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Sorry, Mr. President: Term limits for Congress are still not going to happen

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❶Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy. Much of the debate over presidential term limits is speculative, with little real evidence of their effect and arguments pro-and-con in equipoise.

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Twenty-Second Amendment
Should there be term limits for members of Congress and the Supreme Court?
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Some conservative lawmakers have been tweeting their support for the idea, too. I recently had a terrific meeting with a bipartisan group of freshman lawmakers who feel very strongly in favor of Congressional term limits. I gave them my full support and endorsement for their efforts. But don't let this sudden momentum on the right for term limits fool you.

It's almost certainly not going to happen anytime soon, for a variety of reasons, such as these:. The Supreme Court ruled as much in As I wrote in October when Trump first proposed term limits: A 5-to-4 decision essentially wiped off the books term-limit laws that 23 states had for their congressional delegations. The decision didn't affect term limits for state legislatures, and there are 15 states that impose them. That means that for congressional term limits to become legal again, Congress would have to amend the Constitution.

Trump proposed a constitutional amendment during the campaign, and one member of Congress, Rep. It's one of the most difficult things to do in politics. Alternatively, 34 states could agree to call a constitutional convention to go around Congress, which has never happened.

As I previously wrote, only 27 proposals out of countless ideas in our country's year history have climbed that steep hill. The term limits intended simultaneously to reform state legislatures as distinguished from the federal congressional delegations remain in force, however, in fifteen states. In Larry J. Sabato revived the debate over term limits by arguing in A More Perfect Constitution that the success and popularity of term limits at the state level suggests that they should be adopted at the federal level as well.

He specifically put forth the idea of congressional term limits and suggested a national constitutional convention be used to accomplish the amendment, since the Congress would be unlikely to propose and adopt any amendment that limits its own power. Some state legislators have also expressed their opinions on term limits. It is confirmed that in the following five states—and there may be others—state lawmakers approved resolutions asking Congress to propose a federal constitutional amendment to limit the number of terms which members of Congress may serve:.

Legal scholars have discussed whether or not to impose term limits on the Supreme Court of the United States. Currently, Supreme Court Justices are appointed for life "during good behavior". A sentiment has developed, among certain scholars, that the Supreme Court may not be accountable in a way that is most in line with the spirit of checks and balances.

Calebresi and James Lindgren, professors of law at Northwestern University, argued that, because vacancies in the court are occurring with less frequency and justices served on average, between and , for Many of the proposals center around a term limit for Justices that would be 18 years Larry Sabato, Professor of Political Science at University of Virginia, suggested between 15 and 18 years.

Calebresi, Lingren, and Carrington have also proposed that when justices have served out their proposed year term they should be able to sit on other Federal Courts until retirement, death, or removal. Some state lawmakers have officially expressed to Congress a desire for a federal constitutional amendment to limit terms of Supreme Court justices as well as of judges of federal courts below the Supreme Court level.

While there might be others, below are three known examples:. Term limits for state officials have existed since colonial times. The Pennsylvania Charter of Liberties of , and the colonial frame of government of the same year, both authored by William Penn , provided for triennial rotation of the provincial council —the upper house of the colonial legislature.

At present, 36 states have term limits of various types for their governors. To circumvent the term limit in Alabama incumbent governor George Wallace pushed through the nomination of his wife Lurleen , in the Democratic primary, which was, in those days, the real contest in Alabama. It was generally understood that Mrs. Wallace would only be a titular governor while her husband continued to hold the real power. She won the election, but only served 16 months before dying in As indicated above, in fifteen state legislatures the members serve in rotation, i.

In another six states, however, state legislatures have either overturned their own limits or state supreme courts have ruled such limits unconstitutional. In the Idaho Legislature became the first legislature of its kind to repeal its own term limits, enacted by a public vote in , ostensibly because it applied to local officials along with the legislature. Governors of 36 states and four territories are subject to various term limits, while the governors of 14 states, Puerto Rico , and the Mayor of Washington, D.

Each state's gubernatorial term limits are prescribed by its state constitution , with the exception of Wyoming , whose limits are found in its statutes. Virgin Islands , and by statute in American Samoa. Unique in its restriction, Virginia prohibits its governors from succeeding themselves for a second term, although former governors are reeligible after four years out of office. The governors of the following states and territories are limited to two consecutive terms, but are reeligible after four years out of office: Conversely, the Governors of Montana [68] and Wyoming [69] are restricted to two terms, limited to serving 8 out of any 16 years.

Finally, the governors of the following states and territory are absolutely limited for life to two terms: The governors of New Hampshire and Vermont may serve unlimited two-year terms. The governors or equivalent in the following states, district, and territory may serve unlimited four-year terms: The Governor of Utah was previously limited to serving three terms, but all term limit laws have since been repealed by the legislature.

Some local governments have term limits. In Philadelphia , the mayor cannot be elected three consecutive times, but there is no limit on how long any individual can serve as mayor. Frank Rizzo was elected mayor in and ; he attempted to repeal the term limit, but failed and could not run in He ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for mayor in but he lost to Wilson Goode. In , he switched to the Republican Party, and ran as a Republican in the mayoral elections of and Limits vary from city to city even within the same state.

For example, Houston , Texas , has a limit of 2 four-year terms prior to November 3, , 3 two-year terms dating back to , while San Antonio , Texas, has a limit of 4 two-year terms.

