Rep. Gohmert Wants To Eliminate The Right To Elect Senators

March 23, 2010 1:13 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

After a bitter political fight lasting more than a year, President Obama signed health care reform into law today.  However, Republicans are still seeking to strike down a bill that will provide health insurance for over 30 million people and ban the most abusive practices of insurance companies. 

In the House, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Rep. Steve King (R-IA) have introduced legislation to repeal health care reform.  Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) is leading a parallel effort in the Senate. Meanwhile, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) is planning to mount a legal challenge against the bill.

Yesterday, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) suggested another response to the passage of health reform: eliminating the right of American citizens to elect U.S. Senators.  According to a press release from Gohmert's office:

Rep. Gohmert stated, "The usurpation of the rights of the states and of the people perpetrated by the U.S. House last night is blatant, arrogant, and cries out for action. A potentially bankrupting 'mother of all unfunded mandates' needs to be stopped. The courts may or may not do it, but the states are not helpless. Article V of our U.S. Constitution anticipates a time when states perceive a looming crisis and provides an avenue for amending the Constitution. It makes clear that if two-thirds of the states are fed up with the federal government's abusive action, then they simply apply for a convention, and the Congress SHALL call such a convention for proposing an amendment."

Ever since the safeguard of State legislatures electing U.S. Senators was removed by the 17th Amendment in 1913, there has been no check or balance on the Federal power grab for the last 97 years. Article V requires a minimum of 34 states to request a Convention which in this case, would be an Amendment Convention for only ONE amendment.

Aside from the obvious problem of taking away the American people's ability to choose their own leaders, Gohmert's proposal conflicts with GOP's closing argument against health care reform.  Remember that conservatives, including Gohmert, argued that the election of Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) signaled the public's rejection of the president's plan.  Yet, while Tea Party activists flooded Massachusetts and pushed Brown to victory, Gohmert's proposal would have made that effort impossible. The state's overwhelmingly Democratic legislature could have simply appointed a Democrat.   

Watch Rep. Gohmert on the House floor: