The Seventeenth Amendment (Amendment XVII) to the United States Constitution established the popular election of United States Senators by the people of the states. The amendment supersedes Article I, §3, Clauses 1 and 2 of the Constitution, under which senators were elected by state legislatures. It also alters the procedure for filling vacancies in the Senate, allowing for state legislatures to permit their governors to make temporary appointments until a special election can be held.
The amendment was proposed by the 62nd Congress in 1912 and became part of the Constitution on April 8, 1913 on ratification by three-fourths (36) of the state legislatures. Sitting Senators were not affected by the Amendment's provisions until their existing terms expired, so the Amendment took six years to fully implement. The transition began with two special elections in 1913 and 1914 - the first in Maryland and the second in Alabama. The transition then began in earnest with the November 1914 election, and was complete on 4 March 1919 when the Senators chosen at the November 1918 election took office.
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.
When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.
This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.
Originally, under Article I, § 3, Clauses 1 and 2 of the Constitution, each state legislature elected its state's senators for a six-year term. Each state, regardless of size, is entitled to two senators as part of the Connecticut Compromise between the small and large states. This contrasted with the House of Representatives, a body elected by popular vote, and was described as an uncontroversial decision; at the time, James Wilson was the sole advocate of popularly electing the Senate and his proposal was defeated 10–1. There were many advantages to the original method of electing senators. Prior to the Constitution, a federal body was one where states effectively formed nothing more than permanent treaties, with citizens retaining their loyalty to their original state. However, under the new Constitution, the central government was granted substantially more power than before; the election of senators by the states reassured Anti-federalists that there would be some protection against the swallowing up of states and their powers by the federal government, providing a check on the power of the federal government.
Additionally, the longer terms and avoidance of popular election turned the Senate into a body that could counter the populism of the House. While the Representatives operated in a two-year direct election cycle, making them frequently accountable to their constituents, the senators could afford to "take a more detached view of issues coming before Congress". State legislatures retained the theoretical right to "instruct" their senators to vote for or against proposals, thus giving the states both direct and indirect representation in the federal government. The Senate was part of a formal bicameralism, with the members of the Senate and House responsible to completely distinct constituencies; this helped defeat the problem of the federal government being subject to "special interests". Members of the Constitutional Convention considered the Senate to be parallel to the British House of Lords as an "upper house", containing the "better men" of society, but improved upon as they would be conscientiously chosen by the upper houses of state republican legislatures for fixed terms, and not merely inherited for life as in the British system, subject to a monarch's arbitrary expansion. It was hoped that they would provide abler deliberation and greater stability than the House of Representatives due to the senators' status.
According to Judge Jay Bybee of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, those in favor of popular elections for senators believed that two primary problems were caused by the original provisions: legislative corruption and electoral deadlocks. There was a sense that senatorial elections were "bought and sold", changing hands for favors and sums of money rather than because of the competence of the candidate. Between 1857 and 1900, the Senate investigated three elections over corruption. In 1900, for example, William A. Clark had his election voided after the Senate concluded that he had bought votes in the Montana legislature. But analysts Bybee and Todd Zywicki believe this concern was largely unfounded; there was a "dearth of hard information" on the subject. In more than a century of legislative elections of U.S. senators, only ten cases were contested for allegations of impropriety.
Electoral deadlocks were another issue. Because state legislatures were charged with deciding whom to appoint as senators, the system relied on their ability to agree. Some states could not, and thus delayed sending representatives to Congress; in a few cases, the system broke down to the point where states completely lacked representation in the Senate. Deadlocks started to become an issue in the 1850s, with a deadlocked Indiana legislature allowing a Senate seat to sit vacant for two years. Between 1891 and 1905, 46 elections were deadlocked across 20 states; in one extreme example, a Senate seat for Delaware went unfilled from 1899 until 1903. The business of holding elections also caused great disruption in the state legislatures, with a full third of the Oregon House of Representatives choosing not to swear the oath of office in 1897 due to a dispute over an open Senate seat. The result was that Oregon's legislature was unable to pass legislation that year.
