Term Limits

forcing a maximum time over which a person can hold elected office


My recommendation for Election Reform: I'm feeling lately that it's the simplest and biggest lever - if you reduce the payback for Gaming The System, then you don't have to worrying about cutting back on all those Gaming approaches.


In contrast to the Articles Of Confederation, the federal constitution convention at Philadelphia omitted mandatory term-limits from the second national frame of government, i.e. the US Constitution of 1787 to the present. Nonetheless, due largely to grass roots support for the principle of rotation, rapid turnover in Congress prevailed by extra-constitutional means. Also George Washington set the precedent for a two-term tradition that prevailed (with the exception of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's four terms) until the 22nd Amendment of 1951.

Reformers during the early 1990s used the initiative and referendum to put congressional term limits on the ballot in 23 states. Voters in every one of these states approved the congressional term limits by an average electoral margin of two to one. In May 1995, the United States Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton, 514 U.S. 779 (1995) that states cannot impose term limits upon their federal Representatives or Senators. Earlier that Spring, the U.S. Congress had given the Court assurance that the Justices would be acting only against state statutes, not overturning an act of Congress. For the hopes of some that Congress would self-impose term limits had abruptly come to an end. Congressional term limits had been featured prominently in the Republican Party's Contract With America in the 1994 election campaign, and may well have contributed to the Republican Revolution, as the Republicans wrested control of the House of Representatives from the Democratic Party for the first time since the 1952 elections. The Republican leadership brought to the floor of the House a Constitutional Amendment that would limit House members to six two-year terms and members of the U.S. Senate to two six-year terms... With the Republicans holding 230 seats in the House, three versions of the amendment got well under 200 votes, while the 12 year term-limits which overrode all the more stringent state measures managed a bare majority in the House of 227-204, well short of the requisite two-thirds majority (290 votes) required to pass a Constitutional Amendment.

there are limits for US President, but not US Congress

This may not help at the state level - in California many people bounce from office to office.

Some say the Political Party is the real source of the power/problem, so changing the faces won't matter. We'd need a Multi Party System to get any change.

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