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Ron Paul Doesn't Like the 17th Amendment. Do You?

A Magic Bullet Will Be Needed to Kill the 17th Amendment.

An article by Paul Hanson

The U.S Constitution "originally" laid out the separation of powers
between the federal government and the State governments in the first paragraph of article 1 section 3. How this paragraph accomplished that goal will become clear later in this article. This paragraph states:

"The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, chosen by the LEGISLATURE thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote."

Then in Article I, section 4 we also find this:

"The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators
and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the
Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the PLACES of chusing Senators." Those places were to be in the State Legislatures.

This balance of power was then permanently locked in by the last
clause of article 5. I call this clause the magic bullet because
it can't be stopped by any means that I can see. Article 5 dealing
with amendments to the Constitution clearly states:

"... and that NO State, without its consent, shall be deprived of its
equal Suffrage in the Senate."

By including this in the section dealing with amendments, it is
obvious that the sections of the Constitution concerning selection
of Senators and the suffrage they provided was not amendable unless ALL of States consented and that this was to be a permanent provision. All of the above shows how adamant the founders were about this point by referring to the States representation on no less than 3 occasions. If even ONE State objected to changes in an area that would affect their suffrage, that change would be invalid. The normal ratification process could not be used to alter this principle. Yet that is exactly what happened when the 17th amendment was adopted.

The father of our Constitution, James Madison, in Federalist 43,
further supports this claim. He states that the Constitution was
completely amendable with two exceptions only. One of the exceptions dealt with the importation of slaves and became moot after 1808. The other was the State's equal suffrage in the Senate.

It appears, then, that this all boils down to definition. What is the
definition of State suffrage? In Federalist 59, Hamilton explains
State suffrage as the State legislatures having a voice in the
Senate. The 17th amendment effectively canceled that voice and
turned it over to the citizens of the States. I submit to you that
now, however, this definition has been left entirely to the
discretion of the States themselves. The courts have no say in the
matter. I will explain this bold statement in detail later. Why do I
feel this issue vitally important to restoring States rights? For
the same reasons our Founders did, to support the concept of
federalism and the balance of power between the States and federal government.

This concept strictly limited the federal governments powers to those specifically enumerated in Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S.
Constitution. The People, through the Constitution, permitted the
national government to exercise certain enumerated powers. By
limiting the federal government's power and granting the States
nearly unlimited power, the federal government would merely be
protecting the States collectively and allowing the States to
handle their own affairs.

Federalism allowed the States wide latitude to run their own affairs
and by doing so, created 13 laboratories of freedom to experiment and formulate the best system of self-governance. This situation also created an atmosphere of competition between the States. When a State allowed its inhabitants to prosper and keep what they earn, The State would prosper and be allowed to continue governing its people. When the State government became a burden to them, the people could vote out the tyrants during the next election. Another alternative was for the businesses and the people to move to a State that was more to their liking. Business leaving the State would cause the tax base to erode and so would the peoples support of that government. Sooner or later, either the State government or the people would wake up and correct the problem.

The 17th amendment took away the States protection from the abuses of federal power allowing the federal government to get away with legislating in areas where they had no business doing so. This was a grave error seriously upsetting the balance of power so carefully crafted into our magnificent Constitution. The concept of Federalism was all but destroyed leading to endless abuses by the federal government from which there is no escape.

The enforcement mechanism against federal encroachment and the 10th amendment prior to the invalid 17th was the States' representation in the Senate. The "Peoples House" i.e. the House of Representatives amply represents the people, while the States were to be represented by the Senate.

The States now have no representation and we are experiencing the folly of this venture toward pure democracy today. We were founded as a Republic not a democracy and now we see why. All the States needed to do in the past was to recall or direct their Senators before a bad law made it to the floor of the Senate for a vote and the damage could be stopped in its tracks. Hamilton's Federalist essay 59 addresses this issue directly. This power has been unconstitutionally snatched from the States by the invalid 17th amendment.

