The Term Limits Case
16 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2008
Date Written: 1996
The idea of term limits for elected government officials is hardly new. States have imposed term limits on their own elected officials from the time of our Nation's founding. This political movement has produced one major constitutional amendment relating to national office - the Twenty Second Amendment, which limits the office of President to two four-year terms. Attempts by a substantial number of states to alter the qualifications for members of Congress, however, have encountered resistance by the courts. Indeed, at the time U.S. Term Limits was argued, no appellate court had endorsed any state effort, either by legislation or state constitutional amendment, to place limits on the number of terms that U.S. Senators or Representatives may serve. Until recently, it appeared that courts and scholars were virtually unanimous in believing that the Constitution is unambiguous in establishing the fixed and exclusive qualifications for members of Congress relating to age, citizenship, and residency, and that only a constitutional amendment could alter those requirements.
Keywords: term limits
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