Democrat Introduces Constitutional Amendment To End Presidential Term Limits

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Rep. José Serrano of New York has introduced H.J.Res. 15, an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the 22nd amendment.

The 22nd amendment reads:

No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once.

I’ve been getting a lot of emails about this legislation, many worried that this is a plot to get President Obama a third term in office, but it seems unlikely that (even assuming House Republicans would go along with it) it could pass Congress and be ratified by the requisite number of states to become law in order to grant Obama a third consecutive term.

Besides, these proposed amendments aren’t anything new. According to historian Glenn W. LaFantasie, “”ever since 1985, when Ronald Reagan was serving in his second term as president, there have been repeated attempts to repeal the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, which limits each president to two terms.” Several Democrat members of Congress – including Rep. Serrano, Rep. Barney Frank, Rep. Howard Berman and Senator Harry Reid – have consistently introduced these resolutions, but none of them have ever made it out of committee.

I doubt very much, that in these polarized times, the fate of this resolution would be any different.

In 1807 Thomas Jefferson wrote, “if some termination to the services of the chief Magistrate be not fixed by the Constitution, or supplied by practice, his office, nominally four years, will in fact become for life.” Some might argue that voters ought to be able to elect who they want, even if that person would be serving his/her third term.

There’s some validity to that argument, but our founders (per Jefferson’s quote) were skeptical of the wisdom of that sort of direct democracy. And, indeed, the impetus for the 22nd amendment was in the four consecutive terms to which Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected. That made Americans fearful of a perpetually-elected tyrant, and thus the constitutional limitation on presidential terms.

It’s a wise check on the power of the executive, and one that’s not likely to be removed any time soon.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • slapdick

    It’s confounding that we do not have term limits in congress. The same arguments apply.

    • two_amber_lamps

      10x

  • Spartacus

    Another Democrat wasting tax payers time and money on useless proposals. Even if his pathetically stupid idea gained SOME traction it’s obvious that he doesn’t have a clue of the constitutional process in that 30 states must ratify the amendment before it goes back to congress to be given a vote on implementation. Or maybe he thinks this too is something Obama can accomplish through executive fiat, but I’m more inclined to believe Jose’ has just been drinking too much Cuervo.

    • borborygmi

      You did read the part about this happening during Reagans tenure. At that time was it another Republican wasting tax payers time and money on useless proposals.?

  • Neiman

    First, Washington set the example, he refused to be king or serve for more than two terms, he served slightly less than eight.

    FDR was our only president for life, years he got elected four times, he was the cause I believe of the 22nd Amendment. While there he attempted to pack the Supreme Court to rubber stamp his every decision.

    I disagree with Rob only to this extent – we just saw Obama reelected, his was a failed presidency in many, many ways and yet the people bought into his charisma, not his abilities. He is a beguiler, a deceiver and if the GOP, as it looks likely, lose the House in the next election and the Senate increases their hold, which also looks likely, such an amendment could get out to the states. Depending on the mood of the country, it is albeit remote, a possibility.

    Of course, it is also possible Obama could dissolve Congress based on their not getting the nation’s business done in our national economic crisis. Remote? Very. But, I put nothing past him, he already goes around Congress and mostly rules by dictate. I do see him if the GOP fights him of the Debt Limit, just ruling it increased by decree and the Senate voting in agreement, as Reid has already affirmed.

    • borborygmi

      Nutters. Whats it like to live in fear every day of your life?

      • Neiman

        The problem is, Democrats want their party to have a virtual dictatorship, so sometimes it is wisdom to know the serpent that is your enemy.

        As for fear, nonsense, I fear no man and no party – not even death, I am a citizen of Heaven and know my eternal fate, I am not concerned about the godless Democrat Party, God told us what would be happening at this time in our history, He just did not identify who would lead the moral decay of the world, but we know it is happening.

        • borborygmi

          HEy the moral decay is just speeding up your trip to Heaven. You should be saying thanks.

          • Neiman

            I would if I were selfish, but I feel great pity and regret for the billions of souls being corrupted and led into hell by you and your fellow travelers. So, while I would rather leave here and be with Jesus, like Paul said, it may be more expedient for me to stay and work towards rescuing souls from your grip.

  • Matthew Hawkins

    You don’t think this has any chance of becoming reality, yet you still write about it?

    Why?

    You have stated often that the ballot box is a term limit. Would you oppose this if a republican was president?

    • Spartacus

      To answer your 3rd question, yes.

      Do you oppose it since it’s being proposed while a democrat is president? And what if the president was a republican? What about a third party president?

      • Matthew Hawkins

        It has been proposed when a republican is president.

        Mitch McConnell even did it when Clinton was president.

        • Spartacus

          So apparently it didn’t fly then. Now, how about you quit obfuscating and answer my question. After all, I politely answered yours without obfuscation.

          • camsaure

            He can’t, he is pretending to be some kind of lawyer, therefore he thinks he is above all of us.

