People think that term limits will solve all of our problems. While it can get rid of repeat offenders who just lie at election time and then serve business and other special interests till the next election cycle (this is especially true in the case of the Senate, which is only up for election once every six years), it won’t solve other problems and it may actually create a few.
What It Won’t Solve
- Out of control federal power. Term limits on the Presidency sure didn’t stop Obama from being the most tyrannical President that we’ve ever had.
- Out of control spending. Term limits don’t stop them from spending like crazy.
Case in Point 1: California
The members of the legislature of California have had term limits since 1996. The latest set of term limits was passed in 2012. I think that even the governor also has some kind of term limits. I found here that, for the legislature,
These rules are that they may serve a total of twelve years in either house, or a combination of the two houses. A person may serve all twelve years in either the Assembly or the Senate, or split between the two houses.
Mark Levin proposed something similar in the Liberty Amendments for the Senate and the House and others want to take up something like that for an Article V convention. However, as we know, California, despite the term limits in 1996 and the later ones in 2012, the state has become , if not THE most tyrannical state in the union, then certainly a contender for the title.
Case in Point 2: The 22nd Amendment
The 22nd Amendment limited the Presidency to two terms (8 years total). However, it hasn’t stopped President Obama from being a tyrant (worse than his first four years where he had to face the voters again) as his last 4 years were far worse than his first four years.
You may have heard of the lame duck session for Congressmen who have been voted out of office (either in the primary or the general election) but aren’t out till January, who don’t have to face the voters again and often act as they please. By term limiting Congressmen, we’d be creating a 2 year lame duck session for House members and a 6 year lame duck session for Senate members.
What about term limiting the Supreme Court?
This would be a bit more practical, as they have lifetime appointments and it would mean not be stuck for years and years with stinkers like Guinsberg. However, it won’t stop abuse of power by the Supreme Court, only limit the time someone has to abuse their power.
I’m not saying I’m against term limits, I’m saying that their effects aren’t what people think they’d be and that they could actually have some unintended negative effects too. That is why a term limits convention alone won’t help.