In a previous article I called for the people of Arizona to recall John McCain. I received the following email from someone who claimed I was “promot[ing] . . . self-serving trash.” He didn’t leave his name. Here’s the full content of his email:
“As a Class of ’73 graduate of WMU, I can tell that Gary never took a constitutional law or Poly Sci class or he would know that the Founding Fathers considered recalling Senators in 1787, but recall was not added to the Constitution. The concept of Recall is based upon State law (either statute or constitutional) and has no effect on Federal elected officials.
“Michigan passed a constitutional amendment for Term Limits back in the 1990s with language that it applied to both state and federal elected officials.
“Read your constitution before you promote such self-serving trash.”
I don’t know if “TheBulldog” (his email moniker) is a lawyer, but his comments are typical of academic elitists. If a person hasn’t had a constitutional law or political science class he or she is not equipped to understand and write on constitutional principles. Only lawyers, judges, and professors can tell us what the Constitution means.
It’s true that the constitutional framers debated the subject of recall. What counts is the text of the Constitution. In order for there to be a constitutional provision against senatorial recall, the Constitution would have to say so since it’s a document of enumerated powers, and the power prohibiting the recall of Senators is not enumerated.
In addition, as “TheBulldog” notes, the Constitution was drafted in 1787, but it was not ratified in that year. It was sent to the states, and the states weren’t satisfied with its limiting powers. They called for a Bill of Rights to be added to further restrict the powers of the national government.
If we follow the constitutional logic of “TheBulldog,” there would be no freedom of religion, press, speech, or assembly since these were not part of the 1787 Constitution. They were added in 1789 with the entire Constitution ratified in 1791.
Let’s take note of the all-encompassing Tenth Amendment:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
The power to prohibit the recall of Senators is not found in the Constitution, and there is no directive to the states that they are prohibited from recalling Senators, therefore that freedom resides with “the States respectively, or to the people.” This would mean that if the people want to recall a Senator, and the national Constitution does not prohibit a recall, then the people can recall a Senator.
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