Let Americans Keep Electing Their Senators

Essay: Campaign to repeal 17th Amendment is misguided
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 24, 2010 1:40 PM CST
Let Americans Keep Electing Their Senators
Tea Party activists arrive with signs and folding chairs at the former McClellan Air Force Base site before the start of the "United to the Finish" gathering in Sacramento, Calif., Sept. 12, 2010.   (AP Photo/Steve Yeater)

(Newser) – The 17th Amendment allows Americans to choose their senators directly, rather than have them picked by state legislatures—and some Tea Partiers and a particular jurist named Antonin Scalia want it gone. (He says states' rights have been on the decline since it became law in 1913.) Bad idea, writes Adam Cohen in Time: In state legislatures, “special interests and well-heeled lobbyists call the shots, and state legislators are notorious for not seeing the bigger picture.” Repeal would hand an unfair advantage to elite insiders.

When New York’s state legislature had to pick a state comptroller in 2007, lawmakers made sure it was one of their own. That shows “just how undemocratic legislative selection would likely be,” Cohen notes. “Repealing the 17th Amendment would prevent the little people—in other words, the voters—from having their say. Which is exactly why it is so important to keep it.”
(Read more 17th Amendment stories.)

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