Do we need a “repeal amendment”?

posted at 12:00 pm on December 5, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

A couple of months ago, Randy Barnett at Cato proposed a new amendment to the Constitution that would give the states the power to repeal acts of Congress.  It’s certainly an intriguing notion, if for no other reason than to note the hysterical reaction to it.  Dana Milbank, Dahlia Lithwick, and Jeff Sesol manage to ignore the fact that the same document has been amended a number of times (seventeen since its initial adoption, most recently in 1992) to accuse conservatives of hypocrisy in proposing another change.  Glenn Reynolds disposed with this notion with brevity earlier in the week, noting that the amendment process is actually part of the Constitution, and a lot more legitimate than muttering about “living documents,” emanations, and penumbras.  There is no need for such logic-defying rewriting of the document to absorb issues like abortion and campaign finance restrictions when (a) the document’s own brevity speaks clearly enough on the limit of federal powers, and (b) the amendment process is available to those who wish to change or add to the Constitution.  All it will take is two-thirds of Congress and three-quarters of the states to pass and ratify it.

That brings us back to the proposal itself.  Barnett’s plan would allow states to band together to override Congress in an attempt to restore the balance of power between sovereign states and the central government.  That should interest at least some of the states, but is this the best way to get to that desired end?

In its next session beginning in January, the legislature of Virginia will consider proposing a constitutional “Repeal Amendment.” The Repeal Amendment would give two-thirds of the states the power to repeal any federal law or regulation. Its text is simple:

“Any provision of law or regulation of the United States may be repealed by the several states, and such repeal shall be effective when the legislatures of two-thirds of the several states approve resolutions for this purpose that particularly describe the same provision or provisions of law or regulation to be repealed.”

At present, the only way for states to contest a federal law or regulation is to bring a constitutional challenge in federal court or seek an amendment to the Constitution. A state repeal power provides a targeted way to reverse particular congressional acts and administrative regulations without relying on federal judges or permanently amending the text of the Constitution to correct a specific abuse.

The Repeal Amendment should not be confused with the power to “nullify” unconstitutional laws possessed by federal courts. Unlike nullification, a repeal power allows two-thirds of the states to reject a federal law for policy reasons that are irrelevant to constitutional concerns. In this sense, a state repeal power is more like the president’s veto power.

This amendment reflects confidence in the collective wisdom of the men and women from diverse backgrounds, and elected by diverse constituencies, who comprise the modern legislatures of two-thirds of the states. Put another way, it allows thousands of democratically elected representatives outside the Beltway to check the will of 535 elected representatives in Washington, D.C.

Congress could re-enact a repealed measure if it really feels that two-thirds of state legislatures are out of touch with popular sentiment. And congressional re-enactment would require merely a simple majority. In effect, with repeal power the states could force Congress to take a second look at a controversial law.

This sounds good in principle, but could be a procedural nightmare once enacted.  The first problem would be to get this amendment to the states for ratification.  It seems unlikely that any Congress would produce a two-thirds vote to create a states veto.  That leaves only a Constitutional convention, which might indeed pass it — along with a lot of other, perhaps unpleasant, amendments.  Some believe that Constitutional conventions can be limited in scope, but we’ve only had one, and it replaced entirely the foundational document of the United States.  It’s an opening to a lot of potential mischief.

Let’s say for argument’s sake that Congress approves and the states ratify the amendment.  What happens when Congress passes a law?  How long do the states have to get two-thirds of the legislatures to demand repeal?  Within the same session?  Four years?  Decades?  Does it proceed along the same lines as a Constitutional amendment, where the states have seven years to ratify a veto?  If the time is limited to the current session, most state legislatures won’t have time to react, and future Congresses will simply put off most of their controversial measures until lame-duck sessions.

If it isn’t limited to the same session, then this will remove a great deal of certainty and stability from the American legal system and to acts of Congress, which is after all the people’s branch.  Consider tax laws on which no one could rely, regulatory and deregulatory efforts that could take years to clarify, and then think how investors both here and abroad will react in that environment.  And that isn’t even getting to the budget, which appears subject to this amendment as well.  The states could force a shutdown of the federal government.  This seems like a prescription not just for gridlock and instability, but also an invitation for an expansion of power for the executive branch to run the federal government by executive order and agency power.

The problem of federal overreach is real, but this looks like a poor solution to it.  Those who want to see government restrained by the states would do better to repeal the 17th Amendment.  Instead of requiring popular votes for Senators, go back to the original purpose of the Senate and let the states choose how to pick their Senators instead.  Some might keep the popular vote in place, but those states concerned about federal encroachment on state sovereignty might return to having appointments made by the state legislatures, or governors confirmed by the legislatures.  That would make the state itself the constituent of each Senator, and they could overrule the populist inclinations of the House by thwarting encroaching legislation.

That, too, has its drawbacks.  Senators would be much less accountable to voters, having won their position not by popular ballot but through the favor of a governor or legislature.  Party discipline would evaporate, which has its good points as well; Senators would not be accountable to a party, but to the interests of their state governments.  Factions would form on the basis of regional politics and ideology rather than party, and the upper chamber would be much less susceptible to popular movements.  Consider that in this past election, a Tea Party would have captured as many seats in the House as it did this year, but the results in the Senate would be much different.  One would never see a Rand Paul, and possibly not a Marco Rubio, either, and Russ Feingold would probably still have his seat.  Ron Johnson, a political outsider, would never have even been considered in Wisconsin for that position.

Still, that would be the most efficient way in which to restore the check on federal power that the founders envisioned when they created the bicameral legislature.  It won’t take a cumbersome process that produces long-term instability to get it, either.  And for the sudden love of the original document discovered by Milbank, Lithwick, & Co, it will remove one of those pesky changes to the Constitution that they suddenly find so distasteful.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

I’m intrigued as well, but I think it plain that past generations have made some significant mistakes with some amendments.

I think I’d like to discuss reversing those first.

But it is good that we have (sorta-kinda) rediscovered this incredible document.

I am enjoying rolling it up, metaphorically, and swatting liberals over the nose with it of late.

turfmann on December 5, 2010 at 12:05 PM

When you look at the outright criminality involved with the 14th amendment (which still stands despite being blatantly unconstitutional), this process is fraught with existential peril.

