The Instigator
Subutai
Con (against)
Winning
12 Points
The Contender
utahjoker
Pro (for)
Losing
4 Points

The US Federal Government Should Pass a Term Limit Amendment

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
Subutai
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/13/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,882 times Debate No: 29150
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (5)

 

Subutai

Con

I won't make restrictions because that would be rude of me now, but please only accept if you intend on debating the whole way through and please read everything below before accepting.

Full Resolution

The United States Federal Government should pass a term limit Constitutional amendment.

Definitions

United States Federal Government: "The United States Federal Government is established by the US Constitution. The Federal Government shares sovereignty over the United Sates with the individual governments of the States of US. The Federal government has three branches: i) the legislature, which is the US Congress, ii) Executive, comprised of the President and Vice president of the US and iii) Judiciary."[1]

Term Limit: "A statutory restriction on the number of terms an official or officeholder may serve."[2]

Constitutional Amendment: "The means by which an alteration to the U.S. Constitution, whether a modification, deletion, or addition, is accomplished."[3]

Rules

1. The first round is for acceptance.
2. A forfeit or concession is not allowed.
3. No semantics, trolling, or lawyering.
4. All arguments and sources must be visible in your argument. No outside links including some or all of either.
5. Debate resolution, definitions, rules, and structure cannot be changed without asking in the comments before you post your round 1 argument. Debate resolution, definitions, rules, and structure cannot be changed in the middle of the debate.

Voters, in the case of the breaking of any of these rules by either debater, all seven points in voting should be given to the other person.

Debate Structure

Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Presenting all arguments (no rebuttals by pro)
Round 3: Refutation of opponent's arguments (no new arguments)
Round 4: Defending your original arguments and conclusion (no new arguments)

Sources

[1]: http://definitions.uslegal.com...
[2]: http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
[3]: http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com...
utahjoker

Pro

I accepted this debate topic and look forward to their opening statement.
Debate Round No. 1
Subutai

Con

I would like to thank utahjoker for accepting this debate.

I. Constitutionality

Term limits violate the congressional qualifications area of the Constitution:

"U.S. District Judge William L. Dwyer, in a broad ruling, said the Washington term limits initiative was unconstitutional because it wrongly attempted to add qualifications for congressional candidates beyond those stipulated in the Constitution -- age, citizenship and residency in the state represented.

'A state may not diminish its voters' constitutional freedom of choice by making would-be candidates for Congress ineligible on the basis of incumbency or history of congressional service,' Dwyer wrote."[1]

In addition to this, term limits also violate both the 1st amendment and the 14th amendment:

"The judge also said the measure violated the First and 14th Amendments to the Constitution, describing the term limits initiative as imposing 'unduly restrictive" ballot access requirements on incumbent
candidates and inimical to the "freedom of association" guaranteed by the First Amendment.'"[1]

This has been backed up by a recent Supreme Court ruling:

"On May 22, 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court in U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton (Sup. Ct. Doc. No. 93-1456) in a 5-4 decision held that Arkansas' constitutional amendment, Section 3 of Amendment 73, providing for limitations on congressional terms of office was unconstitutional in that it established an
additional qualification for congressional office in violation of Article I, Sections 2 and 3 setting forth the three basic qualifications of age, citizenship and inhabitancy for Members of Congress."[2]

Term limits violate both amendments to the constitution (including one from the Bill of Rights) and from the constitution itself.

II. Experience

I will cut this argument into two parts. First, I will explain why term limits are bad for new senators.

Term limits also prevent legislators from gaining enough experience to be on the job. Every four to six years, a whole new process of experience training comes in. Without term limits, we can have more experienced members of Congress ruling us.

