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kimpossible
Source: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c109:H.J.RES.24.IH:

This is pretty straight forward. Congress is considering repealing the 22nd amendment, which obligates presidents to serving only two terms. It amendment hasn't passed yet, but it is in committee.

QUOTE
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the 22nd amendment to the Constitution.


Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years after the date of its submission for ratification:


`Article --


`The twenty-second article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is repealed.'.


I don't know about you all, but this worries me. It seems highly suspect that there is very little coverage of this in the press (or none at all), even though the amendment is being debated. This could be important to the American political landscape if it passes.

I won't lie. Before a second Bush term, I used to think term limits were stupid. I always thought it should be the will of the people to decide, but the fact that the 22nd amendment could be repealed, and lead the way into a THIRD Bush presidency, I am beginning to second guess my previous thoughts on term limits. Maybe Jefferson had it right when he feared an ongoing tyranny because there were no term limits.

Question for debate:

Do you agree or disagree with the proposed amendment, and why?

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nemov
QUOTE
Do you agree or disagree with the proposed amendment, and why?


It's funny you ask this because I was just thinking about it today. First of all before all the Bush haters get upset about this any amendment like this could only pass with two-thirds support from the Congress. There will be no 3rd Bush term. Also if this were passed it would likely be written in such a way that it would start after the current administration.

I would like to see term limits for Senators. There are far too many dinosaurs in the Senate that lose touch with reality (see Helms, Byrd, Kennedy and Thurmond) and they keep their jobs because of the power of incumbency.

The US has been lucky that all major conflicts have taken place while the President still had time to serve two terms (the exception being FDR and he was elected 4 times). It times of emergency it is good to have continuance of government.

As for Jefferson's fears of tyranny... Plato pretty much summed up how all Republics end.
Cephus
I'd like to see very strict term limits for all political offices, and in fact, I'd like to see a requirement that a politician can only serve 3 terms in *ANY* office before being required to serve a minimum of one term in the private sector. I don't think we should have career politicians, it makes them blind to the realities that everyone else has to live with every day and it shows in the laws that they recommend.
Jaime
QUOTE(kimpossible @ Jun 18 2005, 09:07 PM)

I won't lie. Before a second Bush term, I used to think term limits were stupid. I always thought it should be the will of the people to decide, but the fact that the 22nd amendment could be repealed, and lead the way into a THIRD Bush presidency, I am beginning to second guess my previous thoughts on term limits.

Did you notice this resolution was proposed by all Democratic Senators? I think your fear is misplaced. This appears to be an aim for a 3rd Bill Clinton presidency.

QUOTE
Question for debate:

Do you agree or disagree with the proposed amendment, and why?
*

I absolutely disagree with it. Thomas Jefferson eloquently sums up my position on terms limits in general:
QUOTE
My reason for fixing them in office for a term of years rather than for life, was that they might have in idea that they were at a certain period to return into the mass of the people & become the governed instead of the governor which might still keep alive that regard to the public good that otherwise they might perhaps be induced by their independance to forget.
(Source: Jefferson letter, 1776)

Further, I think term limits are necessary a check against instituting an aristocracy. I've heard pundits talk of a 'Bush Dynasty' and a 'Clinton Dynasty.' The idea of any dynasties scares me. I realize we have no amendment proposals to stop family members from succeeding the presidency, but term limits are a necessary part of keeping us away from establishing a ruling class.
kimpossible
Agh, I had a reply and then it all got deleted in the madness.

Ok, anyways. Jaime, my fears are not unfounded. I am not looking forward to another Clinton presidency any more than I am looking forward to another Bush one. I did not understand the idea of term limits towards the end of the Clinton era because I was just getting into politics, and term limits seemed stupid superficially. If the will of the people was to vote for a third term by whoever, then I didnt see why the will of the people should be ignored. I am absolutely not a fan of the New Democrats, and I am loathe to see Clinton come back into power.

QUOTE
It's funny you ask this because I was just thinking about it today. First of all before all the Bush haters get upset about this any amendment like this could only pass with two-thirds support from the Congress. There will be no 3rd Bush term. Also if this were passed it would likely be written in such a way that it would start after the current administration.