Rebar on December 5, 2010 at 12:08 PM

I see this as simply trying to get back the Federalism we had before the 17th amendment and the rise of the unfunded mandate. As Congress has cooked the books in protecting incumbency making it hard to remove a sitting Congressman and as there is no other way to reverse a bad decision by that Congressman, or the Congress critters from other states, I really like the idea.

They would only have to do it a few times before Congress figured it out and began to pay some attention to the citizens they pretend to represent.

JIMV on December 5, 2010 at 12:08 PM

I’ve been thinking this way for a week or so. It sure fits my engineer brain better to remove a bad amendment rather than add a patch on top of it.

I do wonder whether Senators tied closer to their state would be more inclined to be earmark factories.

jtdavies on December 5, 2010 at 12:09 PM

Two ‘easier’ cures.

1. Lift the ceiling on 535 members of Congress (thus breaking up the ‘over-sized’ districts).

2. Repeal the 17th Amendment and force the election of Senators back to the state legislatures.

CPT. Charles on December 5, 2010 at 12:10 PM

Under his proposed Amendment, if the states go through the elaborate process of voiding a law….what’s to stop Congress from simply passing the same law again? Either BarneTTT needs to redraft it, or admit that as is, it has virtually no ability to limit Congressional power.

crr6 on December 5, 2010 at 12:11 PM

Don’t we already have a method to repeal amendments to the constitution? Didn’t the US already repeal one, once before? Why do we need yet more laws to change the way the constitution is altered? Don’t we have enough laws already?

Skandia Recluse on December 5, 2010 at 12:11 PM

It seems my TX is doing a bit on the bhocare bill with a bill prefiled for the 2011 state legislative session. This should be interesting.

http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=235757
L

letget on December 5, 2010 at 12:11 PM

When you look at the outright criminality involved with the 14th amendment (which still stands despite being blatantly unconstitutional), this process is fraught with existential peril.

Rebar on December 5, 2010 at 12:08 PM

Reba, that makes no sense…A constitutional amendment cannot ever be unconstitutional as it trumps and changes the existing constitution through the Amendment process. I have more problems with courts that sometimes pretend the Amendment didn’t happen instead of recognizing their old precedent was now, as a result of the change, worthless.

Read the court opinions after the 14th…they were more bizarre than Roe as the court tried to pretend all their existing case law trumped the new change in the Constitution.

JIMV on December 5, 2010 at 12:12 PM

The proposed amendment would also grant states the power to repeal adminstrative regulations, like those coming from the EPA, the FDA, or the DHS.

steebo77 on December 5, 2010 at 12:12 PM

Another good reason to be for the idea. Regulators are alsready pretty much outside of the law and unaccountable.

JIMV on December 5, 2010 at 12:15 PM

Reba, that makes no sense…A constitutional amendment cannot ever be unconstitutional as it trumps and changes the existing constitution through the Amendment process.

JIMV on December 5, 2010 at 12:12 PM

If the amendment process itself was unconstitutional, the amendment can indeed be unconstitutional and illegal.

The fact that this, and other flat out unconstitutional outrages like “Wickard v. Filburn” and “Kelo v. City of New London” still stand, is why I’ve stated that we no longer live in a constitutional republic under rule of law.

Rebar on December 5, 2010 at 12:17 PM

Reba, that makes no sense…A constitutional amendment cannot ever be unconstitutional as it trumps and changes the existing constitution through the Amendment process.

JIMV on December 5, 2010 at 12:12 PM

I think Rebar has a problem with the way the 14th amendment was ratified (putting the South under military rule and refusing to return democracy until they voted to ratify it), not the actual amendment itself.

crr6 on December 5, 2010 at 12:18 PM

Two ‘easier’ cures.

1. Lift the ceiling on 535 members of Congress (thus breaking up the ‘over-sized’ districts).

2. Repeal the 17th Amendment and force the election of Senators back to the state legislatures.

CPT. Charles on December 5, 2010 at 12:10 PM

And while you’re at it,impose term limitations on the whole bleeding bloody lot of them!

pilamaye on December 5, 2010 at 12:20 PM

I still can’t wrap my mind around exactly why appointed or selected senators would behave a whole lot differently. And why they would be more properly accountable?

Norbitz on December 5, 2010 at 12:23 PM

Ed, I totaly agree with you that repealing the 17th Amendment is a much better idea than a Repeal Amendment. I disagree that “One would never see a Rand Paul, and possibly not a Marco Rubio, either, and Russ Feingold would probably still have his seat.” There were plenty of honorable statesmen in the Senate prior to the 17th Amendment. If anything, repealing the 17th Amendment would put more Rand Paul’s and Marco Rubio’s in the Senate. And it would allow them to do their actual job instead of being beholden to a mostly left-wing media that will villify them and distort their words and actions.

Repealing the 17th Amendment would severely impede the media corporations’ ability to enact an agenda. That would, in turn, reduce the incentive to corrupt the media with an agenda.

JohnJ on December 5, 2010 at 12:23 PM

I’d like to see an amendment that requires Congress (at State and Federal levels)to repeal a law for every one they pass, to eliminate a committee, dept. or organization for every one they create. They’ve been at it for 235 years. A cap and trade, if you will, on the # of rules the American people have to observe.

poteen on December 5, 2010 at 12:28 PM

Why not let the States band together and file suit over the illegality of laws as they have done with ObamaCare?

marinetbryant on December 5, 2010 at 12:28 PM

I gotta say the “Repeal the 17th Amendment” movement is one of the weirdest and funniest things I’ve seen recently in politics. Really? You think state legislatures can do a better job picking Senators than the people? This is what is going to solve problems? Or is it just going to lend itself to a different, and not necessarily better and actually probably worse, kind of d-bag in the Senate? I just don’t really see it. It seems to me that you’re more likely to get particularly corrupt senators and more pork barrel politics, not less. Voters at the voting booth are less likely to consider the implications of voting this guy or that guy into office in terms of getting government funds for their state, but I can assure you that state legislators definitely have that sort of thing on their mind. Seems like an especially bad idea to me.

Also kind of funny that so many of the people proposing taking votes away from the people are part of the allegedly populist Tea Party movement. Interesting.

As for the the Repeal Amendment? Have at it. It’s not gonna pass, and even if by some miracle it does pass, it’ll be used about as often as I use a stove or a mop (i.e. never).

