2016 Bills

SJR 2: Supporting the Repeal of the 17th Amendment

This bill passed the Senate 20-6 and passed the House 39-34.

Libertas Institute supports this bill.

America’s bicameral legislature was designed by its creators to be divided and different—the House would represent the people, based on population, and the Senate would represent the states with legislatures deciding who should fill the position.

The 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1913, removed that power from legislatures and gave it to the people directly, removing the unique aspect of the Senate and voice of the legislatures in Congress. This alteration nullified the intent of the Constitution’s framers to have a material difference between these two bodies in constituency and mode of election.

As James Madison explained in the Federalist Papers, “The appointment of senators by state legislatures gives the state governments such an agency in the formation of the federal government as must secure the authority of the former,” separately writing that these differences would create important and “independent power sources.”

Senate Joint Resolution 2, sponsored by Senator Al Jackson, calls on Congress to propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution repealing the 17th Amendment and restoring this process in an effort to increase Congress’ sorely needed checks and balances, and division and distribution of power.

  • OakNorton

    I totally support this resolution. The main argument I’ve heard over the years opposing this is that when states selected their senators, there was corruption and senators were paying off state legislators to select them. That was used as some justification for passage of the 17th amendment. The simple solution shouldn’t have been to overturn the constitution, but just make it a felony for a state legislator and their relatives and businesses to take donations or have financial transactions with anyone they vote for. Please include that type of language in the final version to provide a check on corruption.

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