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Term limits for members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives : hearings before the Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Third Congress, first and second sessions, November 18, 1993, and June 29, 1994 online

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Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Committee on the JTerm limits for members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives : hearings before the Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Third Congress, first and second sessions, November 18, 1993, and June 29, 1994 → online text (page 1 of 34)
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TERM LIMITS FOR MEMBERS OF THE U.S.
SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPESENTAIWES



HEARINGS

BEFORE THE

SUBCOMMITTEE ON
CIVIL AND CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS

OP THE

COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
HOUSE OP REPRESENTATIVES

ONE HUNDRED THIRD CONGRESS
FIRST AND SECOND SESSIONS



NOVEMBER 18, 1993, AND JUNE 29, 1994



Serial No. 66




RECEIV



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BOSTON PUBLIf LIBRARY

OVERN&ENT DOCUMtfr S OEPARTMT



iptedfc^t^QiRABf/the Combiittee on the Judiciary



RNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON : 1994



For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office
Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office, Washington, DC 20402
ISBN 0-16-046336-X



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TERM LIMITS FOR MEMBERS OF THE MS.
SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPESENTATIVES



HEARINGS

BEFORE THE

SUBCOMMITTEE ON
CIVIL AND CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS

OF THE

COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

ONE HUNDRED THIRD CONGRESS
FIRST AND SECOND SESSIONS



NOVEMBER 18, 1993, AND JUNE 29, 1994



Serial No. 66




RECEIV



MAY 2 7 r:3



BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY

QVERNMENT DGCUMBrS GEPARTM



ittee on the Judiciary



RNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON : 1994



For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office
Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office, Washington, DC 20402
ISBN 0-16-046336-X



COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY



DON EDWARr
JOHN CONYE
ROMANO L. »
WILLIAM J. h
MIKE SYNAR,
PATRICIA SCI
DAN GLICKM
BARNEY FRA1
CHARLES E. {
HOWARD L. B
RICK BOUCHI
JOHN BRYAN
GEORGE E. S;
CRAIG A. WAS
JACK REED, F
JERROLD NAT
ROBERT C. SC
DAVID MANN,
MELVIN L. W/
XAVIER BECE]



PATRICIA SCH;
BARNEY FRAN
CRAIG A. WAS
JERROLD NAD



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United States. Congress.
House. Committee on the
Term limits for members of

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United States. Congress.
House. Committee on the
Term limits for members of



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HAMPDEN LAW LIBRARY
50 State St, P.O. Box 559

Springfield, MA 01102-0559
(413) 748-7923



DEMCO



CONTENTS

Page

HEARINGS DATES

November 18, 1993 1

June 29, 1994 185

OPENING STATEMENT

Edwards, Hon. Don, a Representative in Congress from the State of Califor-
nia, and chairman, Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights 1

WITNESSES

Fowler, Linda L., professor of political science, Maxwell School of Citizenship
and Public Affairs, Syracuse University 189

Mann, Thomas E., director of government studies, Brookings Institution,
Washington, DC 8

Mason, David, director, U.S. Congress Assessment Project, Heritage Founda-
tion 32

Mitchell, Cleta Deatherage, director and general counsel, Term Limits Legal
Institute, Washington, DC 228

Ornstein, Norman, resident scholar, American Enterprise Institute for Public
Policy Research 48

Petracca, Mark, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Politics and Soci-
ety, University of California, Irvine 61

Thurber, Dr. James A., professor of government, and director, Center for

Congressional and Presidential Studies, American University 257

Will, George F., syndicated columnist 208

LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARINGS

Fowler, Linda L., professor of political science, Maxwell School of Citizenship
and Public Affairs, Syracuse University: Prepared statement 193

Hyde, Hon. Henry J., a Representative in Congress from the State of Illinois:

Opening statement 4

Mann, Thomas E., director of government studies, Brookings Institution,

Washington, DC: Prepared statement 13

Mason, David, director, U.S. Congress Assessment Project, Heritage Founda-
tion: Prepared statement 37

Mitchell, Cleta Deatherage, director and general counsel, Term Limits Legal

Institute, Washington, DC: Prepared statement 233

Ornstein, Norman, resident scholar, American Enterprise Institute for Public
Policy Research: Prepared statement 53