Proud Rino on December 5, 2010 at 12:35 PM

All of this wouldn’t be necessary if there weren’t such dolts in power. What isn’t needed is the passage of more laws but the repeal of many that are all ready on the books. From confiscatory taxes to hate crimes legislation to outdates traffic and ciivil law. Not to mention all the regulations imposed on us by people who were never elected to represent us. There is a lot that needs to go. Along with a lot of people and ideas that need to go.

Tommy_G on December 5, 2010 at 12:35 PM

I think Rebar has a problem with the way the 14th amendment was ratified (putting the South under military rule and refusing to return democracy until they voted to ratify it), not the actual amendment itself.

crr6 on December 5, 2010 at 12:18 PM

That, and the very radical change in citizenship.

Before the amendment, you were a citizen of your state, and the state belonged to the republic. There were no “United States citizens”. After the amendment, the legal and conceptual meaning of state citizenship withered to the point now, where very few understand they are “dual citizens” – state and national.

The founding fathers specifically didn’t include citizenship on the national level, being a citizen of a state and the state’s obligation to protect it’s citizens against an over powerful federal government was one of the checks and balances built into the Constitution. That protection evaporated – intentionally – with the illegal 14th amendment.

Rebar on December 5, 2010 at 12:35 PM

Steps to restore sanity to our Republic (in no specific order):

1) Congressional term limits
2) Allow the recall of Senators and Representatives
3) Repeal direct election of Senators
4) Allow 2/3 of states to veto acts of Congress, Executive regulations, and Executive Orders within one year of their promulgation.
5) Limit all bills to one single subject. (No more “and for other purposes”)
6) Require all bills to specifically state what part of the Constitution allows Congress to pass that specific law and why it does in the enacting clause.
7) Congress must adjourn sine die at 12:01am on election day. (No more lame duck sessions.)

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it would certainly help!

KSgop on December 5, 2010 at 12:36 PM

I think Rebar has a problem with the way the 14th amendment was ratified (putting the South under military rule and refusing to return democracy until they voted to ratify it), not the actual amendment itself.

crr6 on December 5, 2010 at 12:18 PM

Didn’t Ohio change their minds afterward and rescind their approval, and the feds were like, “No backsies”? I seem to recall there being more than a few procedural “oddities” regarding the 14th Amendment.

Proud Rino on December 5, 2010 at 12:40 PM

“No backsies,” btw, is a direct quote from President Andrew Johnson.

Proud Rino on December 5, 2010 at 12:41 PM

Funny how after liberals rejoiced when the Supreme Court pulled a right to privacy out of their ass ‘emanations and penumbrae’ to justify unrestricted abortion, suddenly now they have great respect for the Constitution and don’t want to mess with it.

slickwillie2001 on December 5, 2010 at 12:42 PM

Good arguments Ed, but there are procedural hurdles no matter what approach is taken. The process for nullification already exists. It’s called secession. The Founders wrote about it. It’s legal and Constitutional. The argument about secession was temporarily resolved at the point of bayonets 145 years ago. Sadly, the government Lincoln and his statist brigades bequethed to us now makes secession by others means a necessary topic of discussion. One way or another things are going to change. Hopefully we’ll have another peaceful revolution a la the one President Reagan spearheaded. Othewise we are going to devolve into chaos, violence and states seceding outright, IMHO.

I say good for VA, TX and any other state that talks about or takes action that will help increase individual liberty by rolling back federal power. Just the fact that states are talking about nullifying federal actions shows how far we have already devolved. The feds are sitting on a powder keg. The Dems are in denial and I can’t tell with certainty if the Repubs understand or care.

JimP on December 5, 2010 at 12:43 PM

JohnJ on December 5, 2010 at 12:23 PM

More importantly, it would refocus politics at the state level.

The vast majority of state citizens have minimal awareness (or concern) of their state reps (and senators) and the goings on in the capitol beyond school funding battles.

EVERYTHING revolves around activities within the Beltway.

Just watching the ‘local’ news should tell you as much.

CPT. Charles on December 5, 2010 at 12:44 PM

I’m so under-educated about all of this that I hesitate to comment about it. Something needs to change though. America is far too large and diverse (politically speaking) for the entire country to be run from a spot on the map known as washington DC. Voters in CA shouldn’t be able to decide if voters in WV are allowed to mine coal, the market should decide that. It’s the same with almost everything coming out of washington lately.

Why even bother to have state governors and legislatures if they can be trumped by DC…..a state territory that isn’t even allowed to be represented in congress!

I can’t propose a solution, but top-down and one-size-fits-all legislation is not working. To me, this proposal sounds a lot like what some people talk about; let liberals and conservatives live under their own rules as they see fit and stop forcing people who can live with limited intervention by government subsidize people who cannot.

Obama is to politics what fire is to a child. You never know the true danger of it until you get burned.

Mord on December 5, 2010 at 12:45 PM

I gotta say the “Repeal the 17th Amendment” movement is one of the weirdest and funniest things I’ve seen recently in politics. Really? You think state legislatures can do a better job picking Senators than the people?
Proud Rino on December 5, 2010 at 12:35 PM

All of that aside, before the 17th amendment was ratified most federal senators were popularly elected anyway (because state laws at the time usually mandated the popular election of Senators). Even if we repealed it, most states would pass similar laws now, because people generally want to have a direct say in who is sent to Washington.

Plus, the whole assumption that state legislatures would send Senators who would limit federal spending is ridiculous. States love federal grants and are always lobbying for more and more federal funds. State legislatures would probably be even more inclined to send someone to Washington who can bring home the pork than the general populace.

crr6 on December 5, 2010 at 12:45 PM

“No backsies,” btw, is a direct quote from President Andrew Johnson.

Proud Rino on December 5, 2010 at 12:41 PM

LOL

KSgop on December 5, 2010 at 12:47 PM

Funny how after liberals rejoiced when the Supreme Court pulled a right to privacy out of their ass ‘emanations and penumbrae’ to justify unrestricted abortion, suddenly now they have great respect for the Constitution and don’t want to mess with it.

slickwillie2001 on December 5, 2010 at 12:42 PM

Justice Goldberg wrote in his concurrence in Griswold I believe that the right to privacy was in the 9th Amendment, that there should be a presumption of freedom, and if that doesn’t include some inherent right to privacy, then what does it mean? I find that a lot more persuasive then, “We don’t know where it is in the Constitution, but we’re definitely sure it’s in there somewhere, and it’s actually in several different places.”