Careful study of the 17th amendments ratification reveals at least 10 states or more that failed to do so. These were 10 that failed to "consent" FL, MS, DE, KY, UT, MD, RI, AL, IA and GA. The clear manner in which article 5 is written places the statement dealing with States equal suffrage in the Senate after the words: "Provided that no Amendment which may be made..." further showing that this was an exception to the rule regarding amendments.

With the failure those of 10 states to ratify the 17th, they were
denied their equal suffrage in the Senate without their consent in
violation of Article 5, thus making the 17th amendment invalid.
However, once any state declares the 17th invalid, based on what
I have pointed out here, that State, even though it had previously
consented to the 17th can withdraw its consent anytime it so chooses. Any State that previously consented can say "we no longer consent" because Article 5 mentions nary a word about the permanence of any such consent. The right of the state to withdraw that consent is further fully supported by the clear wording of the 10th amendment:


"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

The power to withdraw that consent is not prohibited by article 5
so the power to withdraw it is reserved and retained by the States. Fits like a glove. All the states need to do is select their Senators in their legislatures and send them to Washington. Simple. And what would the courts say about move such as this? No court can attempt to make the State comply with the 17th because they won't have jurisdiction to try the case. Here's why:

When a sovereign State declares the 17th amendment invalid through an article 5 challenge, the Senate would be unlawfully seated. It would then follow that the Supreme Court is also unlawfully seated as is the entire federal bench because the Senate approves those federal court appointments including the Supreme Court. Anything decided by those federal courts would be
null and void. The State could simply refuse to recognize the jurisdiction of the court system. The States could argue that the federal judiciary has been confirmed by a Senate that did not have the states best interest at heart. These judges would also have a conflict of interest for which there is no resolution. They would be more reluctant to decide in favor of an article V challenge due to the fact they would be "deciding" themselves off the bench and out of a job.

The only other argument that could be made against the State would be the power of the Senate to be the ultimate judge of their elections and refuse to seat the Senators. However, how can an illegitimate Senate make such a decision? The answer is, they can't.

I have presented these facts in many forums over the years and they have never been successfully challenged. One argument that always seems to arise is this: "Well, all the states do have equal suffrage because they still each have two senators." This invalid argument comes from a lack of full understanding of what "suffrage" really stands for and by a focus on the first term "equal" while ignoring the second, "suffrage." The point of my entire article is that the States (meaning the State Legislatures) are the ones who have lost suffrage. The people of the State now elect Senators and are in possession of that suffrage. The real point is who do these senators now represent? After I make this point, I usually get this: "Well, the people ARE the "State." This is not entirely accurate either. In all instances I can find in the Constitution where it is speaking about the States, it is speaking of the Legislature of the States. The best example I can find that clearly delineates between the two is the last clause of that wonderful 10th Amendment again. That clause clearly lists the "People" and the "States" as two separate entities. If they were the same thing, there would be no need to list them both in the very same sentence.

There are other far-reaching implications of an invalid 17th and I'm
sure that opponents of what's been written here will use them to fight these truths. I will not give them ammunition by detailing what those far reaching implications are. However, I will say this: If we endeavor to rid ourselves of the invalid 17th amendment in the manner outlined above, be prepared for the fight of your lives because there are many entrenched interests that would like nothing more than to never have this information reach the light of day.

There have been many articles written concerning the "repeal" of the 17th amendment. While many of these articles correctly point out the folly of the 17th, they fail to realize that a movement to repeal is nothing more than a pipe dream. The only way to remove the 17th amendment is through outright repudiation using the method I have described above. My next paragraph explains why.

