Search This Blog

Friday, October 12, 2018

The Senate ... and The Constitution!

O.M.G. ... the US Constitution *forbids* an Amendment to create "proportional representation" in the Senate.

One may recall that the one of the drums the leftists are pounding is about how "unfair" and "undemocratic" it is that North Dakota has equal weight in the Senate with California and New York; and that they seem to imagine that they can "fix" this "problem" by decree. To which many on the right have responded to the effect that, "No, you can't do it by decree ... but you're welcome to try to amend the Constitution to get the result you desire."

Well, it turns out that the US Constitution forbids such an amendment --

ARTICLE V: The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

Again: "The Congress ... [may] propose Amendments to this Constitution, ... Provided ...that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate"

So, it wouldn't be enough that California and New York might agree to deprive North Dakota of its equal vote in the Senate; North Dakota would have to explicitly agree to deprive itself of this fundamental equality as a Sovereign State of the Union.

h/t Francis W. Porretto at Liberty's Torch
The presence of that clause in Article V, the Amendment Article, excludes the equal representation of the [S]tates in the Senate from the possibility of amendment. This is beyond dispute. The Senate, in other words, was created to guarantee that each [S]tate would have a voice in the Senate equal to any other [S]tate. The electoral system for choosing a president reinforces this oft-neglected aspect of the Constitution: it was intended to protect the small [S]tates from abuses perpetrated by the large ones.

The phrase “checks and balances” should come to mind at this point. My Gentle Readers have no doubt been muttering that phrase for some time already. Lesser intellects might consider suing their civics teachers.

The Framers knew full well what they were doing. The very last passage of the Constitution emphasizes the importance of the [S]tates as elements in the Constitutional design:
ARTICLE VII: The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.
The Constitution was conceived and ratified as a compact among the [S]tates. The [S]tates retained nearly complete internal sovereignty. Their equal representation in the Senate was intended, in part, to preserve that sovereignty, the exclusions in Article I, Section 10 being the sole exceptions. This aspect of the Constitution’s design is sometimes cited as an argument for a [S]tate’s power to nullify federal laws on the grounds of federal overreach.

The federal government has done many unConstitutional and extra-Constitutional things since the Wilson Administration. Some of them have been undeniable encroachments on [S]tate sovereignty. (Where, for example, is Congress given the power to legislate a federal penal code? But that’s a subject for another day.) This latest talk - of amending a part of the Constitution explicitly protected against amendment! - merely indicates how far Americans’ knowledge of the deliberately designed-in features of our Union has slipped.

ps: Repeal the 17th Amendment!

0 comments: