Social Question

Linda_Owl's avatar

Are you aware that various members of Congress are actively pursuing having the 17th Amendment over-turned?

Asked by Linda_Owl (7743points) August 15th, 2012

The 17th Amendment gives the American public the right to vote for their Senators. Various members of Congress want to see this amendment over-turned. They want to see this power revert back to the state legislators. This would mean that which-ever party is in power in the state legislators would get to appoint the Senators to the Senate. Most of the backers of this move are Republicans. They say that this should be done to return states rights. Personally, I disagree with this attempt to over-turn the 17th Amendment. While I don’t agree with a great many of our Senators, I think that the American public has the right to vote for whomever they chose as Senator.

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48 Answers

Qingu's avatar

Citation needed.

bolwerk's avatar

Teabaggers have a fantasy that it will empower states to be more teabagger-ish.

That said, I’d actually love to see it overturned. If they want federalism, let them have it. What it ultimately means is people will have to pay more attention to state elections because they’ll be electing people who appoint officials to one of the most powerful political bodies in the USA.

Or, a fair compromise would be letting states decide how senators are appointed.

zenvelo's avatar

I’ve heard this too, but more in the context of Tea Party pipe dreams to revert back to pre-Wilsonian politics. But seriously, I don’t think they could get this out of the congress to be sent to the states, let alone approved by ¾ths of the states.

The 2nd amendment could be repealed, too. It is, after all, just an amendment.

Nullo's avatar

It’s an interesting idea, I think. AFAIK in the original structure the Senate was the state government’s voice in Congress while the House was the peoples’. A change might indeed shift power stateward.
My overdeveloped cynicism says that it wouldn’t make any difference. The real problem lies in peoples’ attitudes: as long as the federal government thinks that it has scads of power, it’s going to keep acting like it.

And I agree with @zenvelo: this thing has no chance of passing. Think of it as one of those unpopular bills that gets fielded to test your attention, like SOPA, or Obamacare, or that one that would microstamp all of your ammo.

JLeslie's avatar

@bolwerk Why do you assume people would pay more attention?

@Linda_Owl I agree with @Qingu a citation of some sort is needed, I haven’t heard this. I personally want to go the other direction and get rid of the electoral college, so of course I would be against overturning this amendment. I can’t see it being even a close vote, if it were voted on. People voting to leave it up to politicians to elect other politicians? No, I just can’t see a majority of citizens voting for it. I think if the country started from scratch today they would not vote to have the electoral college to vote for our president either.

bolwerk's avatar

@JLeslie: hmm? Presumably they would pay more attention if they couldn’t influence the Senate any other way. Or, maybe Americans really are that narrow-sighted.

JLeslie's avatar

@bolwerk I think there is a percentage of the American public who would not even understand it. I wonder if we asked 100 people on the street how the President is elected if they know? And, if they think about Supreme Court justices being appointed when they vote for President. Our collective here would know, but the average person, not so sure how many have really thought it through or understand. I’ll give the benefit of the doubt a majority of Americans know how it works, but I bet the minority is still a big scary number.

BhacSsylan's avatar

Here’s a citation for you. Jeff Flake is a congressman for my state, and he has said as much:

Jeff Flake Would Like The 17th Amendment To Go away

Specifically, he said “I should just mention, on the 17th Amendment, I think it’s better as it reinforces the notion of federalism to have senators appointed by state legislatures,” though he understands he probably couldn’t do it.

A few others have also said as much: Rep. Pete Hoekstra, Rep Todd Akin, Senate Candidate Mourdock, and Sen. Mike Lee

Hoekstra: “The direct election of U.S. Senators made the U.S. Senate act and behave like the House of Representatives,” Hoekstra said. “The end result has led to an erosion of states’ rights.”

Akin: “It might well be that a repeal of the 17th Amendment might tend to pull that back, but I haven’t written any thesis on it or anything like that.”

Mourdock: “The House of Representatives was there to represent the people. The Senate was there to represent the states”

Lee: “I do think the 17th Amendment was a mistake. I do think that we lost something when we adopted it”

Again, they pretty much all admit they can’t change it. But they want to.

