Court Rejects Michigan Lawmakers Challenge to State’s Term Limits Law

Yesterday, in Kowall v. BensonA constitutional challenge to a term limit law that was passed in a vote of the U.S. Court of Appeals rejected by the Sixth Circuit. Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals of Sixth Circuit denied a constitutional challenge of these term limits that were applied to state legislators in 1998. (Term limits on members of Congress were ruled unconstitutional. U.S. U.S. (1995)).

Yesterday’s court opinion by Judge Thapar began:

Benjamin Franklin supported term limits during the Constitutional Convention. According to Franklin, “In free governments the rulers serve the subjects, and the citizens their superiors or sovereigns.” To promote the former, it was to not be degraded but to return to them. 2 The Federal Convention Records of 1787Max Farrand ed. (1911) – 120. Michigan’s people had the same idea. The people of Michigan enacted term limits to their state legislators. Some veteran legislators did not take the “promotion” very well. They filed suit, alleging that term limits were in violation of their constitutional rights. It’s not up to us to question the design decisions made by Michiganders.

The conclusion is:

The people of Michigan elected a citizen legislature over twenty years ago. It was not a professional one. Legislators with decades of experience want to take advantage of the federal courts in order to circumvent their sovereign state. However, it is not our job to make them happy. They will have to vote to amend the law.