"In the business world, experience is valued because with experience comes knowledge of how to be efficient in your job and how to perform your job well. In fact, running a government can be significantly more complicated than running a business. "Term limits are one of those ideas that sound good in theory but are madness in practice. You wouldn't want to go to a hospital filled with medical residents or stock a sports team with an ever-changing cast of rookies. Legislating is hard. We need to give people time to learn how to do it."[3]

The Congressman must learn and master a wide variety of issues, and to do so takes time. Term limits prevent Congressmen from gaining the needed experience to effectively govern and make laws. One need look no further than the state government of California, which has enacted term limits and has been the premier example of fiscal ineptitude and poor governance.[3]

One can also find the same pattern for Missouri:

"A new report from the [University of Missouri] Truman School of Public Affairs argues that the shortening of lawmakers' careers has contributed to a lack of political expertise in the general
assembly -- resulting in a less effective government.[4]

Next, I will explain why they are bad for senators about to be ousted:

"Term limits is and always has been a bad idea. The reason it's a bad idea is because it limits the choices of people the public has to vote for. If you have a really good public servant and you want to keep him, you can't. You have to get rid of the good candidate and replace him with someone who's inexperienced. By having term limits, we are eliminating the people who have wisdom and experience from political life. Like any job, it takes years to be good at what you do. About the time our elected officials have become good public servants, we're required to throw them out."[5]

"Term limits kick out the good leaders who may deserve to stay in office for excellent work."[6]

In addition to this, it is important to remember that when a Congressman is on his last term, he's not going to listen to the people he is representing because he doesn't have to. He's going to go out next term anyway.

III. Power Shifting

As a consequence of term limits, as I pointed out earlier, Congressman are now less experienced in performing the duties he was elected for. He now goes to bureaucrats and lobbyists for help in his job. This obviously puts a lot of power into the hands of said bureaucrats and away from Congress. This exacerbates the campaign finance and power problems. This explains it further:

"[Reasearch associate professor] Valentine argues that the disappearance of long-term or career politicians in the general assembly has led to a deficit of policy experts. A former state senate staffer, Valentine said that the traditional route for lawmakers to distinguish themselves was to become a
respected expert on a certain policy area and then become a resource for other lawmakers.

Without this practice, Valentine said term limits have given more power to lobbyists who - as non-government employees - can remain in the halls of the capitol longer than any elected official in Jefferson City ever could. But at the same time, these lobbyists are not held accountable to constituents."[4]

Term limits put more power in the hands of unelected bureaucrats who become the only ones who know how to work the system.

Overall, term limits are an inefficient way to deal with the problems in today's problem, and in certain cases, they can actually increase those problems and even shift power from one group to another.

Sources

[1]: http://tech.mit.edu...
[2]: http://digital.library.unt.edu...
[3]: http://voices.washingtonpost.com...
[4]:http://ozarksfirst.com...
[5]: http://www.perkel.com...
[6]: http://www.balancedpolitics.org...
utahjoker

Pro

I would like to thank my opponent for posting a debate that will surely be both a challenge for my opponent and for myself.

When I went to the challenging section of debate.org looking for a new and unique debate I saw this debate topic posted as I clicked it I noticed that the position that I would have to take would be pro for term limits on the Federal level I soon became interested and quickly selected for the opportunity to debate this topic. As I pondered what points that I should make about term limits these ideas came to mind.

I. What the people Want

The main purpose of the Federal Government is to be for and by the people. On this website of debate.org with a population of about 56,321 and around 80% {1} of those individuals are for term limits and keep in mind that a good amount of the debaters on debate.org are international which shows that on a worldwide base people that like term limits. If someone feels that this is too small of a sample or that the international part should have no relevance in an United States debate well if you look at a poll conducted by Fox New 78% of the voters would like a term limit in Congress {2}. Give the people what they want and what they want is term limits.

II. Limits Power

The reason that the founding fathers founded a Republic is to limit power and that is the main goal of term limits. One of the most powerful tools used in America is the power of money in the 2003-04 federal elections around 2 billion dollars were spent by professional corps {3}. If term limits were in place corporations will have no longer as much power over elected officials because no longer can they have a life long seat in Congress if a corporation wants to still have power over a candidate they will have to go from one to another which is much harder to do. The same person wont be able to just have a seat and pass laws for his/her special agenda a new comer can come in and balance the power of both the past,present and soon to be future.