Petracca, Mark, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Politics and Soci-
ety, University of California, Irvine: Prepared statement 65

Thurber, Dr. James A., professor of government, and director, Center for
Congressional and Presidential Studies, American University: Prepared
statement 261

Will, George F., syndicated columnist: Prepared statement 213

APPENDDCES

Letter to Chairman Don Edwards, from John J. Gargan, founder of Throw

the Hypocritical Rascals Out, Inc., dated November 16, 1993 301

Statement of Victor Kamber, president, the Kamber Group 302

(III)



TERM LIMITS FOR MEMBERS OF THE U.S.
SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES



THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 1993

House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights,

Committee on the Judiciary,

Washington, DC.

The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10 a.m., in room
2237, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Don Edwards (chair-
man of the subcommittee) presiding.

Present: Representatives Don Edwards, Barney Frank, Henry J.
Hyde, Howard Coble, and Charles T. Canady.

Also present: Representatives Bill McCollum, Bob Inglis, and Bob
Goodlatte.

Staff present: Catherine LeRoy, counsel, and Kathryn Hazeem,
minority counsel.

OPENING STATEMENT OF CHAIRMAN EDWARDS

Mr. Edwards. The subcommittee will come to order. Joining us
today are two members of the full committee who do not happen
to be members of this subcommittee. We are delighted to have
them with us, Mr. McCollum of Florida and Mr. Inglis of South
Carolina.

This morning the subcommittee begins a series of hearings on
congressional term limits. The issue of term limits has received a
great deal of attention in the States in the last few years. It has
been the subject of a number of successful referenda, including my
own State of California. The time has come to examine the issue
here in Congress as well.

At least 20-term limit proposals have been introduced in this
Congress. They vary considerably from one another. Some provide
for six 2-year terms for House Members, some provide for only
three 2-year terms.

Others fall somewhere in-between. Still others lengthen the term
of office for House Members to 4 years, as well as limiting the
number of terms a Member can serve. Most of the proposals limit
Senators to two 6-year terms.

My expectation is that in these initial hearings, the subcommit-
tee will not focus on any particular proposal. Instead, I hope that
we can look at the issues more broadly, to examine the history of
term limits in this country, the Framers' views about the rotation
of office and the arguments for and against term limits.

(1)



We amend the Constitution with great care in this committee.
Beginning today, we will hear from academics, historians, and oth-
ers who have researched, analyzed, and written about this issue.

After our initial hearings, the subcommittee will hear from activ-
ists and advocates from both sides of the issue from the States and
here in Congress. It is my hope that these hearings will educate
the subcommittee, the Congress, and the American people about
this important issue.

The gentleman from Illinois, Mr. Hyde.

Mr. Hyde. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have a formal statement
that I will ask to be included in the record, but I would like to
make some remarks informally.

The other day I had the opportunity to sit across the table from
Yitzhak Rabin, the Prime Minister of Israel. As the gentleman was
talking I couldn't help but think what a brave historic figure he
was, what a courageous person to be dealing with the PLO on be-
half of his brave country, to be dealing with people within his own
country, other members of the Knesset, left, right, middle, up,
down. Only someone with consummate self-confidence, only some-
one with years of experience in dealing with human nature, under
stress, only someone who was a fierce patriot, someone with a
wealth of rich experience to draw upon, would be qualified to nego-
tiate for his country on the important, the all-important issue of
war and peace.

And then I thought of his counterpart, Yassar Arafat. What a
brave person he is, as members of his inner circle are being assas-
sinated one by one. Where do you develop this self-confidence, the
experience, the wisdom, the judgment to be able to negotiate issues
of war and peace, and where does a country get these people? Out
of a hat?

No. You get these people out of the crucible of politics. This is
a tough, important job. It can't be fulfilled by walking through a
revolving door and coming in and then leaving as a dilettante. This
takes commitment and dedication and immersion.

Everett Dirksen, Henry Jackson, the list is long and endless.
Barber Conable put 20 years in here, then went to head the World
Bank. These are great people, liberals, conservatives, philosophers,
statesmen, but it takes years to learn this job, and it isn't getting
easier as time goes on. I think that to get rid of people as soon as
they get to learn their job and learn the nuances and how this
place works is self-defeating.

