17th Amendment – A case for repeal
BRIEF ON BEHALF OF AMICUS CURIAE CONSERVATIVE LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATION FUND
As it relates to the 10th and 17th Amendments.
Repeal the 17th Amendment
It’s where big government begins.
May 12, 2004, 7:48 a.m.
There is only one time when a U.S. senator is really free to speak the truth — when he’s announced his retirement. Since he no longer has to worry about raising money, pandering to voters, or retaliation from his colleagues, he can say what he really thinks about issues no other member of the Senate will discuss. For this reason, it is worth listening to Sen. Zell Miller, Democrat of Georgia, who recently spoke a truth that no senator except a retiring one would dare say.
On April 28, Sen. Miller, the last genuinely conservative Democrat we will likely ever see in the Senate, laid the blame for what ails that august body at the door of the 17th amendment to the Constitution. This is the provision that provides for the popular election of senators.
Few people today know that the Founding Fathers never intended for senators to be popularly elected. The Constitution originally provided that senators would be chosen by state legislatures. The purpose was to provide the states — as states — an institutional role in the federal government. In effect, senators were to function as ambassadors from the states, which were expected to retain a large degree of sovereignty even after ratification of the Constitution, thereby ensuring that their rights would be protected in a federal system.
The role of senators as representatives of the states was assured by a procedure, now forgotten, whereby states would “instruct” their senators how to vote on particular issues. Such instructions were not conveyed to members of the House of Representatives because they have always been popularly elected and are not expected to speak for their states, but only for their constituents.
When senators represented states as states, rather than being super House members as they are now, they zealously protected states’ rights. This term became discredited during the civil-rights struggle of the 1960s as a code word for racism — allowing Southern states to resist national pressure to integrate. But clearly this is an aberration. States obviously have interests that may conflict with federal priorities on a wide variety of issues that defy easy ideological classification. Many states, for example, would probably enact more liberal laws relating to the environment, health, and business regulation if allowed by Washington.
Two factors led to enactment of the 17th amendment. First was the problem that many state legislatures deadlocked on their selections for the Senate. The upper house and the lower house could not agree on a choice, or it was prohibitively difficult for one candidate to get an absolute majority in each house (as opposed to a plurality), which was required by federal law. Some states went without representation in the Senate for years as a consequence.
The second problem involved a perception that the election of senators by state legislatures made them more susceptible to corruption by special interests. The Hearst newspapers were a major force arguing this point in the early 1900s.
The pressure of public opinion eventually forced the Senate to approve a constitutional amendment changing the election of senators to our current system of the popular vote. The fact that many states (such as Oregon) had already adopted a system whereby legislatures were required to choose senators selected by popular vote was ignored.
The 17th amendment was ratified in 1913. It is no coincidence that the sharp rise in the size and power of the federal government starts in this year (the 16th amendment, establishing a federal income tax, ratified the same year, was also important). As George Mason University law professor Todd Zywicki has noted, prior to the 17th amendment, senators resisted delegating power to Washington in order to keep it at the state and local level. “As a result, the long term size of the federal government remained fairly stable during the pre-Seventeenth Amendment era,” he wrote.
Prof. Zywicki also finds little evidence of corruption in the Senate that can be traced to the pre-1913 electoral system. By contrast, there is much evidence that the post-1913 system has been deeply corruptive. As Sen. Miller put it, “Direct elections of Senators … allowed Washington’s special interests to call the shots, whether it is filling judicial vacancies, passing laws, or issuing regulations.”
Sen. Miller also lays much of the blame for the current impasse on confirming federal judges at the door of the 17th amendment. Consequently, on April 28 he introduced S.J.Res. 35 in order to repeal that provision of the Constitution.
Over the years, a number of legal scholars have called for the repeal of the 17th amendment. An excellent summary of their arguments appears in Ralph Rossum’s book, Federalism, the Supreme Court and the Seventeenth Amendment. They should at least get a hearing before Zell Miller departs the Senate at the end of this year.
— Bruce Bartlett is senior fellow for the National Center for Policy Analysis.
