How long should a U.S. Representative or Senator be allowed to serve? A maximum of 10 or 12 years? 20? Or perhaps there should be no limits at all. The concept of term limits is relatively straightforward, but the political history as well as implications for what’s called the incumbency (or more specifically, homesteading a lifelong career in Congress) are rather nuanced. According to the U.S. Constitution, the president can serve two four year terms. The two term limitation has only existed since the 1950s. U.S House members serve two year terms but can be reelected for an unlimited amount of terms. Similarly, U.S. Senators serve six year terms and can be reelected indefinitely.
While many people argue that a lack of term limits allows for long-term experience and expertise, many others argue that it hinders the ability of political newcomers with different views and ideas to enter either the U.S. Congress. Both sides of the issue have merit, but the argument has resulted in numerous efforts to implement term limits. A case regarding the implementation of term limits for U.S. Representatives and Senators (U.S. Term Limits, Inc. vs. Thornton) even made it to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1995, but was decided in favor of no term limits. There have also been efforts for a constitutional amendment addressing this issue. Suffice it to say, this issue remains alive and well.
Steps to Complete the Task
Step 1: Research
Read about congressional term limits in the textbook (Chapter 2, page 61 and Chapter 11, page 414). (Direct Links Provided)
Chapter 2 is on the bottom on 2.4, in the box labeled term limits (Link – https://openstax.org/books/american-government-2e/pages/2-4-the-ratification-of-the-constitution )
Chapter 11 is 11.2 (Link – https://openstax.org/books/american-government-2e/pages/11-2-congressional-elections )
Watch this video on the Supreme Court case U.S. Term Limits, Inc. vs. Thornton:
Can Congress Have Term Limits? | U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton (Link – https://youtu.be/TYJ7nqz0ZHs )
Read the following article from the Issues & Controversies database
(you might be prompted for your TCC login to access the article)Login Info (Will be changed by tomorrow morning) Login – T20161265 Password – Hubbcap12
Term Limits for Elected Officials: Are term limits for elected officials a good idea? (Link – https://icof-infobaselearning-com.libraryproxy.tulsacc.edu/articles/us-government-and-politics/term-limits-for-elected-officials.aspx?ID=2721&wid=98054&hd=2721 )
Note Taking Tip: Take notes as you read. Since you know you are reading about two sides of issue, one way to take notes is to have a page for the “for” side and a page for the “against” side. As you read, you can make note of unique perspectives, facts, and/or events that each side uses for evidence to support their viewpoint.
Step 2: Analyze and Evaluate
Consider both sides of the argument. What evidence was effective for supporting congressional term limits? What evidence was effective for imposing congressional term limits?
Based on the information you studied, how would you respond to the following questions?
What are the arguments in support of congressional term limits (or why should we keep them)?
What are the arguments for imposing term limits (or why should we get rid of them)?
Do you support or oppose the congressional term limits? Why? And what are the implications for voters either way?
Step 3: Analyze and Explain
3. Write a 150-250 word paragraph explain your reasoning regarding your stance on congressional term limits.
Use evidence from the reading to explain the reasoning on your perspective.
Acknowledge valid arguments (points) from both sides
Write your paragraph on a Word document. Save the document to your computer as a back-up copy.
Refresher: How to Write an Argument Paragraph
Writing paragraphs for political science papers is just like writing paragraphs for an English essay. Political science professors expect well-developed, evidence-based information in their paragraphs and papers, too.
Complete this short online refresher on how to write an argument paragraph. Link – https://www.softchalkcloud.com/lesson/serve/CewuY506SbIEBL/html
Step 4: The Discussion
Post your paragraph in the Unit 3: Congressional Term Limits discussion forum.
Copy your paragraph from your Word document and paste in the discussion forum.
Respond to a minimum of two classmates
Respond to someone who shares the same perspective as you do.
Respond to someone who has a different perspective than you do.
Your responses should be 50 to 100 words.
Provide a thoughtful response – analyze and evaluate their points and provide additional support or counter-arguments from the readings.
Criteria for Success
To be successful, your discussion posts should
Provide evidence that you understand both sides of the issue
Make a clear statement of the side you believe has a better argument
Be written in your “own voice.” The posts should sound “like you” not like the Internet
Use academic English (no slang or texting language) with minimal errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling. (Hint: read your responses out loud before posting.)
Stay within the word count range for the original response and response to peers
Include thoughtful responses to two of your peers
You cannot just say “I agree” or “I disagree” – you must provide some evidence of your own.
Don’t just repeat the evidence written by the classmate you are responding to.