Why do we do it? I know there are people who are unhappy with
the present elected officials. That is a congenital condition. Every-
body gets upset at the politicians.

The new pejorative is "careerists." But when my brain is being
operated on, I want a careerist to do it. When something important
is happening to me, when someone is leading troops in the field,
I want a careerist to be at the head of them. Yes, and when some-
one is negotiating treaties, when someone is deciding where the
line should be between liberty and order, I want a careerist.

I want someone who has been there before. When we were debat-
ing the Panama Canal Treaty, how valuable it was to have Bob
Michel, who fought at the Battle of the Bulge, from whom we could
gain understanding. It isn't institutional memory, it is individual



memory that brings experience to bear on the important issues of
the day.

I know, "turn the rascals out," and if you can't do it at the ballot
box, do it by formula. Let the permanent bureaucracy run this Gov-
ernment because they are here forever. Let the lobbyists exercise
their influence, but as soon as a Member learns his way around,
turn him out. How self-defeating.

The problem with government is that the people are distracted
by too many other things, there are too many candidates, there are
too many issues, and there is not enough information, comprehen-
sive information provided them. Apathy, apathy.

We have term limits every 2 years. That is a pretty short-term
limit. If you are in the business of politics, you find it damned hard
sometimes to recruit candidates, quality candidates. Oh, you can
get a long list of people that want to be a Federal judge, they will
line up around the block, but get somebody that has the wisdom,
the judgment, the scholarship, temperament — they are hard to
come by, and we make this job so unattractive. We neat upon our-
selves, and we are hurting America. We are hurting the quality of
government as we move into a new century where the complexities
are infinite and there is a demand for experience and judgment —
and you don't get judgment, perspective except in the crucible of
experience.

Look, I have been here 19 years. I have a great self-interest. I
don't want to leave. I love this job, and of course I am certainly
going to have to leave maybe sooner than I want, and I admit to
my self-interest. But I am concerned that we have quality people
making these tough decisions. And the notion that you can leave
your plow in the field and ride your horse to Washington and ride
back, that was fine 200 years ago; not today.

Yes, I am proud of some people that have been here. I am proud
of Sam Nunn. I am proud of people that have been here. I am
proud of Bob Michel. I am proud of people that have been here a
few years, and I have much more to say on this and probably will
say it.

Forgive me for indulging myself this way, but this is an impor-
tant issue.

I have signed the discharge petition for Bill McCollum's bill. I
disagree with it. I will fight it tooth and nail, but I think it is such
an important issue, it deserves to be debated. It deserves to reach
the floor because that is what this place is all about. But I think
it will be a sad day when we turn out the Everett Dirksens, we
turn out the Hubert Humphreys, we turn out the John Quincy
Adams, we turn out the great triumvirate and the rest of them,
these people that we are so lucky to have devoting their time to
government.

Lastly, I hope to live to see the day when people who introduce
these bills put their money where their mouth is, and when they
reach the term limit that they espouse for the rest of us, that they,
by their example, show us how much they are committed.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Edwards. Well, thank you, Mr. Hyde, for a very eloquent
statement.

[The opening statement of Mr. Hyde follows:]



OPENING STATEMENT

OF

CONGRESSMAN HENRY J. HYDE

ON TERM LIMITS FOR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS

November 18, 1993

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Today we begin a series of hearings on the issue of term
limits for Members of Congress. In the course of this process we
will want to hear from constitutional scholars and academics,
activists and state, local and federal officeholders.

There are those who support term limits for federal
officeholders because they are fundamentally dissatisfied with the
way that government operates. Some support term limits because
they think it will cause more Republicans to be elected to public
office. Others support term limits because they believe in the
principle of "rotation in office" — that the idea of a
"professional" public servant is incompatible with a responsive
legislator. These hearings will allow us to examine whether the
popular idea of term limits will yield the results desired by its



supporters.

I believe that every time the voters go to the polls, they
make the decision of whether to end the term of their elected
representatives. A government-imposed term limit, it seems to me,
is an easy answer to a more complicated problem — perhaps a
failure of political leadership.

