State Court Judge Wilson Fields threw out the lawsuit against Mary Landrieu after about 45 minutes of testimony on Sept 5th. Stating in his ruling that the Constitution only states that an elected member of Congress has to show residency on the date of election, and thus the suit could not be brought forth at this time. He did not rule however, on whether her current situation could be a viable residency claim.
Let’s take a peek at the Constitution and what it has to say about residency requirements.
Article I Section III states the following:
No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.
Now looking at that one can see how the idea of the election date being the date of residency is the requirement. The idea of whether or not that was the intention of the founders is questionable, but the exact wording does lead to that conclusion. However, we modified that little section with the 17th Amendment which states in part:
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.
So once the 17th Amendment passed the requirement went from those in Article I Section III to that of the new Amendment, since, you know, thats what amendments do. They change things.
Looking at this you can see that the requirement of becoming a US Senator now relies on the requirement of the most numerous brance of the State Legislator, which in the state of Louisiana would be the House. So understanding that the 30 year requirement has not changed, lets take a peek at what the residency requirements are to become a State Representive in Louisiana.
According to the State Constitution:
- Residence within LA: 2 years
- Residence within Legislative District: 1 year
So according to the State of Louisiana you have to be a resident of the State for 2 years prior to becoming a state legislator. So what we are saying is that there is less of a requirement to be ingrained in a State to represent it in the U.S. Senate than there is to be a member of a State Legislature.
Someone please explain this to me. So according to current court rulings, you can move into a state, and as long as you have a place to live there on election day, you can represent any state in the Union.
Somehow I don’t believe this is what the founders had in mind. Congress was suppose to be of people, from each individual State to represent that state and its intentions. How exactly can someone represent a State they have no claim to, nor ever truly take the time to be a part of?
Is what we have truly what we want? A bunch of people that get elected, move to DC and forget about where and who they are actually representing?