Yes, it is that simple. Ted Cruz, presumably in an effort to romance the disenchanted members of his “base” following two ruling by the Supreme Court (SCOTUS), has forwarded an idea that is only outdone in its folly by the 17th Amendment we have come to know and resent. If not an attempt at romance, it serves as evidence of his inability to understand the Constitution and history.
Some might ask: “what is the 17th Amendment and why was it bad?” Well, the 17th Amendment transformed the structure of the government one step closer to the mob rule that our founders knew quite well and feared rather adamantly. It took the make-up of the Senate from being chosen by the legislatures of the several states and placed it into the hands of the populace in each state. While to many this may sound appealing, there was a very specific reason such a structure existed.
First, the Senate was to represent the state’s themselves, which is why the breakdown of Senate representation is equal amongst the states. The people as individuals, and within districts, had representation in the House of Representatives; however, to balance the potential for popular whim to dominant the law, the Senate was to represent the interests of the states directly. This structured created an overlapping, but disparate constituency structure that would frustrate attempts of any “factions” to exert control over another group of citizens.
The shift in structure by the 17th Amendment washed away a significant protection of the rule of law and preservation of the rights of individuals by subjecting all of Congress to popular impulse. With the presidency already subject to popular impulse, now two full branches of government represent the mob rule idea that is/was democracy and began to erode at the foundations of liberty that are established in limited government.
If Ted Cruz gets his way, the final branch of the federal government will become but an additional conduit for popular opinion which can sway to and fro like a weak sapling in a hurricane. Justices will serve at the whim of any overbearing majority which can establish itself, even temporarily. The Constitution will be relegated to the dustbin of history and rights will no longer be considered inherent nor God given; instead they will only exist until they are no longer convenient.
Don’t believe me when I say it would be (and would have been) catastrophic? I have attached a table below (click on Cruz Table in green) that lists the current members of the Court and their appointment info, winning president at their first retention vote (based on Cruz’s rule of second national election following appointment), likelihood of dismissal that first time, and subsequent retention years.
Any trust I had in Cruz’s ability to be president dissipated when I heard him make this suggestion. My skepticism was affirmed when I made the table. Clearly he lacks historical understanding of the make-up of the Court by the founders or he was so anxious to be everyone’s knight in shining armor and surrounds himself with yes-men to such a great extent that nobody caught this. Either way, I intend to distance myself from him as time moves forward.