Ted Kennedy and the case to repeal the 17th Amendment
"Voters have elected their senators in the privacy of the voting booth since 1913. The framers of the Constitution, however, did not intend senators to be elected in this way, and included in Article I, section 3, "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." The election of delegates to the Constitutional Convention established the precedent for state selection. The framers believed that in electing senators, state legislatures would cement their tie with the national government, which would increase the chances for ratifying the Constitution. They also expected that senators elected by state legislatures would be able to concentrate on the business at hand without pressure from the populace."
The 17th Amendment
"The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.
When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.
This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution."
History of the Kennedy Senate selection dilemma
"The Democratic-controlled Massachusetts Legislature enacted a law this summer that stripped the governor — these days, Republican Gov. Mitt Romney — of the right to fill Senate vacancies. Under the law, a special election would take place between 145 and 160 days after Kerry submits his letter of resignation."
The plot thickens
" One of the supporters of the special election legislation, U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, knows from personal experience how the previous system could be used for political purposes. In 1960, when John F. Kennedy vacated his Senate seat to become president, his younger brother was only 28 — two years shy of the age requirement for serving in the Senate.
To ensure that the younger Kennedy would have no trouble winning the seat in the 1962 special election, the Democratic governor appointed Benjamin Smith, one of President Kennedy's longtime friends, to hold the seat until the election. Kennedy won that election and has held the seat ever since."
It seems to me that there is an abundance of good causes that have been invoked historically to make the case that the process needed to change after tinkering with the Constitution with the ratification of the 17th Amendment. Lifelong Democrat Zell Miller of Georgia gives the following prognosis for the situation...
"The individuals are not so much at fault as the rotten and decaying foundation of what is no longer a republic," Miller said on the Senate floor, according to the Associated Press. "It is the system that stinks. And it's only going to get worse because that perfect balance our brilliant Founding Fathers put in place in 1787 no longer exists."
" Miller, a former two-term governor of Georgia, contends the Constitution's prescription for balancing the interests of large and small states and the power of state and federal governments was destroyed when the U.S. ratified the 17th Amendment in 1913."
The discussion we are having in the wake of the passing of Senator Kennedy revolves around concepts such as the length of time a vacancy will exist while a historic debate is being fought on Capitol Hill, the process that must be followed in accordance with current law, and the case that they should change the change supported by none other than Senator Kennedy himself.
To steal a phrase from Glenn Beck... "Someone please pass me the duct tape, I think my head is going to explode!".
Here's a novel concept...
How about we repeal the 17th Amendment and return the focus of the US Senate to representing the needs of the state that he or she represents?