I dont think this really makes any sense. I posted what the amendment looks like right, it simply says that the twenty-second amendment is repealed. Maybe I just can't read, but that doesnt look like there are any provisions limiting the current or former presidents from gaining a new term. Also, writing an amendment that limits the current administration would be inherently unfair. If it limits the current one, would it limit the one before it? And the one before it? Would only allow those who ran for office AFTER the current administration to have more than two terms? However, that point is moot so far because the actual wording says nothing like that.
VDemosthenes
I have to agree with Jaime. The idea of an American ruling-class bred out of time in office scares me. We, as a republic, are given a right to select our leaders. When we elect our leaders out of sheer habit of electing them we lose our right to choose who we would like to represent us and who does it best.

There are both advantages and disadvantages to a presidential term limit. I personally think there are more than a gracious plenty of disadvantages to repealing the amendment and allowing more than two terms.

The Roman Empire fell when it was denied the right to choose. A dictator was born out a republic and the empire gradually gave way to conquerers and anarchy. I do not want America to become a wasteland because one president won't give up the Oval Office. People can posture and cite F.D.R's reign and try to debunk this argument, but when we have officials who are running for office and winning we are becoming an aristocracy.

The Roman's accepted a dictator and look what it got them: invasion, wars, disease, rape, plundering. We need to maintain the Constitution and adhere to the standards that are considered acceptable. The idea of changing what is acceptable is a great example of history potentially repeating itself. America could crumble like the next Roman Empire under this system because acceptable ideals were violated.

We cannot allow a family to gain and maintain power, either through one or several members of a family. It becomes a burden on the country when we have self-serving officials rather than selfless guides who desire a greater good.


La Herring Rouge
I thought we already had an "American ruling class"!

Last election we had the choice of a wealthy. Yale educated member of Skull and Bones OR a wealthy, Yale educated member of Skull and Bones.


I realize that people are mainly talking about a ruling dynasty in terms of blood-related family, however, what is the difference when all of our prospective leaders are members of a tiny, elite group of super wealthy Americans?

More and more our elections come down to the size of the political party's checkbook. Thus we have created our own ruling "family" in which cashola is the tie that binds. Sure, there will be some "salt of the Earth" candidates in the future but I have learned to doubt the reliability of the electoral system.

I appreciate VDemosthenes comparison to Rome because there is so much to compare. The Senate began as an elected body but slowly it became a club. For most of the history of the Roman Senate no "low-born" citizens were members. At Rome's end the title of "Senator" held only symbolic significance, meaning that such a person was of noble origin. So there was a gradual degradation in the office. It went from elected official with the duty of limiting the power of the consuls to having only the connotation of "having noble origins".

In my opinion we are moving in the same direction.

Anyway, given my somewhat paranoid opinion on our politics I will offer up my suggstion for term limits: They do not make sense in a true democracy.

If our democracy were freed from the two-party system and the clutch of consumerism we would not need to worry about term limits. If a leader is doing well enough to keep millions of voters happy s/he stays in office. Period.

Presently, with the two-party system we are not delivered the full spectrum of possibilities available to us in the way we govern ourselves. We are given a canned version of democratic government. If all issues were out on the table and were backed by a variety of candidates it would be a much more formidable task to convince a majority of the population to entrust you with leadership. Were you to do so well (considering you have a diverse Senate with which you must work) that the American people wanted you back...well then you should be allowed to come back.

Of course my ideas assumes too much. Taking money and status out of politics is impossible. Likewise, taking abuse out of politics is a pipedream. When we consider the potential for special interests to abuse the system we tend to support limitations on thier power (term limits). But really, if we can't trust our democracy enough to allow the vote winner to continue leading so long as the votes are won....then what else about our democracy must we begin to question?
CruisingRam
There is a much better alternative to term limits- total confiscation of assets, liquid or otherwise, of anyone attempting to run for office a second time. You want to be powerful? Well, then you can be poor and powerful. Much better solution- if you wish to be Ralph Nader- live the life of the elder statesman/hermit well, more power to you! thumbsup.gif
nemov
QUOTE(kimpossible @ Jun 19 2005, 07:37 PM)

I dont think this really makes any sense. I posted what the amendment looks like right, it simply says that the twenty-second amendment is repealed. Maybe I just can't read, but that doesnt look like there are any provisions limiting the current or former presidents from gaining a new term. Also, writing an amendment that limits the current administration would be inherently unfair. If it limits the current one, would it limit the one before it? And the one before it? Would only allow those who ran for office AFTER the current administration to have more than two terms? However, that point is moot so far because the actual wording says nothing like that.
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When the term limits were proposed during the Truman administration it was written not to effect his administration. The new amendment will not get anywhere unless that same provision is added. Do you really think Democrats would support an amendment that might allow Bush to run again? Also when the amendment was passed in Congress it took four years for 2/3rds of the States to ratify the amendment. Amendments take a long time before they become law.


