Justice Thomas and Term Limits

Relative to term limits, I just wanted to add that Justice Thomas’s argument in dissent focusses on the power of the people being the most powerful hand and that when considering powers reserved by the states pursuant to the Tenth Amendment, one should gather that it is the people who had reserved powers.

In fact, Justice Thomas states that “given the fundamental principle that all governmental powers stem from the people of the States, it would simply be incoherent to assert that the people of the States could not reserve any powers that they had not previously controlled.” [1]

Justice Thomas’s view seems to be that in all cases, the people are the ultimate entity vested with power and that if the people wish to manifest certain conditions, then these conditions must materialize.

This seems to be a rather idealistic view in that while I agree that the ultimate power lies with the people, public policy, as well as constitutional law dictate how that power is to manifest into actions.

Justice Thomas cites the fact that the will of the people in Arkansas was manifested in their passage of Amendment 73 to their State Constitution and as such, should stand as the most powerful hand that allows term limits.

I disagree because while the people of Arkansas may have a strong case supporting an attempt to impose term limits on politicians serving in the state legislature, the U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land.

When the citizens of Arkansas desire to wield their power on a national level, consensus of a singular state is simply not enough. There must be national consensus to do so.

[1] U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton, 514 U.S. 779, 115 S. Ct. 1842, 131 L. Ed. 2d 881 (1995).

[2] Id. at 802.

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