There are very few individuals in the United States whom I can say have a life history somewhat strikingly parallel to mine, but Montgomery Blair Sibley is one of them: Disbarred or suspended in virtually every jurisdiction where he ever practiced, Sibley does not give up, and I have to admire him for that, even though I cannot praise, share, or even sympathize with his admiration for his ancestors who betrayed their closest kinfolk (the Lees of Virginia, who together with the Blairs created what is traditionally known as the “Blair-Lee” house in Washington) in joining with the Union side of the War of 1861-65). I do however, totally praise, share, and sympathize with the following absolutely essential reform proposal:
Congress Must Be Re-Formatted for the 21st Century
The debates over the structure over the federal government held in 1787 at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia were presided over by George Washington. On the very last day of the convention, George Washington rose for the first and last time to add his counsel to the debates. Addressing himself to a proposed amendment to Article I, §2, he said the importance of this clause: of so much consequence that it would give much satisfaction to see it adopted.” Likewise, the architect of our federal government – James Madison – in the Federalist, No. 55 stated: “Scarce any article, indeed, in the whole Constitution seems to be rendered more worthy of attention, by the weight of character and the apparent force of argument with which it has been assailed.” What was this Article that deserved George Washington’s concern, James Madison’s attention and rules over every aspect of our lives?
Article I, §2 states in pertinent part: “The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand.” Congress has taken this to mean that they can fix the number of Representatives from the States to Congress at 435 – the number they set in 1910. The result, is that which George Washington supported – one representative for each 30,000 citizens – has now balloon due to Congressional inaction to one representative for every 700,000 citizens. See the below Chart
The result, as George Mason predicted, was inevitable: With no Constitutional mandate to increase their number, the elected representatives would fail to augment their numbers which would necessarily decrease each Representative’s power. As a result we suffer under a system which has produced the “durable incumbent” and we are in the mess we are in as a result. For example, what sort of deal was cut to produce the Illinois 4th District?
Common sense says that a perversion has taken over the House of Representatives if this is what they think the Founding Framers had in mind. This is simply turf protection — not representation.
I propose the following: First, increase the size of the House of Representatives to one Representative for between 30,000 and 40,000 citizens. Yes, that would result in a House containing some 10,000 representatives which at first blush might seem unwieldy. Yet I trust the impact of technology, random assignment of committee memberships and procedural rules will allow the “wisdom of the crowd” and a “hive intelligence” to produce a federal system which is much closer to the ideal of our Founding Framers than the Legislative Tyranny we now live under.
Second, create each House district based upon Zip Codes. Its rational, race neutral and avoids the absurd type of Congressional District represented by the 4th Illinois.
Last, repeal the 17th Amendment and allow United States Senators to be elected by the various State Legislatures to ensure proper representation of the interests of the States at the Federal legislative level as originally envisioned in the Constitution.
Simply stated, its is time to tear-down-to-the-foundation the Federal House and start all-over again upon the rock which is our Constitution.