There's a lot of truth to the argument that the enactment of the 17th Amendment undermined federalism. State legislatures have a greater institutional incentive to protect federalism than do the people of a state. The people of a state may want to expand federal program spending in order to get their share of tax revenues, even at the expense of greater national power over issues reserved to the states. Although they are also elected by the people, state legislators have more of an incentive to protect the original distribution of powers between the national and state governments.
Comment: The comments following the Yoo posting were very illuminating and provided some interesting discussion. Most centered on the comments offered by David Limbaugh. Limbaugh argues and supports John Yoo's position against the repeal of the 17th out economy rather than necessity, which is where many who agree with the need to repeal the 17th, but don't see it worth our time to change when so many other pressing issues are in front of us.
Certainly I can agree with his point and it has fair merit. However, I do believe there will be a point where the necessity to resolve the 17th will rise to a level above many of most pressing issues we have today. For instance the potential loss of our sovereignty, say through treaties involving cap and trade, where we were forced to pay a type of global tax, or a monetary scheme where we lose our right to have own currency with the IMF assuming this role for example.
Another situation that could potentially push the 17th front center would be when a number of states seek succession due the pressing weight of the federal debt, mandates, taxation, regulations, and uncertain draconian state measures that are increasingly being imposed. In this case repealing the 17th would bolster the weakening of the 9th and 10th Amendments, which would provide those states with ability to govern in a manner acceptable to their community ideals and norms.
Plainly there are a number of issues that demand our time, energy and focus, but those issues are only symptomatic of the larger issue pressing our country today; a complete loss of checks and balances over all three branches of the Federal Government. Prior to the enacting of the 17th Amendment in 1913 the state's "ambassadors" to the Federal Government provided the this key and critical role.
Lastly and while I know the limits of this web-log, I echo what Professor Zywicki has said before, and say the same to Misters Yoo and Limbaugh, in that there is a vast amount of research needed to be completed involving the effects of the 17th Amendment. When scholars take the time to unravel the effects, I am certain the matter of repealing the 17th will become top-priority.