U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton, 514 U.S. 779 (1995).
Facts: The people of Arkansas voted to add term limits to the Houses of Congress. Preventing candidates’ names from appearing on the ballot if they had served: 2 terms in the Senate and 3 terms for Representatives. The Arkansas Supreme Court held that the law was unconstitutional. It was appealed to the United States Supreme Court and affirmed the decision.
Issue: Does the 10th amendment reserve the States rights to add term limits to either Houses of Congress that would be eligible, according to the Constitution, without such state-imposed limitations?
Decision: The 10th amendment does not reserve the States rights to add term limits to candidates running for either House of Congress …show more content…
Justice Stephens wrote the majority opinion stating that the power to vote for legislative members should be directly chosen by the people, not by the States. Powell v. McCormack established that the Qualification Clause for Congress listed in the Constitution are exclusive and the “fundamental principle of our representative democracy.” Adding such limitations to candidates takes away the direct vote from the people and destroys the “uniform national system” that the Constitution wanted for Congress. The Framers recognized that electing the legislature was a new idea that stemming from the Constitution, thus, not a right of the “original powers” of the states. The court also concluded that Framers divested the states of any power to add qualifications, because there was no right before the ratification of the Constitution. Additionally, Arkansas attempted to justify the amendment by stating that it doesn’t violate the Qualifications Clause because it does not add qualification; it just changes regulations of the ballot. Since the states can “regulate the times, places and manners of holding elections,” their amendment is constitutional. However, the court did not see it as such. Prohibiting the candidate’s name from appearing on the ballot would make it “significantly more difficult for the barred candidate to win the
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The 17th Amendment of the Constitution once it was ratified by a majority of states in 1913 changed the way Senators were elected in the voting process. Prior to the ratification of the amendment, the founding fathers saw it fit that the state legislators be invested with the authority to assign states their chosen Senators. The debate on whether the amendment was significant or not has been argued on among scholars and critics alike. One can say the fact that a debate exists at all answers that question itself. The hysteria behind the attachment of the 17th amendment is that it sets precedent for future changes to laws concerning the balance of power between the states and our central government established by the countries Founding Fathers.
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U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v Thornton 514 U.S. 779 (1995) 5-4 Facts: In 1992 Arkansas voters approved an amendment to the state constitution, prohibiting anyone who had previously served two terms in the Senate or three terms in the House of Representatives to run again. Representative Ray Thornton filed suit asking a state court to declare to declare the amendment unconstitutional. They claimed the Constitution establishes the sole qualifications for federal officeholders and the states may not alter them. The lower court struck down the amendment as unconstitutional and in 1994 the state Supreme Court affirmed.
And on top of that most of the lawsuits regarding term limits were solved when they were first introduced in 1990 with Proposition 140. When Proposition 140 was initially introduced term limits there was a lawsuit claiming that the lifetime ban was unconstitutional (“In Depth” 2). In Bates v. Jones legislators that stood to lose their seat in the upcoming election went to the courts to try to change the lifetime ban clause. It was ultimately declined and the law stayed as it was. If any new lawsuits were to come up regarding the continued lifetime ban, then that case would serve as precedent, and the ban would stay.
The 17th Amendment granted the people the right to choose their representatives. Restrictions imposed by the states would conflict with the 17th Amendment right of the people to choose their legislators. U.S. Term Limits Inc. also argued the states had the power to regulate the times, places, and manner of holding elections under Article I, Section 4, making Amendment 73 constitutional. The Court rejected this argument, stating Section 3 of the amendment was only an attempt to create new qualifications for members of Congress and was not a direct attempt to regulate the time, place, or manner of holding
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