Linda_Owl's avatar

To the Flutherites that have requested links to this information, simply type into your Browser
repealing the 17th Amendment – actively being pursued

and you will receive a considerable number of links that you can read.

bolwerk's avatar

@JLeslie: well, I get not understanding it, but they aren’t even motivated to try. People on the street at least are likely to try to vote for the president, even if that vote doesn’t necessarily translate into the influence they think. (A vote in New Hampshire counts more for the president than a vote in New York or Texas.)

State and local elections are often largely ignored, even if they set they set in motion a lot of things that end up having a big influence.

JLeslie's avatar

@bolwerk Funny, I always say my vote in TN counts less than FL. But, I say that because FL is a swing state. I don’t think about it in terms of how many electoral votes there are in the state.

I agree state elections tend to be ignored.

jerv's avatar

I’ve heard grumblings about it, and I’m not liking it. Considering other things that have happened on a state-by-state basis, I think we would all be better off just dissolving. Turn the US into fifty separate countries, each independent of each other.

You can’t have centralized government only when it’s convenient, yet that appears to be exactly what they want.

JLeslie's avatar

@jerv Can we please keep the northeast, Great Lakes states, and Florida united? I still would need to move from where I live now, but the idea of all the states breaking apart freaks me out.

zenvelo's avatar

@JLeslie Florida should be cast adrift on its own.

JLeslie's avatar

@zenvelo No! Why would you say such a thing? Don’t you want Disney and warm weather? You can keep the pan handle over to Jacksonville with Georgia and Alabama if you want. Or, I guess if every state became it’s own nation I would wind up a citizen of FL? Not sure, I hate the idea. One of the great things about being American is our country is so huge. Just let the Bible Belt go I think, keep the rest. I still need to move though.

zenvelo's avatar

@JLeslie I already have Disney and warm weather, I am in California. But since I like you please move to California.

JLeslie's avatar

@zenvelo Oh, California. No wonder you are ok with each state being it’s own nation. I want Cali to be part of the new union also. If all the states break apart I would consider California for sure. Just very expensive there. We need to start a new Q on the topic probably; if we want to discuss it more. I have asked questions previously along this line.

jerv's avatar

@JLeslie Still cheaper than other places I’ve lived :p

Nullo's avatar

You know, guys, we don’t have to go for full dissolution. We could confederate! We’d have to call it something else, though; “confederacy” has a bit of a bitter flavor to it.

jerv's avatar

@Nullo We could split the difference. Seeing how most of the states where much of the jackassery happens already seceded once, we could just let them secede again.

JLeslie's avatar

I have been known to say the south seems to want the Confederate States of America, not the United States.

@jerv Who really is the jackasses? The north fought to keep them. I have to wonder what the country would be like if we did not have the south right now in politics. I think I have done a Q about that too? Meanwhile, I live in the south, and overall it has been good, and we have good friends, I just ignore most of the politics and avoid political conversations.

bkcunningham's avatar

LOL @Nullo. You are a magician. You turned the entire conversation with one word. People who were going one direction stopped in their tracks and turned the other way and into something else. Bravo. I find that very interesting folks.

Nullo's avatar

I, for one, would rather not break up all of the States. Makes for smaller countries, and it would be a lot easier to walk all over us. And you coastal types would see your bread prices skyrocket.
@bkcunningham It’s a gift. Makes conversations difficult, though. XD

jerv's avatar

@JLeslie The North was kind of stupid for wanting them back, but that was then and this is now. I am referring to places where Evolution is outlawed, and states spend millions of dollars on drug testing to save thousands.

Nullo's avatar

Additionally, we could try other ways to scale back on the scope of our federal government without going full confederation. Not sure how we’d do it, though; power once given is hard to take away cos you gave power away.

JLeslie's avatar

@Nullo I thought Kansas was the wheat state? Could be wrong. Now, cotton would be a problem. I do love my cotton clothing. Tobacco too I guess. Sure, we can scale back the federal government, I actually would prefer that. The states just have to stop creating laws to limit people’s freedom, and business owners need to be good to theor employees and resonable towards the consumer.