Zywicki again argues that this was not a serious issue. Deadlocks were a problem, but they were the exception rather than the norm; many legislatures did not deadlock over elections at all. Most of those that did in the 19th century were the newly admitted western states, which suffered from "inexperienced legislatures and weak party discipline...as western legislatures gained experience, deadlocks became less frequent." While Utah suffered from deadlocks in 1897 and 1899, they became what Zywicki refers to as "a good teaching experience," and Utah never again failed to elect senators. Another concern was that when deadlocks occurred, state legislatures were unable to conduct their other normal business; James Christian Ure, writing in the South Texas Law Review, notes that this did not in fact occur. In a deadlock situation, state legislatures would deal with the matter by holding "one vote at the beginning of the day—then the legislators would continue with their normal affairs".
State legislative elections were perceived to have become dominated by the business of picking senators. Senator John H. Mitchell noted that the Senate became the "vital issue" in all legislative campaigns, with the policy stances and qualifications of state legislative candidates ignored by voters who were more interested in the indirect Senate election. To remedy this, some state legislatures created "advisory elections" that served as de facto general elections, allowing legislative campaigns to focus on local issues.
Calls for a constitutional amendment regarding Senate elections started in the early 19th century, with Henry R. Storrs in 1826 proposing an amendment to provide for popular election. Similar amendments were introduced in 1829 and 1855, with the "most prominent" proponent being Andrew Johnson, who raised the issue in 1868 and considered the idea's merits "so palpable" that no additional explanation was necessary. In the 1860s, there was a major Congressional dispute over the issue, with the House and Senate voting to veto the appointment of John P. Stockton to the Senate due to his approval by a plurality of the New Jersey Legislature rather than a majority. In reaction, the Congress passed a bill in July 1866 that required state legislatures to elect senators by an absolute majority.
By the 1890s, support for the introduction of direct election for the Senate had substantially increased, and reformers worked on two fronts. On the first front, the Populist Party incorporated the direct election of senators into its Omaha Platform, adopted in 1892. In 1908, Oregon passed the first law that based the selection of U.S. senators on a popular vote. Oregon was soon followed by Nebraska. Proponents for popular election noted that ten states already had non-binding primaries for Senate candidates, in which the candidates would be voted on by the public, effectively serving as advisory referenda instructing state legislatures how to vote; reformers campaigned for more states to introduce a similar method.
William Randolph Hearst opened a nationwide popular readership for direct election of U.S. senators in a 1906 series of articles using flamboyant language attacking "The Treason of the Senate" in his Cosmopolitan Magazine. David Graham Philips, one of the "yellow journalists" whom President Teddy Roosevelt called "muckrakers", described Nelson Aldrich of Rhode Island as the principal "traitor" among the "scurvy lot" in control of the Senate by theft, perjury, and bribes corrupting the state legislatures to gain election to the Senate. A few state legislatures began to petition the Congress for direct election of senators. By 1893, the House had the two-thirds vote for just such an amendment. However, when the joint resolution reached the Senate, it failed from neglect, as it did again in 1900, 1904 and 1908; each time the House approved the appropriate resolution, and each time it died in the Senate.
On the second national legislative front, reformers worked toward a constitutional amendment, which was strongly supported in the House of Representatives but initially opposed by the Senate. Bybee notes that the state legislatures, which would lose power if the reforms went through, were supportive of the campaign. By 1910, 31 state legislatures had passed resolutions calling for a constitutional amendment allowing direct election, and in the same year ten Republican senators who were opposed to reform were forced out of their seats, acting as a "wake-up call to the Senate".