I actually do think there’s probably some inherent right to privacy in the Constitution, but whether or not it encompasses birth control or abortion is a much different and far more complex and interesting issue.

Proud Rino on December 5, 2010 at 12:47 PM

Voters at the voting booth are less likely to consider the implications of voting this guy or that guy into office in terms of getting government funds for their state, but I can assure you that state legislators definitely have that sort of thing on their mind. Seems like an especially bad idea to me.

Woops, you already made my point.

crr6 on December 5, 2010 at 12:47 PM

CPT. Charles on December 5, 2010 at 12:10 PM

Precisely the correct two structural reforms needed.
To complete the proposal, the proper size of the
House of Representatives is about 6000 members.

Can’t house that many in the Capitol? Correct, so meet virtually from the state capitals.

With districts that small, ordinary people without deep pockets can successfully run for office, so we can repeal all the nonsense election laws trying to have the money in the system needed to communicate with districts that are too large, while hopelessly trying to contain corruption or its appearance.

Rev Snow on December 5, 2010 at 12:48 PM

Funny how after liberals rejoiced when the Supreme Court pulled a right to privacy out of their ass
slickwillie2001 on December 5, 2010 at 12:42 PM

Do you think your rights are limited to those which are expressly spelled out in the Constitution? If so, how can you square that with the 9th amendment?

crr6 on December 5, 2010 at 12:49 PM

Mord on December 5, 2010 at 12:45 PM

You sound very educated on the issues to me. To steal a line for an old Doris Day movie, “You’re getting education and schooling confused.” Or as my father used to say, “some of the dumbest people I know have college degrees.”

Tommy_G on December 5, 2010 at 12:50 PM

I’m somewhat in favor of a repeal amendment, though not 100% Any time one mucks with the Constitution, caution should be the watchword. I do think you’ve set up a couple of strawman arguments, though, Ed. Consider:

It seems unlikely that any Congress would produce a two-thirds vote to create a states veto.

True, but the 17th amendment itself was passed by Congress because the states were coming close to the two-thirds mark needed to call a convention. The Senate finally caved to the pressure in order to retain some control over the amendment that would be proposed. The same might well be true of state calls for a convention to consider a repeal amendment.

That leaves only a Constitutional convention, which might indeed pass it — along with a lot of other, perhaps unpleasant, amendments. Some believe that Constitutional conventions can be limited in scope, but we’ve only had one, and it replaced entirely the foundational document of the United States. It’s an opening to a lot of potential mischief.

An Article V convention is specifically an amendment proposing convention, per the text. Any amendments issuing from it would still have to be approved by three-fourths of the states. The “runaway convention” is a myth, a constitutional monster under the bed that goes away when the light of reason is turned on.

Let’s say for argument’s sake that Congress approves and the states ratify the amendment. What happens when Congress passes a law? How long do the states have to get two-thirds of the legislatures to demand repeal?

It’s a legitimate question, but hardly a fatal issue; a time limit could be included in the text of whatever amendment was finally passed and sent to the states.

I do have a problem with the two-thirds threshold for repeal, however. States repealing a federal law is in my mind on the same level as their power to approve amendments to the Constitution. Thus, repealing should require three-fourths of the legislatures to agree, not two-thirds.

Barnett’s repeal amendment was part of his larger Bill of Federalism proposal, which is worth taking a look at.

Regarding the 17th Amendment:

Those who want to see government restrained by the states would do better to repeal the 17th Amendment.

I’ll have a date with Angelina Jolie before that ever takes place. The people would never stand for their right to directly elect senators being taken away: either they’d pressure their legislatures to establish direct election, as happened in some states before the 17th was passed, or they would pressure the state legislatures to vote no on a repeal of the 17th. Going back to the old rule will never happen.

The 17th was passed because of very real problems that had been noted for nearly a century prior: some state legislatures were so deadlocked that a Senate seat was empty for years at a stretch. By the Gilded Age, some were so thoroughly bought that their Senate seats were for sale or the property of one company or plutocrat or another. This is a problem that happens when you concentrate too much power (in this case, the election of US senators) in too few hands. Do we really want to recreate those conditions? Do we want Senate seats bought and sold on the basis of who gives the biggest donations to state legislators? Public employee unions would just love this.

(Now watch someone point out how I’ve set up my own strawmen here. :) )

Related: I wrote about the repeal amendment proposal a few weeks ago. It’s a fascinating question.

irishspy on December 5, 2010 at 12:53 PM

I thought that state legislators could repeal a Federal law if 2/3 (or mayne 3/4) or them voted to repeal at the state level? Isn’t that how the 21st Amendment un-did Prohibition (the 18th?)

And how many states are suing (or plan to sue) to repeal ObamaCare? Has to be 30 or so…

VastRightWingConspirator on December 5, 2010 at 12:53 PM

I still can’t wrap my mind around exactly why appointed or selected senators would behave a whole lot differently. And why they would be more properly accountable?

Norbitz on December 5, 2010 at 12:23 PM

First, one of the ways Øbamacare met its budget goals was to push expenses off to the states to find in their own budgets. Senators appointed by state legislatures would never vote for such a thing lest they find themselves out of a job. This practice is called unfunded mandates and Øbamacare wasn’t the first law to do this nor will it be the last.

Second, the federal government has a habit of attaching strings to their largesse. For example, if you want highway funds, you have to set your speed limits at 55MPH. Again, no such Senator would vote for these type of strings to be attached to funding like that.

I say why can’t we have both? Put a clause in the amendment that ties it to the 17th amendment. If the 17th is repealed, the repeal amendment goes with it and vice versa.

Kafir on December 5, 2010 at 12:54 PM

Rev Snow on December 5, 2010 at 12:48 PM

Actually, I believe the number is closer to 600 (approx.), but on the main, your points are correct.

There are too many artificially ‘bloated’ districts.

CPT. Charles on December 5, 2010 at 12:55 PM

Lame objections. Like there are a ton of amendments states having been saving up together until they can call a meeting. Why haven’t they called a meeting?

Dumb.

And copied from somewhere else, though I forget where.

misterpeasea on December 5, 2010 at 12:55 PM

I thought that state legislators could repeal a Federal law if 2/3 (or mayne 3/4) or them voted to repeal at the state level?

