Tag Archives: constitutional amendment

Term Limits Amendment

1. No person shall serve as a Senator for more than two complete terms.
If a person has served an incomplete term it shall be considered a complete term if the period of service were more than three years.  

2. No person shall serve as a Representative for more than six complete terms.
If a person has served an incomplete term it shall be considered a complete term if the period of service were more than one year.  

3. This Article shall not apply to any person serving in either House of Congress during the time that this Article becomes operative so long as that person maintains continuous service in that same House of Congress.  

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Many people (myself included) have long desired term limits as a means to limit the personal greed and power-lust of the members of Congress, as well as the undesired side-effects these have on the American people, our liberty, and the economy. However, getting the Congress to limit their own power voluntarily would be like asking a cat to be kind to mice. They would never voluntarily limit the years of their service. Many current and former members of Congress originally promised to limit themselves to a certain number of terms. Some may have actually intended to do just that. However, few kept that promise.  

The solution, as I see it, is to exempt the sitting members of Congress from such limits. New members of Congress would have their years of service limited by this amendment, but those serving at the time that the amendment is ratified would be exempt so long as they continued to be reelected to that same office. This exemption would cease to apply to any member of Congress who lost a bid for reelection or who decided not to seek reelection. It would also not apply to a member of one House of Congress who decided to run for the other House of Congress.  

I believe that more members of Congress would be willing to vote for term limits if they could exempt themselves from them. In addition, more might vote for this amendment since new members would be subject to limits. This would benefit the exempt members in the seniority-based system. Since many people have called for term limits for some time, they could easily accomplish a popular measure without affecting themselves personally.  

Some have called for the repeal of the 17th Amendment. In the unlikely event that this occurs, I believe this amendment will be unaffected as currently worded since the text simply refers to service, not the manner of election to the Senate.  

I realize that some people will view this as a flawed means of getting term limits, especially with the increase of power for the exempt members. However, I see this as the only practical way to accomplish that. I believe that the goal of term limits is important enough to accept this trade-off. The exempt incumbents will eventually retire or lose a reelection bid. Their successor would then be bound by term limits.  


Other relevant posts of mine:

Questions We Should Ask About a Constitutional Convention

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Filed under constitutional amendment, politics

Questions We Should Ask About a Constitutional Convention

Updated 3/30/2010, 4/22/2010, 4/24/2010

Article V of the U.S. Constitution states that an amendment to the US Constitution may be proposed by the Congress or by a Convention to propose amendments to the United States Constitution. Such a convention is called by Congress after two-thirds of the states petition them to call it. A Convention has never been called, as the threat of calling for one is often sufficient to force Congress to propose the desired amendment.

There have been some who have said that we need to call a Constitutional Convention to bring forth term limits, protect some right, or pursue some other worthy cause via Constitutional amendment. Of course, others have wondered if such a convention would choose to disregard our current Constitution and forge a new one, as the first Constitutional Convention did.  One then has to wonder what such a new Constitution would say.  However, all the speculation that I have heard ended there. 

Let us ask a few further questions:

Would the proceedings be open to public viewing or scrutiny?

Would the proceedings be in secret?

If such a new Constitution were produced, what means would be set to ratify it?

Would the drafting of a new Constitution nullify the old one, even if the new one were rejected?

Would the drafting of a new Constitution dissolve the union?

What about a new Constitution that was not ratified:
     How long would the possibility of ratification remain?
     Again, would the old Constitution be nullified or the union dissolved?

What about a new Constitution that was ratified:
     Would a state that refused to ratify be bound by the new Constitution?
     Would they be out of the union?
     Would they be forced to obey a Constitution that they rejected?

Before dismissing any of this as idle speculation or stupid questions, let’s remember that we are in uncharted territory here. Anything could happen at a Constitutional Convention.

These questions and others need to be considered before an action as drastic as a Constitutional Convention is considered.

Personally, I hope it never comes to that.


3/30/2010
I am not opposed to the idea of calling a convention in theory.
However. I am still not completely sold on the necessity of the idea. Also, I am still not sure that the outcome would be beneficial to the cause of limited government.

Satellite radio talker Mike Church is a major proponent of the Article V Convention and has planned a conference to discuss the issue on April 9, 2010. Linked article includes a summary of proposed amendments.


4/22/2010
Mike Church has made available the audio from the town hall conference on April 9, 2010.

Here it is.

I have listened to the audio. They have answered some of the questions that I have asked above.

I am not completely sold yet, but am more in favor of the idea than I was.


4/24/2010
I do believe that we need to amend the Constitution to safeguard our liberties, though. If things keep going the way they are, I should reach 100% support of this idea soon.


Other relevant posts of mine:

Term Limits Amendment


For more info:
Article 5 of the Constitution
Convention to propose amendments
State ratifying conventions
Forbes.com A Bill Of Federalism by Randy E. Barnett – proposed amendments

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Filed under constitutional amendment, politics