The Alabama Senate Race Reminds Us to Repeal the Seventeenth Amendment

Image Credit: The Daily Beast

Alabama’s Tuesday special election between Roy Moore and Doug Jones had people on both sides of the aisle in a state of fear. Holding a federal position, US Senators have the very real capacity to make policy for not just their state, but also for the rest of the United States. Whereas senators are now directly elected, they are incentivized only to make policy and grow their own power. By passing the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913, the progressives blew a fatal blow to limited government, separation of powers, and federalism. If liberty is to be restored, the Seventeenth Amendment, or the direct election of United States Senators, must be repealed.

The Seventeenth Amendment is an attack on local sovereignty.

Before the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment, state legislatures were responsible for electing senators. This made US Senators assume the job of ambassador to the federal government for the states. This electoral process was meant to shield the citizens of the many states from federal tyranny. The fact state legislatures elected senators empowered state legislatures to instruct senators on how to vote. The most famous example of this was the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, in which the state legislatures urged their senators to resist the Sedition Act, which outlawed criticisms against John Adams or other agents of the federal government.

By giving the state legislature control of the US Senators from the state, Senators had an incentive to preserve the Tenth Amendment and ensure federal overreach did not occur. State Legislatures would even force senators to resign whenever they voted for federal tyranny. Before the progressives hijacked the federal government, separation of power and local sovereignty was meant to be valued and defended by the president, the courts, the Congress, and the citizens of the many states. Senators were intended to be the voice of the states. This is why the power to approve or deny cabinet appointees, federal judges, treaties, and so on rests with the Senate instead of the House: the Senate had an incentive to ensure federal appointees respect the sovereignty of states and localities.

Giving the State Legislatures the power to appoint senators was a roadblock to federal power. It gave the people’s local representatives a way to fight against the rise of federal tyranny. The Seventeenth Amendment, however, turned the Senate into another form of mob rule. With the direct election of senators, the democratic (and thus short-sighted and anti-freedom) will of the parasitic masses was unleashed. By removing the many states as a means to restrain the federal government, nothing was to stop the federal government from enforcing big government systems such as the income tax, the Federal Reserve (which was passed a few months after the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment), and the welfare-warfare state.

Separation of Powers

Under the current conception, people believe only the Supreme Court has the power to interpret the legitimacy of a law. This was not the case. Though flawed, the Founding Fathers did add structures to defend the states and the people from an over-reaching federal government. Not only was it the duty of the SCOTUS to defend the rule of Law, it was also the duty of the president, the Senate, and the people of the many states. But of course, all it took was a constitutional amendment to destroy this entire thing.

The anti-federalists were correct in predicting the rise of tyranny under the Constitution. They understood that anytime federal power expanded, so would the power of the courts. This is why the Supreme Court had no incentive to protect local sovereignty and limited government. Why would a person in power restrict his own power?

By ratifying the Seventeenth Amendment, the federal government claimed ownership of the US Senate, leaving local sovereignty in the dust. It also gave the mob more power in the US. The reason the people of Alabama had to choose between Roy Moore and Doug Jones was that the Seventeenth Amendment handed over the Senate to democracy, where only the worst can get on top. Had the Seventeenth Amendment failed, the Alabama Legislature would likely have appointed a non-interventionist advocate of state’s rights and freedom such as Mo Brooks. But instead, the people of Alabama have elected an advocate of child murder, big government, and deficit spending.