Unless you live completely off the grid, without access to any kind of news, you’ve probably heard of the allegations of sexual misconduct with young girls against embattled Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore. While there’s multiple aspects to the issue, perhaps the top two have been the story of an alleged encounter with a 14-year old and another allegation of misconduct with a 16-year old — dating back to about 40 years ago.
In the month since the allegations surfaced, the media has gone bonkers right along with people like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senator John McCain, former Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and others. Outside of Alabama, it seems much of the public at large has adopted a guilty until proven innocent mentality.
Some have attempted to shed light on the accusers of Roy Moore, the author of the article that broke the story, and the hypocrisy of the Establishment leadership of the national Republican Party. You can see examples here, here, and here.
And in recent days, it appears Alabama is strongly rejecting the validity of the claims so vehemently made against the state’s former Supreme Court Justice. One poll shows that 71% of Alabamans believe the allegations against Moore to be false . That may bode well for the U.S. Senate candidate.
Where you fall in your thinking on of all this, I don’t know. I personally still believe in innocent until proven guilty, but I recognize that all of us are capable of forming opinions outside of a courtroom– regardless of how accurate or inaccurate those opinions may be. What is certain is that nobody – outside of Roy Moore, his accusers, and God – knows the validity of the claims.
I agree with President Donald Trump that the people of Alabama will ultimately have to decide. And what that decision is will exhibit itself on December 12, 2017 when they go to the polls to vote.
Yet, if Article I, Section 3 of the United States Constitution stood today as it did prior to April 8, 1913; the Roy Moore case would have a bit of a different twist to it. It was on this date that the 17th Amendment was ratified. And it is this amendment that determines how U.S. Senate candidates are elected to office today.
When the Constitution was established by the Founders, it was determined that:
“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 purpose of this article is summed up well by Constitutional scholar Cleon Skousen:
“Senators [were] appointed by their respective state legislatures to protect the rights of the states as sovereign entities.”
But with ratification of the 17th Amendment, it stripped state legislatures of this power and transferred it to the people. The result is that Senators are now elected in the same manner as their Congressmen– via a popular vote.
It’s interesting that when the Constitutional Convention first considered how Senators should be elected, one of the proposals was by direct election of the people. The idea was soundly defeated by a 10-1 vote and not a single state ratifying convention had a problem with the defeat.
While people of today think little or nothing of the way we elect our Senators, there was legitimate reasoning behind the Founders original intent. The House was to be representative of the people– “… who have different anxieties and desires as individuals than they do collectively
as a state”, as Skousen puts it. The Senate was to be “guardians” of the interests of the whole state. This was to provide a balance.
James Madsion – the Father of the Constitution – believed the original intent safe-guarded state sovereignty and helped to ensure states did not become dependent on the federal government:
“This election of one branch of the federal by the state legislatures, secures an absolute dependence of the former [federal] on the latter [states].”
Unfortunately, the results of the 17th Amendment haven’t been entirely positive. And the associated problems of the imbalance are described well by the Tenth Amendment Center:
“The 17th Amendment caused a failure in the federalist structure, federal deficit spending, inappropriate federal mandates, and federal control over a number of state institutions.”
This conversation between Judge Andrew Napolitano and U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R – UT) about repealing the 17th Amendment is worth your time to watch:
Not only would states be better off today if the 17th Amendment had been repealed and the Constitution restored to its original intent, but in the case of Roy Moore there would likely be less hoopla with stirring up the people in an attempt to sink his candidacy. The decision about who would fill the vacant seat left by current U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions would have simply rested with the Alabama state legislature.
Regardless of the media circus surrounding Roy Moore, it appears to be a good possibility that he will be elected by the people as the next U.S. Senator from Alabama. It’s just too bad we have the 17th Amendment. Alabama would have been better served without it – as would the other 49 states – and perhaps America wouldn’t have had to listen to the media spectacle that the race has become either.
On December 12th, Alabama Republicans will be faced with these choices– stay home, go the route of write-in, vote for Roy Moore, or cast a ballot for a Democrat. Options 1 and 2 gets them nowhere. Option 4 is a recipe for disaster for years to come. And while option 3 has been tattered, the worst that could happen is that somehow the allegations are proven true. At which time Moore could be removed and Alabamans could replace him with a different Republican– something not possible if they elect a Democrat.
If we pair Alabama’s disbelief in the allegations against Moore with President Donald Trump’s endorsement and the reversal of the Republican National Committee in deciding they’ll support Moore after all, it just may be that the embattled 70-year old candidate sees victory on election day. And with a history of elected officials like Ted Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and Al Franken; the Democrats should do nothing but shut their mouths about it.
1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/woman-says-roy-moore-initiated-sexual-encounter-when-she-was-14-he-was-32/2017/11/09/1f495878-c293-11e7-afe9-4f60b5a6c4a0_story.html?utm_term=.97f7440c2b17 2. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/13/us/politics/roy-moore-alabama-senate.html
4. https://chuckbaldwinlive.com/Articles/tabid/109/ID/3674/The-National-Republican-Party-Is-Pathetic.aspx 5. http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/11/16/exclusive-stepson-of-roy-moore-accuser-accusations-one-hundred-percent-a-lie/ 6. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/alabama-republicans-allegations-against-moore-false-cbs-news-poll/ 7. http://constitutionus.com/
8. The Making of America: The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, W. Cleon Skousen, 1985 9. http://tenthamendmentcenter.com/2008/10/24/repeal-the-17th-amendment/
10. http://thefederalist.com/2017/08/08/time-repeal-17th-amendment-end-direct-election-senators/ 11. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/04/us/politics/roy-moore-donald-trump.html