It’s perhaps the only initiative that pits conservatives against conservatives.
Welcome to the 1996 revival of a push to limit the terms of congressmen and senators. Fueled by Hayden Lake businesswoman Donna Weaver, the popular initiative wants to force politicians to take a stand on the issue and push for a congressional effort to make it reality.
Those who don’t get on board would be identified as slacking on term limits the next time their names appear on the election ballot.
The initiative would limit newly elected U.S. representatives to three terms and those currently holding office to two. New U.S. senators would be limited to two terms in office and incumbents would be held to one additional term.
The initiative also demands that the Idaho Legislature call for a constitutional convention to amend the U.S. Constitution.
The effort has drawn opposition from all quarters. Some conservatives argue a constitutional convention opens the possibility of broad sweeping changes that have nothing to do with term limits. And, they argue, it’s too dangerous a door to open.
Idaho Attorney General Alan Lance, meanwhile, is questioning the constitutionality of labeling candidates as anti-term limits on the ballot.
Finally, opponents from other quarters say term limits deprive voters of the greatest thing a democracy offers: choice. There’s no substitute for a well-informed electorate, they say.
Weaver and Citizens for Federal Term Limits dismiss the possibility of a constitutional convention, noting that once Congress senses the press from enough states, it will adopt the necessary constitutional amendment.
Political scientists agree the possibility of a constitutional convention is remote.