III. Government becomes more Effective

If a elected official wants to make a change they have to make it before there term limit is up or they are out of luck. If you take the fiscal cliff for example the reason it got to the point that it did was because elected officials kept putting it off not worried about losing their seat because of unlimited terms{4}. With the debt rising and the debt ceiling also rising is because many officials feel that they can just what and fix it later instead of now because they have unlimited terms{5}. Much like a car if you want to have an effective working government you need to change the oil once and a while.





Sources
{1} http://debate.org...
{2} http://www.foxnews.com...
{3} http://www.publicintegrity.org...
{4} http://www.cfr.org...
{5} http://topics.nytimes.com...
Debate Round No. 2
Subutai

Con

I would like to thank utahjoker for presenting his arguments.

I. What the People Want

My opponent begins by citing that 80% of Debate.org supports term limits. However, not only is this a small sample size, it it also an unreliable sample; many people just fill out the big issues and then never return to Debate.org. If we look at people we've heard of on Debate.org, many recognizable people oppose term limits, such as RoyLatham. So therefore, my opponent's point here is irrelevant.

Next, my opponent asserts that 78% of voters would like a term limit in Congress. However, this is an Ad Populum fallacy. A greater percentage of the population supported Hitler in Nazi Germany. Also, keep in mind that the people have the right to create term limits, but they fail to act upon it year after year. In fact, "Term limits' popularity does not make them a good idea. In fact, they're a bad idea, for several reasons."[3] But also, "Of course anti-legislative sentiment was so strong at the time that even rural voters joined in passing term limits. In Muskogee County [Oklahoma] voters went nearly 2-1 for term limits and in the same election returned to office a House member with nearly 25 years experience."[3] Do they really want them or not?

However, this negates this point perfectly: "Term limits are presumptuous. Turnover was not a problem in the Oklahoma Legislature, especially in the urban areas. In 1990 only 10 percent of House members and 20 percent of senators had served more than 12 years. The problem for the Republican proponents of term limits was that the senior-most members — those who kept getting re-elected over and over — tended to represent rural or small-town districts and they were mostly Democrats. The term-limits advocates were essentially telling rural voters, 'We don't like the people you keep electing to office so we are going to restrict your ability to elect them.'"[3]

Are term limits really that democratic?

II. Limits Power

All the career politicians with relationships to special interests started out as new politicians; there is no reason to think the new blood in Congress won't make deals with lobbyists. Note that pro offers no evidence that new politicians are less likely to listen to lobbyists. Compare this to my University study showing that term limits cause politicians to rely more on the advice of lobbyists.
In addition, like I said in round 2, term limits mean that politicians have a “lame duck” term- a term where they know they aren’t coming back because they have the term limit. These politicians have no incentive to stay accountable to their electorate, what is to stop them from “cashing in” before they are permanently booted from office and selling their vote to the highest bidder behind closed doors?

To negate this point fully, when term-limits exist, lobbyists simply adjust to the quickened timetable of finite terms in office. They are skilled enough to ensure that they maintain their influence despite the shorter term-limit.[4]

III. Government Becomes More Effective

I will start with my opponent's two sources. I read them thoroughly, and although about the 'fiscal cliff' and the upcoming battle over the debt ceiling, I failed to see any quotation or indication that their failure to make a deal on time was the result of them being able to have unlimited terms. In fact, the cause cited in his source 4 is, "Most critics believe that the lack of a comprehensive, long-term deal on deficit reduction—one that addresses the need for major tax and entitlement reform—has propelled the use of short-term political expedients like the "doc fix" and other extenders. Meanwhile, the nation's debt soars on an unsustainable path, according to most projections."[1] And his source 5 gives no explanation to why the fiscal cliff crisis occured.