Experience and professionalism are
distinctions that we admire and seek out in others. It makes no
sense to me that we should arbitrarily remove public servants from
office simply because they possess these important qualities.

This nation today is vastly more populous and enormously more
complicated than it was at the time of our founding fathers.
Powerful bureaucrats — unelected, unresponsive and virtually
unaccountable ~ wield enormous power over our everyday lives.
Knowledgable, attentive and accountable legislators help to check



that power and to see that it is not abused.

In sum, I believe the people are capable of ruling themselves.
We should not disqualify those who can bring sound judgement born
of years of experience to the increasingly demanding tasks of
elected office.

It is no secret that the Chairman and I, and many of the
members of this Subcommittee are opposed to term limits. But we
recognize that this is an important issue that will fundamentally
alter the way government operates — both in forseen and unforseen
ways. We are committed to holding open, balanced, and
comprehensive hearings.

The witnesses before us this morning ~ two opposed and two in
favor of term limits — are here to give us an overview of this
issue and to lay the groundwork for future hearings. I thank them
for coming and look forward to hearing their testimony. I also
want to thank other term limit supporters, especially Paul Jacobs
of U.S. Term Limits, who has helped us to find witnesses for this
morning's hearing. We look forward to their future cooperation in
making this effort a success.



Mr. Edwards. I am not going to add to it other than to say that
Mr. Hyde and I and the other members of the committee are going
to give this issue a very fair hearing. It is going to be extended,
but both sides are going to get their day in court, I promise you.
I think I should add that I am of an age that there is no way that
any of the propositions could affect my tenure in Congress, so I am
in a pretty good position, I think, to be a judge that is not partial.

The gentleman from Florida, Mr. Canady.

Mr. Canady. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank you for
calling this hearing, and I want to extend my thanks also to my
colleagues from Florida, Mrs. Fowler and Mr. McCollum, for the
leadership they have shown on this very important issue. In the
last election in Florida, the voters of our State spoke overwhelm-
ingly in favor of term limitations.

I believe that their voice should be heard here in Washington,
and although there is no one in the U.S. Congress that I respect
more than Mr. Hyde, this is an issue on which I do differ with him.
I think that the Congress has continued to project itself as an insti-
tution which is detached from the realities of life in this country.
The Members of this Congress have continued to demonstrate to
the American people that they are isolated from the concerns of
many Americans. I am convinced that in the midst of all the reform
rhetoric we hear and all the suggestions for reform of this institu-
tion that are on the table, the one truly significant reform that
could change the way this institution functions in a fundamental
way and help bring this institution back to the people would be the
adoption of term limitations. I am not going to go into an extended
statement on the reasons for that, but I think that that is the fun-
damental issue here.

I will say that I agree with Mr. Hyde in his concern that we have
people in Congress who have experience, people who have the back-
ground and knowledge to perform the duties of office in an appro-
priate way, and to reach decisions that are consistent with the pub-
lic interest. I don't think that imposing term limits is inconsistent
with that goal, however, and I think there are many issues that
need to be discussed.

There is a legitimate issue about how long the term limits should
be, whether we should limit Members to 8 years, 12 years, what-
ever; and I think that is an area that needs to be explored, but I
think that we can have a Congress with people who are knowledge-
able, who have experience, and who are in touch with the people,
also.

The danger we see coming to pass in the current institution is
that Members stay here over an extended period of time and they
lose touch. That is just a fact of life. It doesn't necessarily happen
with everyone, but I think that is a flaw in the current system in
the way the job of a Congressman has evolved, so I am looking for-
ward to the testimony from the people who are here today to
present testimony to the committee.

I am also looking forward to the future hearings that we will
hold. I understand that early next year or sometime next year we
will be holding hearings in which Members of Congress will have
an opportunity to present their views. I think that is very impor-
tant, too, because there are many Members of the Congress, not



8

just in the freshman class, who have significant concerns on this
issue, on both sides of the issue. I think it would be very valuable
for us as a subcommittee to spend some time listening to the Mem-
bers of Congress and getting their perspective on this so that we
can benefit from their views also, but again I want to thank you,
Mr. Chairman.

I look forward to hearing the testimony of the witnesses.