@jerv Evolution is outlawed?

Nullo's avatar

@JLeslie The Grain Belt is a north-central Midwestern phenomenon. From the Dakotas, through Michigan, and down to the Texas Panhandle.

I suspect, somehow, that there’s more to it than that. The DHS, for instance, wasn’t created by state governments.

IIRC some states have prohibited the teaching of evolution in schools. Good for them, I say. If kids want to learn about it, they can take an elective. It’s not like high school actually teaches the thing very well; most people that I know IRL (products of the public schools here which don’t ban evolution) don’t understand how it works, just, “lol survival of the fittest rite?” All that forcing it in class does is muddy the issue.

JLeslie's avatar

@Nullo So, it seems like we would still have bread at a reasonable price without the south.

jerv's avatar

@Nullo “If kids want to learn about it, they can take an elective.”
It seems that they already do that with English, math, and other sciences, so why not just do away with education altogether and save taxpayer money? I mean, uneducated children who grow up into ignorant adults is a small price to pay, right?

Nullo's avatar

@JLeslie You’re assuming a North-South divide. I’m thinking that the West Coast might secede in a chunk without the breadbasket. Cultural differences and all.
@jerv English, math, and proper sciences aren’t electives, though. I’m saying we should lump all origin stories into a single elective class and call it “Origins.” That way, we can let everybody take science classes without anybody getting their knickers in a twist. My HS bio class, which for the most part focused on the observable portion of biology, kept evolution in its own module. It would be easy to unplug it altogether and reinstall it in a different curriculum.
I’ll admit that I don’t keep abreast of the world of scientific research, but if my analysis is correct, the world of modern science does not actually depend on Man being the end result of millions of years of random mutation.

BhacSsylan's avatar

Your analysis is not correct, Nullo. Evolution is essential to biology. Which has its hand in medicine, neurology, developmental biology, and thus all forms of healthcare, and many other areas. Also, where do we stop, exactly? Because some people say that set theory is against their religion, so math isn’t off limits, either. Should we just unplug everything, bit by bit, as people make up reasons to dislike it?

How about astronomy? Astrologists could take issue with that. Or David Barton has quite a lot to say about US History. Anatomy? Well, everything you learn in that is counter to traditional chinese medicine. Shall I go on?

JLeslie's avatar

@Nullo Yeah, I thought we wound up talking about the south, since we mentioned it innhistory. But, way above I think I had said Bible Belt, so that would get you some of the midwest. Actually, it would be interesting to see what the Great Lakes states would do. I think they would not want to be with the south so to speak, but they do like their fresh water up there, and are not keen on other states trying to take it.

jerv's avatar

@Nullo I never took biology, at least not as a separate class. My academic learning (in the middle grades, when there was just one science class instead of breaking up into branches) on the Theory of Evolution had more to do with illustrating the scientific process, including the necessity to acknowledge that theories are not necessarily facts and are subject to amendment as new evidence comes in.

But Religion feels threatened by Science just as they were threatened by Galileo asserting that Earth is not the physical center of the Universe, so once again it’s Faith versus Reason, so we have to axe a very crucial element of critical thinking in order to keep some insecure people from getting their feelings hurt. Maybe if the Creationists that object so loudly knew the actual definition of the word “theory” this problem would go away, but I don’t see that ever happening :/ See also: Scopes Monkey Trial.

Also, considering the HS dropout rates and the academic performance in certain regions, I would still dispute that English and Math are electives, though de facto as opposed to de jure. In other words, they are effectively optional even though they are officially mandatory.

Nullo's avatar

@BhacSsylan Please explain how one cannot appreciate biology without the evolutionary context. I managed, you know. I took some Bio in college (not a lot, since I’m better suited to the liberal arts) and noted that one could discard evolution and the stuff that wasn’t actually about evolution worked fine. In any case, I was not referring to university-level, but high school level stuff.

@JLeslie Maybe the Lake States would join Canada.

