Tuesday, September 16, 2008

17th Amendment

I posted earlier about needing to repeal the 17th amendment and I think I lost a couple of people... I'll try to do better here.

The 17th Amendment to the Constitution reads as follows:
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 each 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.

It edits Article 1 Section 3 of the Constitution which stated:
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be composed of two Senators from each State, (chosen by the Legislature thereof,) (The preceding words in parentheses superseded by the 17th Amendment, section 1.)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 (The preceding words in parentheses were superseded by the 17th Amendment, section 2.)
Now, here's what all that means.

The States used to have Representatives who went to Washington and spoke for the people of their State. Cool. That's what we still have today with the House of Representatives (minus Jerrymandering, but that's a post for another day.)

The Constitutional Convention wanted the States could choose Federal officials at a higher level than direct election. Originally, each Senator was to be elected by his state legislature to represent his state. They also expected that Senators elected by state legislatures would be able to concentrate on the business at hand without regional pressure from the populace, aided by a longer term than Representatives.

The SENATE was supposed to be an Ambassadorship of sorts for the State they represented, rather, an Ambassador with voting power. The STATE had representation. People already had representation in Congress with their House, The State had theirs in the Senate.

The only way for a State to appoint someone to go to the Senate to represent them is for someone in the Senate to go toes up... and even then, it's only a temporary fix until a special or general election can be held to replace that appointee.


Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, United States Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands, on the other hand, have non-voting representatives on the floor of the House of Representatives (absurdly placed). These representatives (non-voting delegates as they are called) are appointed by the governments from whence they came (I love that term...) and are there to speak for the will of the state on state matters.

The original intent of the 17th Amendment was to prevent partisanship in the state legislatures from delaying the appointment of a replacement. What with the Civil War and everything... apparently people were not getting along.

Too many in the federal government are beholden to the masses. We're losing the ways of the constitutional republic. We were/are not meant to be a democracy. Don't drink that Kool-Aid.

It's late again.... I'm going to bed.

Good night

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