The only way the States can get rid of a federal law as of now is either 1) calling a convention of 2/3 of the states and managing to pass a constitutional amendment repealing it, or 2) suing to enjoin it on the grounds that it’s unconstitutional. But if the law is constitutional, and there’s not enough popular will to pass a constitutional amendment the States are out of luck.

crr6 on December 5, 2010 at 12:58 PM

Repeal the 17th and let the States have their ‘ambassadors to the federal government’ as I believe it was put in the Federalist Papers.

Get rid of the 16th to kill the income tax that varies by income for rates. This gives the States the pursestrings on the federal government.

If you want to do something positive set the representation rate at 1:30,000 and make it impossible for there to be any federally paid personal staff for the House.

The State’s Embassy, no income tax, and Maximum House Amendment.

Power to the States, limited power to the federal government and Maximum representation so the people can be heard in diversity Amendment.

Works for me!

ajacksonian on December 5, 2010 at 12:59 PM

Proud Rino on December 5, 2010 at 12:35 PM

You make a good point about the state legislature appointing senators who are less accountable to the voters and more inclined to get pork for the state they represent, but I disagree with you on the “pork”. Senators cannot spend or collect money, only congress can, or am I wrong? See the latest SNAFU with that food safety bill. We could see congress strategically assigning pork to states in order to sway senate votes, but that happens anyway. It could completely upend the way that DC operates and I think that is what many people here want to see happen. Unintended consequences will happen, but something has to change.

Mord on December 5, 2010 at 1:02 PM

Rev Snow on December 5, 2010 at 12:48 PM

Also, capping House districts at 50,000 would lead to a rise in third parties. That, and having so many members would assure that the House concentrate on its enumerated powers, since it would have time for little else.

Kafir on December 5, 2010 at 1:06 PM

Those who want to see government restrained by the states would do better to repeal the 17th Amendment… That, too, has its drawbacks. Senators would be much less accountable to voters,

Bass ackwards.

Since state legislators appoint and recall senators under the old scheme, pressure need only be brought to bear on individual state reps to have them influence a state’s US senators.

If my church camped out in Chris Coons’ parking lot to try to influence his vote, he could care less. Even less would a senator from a much more populous state care.

But if we camped out on the front step of the office of a state rep, who has maybe 5,000 constituents instead of 800,000 or 25 million, we would get his attention. Then he would tell Coons, “Hey, you have forty state reps to make happy if you want their vote on a recall measure. One of them -me- is not happy. Here’s why…”

As I was listening to this on Fox the other day, the first thing I thought of after hearing one of the sponsors describe it was, “We don’t need a new amendment, we need to appeal one.

Akzed on December 5, 2010 at 1:07 PM

repeal one.

Akzed on December 5, 2010 at 1:10 PM

That brings us back to the proposal itself. Barnett’s plan would allow states to band together to override Congress in an attempt to restore the balance of power between sovereign states and the central government. That should interest at least some of the states, but is this the best way to get to that desired end?

The states have that power already through the use of Nullification. Just because the feds pass a law doesn’t mean the States have to follow it if the states deem the law unconstitutional. Read the book Nullification. It explains how it works.

mizflame98 on December 5, 2010 at 1:11 PM

How about an amendment to clarify the Commerce Clause, or ‘the common good’? It seems most of what this repeal amendment is seeking to do is to override the expansive SC decisions that all manner of local actions are subject to interstate commerce or ‘the common good’.

I’d rather see a permanent rollback in Federal authority period, not just on single issues.

GnuBreed on December 5, 2010 at 1:16 PM

Tommy_G on December 5, 2010 at 12:50 PM

LOL thanks, but almost all I know about this stuff are “facts” from commenters and blog posters on sites like this. I love learning this stuff though. I lurk a lot more than I comment because most of the time I can’t think of anything to add to the discussion.

Mord on December 5, 2010 at 1:19 PM

How about an amendment to clarify the Commerce Clause, or ‘the common good’? It seems most of what this repeal amendment is seeking to do is to override the expansive SC decisions that all manner of local actions are subject to interstate commerce or ‘the common good’.

GnuBreed on December 5, 2010 at 1:16 PM

I’m guessing you mean “general welfare” rather than “common good.”

If you passed constitutional amendments saying something like “The Commerce Clause shall only be construed as reaching Commerce which is truly interstate commerce, and not intrastate activity which “substantially affects” interstate Commerce” that’d be fine with me. My problem is when you guys lobby courts to interpret the Constitution based upon your political (libertarian) views. If you manage to get enough support to enshrine those views in the actual Constitution, more power to you.

crr6 on December 5, 2010 at 1:22 PM

GnuBreed on December 5, 2010 at 1:16 PM

Now THAT is a good idea! The commerce clause jumped the shark with Obamacare. We might not even need to ammend it if Obamacare gets struck down. Obamacare stands that clause on it’s head by forcing interstate commerce instead of regulating it.

Mord on December 5, 2010 at 1:25 PM

crr6 on December 5, 2010 at 1:22 PM

Yes, ‘general welfare’ is what I should have said.

GnuBreed on December 5, 2010 at 1:27 PM

My problem is when you guys lobby courts to interpret the Constitution based upon your political (libertarian) views. If you manage to get enough support to enshrine those views in the actual Constitution, more power to you.

crr6 on December 5, 2010 at 1:22 PM

Uh … wasn’t the entire point of the Constitution to define federal power so as to limit it? I’d pretty sure the states wouldn’t have signed onto a document that would eventually be used to usurp their sovereignty and authority.

Secondly, you guys have lobbied the courts to interpret the Constitution based on your political (progressive) views.

darwin on December 5, 2010 at 1:29 PM

I would be nice if the Senators were appointed by and served at the pleasure of the governors, rather than having 6 year terms.

Count to 10 on December 5, 2010 at 1:31 PM

Meh, if you’re going to aim, aim high. So, instead of pussy-footing around, let’s go full Heinlein: third branch of congress that can only repeal laws. Laws are repealed via 1/3rd minority vote. Ok, in all honesty, I would NOT want to live in the first country that tried it…

I’d just be happy with an amendment that required all House members to be in their district when they cast a vote for legislation (modern communications technology makes the need for a capitol obsolete) and that required all House committee appointments to be made via lottery. Yes, it completely destroys the major tools to enforce party discipline, but why should the party oligarchy have that kind of power anyway?