Reformers included William Jennings Bryan, while opponents counted respected figures such as Elihu Root and George Frisbie Hoar among their number; Root cared so strongly about the issue that after the passage of the Seventeenth Amendment, he refused to stand for re‑election to the Senate. Bryan and the reformers argued for popular election through highlighting perceived flaws with the existing system, specifically corruption and electoral deadlocks, and through arousing populist sentiment. Most important was the populist argument; that there was a need to "Awaken, in the senators...a more acute sense of responsibility to the people", which it was felt they lacked; election through state legislatures was seen as an anachronism that was out of step with the wishes of the American people, and one that had led to the Senate becoming "a sort of aristocratic body – too far removed from the people, beyond their reach, and with no special interest in their welfare". The settlement of the West and continuing absorption of hundreds of thousands of immigrants expanded the sense of "the people."
Hoar replied that 'the people' were both a less permanent and a less trusted body than state legislatures, and that moving the responsibility for the election of senators to them would see it passing into the hands of a body that "[lasted] but a day" before changing. Other counterarguments were that renowned senators could not have been elected directly, and that since a large number of senators had experience in the House, which was already directly elected, a constitutional amendment would be pointless. The reform was considered by opponents to threaten the rights and independence of the states, who were "sovereign, entitled...to have a separate branch of Congress...to which they could send their ambassadors". This was countered by the argument that a change in the mode in which senators were elected would not change their responsibilities.
The Senate freshman class of 1910 brought new hope to the reformers. Fourteen of the thirty newly elected senators had been elected through party primaries, which amounted to popular choice in their states. More than half of the states had some form of primary selection for the Senate. The Senate finally joined the House to submit the Seventeenth Amendment to the states for ratification, nearly ninety years after it first was presented to the Senate in 1826.
By 1912, 239 political parties at both the state and national level had pledged some form of direct election, and 33 states had introduced the use of direct primaries. Twenty-seven states had called for a constitutional convention on the subject, with 31 states needed to reach the threshold; Arizona and New Mexico each achieved statehood that year (bringing the total number of states to 48), and were expected to support the motion. Alabama and Wyoming, already states, had passed resolutions in favor of a convention without formally calling for one.
In 1911, the House of Representatives passed House Joint Resolution 39 proposing a constitutional amendment for direct election of senators. The original resolution passed by the House contained the following clause:
The times, places, and manner of holding elections for Senators shall be as prescribed in each State by the legislature thereof.
This so-called "race rider" clause would have strengthened the powers of states over senatorial elections and weakened those of Congress by overriding Congress's power to override state laws affecting the manner of senatorial elections.
Since the turn of the century, most blacks in the South, and many poor whites, had been disenfranchised by state legislatures passing constitutions with provisions that were discriminatory in practice. This meant that their millions of population had no political representation. Most of the South had one-party states. When the resolution came before the Senate, a substitute resolution, one without the rider, was proposed by Joseph L. Bristow of Kansas. It was adopted by a vote of 64 to 24, with 4 not voting. Nearly a year later, the House accepted the change. The conference report that would become the Seventeenth Amendment was approved by the Senate 42 to 36 on April 12, 1912, and by the House 238 to 39, with 110 not voting on May 13, 1912.
Having been passed by Congress, the amendment was sent to the states for ratification and was ratified by:
The Utah legislature rejected the amendment on February 26, 1913. No action on the amendment has been completed by: Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, Virginia, Alaska or Hawaii. Alaska and Hawaii were not yet states at the time of the amendment's proposal, and have never taken any official action to support or oppose the amendment since achieving statehood.
The Seventeenth Amendment altered the process for electing United States Senators and changed the way vacancies would be filled. Originally, the Constitution required state legislatures to fill Senate vacancies.
The Seventeenth Amendment had a dramatic impact on the political composition of the U.S. Senate. Before the Supreme Court required "one man, one vote" in Reynolds v. Sims (1964), malapportionment of state legislatures was common. For example, rural counties and cities could be given "equal weight" in the state legislatures, enabling one rural vote to equal 200 city votes. The malapportioned state legislatures would have given the Republicans control of the Senate in the 1916 Senate elections. With direct election, each vote represented equally, the Democrats retained control of the Senate.