@jerv The dropout rate is a separate issue; I don’t know why you’re bringing it up here.

jerv's avatar

@Nullo Basically to illustrate that school itself is a bit of an elective in some places.

BhacSsylan's avatar

@Nullo There is a difference between appreciating and understanding. Yes, if you discard evolution the world doesn’t suddenly implode, but are we trying to actually teach, or just talk at students? And you said the world of modern science. The world of modern science, and our advancement therein, is hugely dependent on evolution. You could take out all the things I listed, and the world would go on turning. But that doesn’t make it a good idea, and that doesn’t somehow help education.

And again, should we remove all those aspects because people contest them? Should we not talk about astonomy because some people think that the world is flat? Should we not teach about Jefferson because Barton claims he was a catholic? Should we not teach about psychology because chiropractors think all psychological issues are caused by kinks in your spine? Or about medicine because homeopaths claim that like cures like, if you dilute it enough?

JLeslie's avatar

It always seems to me the fed has to eventually come in and clean up unconstitutional laws put into action in states. Being somewhat prejudice regarding the south, I tend to think it happens more there. Big things jump into my mind like the fed having to protect those 9 black children so they could enter the school. And, I think of laws to make it difficult for girls to get abortions, and laws against gay marriage…Those will eventually go the way of separate but equal in my opinion. But, probably it happens just as much all over the country, states enacting laws that later are overturned by the Supreme Court. Hell, even the Supreme Court has overturned some of their own decisions.

I don’t think the Great Lake States would go to Canada, I think they would either bebtheir own region, or each state be their own nation. But, what I truly believe is they would stay with the “union” in the end. I never hear people up there talk in terms of being their own like a Texan or Alaskan would. I am sure they exist in MI in WI, but I just have never heard anything like that personally.

bolwerk's avatar

@JLeslie: I just meant the vote counts more quantitatively in a small state than a large one. In practice, it’s true that most states’ behavior is highly predictable.

Re bread prices: prices would not go up. Well, not for that reason. Climate change will probably drive them up no matter what. Grain-producing states would still need to sell their grain, the market for grain is by and large international. Plus, good bread is hard to find in the USA anyway.

Also, Florida really is a candidate for shittiest state. Though Texas and Virginia are in the running too, on account of their sheer fascism.

JLeslie's avatar

@bolwerk Why the negativity about Florida? So far it is my favorite state to live in. If we hook it up with the north, it would become more and more “northern” then it already is, solving the conservative problem in the state.

bolwerk's avatar

@JLeslie: it’s already filled with the dregs of the northeast. While I don’t want them up here, I certainly don’t want to go visit them.

JLeslie's avatar

@bolwerk Dregs? Hahahaha. Now I’m insulted. ~

jerv's avatar

My own memories of the year I spent in Florida aren’t great either. I am not as negative as @bolwerk, but it’s still pretty low on my list of places I would want to live in. There are worse places, but there are also many better places.

bolwerk's avatar

Florida is full of entitled right-wing retired bureaucrats living off their over-generous pensions. Basically, the corrupt pols in places like New York voted themselves and their union backers unaffordable pensions and then decamped to Florida. As a result, it has one of the most vicious, fascistic political cultures in the United States.

Plus, the human settlements are akin to 1970s LA suburban sprawl without the nice-ish weather LA sometimes achieves. It should be bombed.

Linda_Owl's avatar

I am surprised at the end of your answer @bolwerk , people should never call for other people to be “bombed”. No matter how distasteful we may find other people to be, we should not advocate killing them. I agree that the political atmosphere in Florida leaves a great deal to be desired as it is controlled by Republicans – but your level of anger is extreme. There are better ways of dealing with political situations than what you are referencing.

bolwerk's avatar

@Linda_Owl: there are people in those things? Sheesh, we should evacuate them before they starve!

BhacSsylan's avatar

Umm, i linked that way up at the top

Linda_Owl's avatar

Yes, you did. And I came across it while checking out something else on-line & I had forgotten that you had already posted this link. Sorry about that.

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