Term limits for government officials in this country have a long but inconsistent history. On both the federal level and state levels, proponents of term limits date back to colonial times and maintained an active presence in politics during the first years of the American Republic. The push for federal term limits faded for over a century but reemerged with the ratification of the Twenty-Second Amendment in 1951 and the movement for State-imposed term limits on Congress in the 1990s. While the constitutionality of presidential term limits was decided forty-three years earlier by amendment, the question of whether the States could impose term limits on their own congressional delegates remained unanswered in 1994. Then, the Supreme Court provided an answer in the negative when it decided U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton in 1995. This 5-4 decision held that the States were forbidden from imposing term limits for their own federal Senators and Representatives. Although the ability of the States to enact term limits on Congress appeared to have ended in 1995, paths remain open today for State-imposed congressional term limits to become a reality. This Comment explores several of these paths and the reasons why they should be considered. Both history and modern conditions provide sound justification for why congressional term limits should be revisited today.



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