The reputation of corrupt and arbitrary state legislatures continued to decline as the Senate joined the House of Representatives implementing popular reforms. Judge Bybee has argued that the amendment led to complete "ignominy" for state legislatures without the buttress of a state-based check on Congress. In the decades following the Seventeenth Amendment, the federal government was enabled to enact progressive measures. However, Schleiches argues that the separation of state legislatures and the Senate had a beneficial effect on the states, as it lead state legislative campaigns to focus on local rather than national issues.
New Deal legislation is another example of expanding federal regulation overruling the state legislatures promoting their local state interests in coal, oil, corn and cotton. Ure agrees, saying that not only is each Senator now free to ignore his state's interests, Senators "have incentive to use their advice-and-consent powers to install Supreme Court justices who are inclined to increase federal power at the expense of state sovereignty". Over the first half of the 20th century, with a popularly elected Senate confirming nominations, both Republican and Democratic, the Supreme Court began to apply the Bill of Rights to the states, overturning state laws whenever they harmed individual state citizens.
The Seventeenth Amendment says a state legislature may permit its governor to make temporary appointments, which last until a special election is held to fill the vacancy. Currently, all but four states — Massachusetts, Oregon, Wisconsin and Oklahoma — permit such appointments. The Constitution does not set out how the temporary appointee is to be selected.
The Seventeenth Amendment requires a governor to call a special election to fill the vacancy.
Oklahoma, admitted to statehood in 1907, chose a Senator by legislative election three times: twice in 1907, when admitted, and once in 1908. In 1912, Oklahoma reelected Robert Owen by advisory popular vote.
Oregon held primaries in 1908 in which the parties would run candidates for that position, and the state legislature pledged to choose the winner as the new Senator.
New Mexico, admitted to statehood in 1912, chose only its first two Senators legislatively. Arizona, admitted to statehood in 1912, chose its first two Senators by advisory popular vote. Alaska, and Hawaii, admitted to statehood in 1959, have never chosen a U.S. Senator legislatively.
The first direct elections to the Senate following the Seventeenth Amendment being adopted were:
In Trinsey v. Pennsylvania (1991), the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit was faced with a situation where, following the death of Senator John Heinz of Pennsylvania, Governor Bob Casey had provided for a replacement and for a special election that did not include a primary. A voter and prospective candidate, John S. Trinsey, Jr., argued that the lack of a primary violated the Seventeenth Amendment and his right to vote under the Fourteenth Amendment. The Third Circuit rejected these arguments, ruling that the Seventeenth Amendment does not require primaries.
Another subject of analysis is whether statutes restricting the authority of governors to appoint temporary replacements are constitutional. Vikram Amar, writing in the Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly, claims that Wyoming's requirement that its governor fill a senatorial vacancy by nominating a person of the same party as the person who vacated that Senate seat violates the Seventeenth Amendment. This is based on the text of the Seventeenth Amendment, which states that "the legislature of any state may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments". The amendment only empowers the legislature to delegate the authority to the governor and, once that authority has been delegated, does not permit the legislature to intervene. The authority is to decide whether or not the governor shall have the power to appoint temporary senators, not in what fashion he should do so. Sanford Levinson, in his rebuttal to Amar, argues that rather than engaging in a textual interpretation, those examining the meaning of constitutional provisions should interpret them in the fashion that provides the most benefit, and that legislatures being able to restrict gubernatorial appointment authority provides a substantial benefit to the states.
