SJR 3 – Rescinding Indiana’s Ratification of the 17th Amendment

Overshadowed by HJR 3 concerning marriage equality, I had not noticed SJR 3 filed by Sen. James Smith which would rescind Indiana’s ratification of the 17th Amendment. The Seventeenth Amendment is the one that provides for direct election of United States Senators by the citizens. It used to be that state legislatures decided who would be Senator. The text of the Seventeenth is as follows:

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.

I’m pretty sure ratification is a “no take backs” situation. Rather, the way to repeal an amendment to the United States Constitution is by means of another amendment to the United States Constitution. Article Five of the U.S. Constitution sets forth that process, and this isn’t it. The Seventeenth Amendment was adopted because of a widespread perception that most state legislatures were corrupt in the way they appointed senators. I don’t think we should return to those days.


  1. says

    1) The mere existence of this resolution confirms your final thought.

    2) It also confirms that the IN Statehouse is infested with a bunch of third-string intellectuals that must have been grandfathered through their civics class in high school. >_<

  2. says

    Interesting. I wonder if Senator Smith supports HJR-3. I really hope he does, because that would make his position “we should let the people decide (except when we shouldn’t!)” Then we could all point and laugh. And then cry, because this guy is a state senator.

  3. gizmomathboy says

    Um, Doug, it wasn’t perception, it was very real and practiced:

    Which is why I am baffled how SCOTUS ruled the way it did regarding Citzens United. We have an actual, historical example of how money corrupts the political process.

    And to go even further SCOTUS struck down Montana’s limits on money in politics law(s) and I’m rather sure that this example was cited. At least I hope it was.

  4. Stuart says

    Are those attorneys that the legislature hires present as some kind of ornament and presented for display when the legislature wants to look good? Proposing a bill like this should be the source of humiliation to anyone who had any sense of shame. Surely there are people among those who voted for this person who are horrified. I’ll bet he needs a driver to find his way back home.

  5. Mary says

    This is strange. Is this attempt seen in other states as well? I guess my question is, what is his expressed explanation, and then secondly, what is his real motivation?

    • steelydanfan says

      Back when I was the sort of person who was all for this sort of thing (this was before my preferred approach to dealing with the world shifted to actually thinking about things), my motivation was “By god, those wealthy white male slave-owning aristocrats were infallible, and if only we could start doing things exactly like they wanted all our problems would be solved!”

  6. says

    I’ve seen the debate over whether a state could rescind a ratification vote before it finally passes. I’ve never seen one after it passes. I think “yes” to the former and definitely “no” to the latter.


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