There are 2 methods laid out in Article 5 for amending the
Constitution. One of those methods is through a Convention of the
States. I will not go into details as to why this method should never be used under any circumstances other than to say that if you truly value your freedoms, this method should be avoided at all costs. The other method would be an exercise in futility. To use the method that nearly all the other amendments have used since the 10th would entail having to first convince 67 senators to vote themselves out of a job. Then 290 House members would have to vote for the repeal of an amendment which will make all the laws they want to pass much more difficult to push through the Senate. A senate which as a result of its passage would now be jealously guarding the rights of the States that the House laws frequently trample. If that isn't enough, you need to get 38 state legislatures to vote for repealing an amendment over the objections of the people who would feel like their right to vote was being stolen (a right which never really existed due to an invalid 17th). To educate the masses in 38 separate states that the 17th amendment was a mistake is an insurmountable task. To do it for just one, as would be the case in a move to repudiate it, Maybe. In a repudiation argument, it could be demonstrated to the people that the right to vote for their Senators should have never been theirs in the first place due to the fraudulent manner in which the 17th was adopted.

My first target for a move to repudiate would be done in a State
that swings to the right most of the time and where the voters are well informed and leery of the feds. Utah would be my choice since
Utah rejected the 17th outright and they have been stung recently by federal land grabs. Please join me in this endeavor to repudiate the 17th and get the concept of federalism firmly back on track.

We must educate ourselves and our posterity in the wonderful documents that founded our great Republic if we are ever to set it back on course toward freedom and prosperity. That is why I'm writing this today. My positions on the 17th amendment are supported by the Constitution of the United States including the 10th amendment and "The Federalist Papers", specifically Madison 43 and Hamilton 59.

Thanks for your attention,


Paul C. Hanson

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"If Americans ever again

"If Americans ever again become interested in living in a free society, one of their first orders of business should be the repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment." - Thomas J. DiLorenzo

From the article on lewrockwell-
Repeal the Seventeenth Amendment - http://www.lewrockwell.com/dilorenzo/dilorenzo93.html

"All human constitutions are subject to corruption and must perish unless they are timely renewed and reduced to their first principles.'" --Thomas Jefferson

13 No servant can serve two masters; for either he shall hate the one, and love the other, or else he shall lean to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and riches. - Luke 16

17th turned Senators into puppets of big money.

Now instead of being selected, they are bought and paid for.

Ron Paul's Convention Speech

I know that Dr.Paul has a lot on his plate...

for right now...but, have we asked him to introduce legislation to get rid of the 17th? Worth a try?

I don't think we have. The

I don't think we have. The Senate would kill it, though. I think this really needs to be done on the State level, without the central government.


Repeal the 17th Amendment!


Agreed with the poster below,(see the tag line change)

Libera me, let the truth break, what my fears make--Leslie Phillips

What's next after End the Fed? Repeal the XVI and XVII Amendments!

"Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern." ~~C.S. Lewis
Love won! Deliverance from Tyranny is on the way! Col. 2:13-15

Nice,well thought post Paul

Nice,well thought post Paul C. Hanson.
It's interesting how such an amendment was passed.It would seem those in office at the time were progressives.Yet the people didn't see the ramifications of the amendment and how it fundamentally changed the structure of the republic instituted.Anyone that studies the history of this country can easily come to the conclusion that we are a shadow of a once great republic.
I would also argue that the 13th amendment to the 27th are illegally ratified.
The fear that the federal government initiated by the "civil war" caused a feeling that the states better agree or else feeling.Add to it the implementation of the military as the government in the southern states after the war and you begin to see that this is what the government does today with other countries,the precedent was set a long time ago.

"All human constitutions are subject to corruption and must perish unless they are timely renewed and reduced to their first principles.'" --Thomas Jefferson

13 No servant can serve two masters; for either he shall hate the one, and love the other, or else he shall lean to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and riches. - Luke 16

Needs More Punch

Paul - I think you have done a great job writing this, but it would have more impact, punch, and power if you could provide links to references and other scholarly input to the issue.

I am on the same page as you, I just think it would be beneficial to give people access to other sources of great information backing up these claims rather than just leaving the reader to hunt for the information themselves.

This is a very deep topic and most people don't get it the first, second, or even third time and I'm not sure they would look for the information themselves - give them some carrots to go after ;)

Keep up the good fight!

Hey, got a couple of links for ya..