Due to the controversy over the effects of the Seventeenth Amendment, advocates have emerged to reform or repeal the amendment. Under President Barack Obama's administration in 2009, four sitting Democratic senators left the Senate for executive branch positions: Barack Obama (President), Joe Biden (Vice President), Hillary Clinton (Secretary of State), and Ken Salazar (Secretary of the Interior). Controversies developed about the successor appointments made by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and New York Governor David Paterson. New interest was aroused in abolishing the provision for the Senate appointment by the governor. Accordingly, Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Representative David Dreier of California proposed an amendment to remove this power; Senators John McCain and Dick Durbin became co-sponsors, as did Representative John Conyers.
The Tea Party movement argued for repealing the Seventeenth Amendment entirely, claiming that it would protect states' rights and reduce the power of the federal government. On March 2, 2016, the Utah legislature approved Senate Joint Resolution No. 2 asking Congress to offer an amendment to the United States Constitution that would repeal the Seventeenth Amendment.
See Bybee, p. 536.
Politics, like nature, abhorred a vacuum, so senators felt the pressure to do something, namely enact laws. Once senators were no longer accountable to and constrained by state legislatures, the maximizing function for senators was unrestrained; senators almost always found in their own interest to procure federal legislation, even to the detriment of state control of traditional state functions.
The United States Senate elections of 1788 and 1789 were the first elections for the United States Senate, which coincided with the election of President George Washington. As of this election, formal organized political parties had yet to form in the United States, but two political factions were present: The coalition of senators who supported George Washington's administration were known as "Pro-Administration", and the senators against him as "Anti-Administration".
As these elections were prior to the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, senators were chosen by State legislatures.1790 and 1791 United States Senate elections
The United States Senate elections of 1790 and 1791 were the second series of elections of Senators in the United States. In these elections, terms were up for the nine Senators in Class 1. As of these elections, formal organized political parties had yet to form in the United States, but two political factions were present: The coalition of Senators who supported President George Washington's administration were known as the Pro-Administration Party, and the Senators against him as the Anti-Administration Party.
As these elections were prior to the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Senators were chosen by State legislatures.1913 United States Senate special election in Maryland
A Special Election to the United States Senate was held in Maryland on November 4, 1913 to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Sen. Isidor Rayner (a Democrat). The election was historic in that it was the first Senate election held under the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which required direct election of senators.
Blair Lee I, a Democrat and former state senator, became the first U.S. Senator directly elected by the people of a state under the Constitution's provisions (although other states had previously elected senators indirectly through party primaries and popular elections, which were then ratified by the state legislature). The election led to a controversy when the incumbent who had been appointed to fill Rayner's seat, Republican William P. Jackson, refused to give up his seat to Lee. Jackson claimed that "since he had been appointed under the original constitutional provision, he was entitled to hold his seat until the regularly scheduled adjournment date of the Maryland state assembly."
The Senate considered Jackson's challenge but eventually rejected it and seated Lee.1914 United States Senate election in Vermont
The 1914 United States Senate election in Vermont took place on November 3, 1914. Incumbent Republican William P. Dillingham successfully ran for re-election to another term in the United States Senate, defeating Democratic candidate Charles A. Prouty. This was the first United States Senate direct election to take place in Vermont following the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.1916 United States Senate election in Minnesota
The 1916 United States Senate election in Minnesota took place on November 7, 1916. It was the first election for either class of U.S. Senators held in Minnesota after the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which established the popular election of United States Senators. Incumbent Senator Moses E. Clapp was defeated in the Republican primary election by former American Bar Association president Frank B. Kellogg. Kellogg went on to defeat former St. Paul Mayor Daniel W. Lawler of the Minnesota Democratic Party, and Prohibition Party challenger Willis Greenleaf Calderwood, in the general election.1916 United States Senate election in Vermont
The 1916 United States Senate election in Vermont took place on November 7, 1916. Incumbent Republican Carroll S. Page successfully ran for re-election to another term in the United States Senate, defeating Democratic candidate Oscar C. Miller. This was the second United States Senate direct election to take place in Vermont following the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and the first for Vermont's Class I seat.1918 United States Senate election in Minnesota
The 1918 United States Senate election in Minnesota took place on November 5, 1918. It was the first election for Minnesota's Class 2 seat in the United States Senate, and the second U.S. Senate election in Minnesota overall, held after the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which established the popular election of United States Senators. Incumbent U.S. Senator Knute Nelson of the Republican Party of Minnesota easily defeated his challenger in the general election, Willis Greenleaf Calderwood of the National Party, to win a fourth term in the Senate.Blair Lee I
Francis Preston Blair Lee (August 9, 1857 – December 25, 1944) was a Democratic member of the United States Senate, representing the State of Maryland from 1914 to 1917. He was also the great-grandson of American patriot Richard Henry Lee, and grandfather of former Maryland Governor Blair Lee III. Lee was named after his maternal grandfather, Francis Preston Blair.