Now, I will deal with my opponent's claim that term limits create a more efficient government. My opponent seems to conclude that politicians who are elected to Congress stay in it until they retire. However, this is obviously a fallacy. There were huge upsets during the 2008 elections by Tea Party backed Republican challengers and notably Arlen Specter was defeated in his 2010 Senatorial campaign after serving for nearly 30 years. New blood comes into Congress each election cycle.

Conclusion

This is necessary to refute my opponent's central premise: that Congressman stay Congressman their whole lives. In point 1, people already have the power to impose term limits - by simply booting out all who they feel have served long enough. As I mentioned earlier, "And the problem isn't just that six years isn't enough time to understand the issues and the process. It's also not long enough to build strong relationships across the aisle, particularly given that a lot of other members will have to leave two or four years after she gets there."[2] If a public servant does a good job, why not reward their service with a positive vote and more time in office?

Sources

[1]: http://www.cfr.org...
[2]: http://voices.washingtonpost.com...
[3]: http://www.tulsaworld.com...
[4]: http://www.soyouwanna.com...
utahjoker

Pro

I going to rebut my opponents arguments from round 2.

I. Constitutionality

My opponents states that if term limits were in place it would be in violation of the Constitution, but what my opponent fails to see is that there is term limits in the Constitution if you look at the 22 Amendment is states " No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice," that is term limits {1}.

The ruling that U.S. District Judge Wiliam L. Dwyer gave should be in question. Term limits isn't going to restrict people if anything it gives people the opportunity to have a greater chance of being elected. Any of the qualifications term limits will add on will be after someone is elected that is not telling someone they can't run it states that they have had their turn and is time to turn it over to someone else.

Term limits is not against the first amendment. The first amendment is about freedom of religion,speech,press and expression{2}. Term limits isn't telling someone they can't worship as they will, can't say what they feel,telling the press they can't do their job, or even telling someone they can't express themselves. If someone is truly against term limits they can still right in the candidate they want they will just not be able to get elected. If term limits are against the first amendment then so are the restrictions about age, citizenship, and residency because that could stop someone from electing someone who doesn't fit those qualifications.

Term limits is not against the 14th amendment. In the 14th amendment is about voting and if someone wants to vote for anyone they can they just might not be qualified{3}. It isn't saying someone can't vote it is just states who will be allowed to be elected just like the restrictions already in the Constitution.

Term limits is not against the Constitution and is an invalid point to give.

II. Experience

If experience is so important than why is the national debt over 16 trillion dollars {4},problems with taxes{5}, and deficit spending at such a high rate{6}. The problem is that the people who have put America in such a bad place are still in office and can still have office for a life time. It takes new blood to get things moving and changed.

III Power Shifting

Term limits gives limits to someones power. The problem is that these elected officials become puppets for corporations and rich individuals because those are the people who get officials elected. If their is term limits it will become extremely hard for a corporation to control everyone.

Sources
{1} http://www.usconstitution.net...
{2} http://www.usconstitution.net...
{3} http://www.usconstitution.net...
{4} http://www.brillig.com...
{5} http://www.taxhelponline.com...
{6} http://www.foxnews.com...
Debate Round No. 3
Subutai

Con

I would like to thank Utahjoker for this debate.

I. Constitutionality

I unfortunately am going to have to drop this point because of its irrelevance to this debate. I had created my round 2 argument for another debate that didn't have "constitutional amendment" in the resolution and failed to take that out here. It is irrelevant if an amendment is constitutional or not.

II. Experience

My opponent is committing another fallacy in claiming that term limits will solve many of the problems plaguing Congress today, that new blood will "get things moving and changed." However, this is false.

