Brian Doherty on Continuing Term Limits Dreams



In "Exit Interviews" (October 2000), Reason's Michael W. Lynch and Katherine Mangu-Ward spoke with members of Congress who were voluntarily on their way out the door, having signed a pledge to limit themselves to three terms when they came to power as part of the Republican wave of 1994. As Lynch and Mangu-Ward wrote, "the term-limits movement has been a huge success. Eighteen states have enacted term limits on their legislators; tellingly, all but two of the laws came about via ballot initiatives." But 23 states that put term limits on their federal representatives found themselves out of luck when "a 1995 Supreme Court decision declared such laws unconstitutional," leaving congressional term limits the only aspect of the Republican Party's Contract with America that failed to pass the House.

Brian Doherty writes that the movement has continued to grow with support from libertarian thinkers and financiers.