Rep. Louie Gohmert Wants To Eliminate Voting For Senators

(h/t MediaMatters) Remember that old saying, "Elections have consequences"? Well, apparently, Louis Gohmert (R-obviously, TX) doesn't think that sho

(h/t MediaMatters)

Remember that old saying, "Elections have consequences"? Well, apparently, Louis Gohmert (R-obviously, TX) doesn't think that should apply to him or his Senatorial cohorts:

Yesterday, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) suggested another response to the passage of health reform: eliminating the right of American citizens to elect U.S. Senators. According to a press release from Gohmert's office:

Rep. Gohmert stated, "The usurpation of the rights of the states and of the people perpetrated by the U.S. House last night is blatant, arrogant, and cries out for action. A potentially bankrupting 'mother of all unfunded mandates' needs to be stopped. The courts may or may not do it, but the states are not helpless. Article V of our U.S. Constitution anticipates a time when states perceive a looming crisis and provides an avenue for amending the Constitution. It makes clear that if two-thirds of the states are fed up with the federal government's abusive action, then they simply apply for a convention, and the Congress SHALL call such a convention for proposing an amendment."

Ever since the safeguard of State legislatures electing U.S. Senators was removed by the 17th Amendment in 1913, there has been no check or balance on the Federal power grab for the last 97 years. Article V requires a minimum of 34 states to request a Convention which in this case, would be an Amendment Convention for only ONE amendment.

Could he be a bigger whiner? Now, it's true, as originally conceived by the Founding Fathers, senators were appointed by their respective state legislatures to serve, which worked moderately well (with only the occasional accusation of corruption or bribery with which to contend) until the Civil War era. Then the accusations exploded. Per Wikipedia:

After the Civil War, the problems multiplied. In one case in the mid-1860s, the election of Senator John P. Stockton from New Jersey was contested on the grounds that he had been elected by a plurality rather than a majority in the state legislature. Stockton defended himself on the grounds that the exact method for elections was murky and varied from state to state. To keep this from happening again, the Congress passed a law in 1866 regulating how and when Senators were to be elected from each state. This was the first change in the process of senatorial elections. While the law helped, there were still deadlocks in some legislatures and accusations of bribery, corruption, and suspicious dealings in some elections. Nine bribery cases were brought before the Senate between 1866 and 1906, and 45 deadlocks occurred in 20 states between 1891 and 1905, resulting in numerous delays in seating Senators. Beginning in 1899, Delaware did not send a senator to Washington for four years.

Obviously, this was unsustainable, and so after much pushing and pulling and grumbling from muckrakers like Hearst, the 17th Amendment was passed in 1911 and adopted in 1913. There have been a few attempts to repeal it, most notably by Zell Miller, who called it an 'assault on federalism'.

However, I have news for Rep. Gohmert. Repeal of a constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress (what are your odds on that, Louie?) and ratification by three-fourths of the states' legislatures. Want to take a look at that electoral map again? Does the phrase "pissing in the wind" have much resonance with you?

Finally, as Media Matters points out, this only undercuts the GOP's crowing of the Scott Brown election:

Remember that conservatives, including Gohmert, argued that the election of Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) signaled the public's rejection of the president's plan. Yet, while Tea Party activists flooded Massachusetts and pushed Brown to victory, Gohmert's proposal would have made that effort impossible. The state's overwhelmingly Democratic legislature could have simply appointed a Democrat.

About Nicole Belle

Nicole Belle's picture
Mom, Wife, Media Critic/Political Analyst, Blogger, Austen Fanatic, Unapologetic Liberal NicoleBelle@crooksandliars.com

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