Regarding Joel Rector’s June 10 letter to the editor, “Taking elections away from voters hardly a panacea,” about the 17th Amendment:
Our constitutional founders wisely formed the U.S. Senate to be a body of state ambassadors. The most effective ambassadors are those appointed by the body of government they are to represent.
Senators must be responsive and answerable to and, if necessary, disciplined by, their appointees. Sens. John Ensign and Larry Craig, both disgraces to their states and their positions, could have been recalled quickly and efficiently.
But the 17th Amendment, by allowing senators to be elected by the people, has negated the most basic framework of our Constitution. It has moved us toward pure democracy. It has invited an avalanche of outside influence in both houses of Congress. It has destroyed a major check and balance of our federal government and it has disrupted the cohesion of our union of states.
Today we have 20 states suing to stop national health care. Arizona is struggling to enforce federal immigration laws, and many states are enacting laws to protect their sovereign rights against Washington’s intrusion.
It is well documented that when state legislators chose senators, there existed bribery and corruption, but at least it was a state problem. A state does not have enough power to destroy a nation.
The 17th Amendment is the root and the catalyst for our dysfunctional Congress, which is out of step, out of touch, and out of control. We need to repeal the 17th Amendment and allow our states to share power and restrain our Congress, or we can stay the course and wait for our international creditors to rein in our Congress and force it to face reality.
Comment: As it was prior to the enacting of 17th Amendment in 1913, states did not have the constitutional authority to recall a sitting US Senator, states would still have to wait until the end of the term to vote them out of office. However, as pointed out by professor Todd Zywicki and others, the senators were much more responsive to their individual state than they have been since 1913, and I would add, better "memories" than the average citizen voting today.
However, folks like John MacMullin, Sterling Sanders and others who are researching and preparing repeal proposals have discussed the idea of increasing the authority of the state to recall a senator if they were to act in an unlawful or nefarious manner. Zywicki has also pointed out that one of the central problems with the original framework may have been that it lacked real power and this may have been one of the central causes of frustration in some states. Certainly a repeal could correct this problem and keep within the founders framework while restoring republicanism.
Thanks to Mr. Carreau for taking the time to write this very good letter to his local newspaper. This helps to inform the general citznerey that is unlearned concerning our founding history.