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Term Limits

I favor a Constitutional Amendment limiting U.S. Representatives to three 2 year terms in any 12 years and U.S. Senators to two six year terms in any 20 years.  I favor limiting Supreme Court justices to a single 15 year term.

New Senators and Representatives will arrive with varying levels of integrity.  In the vast majority of cases, the integrity of a Representative or Senator will not improve with time in office.  If not very careful, he or she will accumulate unhealthy obligations to groups within and outside of Congress.  Many will convince themselves that various forms of bribery and skullduggery are OK under their special circumstances.  Since Congressional rules reward seniority with leadership and power, long time members have very disproportionate power.  The result is that some states and districts keep their crook in office because he can bring home the pork.

The writers of our Constitution chose the terms of Congress and the Supreme Court to get a mix of reaction to changes in society with the shorter Representative term and the stability of the longer terms.  The current re-elect ability of Representatives was not anticipated.  In those days, life spans were typically fifty years and Philadelphia (later Washington) was a very undesirable place to live.  It was not anticipated that many Supreme Court Justices would serve more than fifteen years.  Our current experience is to have Supreme Court justices serve thirty years and more.  Thus, with lifetime appointments, a poor President can influence the fate of the country for generations beyond his term in office.