Both Houston and San Antonio's term limits are absolute; elected officeholders are ineligible to run for the same position where seeking higher office is common. On November 3, , however, when Michael Bloomberg was in his second term of mayor , the City Council approved the extension of the two-term limit to a three-term limit; one year later, he was elected to a third term. The two-term limit was reinstated after a referendum in In Los Angeles the mayor serves up to two four-year terms since , while the City Council serve up to three four-year terms.

In Cincinnati , Ohio , the term limit for mayor is two successive four-year terms. Council members are limited to two successive four-year terms. There is no limit to total terms that may be served, just a limit on successive terms. In New Orleans , City Council members are limited to two four-year terms.

However, a council member representing one of the five council districts may run for one of the two at-large seats on the council once they reach the two-term limit, and vice versa. There is no limit on the number of terms a council member may serve in a lifetime.

Since , the mayor of New Orleans has been limited to two consecutive four-year elected terms, but he or she may be elected again after sitting out one four-year term. When the new city plan of government was adopted, the mayor at the time, DeLesseps Story Morrison , was exempt from term limits due to a grandfather clause.

Under the original Metropolitan Charter adopted in , the mayor of Nashville was limited to three consecutive four-year terms, which was subsequently reduced to two consecutive four-year terms in Councilors were likewise limited to two consecutive four-year terms, but subsequent court rulings have determined the offices of district councilor and at-large councilor to be separate offices even though all councilors serve together in one unicameral body, which has meant that at large councilors have continued in office as district members, and more frequently district councilors have been elected to subsequent terms as at large councilors.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Constitution of the United States Law Taxation. Presidential elections Midterm elections Off-year elections. Democratic Republican Third parties. This section has an unclear citation style. The references used may be made clearer with a different or consistent style of citation and footnoting.

February Learn how and when to remove this template message. The Great Books people used to produce a yearly supplement with essays on all of the best and brightest ideas of the day. Term limits helps prevent that from happening.

And shall I die, and this unconquered, says the dying Tamburlaine. We might want to live as long as Methuselah, but all our medical research has made only a little difference in our lifespan, and were it otherwise we might still be talking about Walter Pater and the aesthetic movement. If only la jeunesse savait , we complain. Buckley, The Once and Future King: Buckley, The Republic of Virtue: The convention of two-term presidencies that long-predated the Amendment complicates any effort to assess the measure.

On balance, enacting the Twenty-Second Amendment may well have been a mistake, but repealing it now would be worse. The two biggest complaints against the Twenty-Second Amendment are that it yields failed lame-duck second terms and creates instability in personnel and policy. Critics point to the number of failed presidential second-terms since the Amendment was adopted and identify the Amendment as the culprit. That predictability no doubts emboldens Congress and others when dealing with a lame duck president.

But as scholars like David Crockett have argued, many factors have contributed to failed second terms—including errors committed by the President or his staff during the first—and political factors wholly separate from term limits often give presidents a narrow window at the outset within which to enact change. One could even argue that freedom from the need to seek reelection is a good thing, insofar as it allows Presidents to put their experience and leadership to work by tackling tough policy issues free from reelection considerations—although such efforts may prove overambitious and end in second-term failures.

To be sure, executive branch vacancies upon presidential transitions are a substantial problem for effective governance. But that high-level of turnover seems hard to tie to the Amendment, given that the average year duration for agency leadership posts falls well within one presidential term. Moreover, it is changes in party control, rather than changes in the President per se, that prove the most disruptive.

On the other hand, the importance of party also means that some arguments for term limits fail. Particularly in our current era of deep political polarization and partisan ideological cohesion, it is not clear that putting a different person in the presidency will make much difference to policy or appointments to office and judgeships if the party in control of the presidency stays the same.

Arguments about preserving an adequate array of candidates also seem a wash; term limits ensure that new candidates will not be deterred by the power of incumbency, but also operate to exclude the candidate who may be the most popular and who has the strongest record from even contending. Here history and the longstanding two-term convention counsels caution in assuming that term limits are essential to prevent presidential entrenchment; regular presidential elections remain a potent protector.

Fears that FDR destroyed the two-presidential-term convention seem overblown; the crisis and extreme circumstances of WWII may well have sufficed to reassert the two-term limit.

And simply constitutionalizing the convention ignores the important question of whether two terms is the right limit; perhaps a longer period—three terms, for example—would have been a better option once the flexibility of practice was traded for constitutional surety.

Hence, the adoption of the Twenty-Second Amendment may well have been a mistake.


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Term limits in the Constitution In He specifically put forth the idea of congressional term limits and suggested a national constitutional convention be used to accomplish the amendment, since the Congress would be unlikely to propose and adopt any amendment that limits its own power.

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Term Limits and the Constitution. The Founding Fathers - the people who wrote the Constitution - did, in fact, consider and reject the idea of congressional term limits. In Federalist Papers No. 53, James Madison, father of the Constitution, explained why the Constitutional Convention of .

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Heretofore, federal term limit discussions have focused on proposals which require amending the Constitution. These well-intentioned efforts, in the form of at least 12 bills in the current session of Congress, with over 90 co-sponsors, are stymied by the arduous process of amending the Constitution. From time to time, the idea of putting term limits on Congressmen comes up. The most recent example is legislation that was introduced by Congressman Francis Rooney (R-FL). He proposed legislation that is designed to effectively impose term limits without having to amend the Constitution by cutting.

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Given Congress’s conflict of interest, therefore, term limits supporters are also pursuing the second course that Article V authorizes: “on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of. Watch video · That means that for congressional term limits to become legal again, Congress would have to amend the Constitution. Trump proposed a constitutional amendment during the campaign, and one member of.