Lee was born in Silver Spring, Maryland and attended the common schools in the area. He was the son of Samuel Phillips Lee and his wife, the former Elizabeth Blair. He graduated from Princeton University in 1880 and from the law department of Columbian (now George Washington) University in 1882. He was admitted to the bar of the District of Columbia and of Montgomery County, Maryland in 1883 and commenced practice in Maryland.
Lee was an unsuccessful candidate for election to the Fifty-fifth Congress in 1896. He was, however, elected to the Maryland State Senate, and served from 1905 to 1913. In 1911, Lee ran for the position of Governor of Maryland, but lost the Democratic nomination to Arthur Pue Gorman, Jr. (who lost to Republican candidate Phillips Lee Goldsborough). In 1915, he again ran for Governor and was defeated in the Democratic Primary by eventual winner Emerson Harrington.
Following his defeat in the gubernatorial election, Lee was elected to the United States Senate in a special election on November 4, 1913, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of senator Isidor Rayner. Because the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution had recently gone into effect, Lee became the first U.S. Senator directly elected by the people of a state under the Constitution's provisions (although other states had previously elected senators indirectly through popular elections, which were then ratified by the state legislature). He presented his credentials to serve as senator on December 5, 1913, but he did not qualify until January 28, 1914 because the incumbent in his seat, Republican William P. Jackson, claimed that "since he had been appointed under the original constitutional provision, he was entitled to hold his seat until the regularly scheduled adjournment date of the Maryland state assembly."The Senate considered Jackson's challenge but eventually rejected it and seated Lee. While senator, Lee was chairman of the Committee on Expenditures in the Post Office Department, and a member of the Committee on Coast Defenses (Sixty-third and Sixty-fourth Congresses). He was unsuccessful in his bid for re-election in 1916, losing the Democratic nomination to David John Lewis (who went on to lose to Joseph I. France).
Lee resumed the practice of law after he left the Senate. He died in Norwood, Maryland and is buried in Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington, D.C.Clem S. Clarke
Clement Steele Clarke, known as Clem S. Clarke (October 9, 1897 – March 28, 1967), was an oilman from Shreveport, Louisiana, who was the first member of the Louisiana Republican Party to run for the United States Senate since implementation in 1914 of the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. He lost the 1948 race to Democrat Russell B. Long, the older son of Huey Pierce Long, Jr.J. Edward Addicks
John Edward Charles O'Sullivan Addicks (November 21, 1841 – August 7, 1919) was an American industrialist and capitalist who used his wealth from financing and building gas works to wage four unsuccessful campaigns for a United States Senate seat in Delaware. His struggle with Henry A. du Pont for control of the state government led to Delaware having both of its Senate seats vacant for a time and was one of the factors which led to election reform and the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1913.List of African-American United States Senators
The United States Senate has had ten African-American elected or appointed office holders. The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral United States Congress, which is the legislative branch of the federal government of the United States. The U.S. Census Bureau defines African Americans as citizens or residents of the United States who have origins in any of the black populations of Africa. The term is generally used for Americans with at least partial ancestry in any of the original peoples of sub-Saharan Africa. During the founding of the federal government, African Americans were consigned to a status of second-class citizenship or enslaved. No African American served in federal elective office before the ratification in 1870 of the Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Fifteenth Amendment prohibits the federal and state governments from denying any citizen the right to vote because of that citizen's race, color, or previous condition of servitude. Of the ten senators, six were popularly elected (including one that previously had been appointed by his state's governor), two were elected by the state legislature prior to the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1913 (which provides for the direct election of U.S. Senators by the people of each state), and two were appointed by a state Governor. The 113th