          • Spartacus

            Since he is , then so shall I. Best liar wins, which means I’ll lose. But since I admit up front that I’m not a good liar ultimately I will win, if indeed honesty is the best policy.

          • $8194357

            Ya know what Hitler said about lawyers.

          • Spartacus

            Lawyer, what me?…. At Neuremburg? Do you mean Hymie town? The one I wanted to test our atomic bomb at? The Russians are whe……..

          • $8194357

            hee hee

          • Matthew Hawkins

            I think elections are the only limits necessary.

          • Spartacus

            So you were okay with McConnell’s proposal, or not, since you decided to mention it?

          • Spartacus

            It figures. Given two hours, and i was exceptionally polite with him and yet he, if indeed Matthew is a he, doesn’t have the balls to respond to polite questions. Typical leftist coward. Time to tell the coward goodnight and come back when he(?) can man up.

          • $8194357

            FORWARD comrade citizen..

          • Spartacus

            So you’d be okay with Bush 2 for President yet again. Call me skeptical but somehow I doubt it.

      • borborygmi

        Third Party , now you just moved from fantasy land to surreal.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      I’m for presidential term limits. I feel differently about congressional term limits.

      And i wrote about it because I’ve seen people posting about it on social media, and I’ve gotten several emails about it, so I thought it would be useful to give it some context.

      Is that ok with you? Or should I start running all my post ideas by you first?

      • Matthew Hawkins

        Got it. The talking points for today wanted this addressed.

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          Yeah, that’s right. I get talking points. Probably from the Koch brothers! Or maybe Karl Rove! Its a conspiracy!

          Or maybe I just try to write about topical issues from a conservative perspective.

          • borborygmi

            NOw I know you are joking as Karl Rove is in disgrace.

      • Bat One

        I have to disagree with you regarding congressional term limits. If the US government is so large and complex as to warrant unlimited experience on Capitol Hill, then we clearly have too large and too complex a federal government.

        • $8194357

          Those lifers on the hill know nothing about the Constitution, IMO.

      • The Fighting Czech

        Your right Rob. The Congress has been running so well, under the current system…. and to be fair, There has never been a time where so many politicians have been able to leave office as millionaires, collect life time benefits(courtesy of the taxpayers, Cant expect those Lobbying firms to pay for everything you know). …and slide right into a slick lobbyist position…which of course creates jobs…. Of course there is the small issue of the Citizens increasing tax burden, and freedom losses, but hey every highway has its bumps here and there…. Ya, this system Rocks!!!!!

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      And yes, i’m for term limits for Republican presidents too.

      I don’t think anyone should serve as president for more than two terms.

    • http://proof-proofpositive.blogspot.com/ Proof

      “You don’t think this has any chance of becoming reality, yet you still write about it? Why?”

      Do you suppose that conservatives should keep quiet over every stupid and un-Constitutional proposal from the Left? Will you vow not to write or comment on anything that you believe has no chance of becoming reality? Obviously not, because you’re here. And then, there’s that whole “free speech” thing!

      You folks are fun to mock if nothing else!

      • ellinas1

        Brother Proof.
        Do you believe that is UN-Constitutional to propose changing the constitution?

        • http://proof-proofpositive.blogspot.com/ Proof

          Since the Constitution contains provision for lawful change, I would have to say…no.

          • ellinas1

            What then, does this mean?

            “Do you suppose that conservatives should keep quiet over every stupid and un-Constitutional proposal from the Left?”

          • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

            S M A C K ! ! !

          • ellinas1

            Of course smack.
            Watch him come back with some lame excuse.

          • http://proof-proofpositive.blogspot.com/ Proof

            Perpetually pointing out your ignorance is not a “lame excuse”, ellinas. Maybe you could bone up on some old episodes of Sesame Street. Pay particular attention to “One of these things is not like the other”.

            Have a nice day.

          • ellinas1

            You still have not answered the question I asked.
            You do and say anything other than answer my question

          • http://proof-proofpositive.blogspot.com/ Proof

            What you and your smack addict friend Hanni seem not to understand, is that while there is a Constitutional means to amend the Constitution, the Left comes up with more than its share of stupid and un-Constitutional proposals. The operative words are “from the Left” and “stupid”.

          • ellinas1

            What you, and others similarly situated seem to not understand is that we are fully aware of the Constitutional means to amend the Constitution,What in this instance is un- constitutional?
            Your derision is unmerited, designed to obfuscate, and distract for the crazy postings of the assorted wing nuts that pose as sane people.