Mr. McColllum. I want to thank you, Mr. Chairman, for hold-
ing these hearings. It has been nearly 15 years since any hearing
has been held on Capitol Hill on term limits, and a number of us
have requested this a long time ago of you, and we are delighted
that you are now doing this.

From the records that we have researched, it has been many,
many years — perhaps never — since there have been hearings on
this issue in the House. There have been hearings in the other
body. I think today is a very historic occasion I am not here to
make a statement. I am not a member of this subcommittee, and
I don't intend to debate the point today.

I came because I am, as you know, Mr. Chairman, a prime spon-
sor of a term limits proposal that has over 100 signatures on it and
has now been used as a discharge vehicle that Mr. Hyde alluded
to, that even though he opposes, he has signed because of the great
interest in the issue. I have widely differing views with my good
friend Mr. Hyde. We have debated this on television.

I am not here today to do that, and I am here today because I
want to show my appreciation to you, Mr. Chairman, for holding
these hearings and for the willingness of the witnesses to come for-
ward. I think this and the following hearings are going to be a
great public service and that we will be able to air this issue that
is truly important, very important to the American public, and ob-
viously I support term limits— but we can debate some other day.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Hyde [presiding]. Thank you very much, Mr. McCollum.

I have been asked by the chairman to introduce the witnesses.
Normally we have a biography that we go through, but because of
the number of witnesses we have, we will forego that with apolo-
gies to the respective scholars.

Our first witness is Dr. Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institu-
tion, director of government studies, and someone who is very fa-
miliar with this subject, and a well-known authority in Washington
on government and on Congress.

Dr. Mann.

STATEMENT OF THOMAS E. MANN, DIRECTOR OF GOVERN-
MENT STUDIES, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION, WASHINGTON,
DC

Mr. Mann. Thank you very much, Mr. Hyde, Mr. Chairman,
members of the full committee, I am delighted to be here.

First of all, I simply want to applaud you for holding these hear-
ings. I have long felt that there has been a one-sided discussion
about term limits in the country. Advocates feel confident about
pursuing them, but opponents are in a bit of an awkward position
seeing that public opinion polls are overwhelmingly on the other
side.



Therefore, most politicians abdicate their responsibility for join-
ing this debate and, as a result, I think the moral high ground has
been enjoyed by those who support term limits.

I believe finally the debate is joined in Congress. This is a delib-
erative body and it is essential that the people in this country un-
derstand what term limits are about and what they might do to
their system of representative democracy. I think the burden of
proof for altering the constitutional order lies with those who would
propose to do so. That is, their challenge is to diagnose the problem
and demonstrate that the remedy is likely to work without debili-
tating side effects.

I have reviewed the scholarly and popular literature. I have
drawn on my own research on congressional elections and I have
concluded that the case has not been made. Not only is it not per-
suasive, it is weak. And I think the proponents of term limits ought
to be challenged and pushed to clarify their intentions and to offer
evidence that would justify such a profound change in our constitu-
tional order.

Simply put, there are four arguments on behalf of term limits.
Mr. Chairman, what I do in my testimony, and I won't have time
to review it all here, is to state what those arguments are and then
to evaluate them, to take the evidence that is available and see if
the arguments hold water. You will not be surprised to learn that
I discovered the arguments are at times inconsistent, ambiguous.
In any case there is barely a shred of evidence available in the
world of politics in this country or abroad that would support the
arguments of the term limit supporters.

Let me quickly review those arguments. The first, of course, is
that careerism is the problem in American politics and in the coun-
try as a whole; it fosters in Members an exclusive focus on reelec-
tion and power and a devaluation of the public interest.

Basically, advocates see rotation as a way to cure these ills; that
selfless citizens would temporarily answer their country's call to
legislate in the public interest.

Most term limit advocates are real believers in a plebiscitary or
direct democracy. They think that the problem is we need to em-
power the people and revitalize the direct involvement. But at least
one prominent proponent of term limits, George Will, believes just
the opposite. He believes the problem with this Congress is they
are too much in touch with the people and they don't have the
spine and the courage to do what is right.



Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Committee on the JTerm limits for members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives : hearings before the Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Third Congress, first and second sessions, November 18, 1993, and June 29, 1994 → online text (page 1 of 34)