United States Congress (2013–15) marked the first time that two African Americans served concurrently in the Senate.The first two African-American senators represented the state of Mississippi during the Reconstruction Era, following the American Civil War. Hiram Rhodes Revels, the first African American to serve, was elected by the Mississippi State Legislature to succeed Albert G. Brown, who resigned during the Civil War. Some Democratic members of the United States Senate opposed his being seated based on the court case Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857) by the Supreme Court of the United States, claiming that Revels did not meet the citizenship requirement, but the majority of Senators voted to seat him. The Mississippi state legislature elected Blanche Bruce in 1875, but Republicans lost power of the Mississippi state legislature in 1876. Bruce was not elected to a second term in 1881. In 1890 the Democratic-dominated state legislature passed a new constitution disfranchising most black voters. Every other Southern state also passed disfranchising constitutions by 1908, excluding African Americans from the political system in the entire former Confederacy. This situation persisted into the 1960s until after federal enforcement of constitutional rights under the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The next black United States Senator, Edward Brooke of Massachusetts, took office in 1967. He was the first African American to be elected by popular vote after the ratification in 1913 of the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, rather than to be elected by a state legislature. The Seventeenth Amendment established direct election of United States Senators by popular vote.
Carol Moseley Braun and Barack Obama were both elected by the voters of Illinois, entering the Senate in 1993 and 2005, respectively. Carol Moseley Braun is the first African-American woman to be elected - or appointed - to the Senate after the ratification in 1920 of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Nineteenth Amendment prohibits any United States citizen from being denied the right to vote on the basis of sex. While serving in the Senate, Obama became the first African American to be elected to the office of President of the United States. Roland Burris, also an African American, was appointed to fill the remainder of the Senate term of President-elect Obama.The next two black Senators, Tim Scott of South Carolina and Mo Cowan of Massachusetts, were both appointed by governors to fill the terms of Jim DeMint and John Kerry, respectively, who had resigned their positions. On October 16, 2013, citizens of New Jersey elected Cory Booker in a special election to fill the seat of the late Senator Frank R. Lautenberg. Sworn into office on October 31, 2013, he is the first African-American Senator to be elected since Barack Obama in 2004 and the first to represent the state of New Jersey, later securing a full 6-year term in the 2014 mid-term elections. Senator Tim Scott retained his seat in a special election in 2014, also securing a full 6-year term in 2016. On January 3, 2017, Senators Scott and Booker were joined in the Senate by Kamala Harris of California, who was elected on November 8, 2016. Senator Harris is the second African-American woman to serve in the U.S. Senate. As of September 5, 2018, there have been 1,974 members of the United States Senate, but only ten have been African American.List of United States Senators from Delaware
Below is a chronological listing of the United States Senators from Delaware. U.S. Senators were originally elected by the Delaware General Assembly for designated six-year terms beginning March 4. Frequently portions of the term would remain only upon a U.S. Senator's death or resignation. From 1914 and the enforcement of the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, adopted in 1913, officeholders were popularly elected on the first Tuesday after November 1; starting 1935, the beginning of their term is January 3. Delaware's current U.S. Senators are Democrats Tom Carper (serving since 2001) and Chris Coons (serving since 2010).List of United States Senators from Indiana
Indiana was admitted to the Union on December 11, 1816. Since then, the state has been represented in the United States Senate by 44 different men in Class 1 and 3; David Turpie served non-consecutive terms in Class 1, Dan Coats served non-consecutive terms in Class 3, and William Ezra Jenner served in both Classes. Until the passage of the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1913, Senators were elected by the Indiana General Assembly; after that they were elected popularly by Indiana citizens. A senatorial term lasts six years beginning on January 3. In case of a vacancy the Governor of Indiana has the duty to appoint a new U.S. Senator. The longest-serving of any Senator from Indiana is Republican Richard Lugar (1977–2013). Indiana's current U.S. Senators are Republicans Todd Young (serving since 2017) and Mike Braun (serving since 2019).List of United States Senators from Maryland
