Did Chief Justice Roberts Knock on the 17th Amendment in Bond?

November 5th, 2013


CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: And just to press it further, the — the point is that it’s a transfer of authority from the States to the national legislature. I don’t know why you’d look to the national legislature to say, well, we’d never do that.

GENERAL VERRILLI: Well, the framers thought that the two-thirds guarantee — the two-thirds ratification requirement, was an important structural guarantee to protect the interests of the States.

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: At a time when the Senate was elected by the State legislatures.

GENERAL VERRILLI: Yes, Mr. Chief Justice. But there’s no doubt that the framers thought that would be an important protection.

The 17th Amendment, in this respect, also weakened the power of the states to control the ratification of the treaties. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen this in various critiques of the 17th Amendment.