Monday, February 23, 2009
On this day:

Repeal the 17th Amendment

George Will is on board (H/T Southern Appeal):
A simple apology would have sufficed. Instead, Sen. Russ Feingold has decided to follow his McCain-Feingold evisceration of the First Amendment with Feingold-McCain, more vandalism against the Constitution.

The Wisconsin Democrat, who is steeped in his state's progressive tradition, says, as would-be amenders of the Constitution often do, that he is reluctant to tamper with the document but tamper he must because the threat to the public weal is immense: Some governors have recently behaved badly in appointing people to fill U.S. Senate vacancies. Feingold's solution, of which John McCain is a co-sponsor, is to amend the 17th Amendment. It would be better to repeal it.
Before the 17th Amendment was ratified, U.S. Senators were appointed by their respective state legislatures, giving state governments a direct role in the federal government and thereby providing an essential check against the majoritarian impulses of the popularly-elected House of Representatives. In providing for this delicate balance within the national legislature, the founders sought to guard against a "tyranny of the majority" and the grave threat it posed to individual liberty and state sovereignty.

The idea that more democracy necessarily equates to more freedom is one that was rejected outright by the framers of the Constitution. We would do well to heed their warning. The Constitution was crafted not to impose majority rule, but rather to "secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity."