September 20, 2018


On September 20, 2018, the Initiative was pleased to host an interesting Capitol Hill panel discussion on the 17th Amendment.

The Constitution did not create a direct democracy; it established a constitutional republic. Its goal was to preserve individual liberty. To this end, the Framers provided that the power of various political actors would derive from different sources. One example from the Founders’ original design was the election of U.S. Senators by state legislators.

However in 1913 the Seventeenth Amendment replaced the original means for election of Senators with the current system of direct election by the people. What impact has this significant change made on federalism and the Legislative branch? Would reinstating the Framers’ design for the Senate elections be a worthwhile step toward restoring constitutional government? Our distinguished panel weighed these important considerations and offer their views.


Professor Garrett Epps, Professor of Law, University of Baltimore School of Law

Professor Todd Zywicki, Foundation Professor of Law, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University

Moderator: Todd B. Tatelman, Deputy General Counsel, U. S. House of Representatives, Office of General Counsel

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