JSchuler on December 5, 2010 at 1:36 PM

I gotta say the “Repeal the 17th Amendment” movement is one of the weirdest and funniest things I’ve seen recently in politics. Really? You think state legislatures can do a better job picking Senators than the people? This is what is going to solve problems?

Proud Rino on December 5, 2010 at 12:35 PM

Namely, it gets rid of the incumbency factor and the sense of royalty that accompanies it. Do you think that a State that has flipped Red in both houses and the Governorship is going to keep a Donk as its Senate Rep?

Without the 17th, we’d never have LBJ, Robert Byrd, Helms, Strom staying in the Senate as long as they have. Granted Teddy would stay due to the Blueness of Mass. But then again, if that’s who Mass wants to represent them, its their perogative.

Bottomline, it’s not about “better”, rather about balance of power: The House represent the popular will of the people in their districts, hence the two year re-appointment, while the Senate should represent the State govt that sends them to DC, and in turn, the State Legislature/Governor answers to the people that elected them.

Imagine, w/o the 17th, November’s results would have sent a different crew to DC now. Some that just got elected would have never gotten there, but plenty others wouldn’t get there due to the incoming tide – it all depends on the State’s rule as to Govenor and/or legislative appointment.

To whit, Miller might be in, then again maybe Murky would stay depending on the rules Alaska chose for itself. But know this, “mavericks” like Ben Nelson would have been fortwith replaced if he chose to ignore the will of the State. And Congress overall, would think twice about ramming stuff thru w/o reading bills and considering the impact on their State.

AH_C on December 5, 2010 at 1:38 PM

ajacksonian on December 5, 2010 at 12:59 PM

The income tax is the last tax you want to get rid of. Almost all the other taxes are much more harmful all around.
However, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to cap the marginal tax rates at 20% or so.

Count to 10 on December 5, 2010 at 1:41 PM

Actually, this isn’t particularly radical. Jefferson believed that states had the right to nullify laws they considered unconstitutional.

Arguably a significant portion of federal law is unconstitutional, so for all practical purposes, Jefferson’s notion would allow each state to decide if they want to follow federal law.

Keep in mind, that “Jefferson had an idea” is apparently grounds for creating law – the “separation of church and state” comes from a private letter from Jefferson where he used the term, of course to mean almost exactly the opposite of how it is used now. Basically, he agreed that just because you belong to a religious groups the mainstream sees as odd (in this case it was a Baptist group), is NOT grounds for denying you participation in the political process.

18-1 on December 5, 2010 at 1:42 PM

This is a great idea! I think it’s one that there would by popular support for.

JellyToast on December 5, 2010 at 1:44 PM

Oh, and on the question of uncertainty in law, I think this would induce a lot less of it.

Take Obamacare for example. Even if Congress passed it, you could be certain the states would repeal it.

And in fact, it would give conservatives a MUCH greater level of control over federal legislation – as we tend to control a large number of small states, and the left controls a small number of large states.

Or to put it another way, this would create another check on the federal abuse of power we see now, and would serve as a replacement for the level of power the states lost with the 17th Amendment.

Our solons would not only have to decide if they could pay off enough legislators to get something through Congress and the Presidency, but would have to craft something that appealed to most states. This reduces the ability of a majority accidentally propelled to power, as in 2008, from running wild before the people could constrain them.

18-1 on December 5, 2010 at 1:46 PM

We DON’T need a new amendment! Just repeal the 17th and that will take care of it!!!!

xler8bmw on December 5, 2010 at 1:46 PM

Works for me!

ajacksonian on December 5, 2010 at 12:59 PM

Ditto.

AH_C on December 5, 2010 at 1:49 PM

A modification of the 17th Amendment that allowed the states to appoint one Senator, with the other Senator being elected at large by the people would be a good solution.

Troy Rasmussen on December 5, 2010 at 1:49 PM

A modification of the 17th Amendment that allowed the states to appoint one Senator, with the other Senator being elected at large by the people would be a good solution.

Troy Rasmussen on December 5, 2010 at 1:49 PM

That could get interesting…

Count to 10 on December 5, 2010 at 1:53 PM

On the surface I like the idea of a repeal amendment. But the Constitution specifically authorizes Congress — and nobody else — to legislate on certain matters.

A repeal amendment would effectively make the Constitution contradict itself.

flipflop on December 5, 2010 at 1:53 PM

If we still had a Senate that was appointed by the state legislatures as the founders originally wrote, we wouldn’t need this amendment.

crosspatch on December 5, 2010 at 1:57 PM

Actually, this isn’t particularly radical. Jefferson believed that states had the right to nullify laws they considered unconstitutional.

Arguably a significant portion of federal law is unconstitutional, so for all practical purposes, Jefferson’s notion would allow each state to decide if they want to follow federal law.

Jefferson also had no role in drafting or ratifying the Constitution, so he’s hardly a constitutional authority. Note that Madison, more than any other the crafter of the Constitution, expressly denied that nullification was allowed under the Constitution.

Allowing individual states to choose which laws they want to follow and which they do not is akin to shredding the Constitution and the country along with it.

AngusMc on December 5, 2010 at 2:05 PM

Just require voters to provide proof of id and citizenship and the problem goes away.

It makes no sense to think that a state rep is going to make a better vote for Senator than the people who voted for the state rep.

pedestrian on December 5, 2010 at 2:05 PM

Perhaps the biggest single problem we have is the absolute abuse of the commerce clause by the federal government. Everything else is just hitting at the margins. If our representatives (and courts) would actually take a reasonable approach, I think that most of our problems would dissipate. Of course, that means that they would have to be able to read and understand the Constitution, the Federalist papers, other founding documents and the founding fathers (especially Madison). At present, I’m not all that hopeful…

Natrium on December 5, 2010 at 2:07 PM

Having states directly elect senators would be terrible. I do not want one more level of corruption between me and firing My senator. Just elect senators that respect states righs!

GardenGnome on December 5, 2010 at 2:10 PM

Senators would be much less accountable to voters, having won their position not by popular ballot but through the favor of a governor or legislature. Party discipline would evaporate, which has its good points as well; Senators would not be accountable to a party, but to the interests of their state governments.

Those are features and not bugs at all! The people are represented by the house, the states as sovereign political entities were supposed to be represented by the senate but the 17th amendment changed that and now there is no check on the overreach of the federal monster.

crashland on December 5, 2010 at 2:16 PM

I think Ed is right about this. Some of the liberal reaction has been over the top and hysterical for sure, but I do think there is a very real possibility of this getting out of hand.

Repealing the 17th Amendment would make more sense I think. And I am not sure that it would mean that Tea Party types could not elected to the Senate. The idea would be to elect more of those type of people to the state legislatures, after all they would be the representatives who voted for those Senators.

Terrye on December 5, 2010 at 2:18 PM

This is all unnecessary. The right of the states to repeal congressional laws can be found in the Good and Plenty Clause.

All sorts of good stuff in there, just ask John Conyers.

Left Coast Right Mind on December 5, 2010 at 2:20 PM

I think that it would be poetic for us to “end around” Obama like he’s using agencies to end around Congress. Go ahead, if we have the state legislatures to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Obamacare…do it.

joeindc44 on December 5, 2010 at 2:22 PM

Uh … wasn’t the entire point of the Constitution to define federal power so as to limit it?

No, I that wasn’t the “entire point of the Constitution,” no matter what Randy BarneTTT tells you.

A constitution is not intended to embody a particular economic theory, whether of paternalism and the organic relation of the citizen to the State or of laissez faire. It is made for people of fundamentally differing views…

Secondly, you guys have lobbied the courts to interpret the Constitution based on your political (progressive) views.

darwin on December 5, 2010 at 1:29 PM

No, don’t think so. If you look throughout history (namely the days of Lochner, and today w/the health insurance mandate) it’s often the conservatives who are arguing that their libertarian conceptions of “liberty” and laissez faire economics are embodied within, and should be enforced by, the Constitution itself. You just implied the same thing above (“The very reason the COnstitution was created was to enforce my libertarian political views”)

It’s typically the “liberals” who say that Courts should be more deferential to legislatures except perhaps when certain social rights are implicated, and that courts shouldn’t strike down legislation unless it clearly violates a Constitutional provision, or isn’t authorized by a Constitutional provision.

I’m surprised this is all news to you.

crr6 on December 5, 2010 at 2:22 PM

Allowing individual states to choose which laws they want to follow and which they do not is akin to shredding the Constitution and the country along with it.

AngusMc on December 5, 2010 at 2:05 PM

I see it as the converse. Is Obamacare Constitutional? Allowing states to follow the Constitution instead of federal dictates would be a powerful check on government overreach.

In this case, the deep blue states could follow Obamacare if they wanted, the other states could tell Obama to pound sand.

Or consider Obama’s restrictions on oil drilling. Or if he gets cap n’ tax through. Etc.

Depending on Anthony Kennedy, or any 5 SC justices to protect the Constitution is simply not working.

18-1 on December 5, 2010 at 2:26 PM

Count to 10 on December 5, 2010 at 1:41 PM

The income tax with different proportions gives the federal government too much power to get their hands on cash. That is why the Framers made sure that any tax put upon the people would be done equally and the States then have to figure out how to collect their share.

We are to be treated equally under the law, and the income tax no longer makes that the case: Congress can now reward and punish based on income. Look at the tax code to see where that gets you today. When Congress has to think of all Americans as Americans, equal in our stature without respect to our income, it is then chaste in spending as it realizes that its taxes fall upon all… and with the States having a say in the Senate they have their input on what is too high to collect via the bills needing their sign-off.

The concept is to keep the beast small and starved. Getting rid of the income tax does that as the alternatives are harmful to the economy. That is why it was made that way originally, and we unwisely decided to wander from that path during the Progressive era when ‘only the rich’ would be taxed. There are politicians still treating us as income sources for the government, not individuals nor as a people. That must end.

ajacksonian on December 5, 2010 at 2:26 PM

I’m thinking that a 2/3 or 3/4 majority for levying taxes and a 50%+1 vote for cutting spending would be a nice amendment….

cthulhu on December 5, 2010 at 2:26 PM

I am sorry Ed, but I think you have spent far too little time considering this amendment. You do realize it would take two thirds of the states to repeal legislation if this amendment were ratified? States would rarely act to do so simply because of this one fact. And you can not convince me that any legislation they ever repeal would be so destabilizing to the nation as to warrant us wishing for a return to the halcyon days of the 111th Congress.

Also, you get the time limit aspect of amendments very wrong. Time limits only exist in proposed amendments when congress places them there upon passing one. There are a handful of amendments that could technically still be ratified, two of them over 200 years old. In fact, our last amendment was 200 years old when ratified. But you are over thinking application anyways. The simple language stands on its own. ALL legislation by congress could be repealed under such an amendment. It is also important to note this amendment would not grant states legislative authority, only super majority repeal authority.

NotCoach on December 5, 2010 at 2:31 PM

We don’t need a Stuff-It clause. We just need leaders who won’t cave in to taking Uncle Sugar’s offer of magic money.
Return to sender with a raspberry.

Limerick on December 5, 2010 at 2:34 PM

2. Repeal the 17th Amendment and force the election of Senators back to the state legislatures.

CPT. Charles on December 5, 2010 at 12:10 PM

It would not necessarily force senators to be selected by state legislatures. Under the rules prior to the 17th Amendment states could select senators in any many they wish. And most had gone to a popular vote system for doing so. That is why the 17th passed to begin with. Most states were already doing it.

NotCoach on December 5, 2010 at 2:35 PM

ajacksonian on December 5, 2010 at 2:26 PM

That congress hides graft, kickbacks, and general manipulation as “tax credits”, “tax deductions”, and tax brackets, that doesn’t invalidate the fact that the income tax just a better form of taxation than sales taxes, property taxes, or tariffs.
The reality is that the simpler the tax system is, less less it is corrupted.

Count to 10 on December 5, 2010 at 2:41 PM

It’s typically the “liberals” who say that Courts should be more deferential to legislatures except perhaps when certain social rights are implicated, and that courts shouldn’t strike down legislation unless it clearly violates a Constitutional provision, or isn’t authorized by a Constitutional provision.

I’m surprised this is all news to you.

crr6 on December 5, 2010 at 2:22 PM

Wrong.

fossten on December 5, 2010 at 2:42 PM

It’s typically the “liberals” who say that Courts should be more deferential to legislatures except perhaps when certain social rights are implicated, and that courts shouldn’t strike down legislation unless it clearly violates a Constitutional provision, or isn’t authorized by a Constitutional provision.

