10th Amendment Pros And Cons Essay

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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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