Philip Blumel: The Term Limits Convention passes the Indiana State House. Boom. Hi I’m Philip Blumel. Welcome to No Uncertain Terms the official podcast of the Term Limits Movement. This is episode number 232, published February 12th, 2024.
Stacey Selleck: Your Sanctuary from Partisan Politics.
Philip Blumel: That’s right. On January 31st, the resolution calling for an Article five Amendment writing Convention limited to the subject of Congressional Term Limits passed the Indiana House on a healthy, bipartisan basis and is headed to the Indiana Senate. Now, if it passes the Senate, Indiana will be the seventh state to fully approve the Term Limits convention resolution. Right now, it is one of three states where the Term Limits convention has passed one house. These are Indiana, North Carolina, and Tennessee. So three states are currently in the lead to be state number seven. Recall that 34 states are necessary to compel a convention according to Article five of the US Constitution, but we believe it’ll take less states than that to force Congress’s hand. And in a very interesting twist, Florida, which was the first state to pass the Term Limits convention resolution, passed it again last week.
Philip Blumel: It didn’t need to, but this is the level of conviction and urgency coming from the Sunshine State. The new version did tidy up a little language to make it better mirror the resolutions of the other five states. And that’s helpful because all of the language of all the states that passed the Term Limits resolution has to be largely the same in order for them to aggregate and force the convention. Thank you Florida. Now governors don’t have to sign Article five resolutions as long as it passed the two houses of the legislature or one in the case of Nebraska, the resolution will count. But make no mistake, governor Ron DeSantis’ fingerprints are all over this. Governor DeSantis has been a governor of a heavily term-limited state and also a member of the non-term-limited US Congress. And he understands very well the difference and very well the importance of rotation in office.
Philip Blumel: Next, term limits is increasingly part of our national discourse, but you usually don’t hear so much about US Term Limits itself, but I have heard the words US Term Limits more last week from the major media than I have in many years. This is because the US Term Limits has filed an amicus brief in the high profile Trump versus Anderson case, which involves Colorado’s decision to remove Donald Trump from the 2024 ballot. Now, the larger issue about whether a state has the right to remove a presidential candidate from the ballot based on the 14th amendment is outside the purview of our organization, and we don’t weigh in on it, but US Term Limits got dragged into this battle because of the attempt by some to use the split decision in 1995’s US Term Limits versus Thornton to bolster their case. Instead, our amicus or friend-of-the-court brief argues that the court’s 1995 ruling in US Term Limits versus Thornton, which was egregiously wrong, is inapplicable to this case.
Philip Blumel: If you recall in Thornton, the court held by 5-4, the majority, that states were powerless to impose term limits or other qualifications on their own members of Congress. That decision invalidated congressional term limits in 23 states suppressing the voice of millions of Americans who had voted for pro term limits initiatives. But in Trump versus Anderson, Colorado is not attempting to use its own laws to disqualify former President Trump from the ballot, but rather the 14th amendment of the US Constitution. Therefore, our brief argues Thornton is not relevant to Trump’s case. Additionally, we take the opportunity to forcefully argue that Thornton should be overruled by the court in the near future. Nicolas Tomboulides, Executive Director of US Term Limits said, “The poorly-decided split decision, US Term Limits versus Thornton case was a black eye for our courts and the rule of law in America. It would be folly for the court to reinforce or expand this bad precedent in the upcoming case involving the state of Colorado and the former President Trump.” You tell ’em Nick.
Speaker 3: This is a public service announcement.
Philip Blumel: One of the roughly two dozen states considering the Term Limits convention is Alaska. In this testimony submitted to the Alaska legislature, the Western Regional Director of US Term Limits, Constantin Querard, or, we call him CQ, explains how Congress will grandfather themselves when they write the amendment to term-limit the Congress. And it will be the pressure from the term limits convention that forces Congress to act.
Constantin Querard: You know there’s a reason why so many members of Congress act like they’re invincible. They’re not really accountable to the voters they’re supposed to represent, and that’s because they’re almost impossible to defeat. Last cycle, 100% of US Senate incumbents won, about 95% of the house incumbents won. And even that number is inflated because of the 10 who lost their general elections. A number of them lost two other house incumbents that they had been redistricted in with. So even when incumbents lose, it often takes another incumbent to beat them. Here at US Term Limits, we basically believe it’s healthy for voters to have the opportunities to fill open seats. We believe it’s healthy for candidates to bring the state experience with them to DC, that you need that fresh blood. And I’ll speak very quickly to the Article five portion of this because while it’s an Article five application, this issue is never going to a convention.
Constantin Querard: Our goal is not a convention. We’re gonna do what’s worked for the last 240 years, and that is to use the process to pressure Congress to write the amendment itself, send it back to you all for ratification at a later date. But we know that Congress will never limit its own terms until the states force them to. So it’ll be state pressure through this process that forces Congress to act. I don’t say that what we’re doing here won’t take effect for kind of a while. We have a number of states to go. The process will take some time and we’re about 99.99% sure that when Congress finally writes something they’re gonna grandfather themselves in. So if you do happen to have a member of Congress you’re particularly fond of, what we’re doing here today isn’t going to affect them but it will fix the system in the long-term. Fixing Congress will be good for America, great for Alaska. So really on behalf of the thousands of Alaskans who have signed our petitions, signed up for our alerts and are urging passage of this, we respectfully ask you to support this important resolution.
Philip Blumel: Right at the deadline for this podcast, some North Dakota News came across our desk. The petitions have been delivered to the Secretary of State in Bismarck in order to put the measure on the ballot to put age limits on the congressional delegation of North Dakota. This amendment, if it’s validated by the voters on the June 11th primary election ballot, would prevent anyone 80 years or older to be elected to represent North Dakota in the Congress, either the House or the Senate. And this measure needed 31,164 valid signatures to appear on this ballot, but Retire Congress North Dakota, the organization run by Jared Hendrix, says that they have, let’s see, 41,862 signatures that they turned in. So congrats to Jared who’s running the campaign. Jared was also responsible for the successful effort in North Dakota term limit, the North Dakota State Legislature, and the Governor two years ago. More on this in future podcasts as the details roll in. In the meantime, happy Term Limits Day, February 27th.
Stacey Selleck: Like the show? You could help by subscribing and leaving a five-star review on both Apple and Spotify. It’s free.
Philip Blumel: Thanks for joining us for another episode of No Uncertain Terms. The Term Limits Convention bills are moving through the state legislatures. This could be a breakthrough year for the Term Limits movement. To check on the status of the Term Limits convention resolution in your state, go to termlimits.com/take action. There, you’ll see if it has been introduced and where it stands in the committee process on its way to the floor vote. If there’s action to take, you’ll see a take action button by your state. Click it. This will give you the opportunity to send a message to the most relevant legislators, urging them to support the legislation. They have to know you are watching. That’s termlimits.com/take action. If your state has already passed the Term Limits convention resolution, or the bill’s not been introduced in your state, you can still help. Please consider making a contribution to US Term Limits. It’s our aim to hit the reset button on the US Congress and you can help. Go to termlimits.com/donate. Termlimits.com/donate. Thanks. We’ll be back next week.
Stacey Selleck: Find us on most social media at US Term Limits, like us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and now LinkedIn.