Repeal the 17th Amendment

by John MacMullin, Mises.org

Nearing election time again, we are reminded that the there are no checks and balances available to the states over federal power or over Congress itself in any area. However, in the history of our country, it was not always this way. In the original design by the Framers of the U.S. Constitution, there was an effective check on Congress through the state legislatures’ power to appoint (and remove) United States Senators.

As such, the core of the problem with state’s rights issues lies in the passage of the 17th Amendment in 1913, which abrogated the state legislatures’ right to appoint United States Senators in favor of popular election of those officials. This amendment created a fundamental structural problem which, irrespective of the political party in office, or the laws in effect at any one time, will result, over time, in expanding federal control in every area.

The 17th Amendment caused a failure in the federalist structure, federal deficit spending, inappropriate federal mandates, and federal control over a number of state institutions.

Details