QUOTE
No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once. But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this Article was proposed by the Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.
Wertz
I definitely think term limits are a good idea for the Executive. I'm not as sure about the Legislature. While members of Congress hold federal offices, I think that if there were to be term limits set on Senators or Representatives, it might be best left up to the individual states.

Where I think we most need term limits, though - even more than in the White House - is in the judiciary. As members of the federal courts are by appointment with no input from the citizenry (apart from through their representatives via the "advice and consent" that some are so desperate to abridge), members of the federal bench should definitely not be life appointments. If Congress is going to start mucking about with term limits, this is where they should start.
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nemov
QUOTE(Wertz @ Jun 20 2005, 02:11 AM)
I definitely think term limits are a good idea for the Executive. I'm not as sure about the Legislature. While members of Congress hold federal offices, I think that if there were to be term limits set on Senators or Representatives, it might be best left up to the individual states.

Where I think we most need term limits, though - even more than in the White House - is in the judiciary. As members of the federal courts are by appointment with no input from the citizenry (apart from through their representatives via the "advice and consent" that some are so desperate to abridge), members of the federal bench should definitely not be life appointments. If Congress is going to start mucking about with term limits, this is where they should start.
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Obviously everyone gets annoyed with judicial branch but term limits would be terrible. It would make the bench even more political than it is today. The United States is not a true democracy. As a representative republic the people are not supposed to have direct control of every facet of government. In the original constitution Senator were not directly elected by the people.

Speaking of which, I think that practice should be brought back. If we went back to the days when the state governments appointed the Senators people would pay more attention to their local governments.
Wertz
QUOTE(nemov @ Jun 20 2005, 06:25 AM)
Obviously everyone gets annoyed with judicial branch but term limits would be terrible. It would make the bench even more political than it is today.
*

I'm not sure how that follows. I would think term limits for the judiciary would make appointments no more or less political than they are now - it's just we'd have to live with any given political appointments for a set period of time rather than, well, forever. A Supreme Court Justice could conceivably sit on the bench for forty or fifty years - and the political climate could change drastically over such a period of time.

There are no other lifetime positions in government - and that, I believe, is the way it should be. I would have no problem with someone being able to be re-appointed, but I don't believe any federal judge should have a term of longer than seven or maybe ten years. I just think it's dangerous to have people in such powerful positions where nothing short of impeachment or death can end their term.

Anyway, this is straying from the topic. Maybe we need another thread to address this. thumbsup.gif
nebraska29
QUOTE
Do you agree or disagree with the proposed amendment, and why?


I'm all for it!. thumbsup.gif Personally, the job is very draining, so it's highly doubtful that a person would make a third term run. Before the 22nd amendment, it worked fine for us for some 130 or so odd years. It was passed due to political purposes, though now Republicans probably think that with W., they have their own FDR. hmmm.gif
nemov
QUOTE(Wertz @ Jun 20 2005, 04:47 PM)
A Supreme Court Justice could conceivably sit on the bench for forty or fifty years - and the political climate could change drastically over such a period of time.

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I think you just made my point about the Judicial branch. Judges are supposed to be indifferent to the "political climate." Judges uphold the constitution not the political winds of the day. Political climate influences the legislative branch, it shouldn't influence the Judicial branch in such a direct way.

straying back on topic it would take something extraordinary for Congress to repeal the term limits. it really is not in either party’s political interest to go forward with it. Hopefully the nation does not face a crisis serious enough that Congress considers repealing the amendment.
loreng59
I think that term limits should be in place for ALL public offices, and strictly enforced, especially the Judiciary branch. It is strange how the states manage to place term limits, or at least a term on their judges, but somehow Federal Judges do not have them, and somehow it is terrible if they had to be at least re-confirmed after so many years on the bench.

Instead of getting rid of the 22nd, lets expand it to include all government offices.
London2LA
Term limits are a bad idea period, its attempting to fix a problem at the wrong end. We already have term limits, they are called elections and forced limits just provide yet another reason to not bother going to the polls, its democracy on auto-pilot. If someone is doing a bad job, vote them out, if they are doing a good job you should have the choice of voting them back in regardless of some artificial time limit.