Take for example, healthcare. States without term limits have a higher healthcare reliability score than do states with term limits:

"Overall, the average [Best States for your Health] ranking for the fifteen states with term limits is 31st in all three rankings. The average ranking for the 35 states without term limits is 23rd

The reason term limits have such a significant effect on the health of a state’s population may be because term-limited politicians don’t have the time to come up to speed on complex health issues."[1] So it's not like term limits help solve issues.

Almost every job fits into a tiered system where people with more experience hold more responsibility and authority. But with term limits, there is no one with experience to take those positions. All the legislators are freshman so no one has any job experience. No business would boot all employees after 10 years- this just amounts to preventing the accumulation of experience. Congress shouldn’t operate like that either.

"It takes most new legislators about four years to learn the intricacies of the legislative process, the social organization of the House and Senate, the details of government, broader issues, and how to balance everything with the needs of their districts and the expectations of their party,” he said.

“By the time they gain this knowledge, they only have a relatively short time to utilize their knowledge before their term limit expires. In addition, the absence of experienced legislators precludes learning from more experienced peers.”"[4]

And it's also not like term limits prevent new blood from entering Congress. In 2010 alone, 54 incumbents were defeated.[2]

And finally, as I said earlier, politicians will always be less responsive during their last term in a term limit system. "In a system of a fixed number of terms, a certain percentage of the Congressmen are lame ducks during their final congressional term, and the people lose their leverage to keep their Representatives on good behavior."[3] This obviously leads to a less efficient term and Congress.

Term limits do not increase effectiveness but actually decrease it through less experienced politicians and less responsive politicians.

III. Power Shifting

My opponent has again failed to provide any sources or evidence to support his claim. I have already shown that lobbyists will just simply adjust to the quickened timetable of finite terms in office. They are skilled enough to ensure that they maintain their influence despite the shorter term-limit.[5] Therefore, term limits do not reduce the amount of corruption and lobbying in Congress. Corporations and individuals will simply shift to the next Congressman, which will easily fall to them due to his lack of experience.

And like I said earlier, term limits give more power to lobbyists.[6]

In the end, term limits do not accomplish any of the goals they are set out to accomplish and have many unintended consequences such as a less-prepared legislature and greater corruption. And they are undemocratic. Clearly, there should not be a constitutional amendment providing term limits to Congressmen.

Sources

[1]: http://pgionfriddo.blogspot.com...
[2]: http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3]: http://federalexpression.files.wordpress.com...
[4]: http://newsok.com...
[5]: http://www.soyouwanna.com...
[6]: http://ozarksfirst.com...;
utahjoker

Pro

This was a fun debate I would like to thank Subutai for posting a debate subject that isn't posted often.
I will know defend my argument.

I. What the People Want

My opponent is calling out my sources for my argument while it is true that Debate.org is a small sample size it doesn't change the fact that 80% of the debaters want term limits, even though that many people aren't activity involved on this website it doesn't change that fact that they are pro term limits. While RoyLatham {1} is one of the top debaters on this website his vote only counts as one just like anything else in America it doesn't matter if you are a poor single mother or a rich billionaire their vote counts as one and that vote builds the case of the public opinion and the public opinion on term limits is it should be in place.

While my opponent is trying to throw out my source about the Fox News Poll even though it alludes to other polls done it doesn't change that Congress has an 18% approval rate {2}. People want change and it is true that they can make term limits by just voting differently the problem is there is no order to this no way of communicating with all the different voters to decide if someone turn in office is over and it can't be done. Change is possible and if they people want term limits than why not and who knows what the Congress approval rating can be if their is new blood and a new sense of urgency.

Term limits is at the heart of democracy. Democracy was founded in Athens and what they did was each year they would vote on leader out of power to limit the power of the leaders {3}. Democracy stops tyrants just like what Term limits does it doesn't let anyone stay in power for to long becasue power corrupts and limited power builds.