ILLEGALS INVASION & THE 17th AMENDMENT
By: Devvy Kidd
June 5, 2006
“Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.” – President Andrew Jackson
The level of anger against the counterfeit U.S. Senators who voted last week to reward criminal activity in their so-called “immigration reform bill” continues to grow. Poltroons like Teddy Chappaquidick Kennedy and John deceptive war hero McCain are still making the talking head shows trying to sell their bogus arguments about illegals and giving them a free pass. None of this is washing with Americans who respect the rule of law and who understand the dire situation on the border: terrorists crossing our borders, thousands of diseased illegals crossing over, the increasing numbers of gangs from South America and the tons of addictive narcotics (heroin and cocaine) and weapons being smuggled across. Let’s not forget the staggering number of violent sexual predators coming across the border and now out there trolling for your child:
“Based on a one-year in-depth study, a researcher estimates there are about 240,000 illegal immigrant sex offenders in the United States who have had an average of four victims each.” Deborah Schurman-Kauflin of the Violent Crimes Institute
Going hand in hand with traitorous counterfeit senators like McCain, the border states under invasion are saddled with cowardly governors like Janet Napolitano of Arizona. While their state legislature is trying to crack down on this massive human, drug and weapons smuggling, Napolitano can’t find her backbone. At the same time, their legislature is stuck with no representation in Washington, DC. If our government were operating legally, the Arizona State Legislature could have recalled “Senator” McCain, fired his backside and replaced him with a real U.S. Senator to go back to DC and stand up for the rights of the State of Arizona.
Please allow me to explain the importance of the Seventeenth Amendment – especially as it relates to the illegals invasion. The courage and wisdom of those who birthed this Republic was nothing short of a magnificent event in the history of the world. When creating the federal government, it was imperative that the colonies (later called states) and the people be represented fairly. The method decided upon was the people would vote for their voice – a representative to serve in the House of Representatives. The states of the Union would each have an equal number of U.S. Senators (fixed at two), appointed by their state legislature to represent the interests of the state. Should that U.S. senator fail in their job, the legislature would recall them and appoint a new one. The decision to have the states appoint their U.S. senators was very calculated.
All of that changed with the fraudulent ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment. 1913 was a treasonous, disastrous year for our republic with the announcement the Sixteenth Amendment was ratified (it clearly was NOT), the announcement that the Seventeenth Amendment was ratified (it clearly was NOT) and passage of the unconstitutional Federal Reserve Act. All in the same year. All necessary for The Destroyers to finally take control of our republic. After the fraudulent Seventeenth Amendment went into effect, U.S. senators were then elected instead of the state legislatures appointing them. The states lost their suffrage rights, they no longer had any representation in Washington, D.C., and the federal machine has walked all over them since. As we can see right now, states like Arizona and California are saddled with ‘counterfeit’ senators whose political ideology is communism, while they pass themselves off as either Republican or Democrat: McCain in Arizona and the twin evils in California, Boxer and Feinstein.
This issue is one of the most important problems facing this nation today, yet few know anything about it. Last summer, I prepared a working paper for Rep. Henry McElroy of the New Hampshire State Legislature on the history of this amendment and why it is imperative the states step forward and force a constitutional showdown. unfortunately he didn’t survive his next election. Please feel to use this paper when going after your state rep and senator. These public servants in the state house will soon realize that it’s to their utmost advantage to press this issue and for the sake of our Republic, this challenge must be made to restore the balance between the states and the people. America is not a democracy of mob rule, but that’s exactly what has happened with the election of U.S. senators. For those who might knee jerk this would cause constitutional chaos, I can’t highly recommend enough Judge Andrew Napolitano’s excellent book, “Constitutional Chaos.” We’re already in constitutional chaos on a hundred issues and the situation will only continue to deteriorate without immediate action.
The Seventeenth Amendment was never properly ratified. I have seen the proof with my own eyes at the National Archives and from the documents obtained by Bill Benson from all 48 state legislatures in his work, “Proof the 17th Amendment Was Not Ratified.” I also collected court certified documents on this from the bowels of the California State Archives. They are incontrovertible and prove without question that Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan, on May 31, 1913, knowingly and willfully issued a memo declaring the Seventeenth Amendment ratified even though he knew the required number of states did not ratify it.
The courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have been very specific on the rigid requirements for ratification. There can be no mistake fraud was committed and that every U.S. senator since 1913 sits in office under a law that does not exist. U.S. senators ratify treaties, confirm federal judges, U.S. Supreme Court justices and hold impeachment trials. Legally, our participation in the United Nations, every destructive trade treaty, i.e., NAFTA, GATT, Roe v. Wade and any other legislative acts committed by U.S. senators these past 93 years are invalid.