The first is to a U.S. Supreme Court case (Dillon V. Gloss in 1921) that specifically mentions that there were exceptions to amending the constitution. The case is not on point (as I mentioned earlier) though in regards to the 17th amendment. It is a case about the 18th (prohibition) and at what time it became active in regards to the criminal case of booze-running that was before the court.

What I find odd is that with the recent passage of the 17th just 7 years prior, none of the "scholarly" justices hit deeper on the point of the exceptions to amendment in regards to the 17th. Or brought it up after the case was settled to anyone else. Here is a link to the case in which the supreme court says there was an exception to amending the Constitution in the area of States suffrage:


Scroll down to sections [Page 256 U.S. 368, 373] and [Page 256 U.S. 368, 374].

Here is the pertinent wording:

"An examination of article 5 discloses that it is intended to invest Congress with a wide range of power in proposing amendments. Passing a provision long since expired,8 it subjects this power to only two restrictions: one that the proposal shall have the approval of two-thirds of both houses, and the other excluding any amendment which will deprive any state, without

[Page 256 U.S. 368, 374]

its consent, of its equal suffrage in the Senate."

The words "Passing a provision that has long since expired" (and spoken of in footnote 8) refers to sections of the constitution that dealt with the importation of slaves and direct taxes, and since it only held true until 1808, it had "long since expired" But, in the decision itself, it did not apply that year to the restriction on suffrage in the Senate. To the contrary, it said that restriction was still in force.

This second link is for the section of Madison's federalist essay #43 that also addresses the exceptions for amending the Constitution. I got lucky to find this portion in a standalone presentation. As I said in my earlier reply, the paper is quite lengthy and pointing directly to the section would prove difficult. Here is the link:


I will add these 2 links to my article to strengthen the arguments made within it.

Thanks for spurring me on... I love to "dig" anyway and the opportunity to sharpen those skills here today was quite welcomed. I knew of the supreme court case many years ago, but finding it again was fun... The search term I used was "and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate." including the quotes. I used altavista.com which IMO is one of the best for scientific type searches because it allows for very tight and specific searches.

I read all the "hits" for the first 10 pages or so and the only references that applied this last clause of article 5 to the 17th amendment were mine. Lots of patriot sites skirted on the issue, and I know of one I saw many years ago that was directly on point, but I didn't see it today.


Hmmm.. not sure what you mean.

Hi Patriot,

In writing the original article, I used just 4 sources and listed all 4 in the article. They were: The US Constitution, The 10th amendment, and The Federalist papers (Madison # 43 and Hamilton $59) All the rest came from my brain.There was some grammar type input from Bob Pletka in the area I wrote about federalism, and the friend I mentioned helped a great deal in both the discovery, and the ramifications of such a flaw, especially as it applied to the court system. I referred to him in another reply below.

This is a totally original and new concept, therefore there is no "scholarly input" to really refer to. Trust me, in the 15 years I've known about this, I've researched it enough to know. What the article contains are logical conclusions based on the clear wording of the documents themselves. Clear enough wording in fact that no "scholarly input" is really needed. I have since ran across 2 or maybe 3 websites discussing this, and maybe 1 of those was centered on it. I had already had a much earlier version of the article sent out into cyberspace in various formats and forums a year or more before I found any website that discussed it. There is no case law that I have uncovered that is directly on point either. I think there was one case that mentioned article 5 and actually included the last clause but it wasn't directly on point re: the 17th amendment.

The only thing in there that could maybe use a reference is the writing on federalism. I used the most common interpretation of the concept and it is easy to find. That writing on federalism though, was placed there to get the reader thinking about the damage caused by the 17th and to help them understand that their (invalid) right to vote for their Senator was destroying the republic. It was meant to help overcome any "selfishness" involving that invalid right. It wasn't needed to "prove" a last cause article 5 challenge to the 17th. There just isn't any material on that subject. The clause has always been there, it was just never applied in the manner it was intended. Again, this is a totally new concept that, as far as I can tell was brought to light by a couple of Birchers having a smoke one night during a break. My friend and I stepped outside to have a smoke and we both brought it up to each other at the same time. We both realized it inside during class and discussed it further while smoking out in the rain just a couple minutes later.