II. Limits Power

Of course all career politicians started as new politicians and they can be corrupted early, but the point of term limits is to get those who are corrupt out instead of them settling in for years to come. The whole idea that when a politician becomes a "lame duck" means that they will no longer have the time to do nothing the feeling of urgency will take full effect driving the politicians to be more efficient and to try and pass the laws they want or make changes.

III Government Becomes more Effective.

There is no question that Congress has done such horrible job when it came to the debt and fiscal cliff. I just wanted to point it out to everyone. The problem is that some new blood does come in each election cycle, but a inconsistent amount of new blood comes in. If their is regular change Congress will become more efficient.

Conclusion.

Term limits is just a good all around idea. It limits power, keeps people in check, and gives new ideas to Congress. It is what many people would like instead of seeing the same politicians making the same mistakes over and over again and just hoping for change it is time for change.

Sources
(1) http://debate.org...
(2) http://www.gallup.com...
{3} http://languages.siu.edu...
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by 1Historygenius 4 years ago
1Historygenius
Damn. This is taking forever. :/
Posted by Subutai 4 years ago
Subutai
Damn. That's what I get for copy-and pasting my argument here.
Posted by Deadlykris 4 years ago
Deadlykris
True. Arguing the constitutionality of an amendment is, at best, a red herring, since constitutionality is derived from the constitution and amendments taken as a whole.
Posted by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
Um, if you pass a term limit amendment it's now part of the constitution, and overrides any earlier amendment opposing its statutes... Prohibition was unconstitutional until an amendment was passed, and became overrided by another amendment. The resolution really narrows the debate from that standpoint.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Noumena 4 years ago
Noumena
SubutaiutahjokerTied
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Con's "constitutionality" point was null considering that the debate focused on changing the constitution itself (i.e., term limit 'amendment'). The debate was better centered around the practical effects of such a thing. Con's contention on the other hand from "what the people want" was similarly null considering that it was ad populum. Whether it rightly reflects popular opinion is another point entirely from the flawed nature of the contention itself. On the "limiting power" point was iffy, considering that it could count for or against the resolution. On the one hand, it gets POSSIBLY corrupted politicians out early (though Pro was extremely ambiguous on when the optimal time for that would be). On the other hand, it by its very nature meant that young blood would contuously circulate through, getting rid of exerienced politicians who actually understand better the innerworkings and what needs to be done. Con wins on this point considering his university study in support.
Vote Placed by OhioGary 4 years ago
OhioGary
SubutaiutahjokerTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Wow, what a great debate! You both were very skilled in presenting your arguments both for & against. I gave Conduct to Pro because Con structured a resolution and then immediately took the Con position. This allowed Con to skirt having to offer a burden of proof and play defense, even though he proposed the resolution. Con had more than enough information to present reasons why term limits should not be imposed and didn't need to bait Pro into providing arguments only to shoot them down. Con also acknowledged an error in R4 of Constitutionality because it belonged in another debate. Pro called the error in the debate, so argument points go to Pro. I have nothing on S&G or sources. I think you both did a fine job in those categories. The EC & the House of Representative size are topics that I follow & debate regularly. I'm sure that we'll cross circles again in the future.
Vote Placed by Contra 4 years ago
Contra
SubutaiutahjokerTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro committed the "ad populum" fallacy. What the public wants doesn't inherently make it right. At one point the majority of Americans believed that the gov't should guarantee health coverage. Now it is almost evenly split. Hitler had a great popularity in Germany (not among the Jews though). The validity of a case depends on its logic and the arguments for it, not on its popularity. Con presented a great rebuttal by saying that term limits do NOT immune the system from lobbyists, and his experience argument was also a key part of his successful argument. Pro didn't do that bad. I would recommend using facts and sources for specific evidence for a better case though.
Vote Placed by youmils03 4 years ago
youmils03
SubutaiutahjokerTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I vote Con. I like the Con's arguments more, even though 1 of them is dropped.
Vote Placed by Deadlykris 4 years ago
Deadlykris
SubutaiutahjokerTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro didn't really present the case very well.