God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen - Jars of Clay - listen now

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Speaking Of Amendments...

There's an innocuous little amendment - number 17 - that fundamentally changed the balance of power between the several states and the Federal government. It took the power to appoint Senators away from the state legislatures and gave it to the people of each state directly. Sounds like a good idea on its face right? Hmmm...maybe not. The original intent of the constitution seems to have been that the House of Representatives would speak for the people, and states could speak through the Senate.

There is a school of thought, to which I'm beginning to subscribe, that says doing this has removed an important check and balance on the Federal government. From Repeal The 17th:
The 17th Amendment should be repealed. This would reinstate the states' linkage to the federal political process and would, thereby, have the effect of elevating the present status of the state legislatures from that of lobbyists, to that of a partner in the federal political process. The state legislatures would then have the ability to decentralize power when appropriate. It would give state legislatures direct influence over the selection of federal judges and the jurisdiction of the federal judiciary and much greater ability to modify the power of the federal judiciary. This structure would allow the flow of power between the states and the federal government to ebb and flow as the needs of our federal republic change.
There's much more to the argument of course, and I encourage you to read more at Repeal The 17th, but the idea does make a lot of sense. Think about it, in a federal system the states are supposed to have some say in how things run. As it stands now, I can't think of one single way the several states can participate in the government of the United States except as lobbyists. And we all how know what lobbying leads too.

I'm not saying I fully support this concept - yet - but I do think it deserves serious discussion.


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