For more than one hundred years, the popularly elected House of Representatives was “balanced” in the U.S. Constitution by a Senate with members were selected by the states’ legislatures.That check on the growth of the federal government ended in 1913, when the 17th Amendment was ratified.
Now, some around the country would like to repeal the 17th Amendment and restore the original balance of the legislative branches. We asked what readers thought of that proposal.
Here’s a sampling from my inbox…
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Here is a sample of the responses we received from our readers.
“With the passage of the 17th Amendment, the state governments lost their ability to control the federal government. It was a vital check as subsequent history has shown, and must be restored. Kill the 17th!” – Stan Martin
“The Constitution specifies the authority of the federal government. The 10th Amendment specifies that all other government is the responsibility of the individual states. The 17th Amendment effectively shredded the 10th Amendment and severely limited state rights, and should be repealed.” – Richard Steenson
“Repeal the 17th? Why? People might want to see what that was like prior to repeal. Senate seats went to whoever would pay the most money to buy the seat. Is that what people want? Not I. Our government has been so corrupted as it is, I think this would make it worse when you have the likes of George Soros funding corrupt district attorneys.” – Alan Mowery
“The Founders’ reasoning for specifying the election of senators by their respective state legislators was in line with their reasoning for the Electoral College – to prevent large population centers, ie. Houston or California, from dominating the election process of either the state or federal governments.” – David Bergthold
“The 17th Amendment has turned each state’s senatorial elections into national elections, whereby rich libs in other states can pour millions of dollars into that which is none of their business.” – Forrest Parker
“I like everyone in the state being able to vote for senators. Leaving the decision up to the legislature requires a legislature that listens to its citizens. Unfortunately, legislatures can devolve into cronyism (in either political party), which means citizens don’t have a voice.” – Laura Morton
“Promoted by deceit and approved by gullible plebes, the 17th Amendment is a prescription for mischief that serves more the interests of an establishment than it does the preservation of liberty.” – Jack Boteler
“At this point, I’d keep the 17th Amendment; I don’t trust the legislature at this point to select senators I would trust. I don’t trust but a few in the Texas Legislature as it is.” – Sharon Jordan
“The purpose of the bicameral legislature was to provide a voice for the state as a whole, removed from the popular vote of the citizens, at the federal level. That would also provide a lot of stability but also be flexible. Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn have clearly demonstrated exactly why the 17th Amendment should be repealed. State legislators and governors–without the 17th Amendment–had the ability to recall senators that were not representing their state and replace them quickly. Today, we are stuck with these slugs until they are up for re-election.” – Roger Taylor
“The back room dealing that Progressives claimed they were eliminating has only become corporate boardroom dealing so the senator can get re-elected.” – Greg Reinhart
“All these years of Republican control, yet our Legislature only enacts a tiny portion of our conservative priorities. How can we trust them to appointment our senators?” – Mike Brucia
“I don’t trust our Legislature now. Why would I think it’s a good idea to give them even more power? Cronyism needs to stop. All elected officials need term limits, including Congress.” – Rick Goncher
“I do not have confidence in the state legislature to be able to elect Senators. Way too much corruption.” – Danny Thompson
“I’ve never understood the passage of the amendment since high school civics class back in the 1960’s. The Senate was reduced from the world’s greatest deliberative body, the cooling saucer, to a Super House of Popularity. There has been nobody to represent the states, giving all the power of the entire Congress to special moneyed interests, lobbyists, the media, and the privileged, long-term political squatters. The concept that Wyoming should have as much say in the business of the country as New York has been corrupted and perverted.” – Patrick Bell
“I would support repealing the 17th Amendment if I had more confidence in our Texas legislators.” – Betty Bailey-Lucas
“I would have voted to repeal the 17th amendment but the Texas legislature hasn’t even gotten around to appointing committee chairs to do the people’s work. I don’t trust them to elect good senators to send to Washington to work for us. Our government has been adrift from the people for a long time. They don’t need more power, they need less.” – Phyllis Nichols
“I just can’t trust our Legislators to do right. We do absolutely need a procedure to recall Senators, Congressmen and all other elected officials. That would give another level of accountability.” – J. Blair Cherry
“Repeal the 16th and 17th Amendment. Why should the federal government get its hands on you private property, your salary? Yes, repeal the 17th Amendment. It was intended by the Founders that the Senate represented the States. Now, we have two chambers of clowns that are destroying the country, as they have for decades.” – Sharon Sapp
“Get rid of the 17th. It would act like term limits for the Senate, assuming the state legislatures did their job and didn’t keep sending the same corrupt people back to the Senate.” – Alan Smith
“Given how dysfunctional our Texas State House is today, how would it be any better for our federal senators selected by the state House? Answer: Term limits for all federal offices.” – Michele Ward
“The best I can do is respond with another question…Who do you consider more corrupt, politicians or uninformed ‘voters’?” – John R. Makow
“So Dade Phelan should have a veto over who becomes a senator from Texas? I do not see how letting the thieves in Austin select my senators will be an improvement on the current situation.” – Jerry Harben
“Senators were supposed to be the ambassadors to represent the State. Congressmen were to represent the people. Now they all represent corporations.” – Bob Davis