Faculty Scholarship 1994 - Present

Term Limits and Compelled Speech: A New Frontier

The proponents of term limits for United States representatives and senators may have opened a new chapter in constitutional law in their struggle to restrict the time representatives can serve in Congress. Their efforts to institutionalize term limits have resulted in two bedrock decisions by the United States Supreme Court that provide new insight into the interplay between the First Amendment and the Qualifications Clauses in Article I of the Constitution, and may have opened the door to new and intriguing strategies to achieve indirectly the equivalent of term limits. The success of those strategies will be likely be determined by the manner in which the First Amendment is interpreted and applied. The purpose of this article is to sketch how those scenarios may play out, and to suggest what First Amendment theory will boost or thwart some suggested strategies.