Term Limits

Monday, June 20, 2011

Speaking at the Virginia Convention in 1788, George Mason made the case for a citizen legislature grounded in reality:

“Nothing so strongly impels a man to regard the interest of his constituents, as the certainty of returning to the general mass of the people, from whence he was taken, where he must participate in their burdens.”

Unfortunately the vestiges of 'seniority' in Congress with committee assignments, etc. pull toward keeping term limits out of the question. But if it's good enough for the executive branch...why not in Congress?


17th Amendment

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The shift in power from the state governing bodies electing their Senators to the citizens voting state-wide to elect their Senators to go to Washington brought on 'unintended consequences' that effect us today. Hat tip to Frank Salvato who blogged about this unfortunate removal from the states to 'recall' one of its representatives who should be removed from office. Our founders knew the scrutiny of states would be able to choose the best representatives for their sovereign purposes.

Here are Frank's remarks which came under the heading of It's About Personal Responsibility

"17th Amendment, which moved the power of electing US Senators from the State Legislatures to the State citizenries. Prior to this, a US Senator was subject to recall by the State Legislatures. If the Senator was too inclined to cast his vote along political party lines, in favor of a special interest group or in any way that usurped the benefit of his State’s constituency, the State Legislatures could recall the Senator. In essence, prior to the enactment of the 17th Amendment, US Senators were legislatively charged ambassadors from their respective States to the Legislative Branch of the federal. Members of the US House were directly elected by the people (the People’s House) and US Senators represented the governments of the many States.

So, today, with the 17th Amendment in full force, we have a redundancy in the Legislative Branch that has led to moving our country toward a government system of Democracy, when, in fact – and for incredibly good reasons – our Framers and Founders established our country as a Constitutional Republic, one that uses a democratic electoral process, which, too, has a check and balance called the Electoral College.

Ever since the ability of the States to recall their US Senators was usurped by the 17th Amendment, and ever since the balance of federalism tipped to the federal government, thus encroaching upon the sovereign authority of the States as mandated by the 10th Amendment, people from one part of the country have become beholden to the votes of people from other parts of the country. Just as important, is that federally elected officials to Congress – especially US Senators – have become immune to any rebuke by their constituencies but for at the ballot box."