The 17th Amendment: The Case for Repeal
Have you ever wondered what would happen if your worst fears became reality? For the founding father and crafters of the U.S. Constitution those fears have come to roost. What was originally designed to be the foundation of our country, and the law of the land; has now been amended out of existence. The ratification of the 17th Amendment changed the country’s political landscape and weakened the U.S. Constitution by allowing Senators to be directly elected by popular vote instead of by the legislatures of the states they represent. This Amendment was a byproduct of the Democratic Progressive movement. It was believed by some that it would correct the procedural issues and perceived political corruption associated with the election of state Senators to Congress. The Amendment was touted as a permanent solution to these problems, and would ultimately result in making politics and the political process more accessible to the average citizen. However, the 17th Amendment has failed to deliver on its promises, and has produced a Senate that is even less responsive to voters, even more corrupt with campaign contributions and allegiances to large corporations and special interest groups, and fails to truly represent the interests of the states. Moreover, the 17th Amendment removed a crucial check and balance that was purposely designed into the Constitution in order to preserve state’s rights and prevent the abuse of federal powers. The 17th Amendment should be repealed in order to restore the intended power and sovereignty of the state, preserve the original federal distributive powers system, and to prevent the spread of abusive federal powers.
The founding fathers and framers of the Constitution envisioned a national government with a unique balance of powers that served both the people and the republic equally. They believed that a true democracy would result in a tyrannical government that represented the majority, but would fail to protect the rights of the minority or the foundations of federalism. Rossum (2001) suggests, “The framers introduced separation and balancing of powers not only to prevent any branch of government from tyrannizing the people but also to thwart the majority of the people from tyrannizing the minority.” (p. 76) With this in mind the framers carefully and purposefully crafted a Constitution that divided federal powers between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. This division of power gave each branch the ability and authority to control the others through a specific system of checks and balances. One check on Congress was the design of a bicameral system where Congress was divided into the House of Representatives and the Senate. Members of the House of Representatives would be elected by majority popular vote making them the direct representative of their constituencies. Members of the Senate would be elected by state legislatures making...