Hoosiers never again would vote in a primary election for U.S. Senate candidates if the decision were up to Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller.
Zoeller is among a growing number of state's rights conservatives who favor a so-called "soft repeal" of the 17th Amendment that would empower members of the General Assembly, instead of voters, to nominate each party's U.S. Senate candidates.
Voters still would have the final say on who represents Indiana in the Senate. But Zoeller, a Republican, believes giving the General Assembly's control of selecting candidates could revive the idea that U.S. senators are ambassadors of a state's government and not entirely free agents.
"If they had to come back ... and get renominated each six-year cycle, they'll be less likely to pass statutes that stuck it to states," Zoeller said. "Would we have an unfunded mandate if they had to come back and explain it to members of the Legislature?"
Speaking earlier this year to the Federalist Society of Indianapolis, an association of politically conservative lawyers and judges, Zoeller said the proper relationship between states and the federal government was "slaughtered" when the 17th Amendment, providing for popular election of U.S. senators, was ratified in 1913.
In the century since, the federal government has come to view states as entities it controls, instead of the co-equal sovereigns the framers of the Constitution intended, Zoeller said.
That relationship urgently needs to be rebalanced to bring an end to overreaching federal regulations and unconstitutional laws, and to cut down on the number of legal challenges, he said. Zoeller said he's felt obligated to file against the federal government in the past six years . . .Only an elitist scumbag would support such a proposal to further erode the right of the people to choose their elected representatives. Primary voters in Indiana are already cut out of the process for choosing other statewide offices, including the office Zoeller holds, secretary of state, treasurer and state auditor, who are all chosen by a small group of delegates elected to the state convention. Over the years, interest in being a delegate has waned because most races are decided before delegates make it to the state convention so many are appointed by county chairmen rather than being elected by primary voters. That means that only guys like Bob Grand get to decide who holds statewide office in Indiana. One of the driving forces behind the enactment of the 17th Amendment was the increasing number of vote-buying scandals that surrounded Senate elections when they were decided by state lawmakers. America has already become an oligarchy for all practical purposes instead of the republic our founders intended when they crafted the U.S. Constitution so I suppose this is just one more nail in the coffin.
I'm still waiting for someone in the media to investigate the more than $800,000 Zoeller has paid out to his former boss, Steve Carter, to handle the state's tobacco settlement requirements. The State of Indiana is losing $63 million in tobacco fund settlements because an arbitrator last year determined that the state had made to little effort to recover money from cigarette companies that weren't a part of the original deal. Great job, Greg and Steve.