I suppose I could link to the "Federalist papers # 43 and 59, but the points that apply directly to the state suffrage are deep within those 2 papers and it would be difficult at best to direct the reader to those particular passages in the papers specified and the papers themselves are lengthy. Also, as far as referencing the Constitution goes, I included the wording within the Constitution itself up to and including the "period related" spellings. I give article, section and clause references along with the inclusion of the pertinent wording. As far as the 10th amendment goes, I included it in its entirety.

If you see a particular weak spot or spots that may need a reference, let me know and I'll see what I can do to include the necessary references in future revisions. Please keep in mind though that the original article was written for publication and not as an "internet article."

Thanks for the input.


Paul, Do you mind if I


Do you mind if I upload your article on the meetup page in .pdf format?



Repeal the 17th Amendment!



I was actually requested to keep this "under my hat" for awhile while plans of action were put in place, but since I already let the cat out of the bag many years before, and again today, I suppose it wouldn't hurt too much. My main purpose for placing it here today was for you anyway Tom and with a secondary purpose of protecting myself and family. I was getting a bit worried and the people who requested me to hold back were worried as well. I think posting and publishing are better ways to insure safety anyway. I appreciate the support.


I posted it on the meetup

I posted it on the meetup homepage. You can see it at the link below.


Repeal the 17th Amendment!



This is my new priority.


Bump for all those just waking up on the west coast. Plus, I worked really hard on the article.

This is why we need to take

This is why we need to take over our state legislatures and repeal the amendment.


Repeal the 17th Amendment!


Remember when...?

Hi Samuel,

Remember when you told me you liked my thinking re: the 17th? I wanted you to get the full impact of that thinking (thinking that has been percolating for nearly 15 years) so I dropped my full article in here with you in mind.

Hey, taking over 50 state legislatures is a great idea as well... I like YOUR thinking on that. The state legislature is a much easier goal to reach for and doesn't require a bank breaking campaign. However, it isn't absolutely necessary completely finish that task in order to start a repudiation move on the 17th. You only need to convince 1 state legislature (Utah) to stand up and say "We never consented." That will start a snowball effect and other states will follow suit. Utah had an active repeal resolution on the 17th very recently, so it is not beyond the realm of possibility to convince them to repudiate the 17th without a change in the elected representatives.


P.S. I prefer the term repudiate over repeal because repudiation is the only way it will get done as I've pointed out in my article.

I don't care how we get it

I don't care how we get it done, we just need to do it. Repeal or repudiate. I agree that we should start with the states that never ratified and that they should appoint senators to the Senate.

I am concerned, though, that when people become aware that the amendment was never law they will be terrified by the ramifications of such; meaning, all the laws of the last 100 years are null and void. This could truly kill the movement. Especially when it comes to the government dole.

However, I don't care how we get started, we just need to start. I encourage everyone to join us at the meetup so we can focus our efforts, identify which states we have represented and get to work. Currently, I am working on building an email list of all the state representatives for every state that I will post on the meetup, so we can start mass-mailing to find out which legislators are on board and who we need to replace.



Repeal the 17th Amendment!


I'm loving this discussion!

Paul, do you have a link for your article?


Ya, I love the discussion as well. The 17th is problem that seemed to have no resolution till a friend and I stepped out of class on the Constitution one night for a quick smoke. We'd just finished discussing Article V and we realized that it didn't square with the way the 17th was adopted. Funny how a couple of birchers in Bob Pletka's (God rest his patriotic soul) class 15 years ago discovered something a nation full of lawyers missed in 1913.

It's on my myspace page, along with an article I wrote on inflation and the federal reserve. There is also an article of sorts concerning panic attacks and anxiety and their true cause in most cases. I added that comment just in case someone here suffers from those horrible attacks.

Here's the link:


Happy reading...