The public policy blog of the American Enterprise Institute

Subscribe to the blog

Discussion: (6 comments)

  1. Wayne Abernathy

    I would recommend repealing the 17th amendment, that provided for direct election of senators. The Senate was created to preserve the powers and rights of the states, in essence the Senate was to be a fundamental support for the Federal system of government. That was why senators were chosen by the state legislatures, making the senators answerable for preserving the rights and powers of the state governments. When the 17th amendment made senators directly elected, then senators derived their political power by what they did in WASHINGTON to seem to be bringing home bennies to their constituents. For a hundred years (the 17th amendment was ratified in 1913) senators have been working hard to pull power to Washington where the senators could help wield it, and away from the state governments. Repeal of the 17th amendment would be a major step to restore a Federal balance in our Federalist system.

    1. That would go a long way towards reducing the power in Washington and would be a nice step forward. But I would also like to see the courts interpret the Constitution as written and have the states nullify any laws they consider unconstitutional.

    2. Rick Murray

      Just repealing the 17th Amendment would not be sufficient since that action would not solve the problems associated with existing Senators in office and what exactly should happen concerning the time frame it would take to remove them via State Legislature voting. Many have thought about this for years, especially since the extreme and successful lobbying became more ‘apparent’ to the knowledgeable taxpayer. I cannot formulate a plan better than Levin’s repeal/replacement concept of the 17th Amendment in his book “The Liberty Amendments”. Not an advertisement, just a fact. His suggestions concerning election of Senators is based on researchable Federalist concepts, is immanently fair to every state and is, I believe, the most important and easily accomplished way to solve many of our current ‘statist’ government woes.

  2. For example, the Article I, section 8 power of Congress to regulate commerce among the several states would need the addendum…

    How about simply looking at what the word commerce meant at the time the Constitution was written? There are few problems that a dictionary could not fix.

  3. Mark Sussman

    I also don’t agree that there is a “silver bullet” Amendment that will fix things. Rather, I agree with Newt G. – – there are many broken governmental processes that need real change. And “real change” means “REAL CHANGE” !
    I put my 2 cents into this important issue in a PowerPt discussion referenced here:

    The result was a package of 9 Constitutional Amendments that address process defects with the premise that fixing one bill at a time is a losing proposition in an age where Congress cranks our multi-thousand page bills and the Regulators, many thousands of new Rules every year. No one can understand that much chaos. It makes the Citizen’s role of being an informed participant a hopeless proposition.

    Please take a look at the ideas I’ve put forward. The package is titled the “SPRING” Amendments. SPRING as in: Stipulate the Peoples’ Rights IN Governance. I don’t claim them to be perfect. Indeed, more review is certainly necessary. Please put forth any suggestions and critiques. Then let’s get behind the improved “SPRING” Amendments and fix our governance, before it drags us into significant tyranny.

    1. Sorry Mark but you are overthinking the issue. The way to fix the problem is to have the government respect the limits that the Constitution sets on it AS WRITTEN. What the Founders may or may not have intended is not perfectly clear to anyone. But what is clear is what the words that they approved meant at the time they were written.

Comments are closed.

Sort By:

Refine Content:


Additional Keywords:

Refine Results

or to save searches.

Refine Content