Will: Repeal the Seventeenth Amendment
Senator Russ Feingold is in George Will’s sights today. Will is angry about Feingold’s gutting of the First Amendment in 2002. He also has a reply for Feingold’s newest bright idea to amend the Constitution to remove from the States the power to decide how to fill Senate vacancies:
Although liberals give lip service to “diversity,” they often treat federalism as an annoying impediment to their drive for uniformity. Feingold, who is proud that Wisconsin is one of only four states that clearly require special elections of replacement senators in all circumstances, wants to impose Wisconsin’s preference on the other 46. Yes, he acknowledges, they could each choose to pass laws like Wisconsin’s, but doing this “state by state would be a long and difficult process.” Pluralism is so tediously time-consuming. [...]
Now Feingold proposes to traduce federalism and nudge the Senate still further away from the nature and function the Framers favored. He is, as the saying goes, an unapologetic progressive, but one with more and more for which to apologize.
Will gets in several other shots at Feingold, including analogising him unfavorably to Joe McCarthy.
Will goes a step beyond merely defending the States’ constitutional authority to choose how to fill vacancies. He wants to repeal the Seventeenth Amendment and return to the original method of selecting Senators: vote by state legislators.