Here’s an, er, interesting outcome of yesterday’s Kavanaugh confirmation vote: liberals are, at least on Twitter, (again) suggesting that the Senate is “broken” because small states have the same representation as large states.
Here’s Matt Yglesias,
I have an even crazier proposal.
What if instead of one house of congress that slightly overrepresents residents of small states and a second house that massively overrepresents residents of small states, maybe we should have a system that treats everyone equally? https://t.co/bIYwVLkKwB
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) October 7, 2018
and after pushback, a follower of his replied,
ah true, you'd have to keep a ceremonial body called the Senate if you read that to mean they can't abolish the Senate
— Ian Monroe
And here’s Ken Dilanian from NBC:
It may not happen in our lifetimes, but the idea that North Dakota and New York get the same representation in the Senate has to change. “Senators representing less than half the U.S. are about to confirm a nominee opposed by most Americans” https://t.co/DAZWYT9Txg
— Ken Dilanian (@KenDilanianNBC) October 6, 2018
As a reminder, here’s Article 5 of the Constitution:
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.
So, folks, you cannot change the provision that the Senate’s members are based on states rather than proportionality, without a whole new constitution.
And, no, you cannot solve this by simply declaring that the Senate may still exist but shall have all its powers taken away from it.
It’s not going to happen.
Perhaps at some point there may be a widespread preference for a wholly new structure — for instance, a parliamentary system, which I am in general in favor of, but less keen on considering the splintering and fragmentation we’re seeing in places such as Germany. And in that case, perhaps the preference for such a system will be strong enough that the citizenry will be willing to abandon the current structure of Senate and House both. But that seems rather unlikely, doesn’t it?