Scalia: Citizens Shouldn’t Be Able To Vote For Senators

Just how radical is Justice Scalia?  Well, for starters he doesn’t believe that citizens should have the right to elect their U.S. Senators. 

In a colorful debate with Justice Breyer, Scalia came out strongly opposed to the 17th Amendment, a position that places the Justice to the far, far right of even many of his conservative colleagues on the Court.  According to Scalia “There’s very little [of the Constitution] that I would change.  I would change it back to what they wrote, in some respects.  The 17th Amendment has changed things enormously.  We changed that in a burst of progressivism in 1913, and you can trace the decline of so-called states’ rights throughout the rest of the 20th century.”

For Justice Scalia, the preferable way to elect representatives to the Senate is not to grant citizens the right to vote directly on their representatives, but to have state legislatures appoint Senators.  It’s a view that is hostile to voting rights generally and one, given Scalia’s opinion in Bush v. Gore, that should really come as little surprise.

Contrast Scalia’s hostility toward individual voting rights with his embrace of corporate speech rights, or individual gun rights, and it’s easy to see how his jurisprudence reflects less of a constitutional fidelity and almost entirely a hard right conservative political agenda.  At 74, Scalia is the longest sitting Justice currently on the Court and one who wields a tremendous amount of influence with the other conservative members.  Given these recent public comments, it is clear just how far to the right the Court has lurched.

photo courtesy of stephen masker via Flickr

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Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman5 years ago

I disagree....thanx for post

L.W. B.
L.W. Brown5 years ago

I am more coming to believe in term limits for all: stay in too long & you start believing the job belongs to you, rather than us. ReCons started the movement for limits, but then (hypocrites, as usual) always stay in well past their original promise. Out with them all - give fresh ideas a chance. And maybe draft candidates by lottery rather than letting parties nominate professional hacks: wanting to be elected should disqualify you as psychologically unstable.

Ronald Ellsworth
Ronald E.5 years ago

This nut case IS insane but his argument makes sense for the parties in power, and this Supreme Court is doing everything in it's power to swing political power to the Right Wing-Nutters.

susan twentyeight
Past Member 5 years ago

Hate to say it but i agree with him on this.

The original method of electing Senators was largely to keep state legislatures "in the game" and preserve some of their authority, which the 17th does undermine a bit (as was Wilson's passion) and opens the door for state legislatures becoming irrelevent, as they've largely become (as was Wilson's plan.. now why would a man who openly said it was necessary for future Americans to accept a socioeconomic caste system run by global industrialists want to give the proles more control? He didn't, and knew the 17a ultimately wouldn't but would lay the foundation for the "federalist" structure his own corporate "partners" sought.

Over the years as the federal gov has gotten more and more ugly and off the leash, i tend to take the view that the closer the enemy, the easier they are to fight, so i've come to view localisation of authroity as a structural value, apart from the subjective partisan social values of those peopling the structures, so i'll tend not to support more federal authority even in cases where "my side" on a specific issue can gain from it - in this case, ironically, my value of direct democracy being more rights-respecting than representative. So i'm in the bizarro position of empowering one evil (state govs) to help de-tooth a worse one (fed gov), even if it gives me less direct input into the "worse" one.

It seems masses-empowering but there was some ugly historical intent behind it on Wilson's part.

Linda H.
Linda h.5 years ago

Oh, wait 2nd Amendment blahblah. Hey, they are all up for a realistic updating. So do we get to,hmmmm, vote on all that?lol

Bob W.
Bob W.5 years ago

Actually the 17th amendment has been terrible for states rights.
Do any of you have any knowledge of the 17th amendment and why it was enacted?

Do some reading and then decide.

Doug D.
Doug D.5 years ago

I think we should be able to vote on our Supreme Court Justices!

Catherine Turley
Catherine Turley5 years ago

reps and senators are the only votes we ought to be casting. i think it's ridiculous that we vote for people to represent us, and then we override their decisions via propositions. average citizens do not have the time or the ability to scrutinize bills... which is why we hire people to do it for us.

Robert Coleman
Robert C.5 years ago

Yeah? Well... I don't think that Scalia should be allowed to vote in the Supreme Court. Sometimes, I swear this guy is missing a chromosome.

Past Member
Past Member 5 years ago

The AZ bid to repeal the 14th amendment is not for the US but rather the AZ constitution, affecting only AZ residents. So sucks for us, but not for you.