I’m surprised this is all news to you.

crr6 on December 5, 2010 at 2:22 PM

Well of course liberals want the courts to be more deferential to their legislation.

Let the Republicans pass legislation that impedes liberal “progress” and that deference suddenly disappears. Special interest groups fall all over each other rushing to be the first to file begging the courts for injunctions and whatever.

darwin on December 5, 2010 at 2:52 PM

Well of course liberals want the courts to be more deferential to their legislation.

Let the Republicans pass legislation that impedes liberal “progress” and that deference suddenly disappears.

darwin on December 5, 2010 at 2:52 PM

No, I don’t think that’s correct.

crr6 on December 5, 2010 at 2:58 PM

If it isn’t limited to the same session, then this will remove a great deal of certainty and stability from the American legal system and to acts of Congress, which is after all the people’s branch. Consider tax laws on which no one could rely, regulatory and deregulatory efforts that could take years to clarify, and then think how investors both here and abroad will react in that environment. And that isn’t even getting to the budget, which appears subject to this amendment as well. The states could force a shutdown of the federal government. This seems like a prescription not just for gridlock and instability, but also an invitation for an expansion of power for the executive branch to run the federal government by executive order and agency power.

I think this overestimates the frequency with which such power might be used. In order for that to happen, you’d have to get 66 separate legislative bodies to agree to it, and while it isn’t explicitly mentioned, it would seem that you’d need 33 governors too. On things like the budget, the probability of that happening before the question became moot is extremely low. It’s a big hill to climb on any issue, and its use would be restricted to especially egregious laws.

My first reaction is that it looks like something I’d like to have in the toolbox, but it probably wouldn’t be much use. Unless something happened to where you really needed it. And Congress will never pass it, so we’re just window shopping anyway.

Pablo on December 5, 2010 at 2:59 PM

“A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have.”

byThomas Jefferson

“Remember that a government big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take away everything you have.”

Barry Goldwater

“A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.” -Gerald Ford

An overpowering government means overpowering slavery.

There’s no such thing as benevolent government.

Speakup on December 5, 2010 at 3:09 PM

We already have one. It’s called the 10th Amendment. State Nullification needs to be practiced again. Wisconsin did it well with the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.

Tim Burton on December 5, 2010 at 3:17 PM

“Consider that in this past election, a Tea Party would have captured as many seats in the House as it did this year, but the results in the Senate would be much different. One would never see a Rand Paul, and possibly not a Marco Rubio, either, and Russ Feingold would probably still have his seat. Ron Johnson, a political outsider, would never have even been considered in Wisconsin for that position.”

Sure the results in the Senate might be different, but they might not. Rubio, for instance, was Speaker of the House in FL and would have many connections to those in the state charged with choosing a Senator and if Rubio put out word he’d be interested, it could happen.

And Feingold, for instance, WI has now gone R in the state houses hasn’t it? It might not have affected this race but it would others upcoming and this would be true in many other states that have also gone R.

One thing that repeal of the 17th would do is put more emphasis on constituents in states to pay greater attention to the goings on in their State capitals and provide good reasons for calling your state House and Senate reps when controversial Fed law is being considered.

One aspect of repealing the 17th, IIRC, is that states do not have the authority to recall a sitting Senator one sent to DC. Pressure brought to bear on sitting Senators will only be effective if the Senator wants to be reelected/reappointed by the state.

Dusty on December 5, 2010 at 3:18 PM

The Amendment provision is what makes the Constitution a living document.

Otherwise it would be a paralyzed relic.

But this idea will never pass.

An Amendment declaring that any ‘religion’ which endorses the overthrow of the Constitution and the establishment of a relgious tyranny in its place should be stripped of its protections under the First Amendment has about as much chance of passage.

(Until a city is vaporized by members of that unmentionable religious persuasion… which starts with and I and ends with a slam.)

profitsbeard on December 5, 2010 at 3:21 PM

We already have one. It’s called the 10th Amendment. State Nullification needs to be practiced again. Wisconsin did it well with the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.

Tim Burton on December 5, 2010 at 3:17 PM

And South Carolina utterly failed at it when Grandpappy Dem Andy Jackson sent in the boys to seize the warfs and warehouses. Of course Barry is no Jackson, or Polk, and surely no Lincoln, so hey….go for it. Anything to poke a stick in Uncle Sugar’s face is fine by me.

Limerick on December 5, 2010 at 3:28 PM

Proud Rino on December 5, 2010 at 12:35 PM

You? Again?

No, I don’t think that’s correct.

crr6 on December 5, 2010 at 2:58 PM

Really? Who would have thought?/

CWforFreedom on December 5, 2010 at 3:33 PM

It would not necessarily force senators to be selected by state legislatures. Under the rules prior to the 17th Amendment states could select senators in any many they wish. And most had gone to a popular vote system for doing so. That is why the 17th passed to begin with. Most states were already doing it.

While true, the country at that time was a very different place. The majority of the population was still rural and spread out across the state. Today we see the populations of many states concentrated in one or two urban areas and the political machines of those one or two cities effectively control the Senate delegation of the states.

Basically the political power from a “popular vote” perspective is concentrated now, which wasn’t the case at the turn of the 20th century.

crosspatch on December 5, 2010 at 3:46 PM

Make the repeal of the 17th coincide with a requirement that Senators are selected by the States’ legislatures/governors.

Popular voting for Senators defeats the purpose of that house.

——

The “uncertainty” introduced by having States “nullify” Federal laws is no worse than the uncertainty that one Congress will undo the work of a previous Congress.

mockmook on December 5, 2010 at 4:01 PM

Interesting… but since the California state legislature (both houses) has been DEMOCRAT since the 1960 census and subsequent reapportionment, we’d have never had such Republican gems elected as S.I. Hayakawa… and you’d still have to deal with Feinstein and Boxer…

Khun Joe on December 5, 2010 at 4:29 PM

Kill the 17th amendment and remove the artificial cap on House members and we should be good.

Also Amend the 26th to limit the franchise to all aged 21 and up only-unless serving in the Armed Forces-then aged 18 for all of them. Sorry but I don’t trust many of my fellow young college age peers

Full Disclosure: I am 24 and have voted in every election I am eligible for except for the most recent one, due to not being registered in time after moving to a new state.

SgtSVJones on December 5, 2010 at 4:46 PM

Comment pages: 1 2