This is a list of United States Senators from Maryland, which ratified the United States Constitution April 28, 1788, becoming the seventh state to do so. To provide for continuity of government, the framers divided Senators into staggered classes that serve six-year terms, and Maryland's Senators are in the first and third classes. Before the passage of the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1913, which allowed for direct election of Senators, Maryland's Senators were chosen by the Maryland General Assembly. Until the assembly appointed George L. Wellington of Cumberland in 1897, Senators in class 3 were chosen from the Eastern Shore while Senators in class 1 were chosen from the remainder of the state.List of United States Senators from Massachusetts
Below is a chronological listing of the United States Senators from Massachusetts. According to the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution adopted in 1913, U.S. Senators are popularly elected for a six-year term. Elections are held the first Tuesday after November 1 and terms begin on January 3, about two months after the vote. Before 1914 and the enforcement of the Seventeenth Amendment, the state's U.S. Senators were chosen by the Massachusetts General Court, and before 1935, their terms began March 4. The current senators are Democrats Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey.List of United States Senators from New Jersey
This is a chronological listing of the United States Senators from New Jersey. Since the enforcement of the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, U.S. Senators are popularly elected for a six-year term beginning January 3. Elections are held the first Tuesday after November 1. Before 1914, they were chosen by the New Jersey Legislature, and before 1935, their terms began March 4. The state's current Senators are Democrats Bob Menendez (serving since 2006) and Cory Booker (serving since 2013).List of appointed United States Senators
This page lists all appointed United States Senators since the 1913 ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution which established the direct election of senators, as well as means of filling vacant Senate seats.Seventeenth Amendment
The Seventeenth Amendment may refer to the:
Seventeenth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland, relating to cabinet confidentiality
Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan, granting more power to the President of Pakistan
Seventeenth Amendment of the Constitution of South Africa, restructuring the judicial system
Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, providing for the direct election of SenatorsWesberry v. Sanders
Wesberry v. Sanders, 376 U.S. 1 (1964), was a U.S. Supreme Court case involving U.S. Congressional districts in the state of Georgia. The Court issued its ruling on February 17, 1964. This decision requires each state to draw its U.S. Congressional districts so that they are approximately equal in population.
Nationally, this decision effectively reduced the representation of rural districts in the U.S. Congress. Particularly, the Court held that the population differences among Georgia's congressional districts were so great as to violate the Constitution.
In reaching this landmark decision, the Supreme Court asserted that Article I, Section 2 of the United States Constitution requires that representatives shall be chosen "by the People of the several States" and shall be "apportioned among the several States...according to their respective Numbers...." These words, the Court held, mean that "as nearly as practicable one man's vote in a congressional election is to be worth as much as another's."
Wesberry and the Court's later "one person, one vote" decisions had an extraordinary impact on the makeup of the House, on the content of public policy, and on electoral politics in general. However, these "one person, one vote" rules do not prevent and have not prevented gerrymandering.
A related case, Reynolds v. Sims, held that seats in both houses of a bicameral state legislature must also, to satisfy the Equal Protection Clause, represent districts as equal in population as practicably possible. The federal Senate was unaffected since the Constitution explicitly grants each state two senators (a rule which is explicitly reiterated in the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution).
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