Instead, we should concentrate on reform of the candidate selection, election and districting processes to inject more choice & less gerrymandered safe seats. To see the negative effect of term limits just look at the California legislature that is now devoid of anyone experienced enough to get things done and is easily outmaneuvered by a movie star action-hero governor.
Wertz
QUOTE(loreng59 @ Jun 21 2005, 07:43 AM)
Instead of getting rid of the 22nd, lets expand it to include all government offices.
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I'd agree entirely. And, as you've managed to successfully merge the question of the judiciary with the question for debate, I'll address the points nemov raised:

QUOTE(nemov @ Jun 20 2005, 09:06 PM)
I think you just made my point about the Judicial branch. Judges are supposed to be indifferent to the "political climate." Judges uphold the constitution not the political winds of the day.

In an ideal world, yes, they should. But they don't.

QUOTE(nemov @ Jun 20 2005, 09:06 PM)
Political climate influences the legislative branch, it shouldn't influence the Judicial branch in such a direct way.
*

In that same utopia, you're right - it shouldn't. But it does.

Until we evolve human beings capable of being entirely impartial, indifferent to the political climate, free of all influence from the political winds of the day, we should not grant judges life terms. It is the same argument I would use against life terms for the legislature or the executive, true. That's because all three branches of our government are made up of human beings.
nemov
QUOTE(Wertz @ Jun 21 2005, 03:14 PM)

Until we evolve human beings capable of being entirely impartial, indifferent to the political climate, free of all influence from the political winds of the day, we should not grant judges life terms. It is the same argument I would use against life terms for the legislature or the executive, true. That's because all three branches of our government are made up of human beings.
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Utopia aside, how exactly is adding term limits to the Judicial branch going to make it "less political?" People forget that the current makeup of the Supreme Court is 7-2 in terms of Republican nominated judges. It is 7-2 and Roe v. Wade has never been overturned.

The court is not as political as people make it out to be.... look at the marijuana ruling. Justice Thomas wrote the dissent in that ruling and Scalia was in the majority. I think term limits for the Judicial branch would make things even more partisan, the court more political, and move us closer to mob rule.
Amlord
This topic is drifting away from the original Question for debate:

Do you agree or disagree with the proposed amendment [on Presidential term limits], and why?
Fife and Drum
I think VDemosthenes struck the right chord: we don’t have a mature political process for removing term limits. Because of our two party system we merely elect out of habit with a small proportion of voters actually analyzing candidates and their substance.

While I appreciate the concerns over ‘tyranny’ and a ‘ruling class’, I know that one day, hopefully in our life times, we’ll elect a President that galvanizes both sides of the aisles and the international community as well. It would be a shame to limit that person to eight years in office.

I’ve always leaned against term limits and if there were ever effective campaign finance reforms than I’d be 100% against them.
Cephus
QUOTE(nemov @ Jun 20 2005, 11:25 AM)
Obviously everyone gets annoyed with judicial branch but term limits would be terrible.  It would make the bench even more political than it is today.  The United States is not a true democracy.  As a representative republic the people are not supposed to have direct control of every facet of government.  In the original constitution Senator were not directly elected by the people.


Why would they be terrible? I think that Supreme Court justices should be elected by the people, not put in power by the President, and they should have a 10-15 year non-renewable position. After it's over, they cannot be re-elected. The term is long enough that they won't be in office over just one president's tenure and the president won't be able to stack the legal deck in his favor because neither he nor his party gets to pick the justices.

So what's wrong with that?
loreng59
QUOTE(London2LA @ Jun 21 2005, 02:32 PM)
Term limits are a bad idea period, its attempting to fix a problem at the wrong end. We already have term limits, they are called elections and forced limits just provide yet another reason to not bother going to the polls, its democracy on auto-pilot. If someone is doing a bad job, vote them out, if they are doing a good job you should have the choice of voting them back in regardless of some artificial time limit.
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Not true, can I vote out Senators Byrd, or Frist? No since they are not from the State of Ohio I can not vote against either one of them, but surely would if I could. Have never missed an election in my life. This is why we need to expand term limits. Just because Senator Byrd delivers the pork to the West Virginia, should the rest of the country be forced to endure this man year after year, term after term? I do not believe so!

Why should an government office be for life? This is totally against the concepts that our founding fathers stood for. President Washington served as the leader of the country for a time, then another stood up as Washington stepped aside. Could he have continued? Yes he would have easily won re-election, but he stood by his Masonic principals and became a private citizen. That was true government service.
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