The courts refuse to touch this issue because they don’t have the backbone. While several states have introduced resolutions to nix the Seventeenth Amendment (introduced by patriotic representatives and killed by Republicans in every instance), realistically, there’s no question this current crop of Congress will never do the right thing. Therefore, it is up to the people and the States of the Union. One thing that doesn’t help the situation is so-called constitutionalists running for the U.S. Senate who refuse to pursue the path of integrity. Over the past decade I have been contacted by many candidates running for the U.S. Senate on ‘alternative party’ tickets asking for my endorsement and support. When I tell them about the Seventeenth Amendment and the fact that they are running for office under a law that doesn’t exist, they don’t care and give me all kinds of excuses, i.e., “After I’m elected, I’ll bring this out.” No. You don’t rob a bank and say, “Gee, after I’m done using the money for a good reason, I’ll put it back.” Are we a nation of laws or lies?
The people must get the proof and begin a systematic assault (non violent, of course) on their state legislatures to appoint two U.S. senators to represent them and send them to Washington, D.C. This will force the issue into a court of law where it should have gone decades ago. Is there any chance this can be accomplished? Not unless hundreds of thousands of Americans climb in the face of their state legislators and those elected public servants do what’s right by making this a hot issue in their state house. You have to build a bond fire, just like The Minutemen have done on the illegals invasion and the Seventeenth Amendment IS critically important.
Let me give you an example of what happens when there isn’t mass publicity to get a bill passed. Our hopes were recently dashed by the cowardice of senators in the New Hampshire State Senate who killed HB 1592 to stop the draconian ‘National ID. While America goes to Hell, the New Hampshire state senators put this critical bill into a study committee! In March, the House side of the New Hampshire General Court overwhelmingly passed it because they fully understand what this Nazi style “National ID” is really all about. New Hampshire is the only state left with an honest ballot box. It would be fabulous if the people booted out every state senator who voted the wrong way on the National ID issue in the next election. Of course, without a massive public campaign throughout the state to get those good folks to understand just what these senators did, chances are these turn coat senators won’t be held accountable.
Without question this is a Herculean task, but it can be done – especially if it’s a small state like Idaho, Montana or Iowa. The one thing it would take is massive public saturation on the fraud of the Seventeenth Amendment and why it’s imperative the states step up to the plate and regain their rightful power. It is my personal opinion that right along with the illegals invasion, these unconstitutional wars and the building of a massive police state, exposing the fraud of the Seventeenth Amendment is of paramount importance. Make a commitment to oust any state legislator or senator who refuses to undertake this fight. I know a lot of folks are strapped for money, but if you can, get Bill Benson’s Proof the Seventeenth Amendment Was Never Ratified by sending him $20.00 (includes postage) to: Bill Benson, P.O. Box 550, South Holland, Illinois 60473. I have given a dozen copies to state legislators over the years, but due to lack of massive heat by the people, not a single state has taken the courageous step to get back their rights. The result is the states are being bankrupted by the illegals invasion and they’re sticking you with the bill in higher taxes. It will only get a far, far worse if the House of Representatives “compromises” and gives the U.S. Senate what they want: amnesty and legalizing criminal behavior for some 15 MILLION illegals and that will be just the beginning of the flood gates opening.
The American people have to get out to these town hall meetings and get in the face of your state legislators on the stump for reelection. Candidates for the state legislatures need to make this a top issue. If you serve in a state legislature and want to see your state get back its rightful power, you have to spend the money to conduct a massive public relations campaign in your district to shove this in the people’s face in a way they will embrace it and demand the situation be corrected. There is a mass awakening going on from border to border, coast to coast, but we need to get everyone on the same page of constitutional government.
The destiny of this Republic lies in the hands of we the people. Time grows short.
Border Partol Agents: Senator McCain Sells us Out, Again
Devvy Kidd authored the booklets, Why A Bankrupt America and Blind Loyalty, which sold close to 2,000,000 copies. Devvy appears on radio shows all over the country, ran for Congress and is a highly sought after public speaker. Your complimentary copy of the 32-page report may be obtained from El Dorado Gold. Devvy is a contributing writer for www.NewsWithViews.com.
Devvy’s website: www.devvy.com
E-mail is: email@example.com
by Josie Wales
The 17th Amendment is stupid:
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years….
But let me start at the beginning. Article I § 3 cl. 1 of the Constitution originally established the election of Senators through the state legislatures. The Federalist #62 laid out numerous arguments for the Constitutional framework of the Senate and its method of selection.
The senatorial trust, which, requiring greater extent of information and stability of character, requires at the same time that the senator should have reached a period of life most likely to supply these advantages….
The Senate is composed of eloquent advocates, distinguished generals, wise magistrates, and statesmen of note, whose arguments would do honor to the most remarkable parliamentary debates of Europe.
This man would never have been elected to the Senate prior to the 17th Amendment. (more…)