[Editor’s note] What will a congressional term limits amendment look like? How many years could a Senator or House Rep. serve? Would the limit be based on a lifetime or consecutive years of service?
by David Guldenschuh
The short answer is we do not know, at this time, what the language of the amendment will be. The purpose of the convention is to study the issue, deliberate and debate, and craft an amendment as a result of this discussion, or not. The convention is not obligated to propose anything.
Leading up to the convention there will be a great national discussion regarding the issue of term limits When it is certain a convention will be convened, universities, high schools, citizen groups, special interest groups, two people standing on a street corner, the entire nation, will begin to discuss and debate the issue. Groups from all around the country will ask for ideas for the amendment language, and there will be many thoughtful, educated suggestions. That is a good thing as the people will be engaged in this process.
After states appoint their delegations, hearings will be held in the states. The commissioners will listen to experts on the issue. Data from the states which have adopted term limits legislation will be collected and assessed. Experts, statisticians, academics, and governmental consultants alike will have an opportunity to provide input.
In the end, the commissioners will come together and craft an amendment that is broad enough and flexible enough to allow good public servants to serve in Congress long enough to make their mark known but not so long as to restrict the flow of new members and new ideas that term limits allows for. It will be an amendment that is sufficiently palatable to the general public that 38 states will seriously consider its ratification.