  • $8194357

    When I first started searching on Barry and his communist/muslim leanings back in 2007 I found a similar bill sitting on a table in committee submitted by some Democrat…Copied it and hung it on the wall of my office to show folks how the Constituion would be under attack under the redistribution Boy who would be King…
    The Democrats just laughed…
    Said if he really was a dual citizen why did he win the nomination
    and called me silly….
    Trusting lot these sheople…

    And alot of folks wanted to know why the ‘so called greatest generation’
    had the wool pulled over their eyes to let so much of this crap happen…
    Its called “DECEPTION” for a reason..
    In the form of a snake lucifer decieved two folks who walked
    face to face with God in the cool of the day in Garden…
    Think he can’t decieve the falling away, indoctrinated know it all know
    nothings of todays modern educational anti Biblical/Constitution lemmings?
    Read the Bible…Ask for UNDERSTSANDING/WISDOM.
    And sit back and watch the show of the ‘FORWARD’ march
    of the lemmings and useful idiots…..

    • borborymi

      “the ‘FORWARD’ march
      of the lemmings and useful idiots” again I think you are being to hard on yourself and your fellow doomsdayers. Please go out and purchase some more Ammo. I like when my stock goes up.

  • Neiman

    One of the biggest reasons this country is in trouble, is because power is a very addictive drug. Clinton would have loved more than two terms as well, when George Bush was inaugurated, Billy Jeff was the first ex-president to have multiple, high profile media generated goodbye rallies and it seems Democrats usually have a messiah complex and Democrats are usually worshipful of any Democrat in the White House.

    • borborygmi

      Writes a conservative who bring up Reagan every chance they get (except of course he would be a RINO in todays enviroment)

    • ellinas1

      Mr. Neiman, I totally disagree with your above premise.
      I believe you are exaggerating.

  • http://thepoliticalinformer.com/ John-Pierre Maeli

    One great way to know whether politicians are anti-Freedom is whether they support term limits. As the Founders knew full well; the lack of term limits opens up a whole host of problems in a free government.

    These democrats proposing this amendment are just what our Founders feared.

    • borborygmi

      Yes they feared it so much that it didn’t become law until they were dead for 150 years. Great foresight Founding Fathers.

  • RCND

    Maybe it needs to be reconsidered, but reconsidered to include Congress, not to repeal the amendment

  • mickey_moussaoui

    This may be an old, tired stunt but I wouldn’t put anything past these Democrats. This anit your daddy’s party anymore. These are Alinsky Democrats and they want it all.

    • $8194357

      They are far enough down the Alinsky path they may just get er done…

  • Bat One

    This is what’s known as a trial balloon. Presumably if it were to pass sometime during the next decade, Obama would be able to run again… and again… and again.

    • $8194357

      I think this might off been proposed when Reagan was President as well..
      Stupid no matter who is in control, IMO.

      • Bat One

        I believe it was proposed. The difference is that Reagan and the GOP had/have far more respect for the Constitution than do contemporary liberal Democrats.

        • borborygmi

          bull, if they could have they would have. Oh wait this is an Amendment so I figured you conservatives would be against it since it wasn’t in the original.

        • ellinas1

          When the GOP proposes repeal of the 22nd amendment, it is because the GOP had/have far more respect for the Constitution than do contemporary liberal Democrats.

          When contemporary liberal Democrats propose repeal of the 22nd amendment, it is because the Democrats had/have no respect whatsoever for the Constitution than do contemporary conservative republicans.

          Excellent analysis. How long did it take you to conclude this absurdity?

    • ellinas1

      Oh, BS Bat.
      Damn, man. You pose as a level headed guy, but actualy you are a conspiracy nut.

  • http://flamemeister.com flamemeister

    All this assumes that the Constitution will still be in effect in 4 years. …

    • $8194357

      Again 2 tru 4 skool…

    • Spartacus

      The one thing liberals don’t think about when wanting to abolish that ancient document is that either side is only superior by those on their side who invest in copper and lead. I’m heavily invested in both and not in U.S. owned companies. Immigrants from the South and eastern Europe have made it perfectly clear our best investment is spent putting Marx and Bolivar to rest in the same blood those turds float in.

    • borborygmi

      yeah thats definitley going to happen……sarcasm

      • http://flamemeister.com flamemeister

        Snappy retort.

    • ellinas1

      Any reason why the Constitution will not be in effect in 4 years fom today?. .

      • http://flamemeister.com flamemeister

        Inconvenient and ineffective.

        • ellinas1

          Well, it was written that way, and it looks to me it’s going to stay that way long after Obama fades in the shadow.
          Four years from now we will have a new president, and the same old deadlocked legislature arguing/debating the same issues.

  • Bat One

    Ever notice how many of the world’s dictators are pleased to call themselves “President”? Hugo Chavez (who is finally dying!), Castro, Putin, Mugabe, Tito, Hosni Mubarak, Saddam Hussein, Syria’s Assad (both father and son), PA leaders Yasser Arafat and his successor Mahmoud Abbas, ruthless dictators all, and all titled “president.”

  • HideFromObama

    I think Obama is finding a way to get a third term… manufactured “crisis” that “delays” the election indefinitely, that sort of thing.

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