Reinventing Federalism

By Kurtz, Karl T. | State Legislatures, March 1994 | Go to article overview

Reinventing Federalism


Kurtz, Karl T., State Legislatures


At a hearing in Seattle on a constitutional challenge to Washington state's limit on the terms of members of Congress, U.S. District Court Judge William L. Dwyer came up with a new idea that could help revive American federalism. Exploring the extent to which states can place restrictions on the qualifications of members of Congress, he asked lawyers on both sides if it would be constitutional for states to impose a requirement of six years of service in a state legislature before a candidate could run for federal office.

What a great idea!

State legislatures across the nation should immediately initiate state constitutional amendments requiring six years of state legislative service for anyone who runs for the U.S. House of Representatives, Senate or president. This step would simultaneously repair the damage done to the federal system 80 years ago when the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution established the direct election of senators and patch one of the biggest holes in the argument in favor of congressional term limits.

In the Founding Fathers' original concept of federalism, senators directly represented not just the states but state government. Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution stated: "The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two senators from each State, chosen by the legislature thereof, for a term of six Years."

State legislatures chose U.S. senators until the early part of this century. This method produced such legendary senators as Daniel Webster, Stephen Douglas and Robert LaFollette.

Admittedly, the system of electing senators by the state legislatures had problems. Frequent and prolonged deadlocks between the two houses in state legislatures often left states unrepresented in the Senate, and there were frequent charges of corruption in the selection process. By the 1890s, under pressure from the Populists, many states, especially those under one-party control, had adopted direct primaries for Senate races to advise legislative party caucuses on the choice of U.S. senators.

Finally, in 1913 the 17th Amendment providing for direct election of senators was approved. Although this is undoubtedly a popular provision today, it eliminated the direct representation of state government in Washington and weakened the federal system. Many U.S. senators have little or no experience in state government, and the electoral incentive to curry popular voter favor often results in legislation that is inimical to state government and federalism.

In fits of frustration over Congress' transgressions against federalism, I have often thought that states should begin a campaign to repeal the 17th Amendment. But Judge Dwyer has come up with a more subtle notion.

While maintaining the people's right of direct election, the Dwyer provision would accomplish indirectly the same goal as state legislative election of U. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Reinventing Federalism
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.