Republican. From 2003-2009 I was vice-chairman of the Prohibition National Committee, the steering arm of the Prohibition Party. In '09, I joined the Constitution Party of Missouri. But, I've been attending the GOP rallys and club meetings since last year and have been campaigning for certain Republican candidates since we moved to this area. I'm on the SEMO Life Chain Committee.